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Classes just like joining the big top

It might come as a surprise, but circus classes are available for adults in Halifax.

It might come as a surprise, but circus classes are available for adults in Halifax.

“Adult classes are actually our biggest classes,” says GinaBeth Roberts, the office manager at Atlantic Cirque.

Atlantic Cirque, located in Dartmouth, offers two classes a week for adults over 18 where students are introduced to things such as acrobatics, handstands and aerial skills.

The backgrounds of the students differ greatly, says Roberts.

“We have a lot of past yoga students, cheerleading students, they were gymnasts when they were little or something like that, so they just want to try something new and just to stay fit,” she says.

At Halifax Circus, some of the students come because of things they’ve found.

“We have people who come fairly frequently who say, ‘You know I found … a unicycle (or) some juggling clubs in my basement and I want to learn how to do it,’” says director Mike Hirschbach.

And supposedly, it’s not as hard as it looks.

“Circus work is actually extremely accessible, much more so than people like to think,” says Hirschbach.

He says that people just need the steps broken down and explained to them.

“It’s all mysterious until it’s made immediate and practical and you understand what the steps are,” says Hirschbach.

At Halifax Circus, classes are open to people 12 years of age and older. Students can take classes such as aerial basics, circus basics and hand balancing.

Hirschbach says most students are amazed by their progress over the eight-week period.

“You consistently make breakthroughs,” he says.

The next set of classes at Halifax Circus will begin April 8. For an eight-week course, the cost is $160 and is held at the St. Matthew’s United Church gym.

At Atlantic Cirque, students can choose to enrol in classes running from January to June or September to December, either one or two-nights a week. One class a week of the shorter term costs $276 and it is $460 for the longer term. The pricing is more expensive for students who take two classes a week.

The feedback from students has been very positive.

“They love it,” says Roberts.

“It’s a great form of exercise. It’s different and I think they’re very encouraging of each other. If you ever hear them in class, they’re always proud of when someone gets a move that they couldn’t get before.”