Summer camp under the big top: classes for children at the circus school


There is a plethora of virtual and hybrid classrooms and summer camps for kids, but very few offer stimulating physical skills, cooperation, and community like Cirque School classes and camps do.

The program for 7 to 12 year olds was running for years before the pandemic at the Los Angeles Circus School. But when COVID lockdowns hit, Cirque School made a sleek and seamless pivot to online classes.

“We’ve been consistent throughout the year,” said Tristan Cunningham, program director and head coach of Cirque School Kids. Parentology. And, surprisingly, the kids in the virtual classrooms not only thrived, they even improved their acrobatic and flexibility skills.

“Being able to focus only on their bodies helped them hone their skills,” says school founder and owner Aloysia Gavre. She says Parentology she was impressed with the progress and the general attitude of the children. “It was an amazing learning lesson that I would like adults to take in. Their growth from acrobatics is amazing. They have no room, and they navigate on sofas and chairs, and low tables turned to the side by their parents.

Circus school children learn skills and thrills

Photo: Circus School / Mari Provencher

In terms of recreation, the closest comparison to circus classes is gymnastics. But, while gymnastics is an often fiercely competitive and difficult activity, circus is a performing art, combining incredible physical prowess with theatrical vibes for children.

In virtual and in-person lessons, kids can learn splits, backbends, antennas, and palm rests, but they’ll also learn choreography, juggling, flexibility, hula hooping, and clowning. In-person lessons also include lessons on aerial equipment, such as lines, static trapeze, hoop / lyre, and more. Additionally, students taking classes in any format can also participate in a virtual or in-person performance.

“In the circus, they say: here are the skills, and you perform it the way you want. You add your own style and flavor to the performance, ”says Cunningham.

Security protocols and hybrid option

All circus school coaches and staff are vaccinated against COVID-19, and the school’s safety protocols have been firmly in place since it reopened in person on May 1.

Masks are needed inside the ventilated walls of the school, each student has their own training module, complete with devices (for students in person) and a protective mat. Each student also cleans and disinfects their area at the end of the course.

The Cirque School Kids hybrid class model means that distance students (or students who feel uncomfortable with in-person teaching) can still follow through with the class, without training on the devices. Regular kids’ classes are Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Tuesday is a completely remote option (be prepared to move living room furniture and keep your pets).

The camp: a week-long circus trip

Virtual show for children “World Circus Day” from the circus school

The Cirque School Children’s Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., so it ends just in time for lunch. The program includes all the skills of the circus, presented by coaches who have worked professionally in the circus arts for years. “It’s hard to access the kind of coaching that you can find at Cirque School,” observes Cunningham.

Indeed, Cunningham made her debut in the prestigious Circus Smirkus youth program before becoming a professional actress and circus artist. The owner of the school, Gavre, started in the Pickel family circus as a teenager before spending years as an acrobat on tour with the Cirque du Soliel.

At the end of the session, your child will have something more valuable than the splits or a perfect cart wheel. They will have real mental confidence and camaraderie with their fellow circus performers.

“The circus celebrates all body types and skills, as well as mental coordination. As you build ensemble shows, young people begin to discover their value. And learn respect and their place in it, ”says Gavre.

The school offers two one-week camps. The first session is in person, while the second session is completely virtual. This second option is ideal for kids who crave the circus experience but don’t live in the Los Angeles area.

Session 1: June 14 to 18
Session 2: July 12 to 16

Watch the teaser video of the first children’s session of 2021, and find out more at the circus school

Pictures of children: Husband Provencher

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