While we are forced to spend almost all our time indoors in order to help us stay safe and healthy, many people are using the time to learn new skills. Now the trailblazing Oak Circus Centre along with internationally renowned Lost in Translation Circus are offering interactive online courses in circus skills that anyone can join in with.
The live, interactive classes will be delivered by skilled professional teachers and performers from all over the world who are all members of Lost in Translation Circus Company. Participants can learn handstands and flexibility from an artist in Australia, flexibility and circus fitness from one in Ireland, juggling and manipulation from Canada or hula-hoop from Italy, as well as being taught by artists and tutors now resident in the UK. There are circus skills classes for children from 6 years old, young people and over 16s. .
They can almost all be undertaken without specialist equipment, just a clear carpeted or grassy area and some cushions. Fruit and wooden spoons are ideal for juggling as are rolled up socks. The only exception is hula-hoop but Oak bosses are looking into launching a lending library to provide participants who do not have access to a hoop with a sanitised one from The Oak. In the near future they plan to run equipment-making classes so anyone can learn how to make circus equipment to use at home.
All classes will be delivered via the Zoom platform. This allows for all participants to see each other and interact between themselves and the tutors, who will be able to give instructions and advice live and adapt classes to suit individual needs, unlike video tutorials. All will begin with full body warm up and conditioning exercises to aid with flexibility and alignment.
Everything is designed to be self-contained and safe to do in your living room or garden (although juggling is best practised away from breakable objects!). Parents are given instructions and guidance in relation to the classes aimed at children.
The Oak and Lost in Translation co-director Massimilliano Rossetti said ‘We arrived back in the UK just after the lockdown was introduced, so the country seemed a very different to when we left for Australia in December after our Norwich Playhouse Christmas Shows. We had a whole programme of courses arranged at our base in Oak Street that obviously had to be postponed, so we came up with the idea of these online methods’.
Massimilliano’s co-director Annabel Carberry added ‘We want to share our joy of circus and generally try to help with fitness and health during this period of restricted physical exercises. By being online based hopefully we can reach people who may not have physically walked into The Oak. There will be provision in the classes for both beginners who are totally new to circus arts and those who wish to hone and extend existing skills.’
The Oak is run by the internationally renowned Lost in Translation Circus company who have just returned from a hugely successful run of their show Hotel Paradiso at Australia’s Adelaide fringe where they received standing ovations and 5 star reviews – but almost didn’t get back home! ‘We were literally on the second last flight back to the UK from Adelaide’ explained Massimilliano ‘Our original flight was cancelled and for a couple of days it was touch and go whether we would be able to get a flight at all due to the pandemic’.
The classes, which are currently scheduled to the end of April, can be booked via www.theoakcircuscentre.org and cost just £5 each on an individual basis so people can try them out with minimal commitment. Longer course discounts will be offered from the third week. When a booking is made participants will be sent a code and a link to Zoom (with a simple one-time registration for those who don’t have an existing account) and a code to join the class.
Photo credit: Mina Jussila