The circus is always exciting. Watching air gymnasts soar up to the very dome, acrobats line up in multi-meter pyramids, and jugglers manipulate dozens of different objects is simply impossible without a sinking heart. Have you ever thought that, besides its spectacular program, circus is also a hard work? It's an activity that develops one's body and character; circus is challenging but creative and breathtakingly beautiful.
Kids are sent to circus school, just like to sports school, in some countries from their very childhood. The circus captures and absorbs you completely, "from" and "to," but what will a child become when he grows up? Will he work here, in the arena, all his life? Or will he try his luck and join one of the prestigious circus shows such as Cirque du Soleil or Franco Dragone shows? Either way, there's no going back. Once a child joins a circus, he stays there forever. Or rather, they stay.
But what about Ottawa? Few years ago, Cirque du Soleil performer Volodymyr Hrynchenko came to the conclusion that children in Ottawa had no circus: lot’s of them want to be athletic and physically developed, to be able to perform difficult tricks, and possibly some day join the circus. But is it possible to combine circus training and education at the same time? Is it possible to get good grades at school during the day, have time to do homework and go out with friends, and in the evening, learn everything that acrobats and circus gymnasts can do? After all, then at any time you can decide: tie your life to circus or leave it as a hobby.
So in Ottawa, ON, the Capital Circus School appeared-the first centre where children of any age can be trained, and most importantly, with the ability to choose what they will be in the future-an acrobat, artist, or physician? Or maybe both?
Circus school in Ottawa is necessary. First of all, for a child, learning circus is not only a physical activity, which is known to be necessary, but it's also an interesting hobby with no limits on development. In addition, children develop attentiveness, become more disciplined and learn to think creatively, which has a positive impact on their schooling. And the emotions that the child gets in class are simply indescribable. The classes at Capital Circus are organised around physical activity and creativity.This is the foundation that will benefit the child in the future.After all, there is everything—character development, determination, and emotion, as well as creativity. It's the same activities as in the circus, but without overloading. Currently, we have one general circus class per week plus additional handbalancing/contortion classes for both kids and adults, monocycle classes, and with the possibility of combining and learning different genres, and most importantly, the ability to choose one that kids like and have talent for. With classes at Capital Circus, your child has a multifaceted development.
So you have created an entirely new circus training programme for children from scratch?
You could say so. I had to develop the programme myself, distributing the load. I thought about how to make the exercises effective and developmental at the same time without causing a crazy overload. What parent would want their child to be pulled to the splits by pain and tears if he was not working for an Olympic medal?
What inspires you to move forward?
Of course, the students. You know, when the first children came to my classes, there were so many "what ifs". But when I saw the emotions that the children felt from the classes, how they liked to juggle, ride unicycle or stretch, or to stand on their hands, to do "cartwheels", I realized that I made the right choice. And if parents are engaged—there is a whole life here—we can discuss new elements, tricks, and help each other all the time.
Do you have any programmes for adults as well?
For adults, it is a separate story. Adults are even more enthusiastic than the children, because they never really thought that they could also"...like those people under the circus dome". And frankly, I doubted it. But what I saw in class amazed me. People without circus education contact Capital Circus and are willing to learn juggling, unicycle, contortion, etc. Some, of course, had played sports before, some even professionally. But there were also those who hadn't done anything at all. But they were so passionate about it, so dreamy, that I didn't notice how they became real athletes. That fire in their eyes, you know, you can't put it out.
And when did you realized that the circus is necessary for Ottawa?
I think it is important to have that opportunity here at the heart of Canada, especially knowing that in Montreal, Cirque du Soleil was born. The opportunity to learn handbalancing, or monocycle and juggling, and other circus disciplines at whatever age you can. A lot of people, even at 13 or 15, think it's too late for them to learn. Can you imagine what a person thinks when they're 25? But that's not really the case. You have to overcome your doubts and try.
Who coaches students at the center? It is very important to have a coach, especially in such a sport as yours.
Who coaches the students at Capital Circus? A coach is very important, especially in a circus.
Of course, a lot depends on the coach. No one can teach as well as people who studied from the ground up. That's why I graduated from circus college, and before that, I did gymnastics and taught gymnastics here in Canada. In the near future, I will be looking for new coaches to assist me, and they will be masters of sports, active aerial gymnasts, or even my students who passed a multi-level training course. For circus training, we need a special approach, motivation and support.
This is just the beginning. I opened my classes at Nepean Creative Arts Centre, but I am looking for a bigger place so that more children in Ottawa, Nepean, Kanata, and Stittsville can learn the circus arts, and I believe it will grow to become a real circus school. Maybe in the near future, we'll see a circus school here in Ottawa.
And then where to? Is it possible to get a job or will it remain a hobby?
That's the point. Everyone has a choice. In fact, you can leave it as a hobby, but you can also grow. For example, you can become a coach or an artist. You can take part in shows and coach.
If they do not drop out of school or college, this is a very powerful training that even if at 25, they realise that engineering or accounting is not their profession, they can make a different choice in favour of sport and the arts. And that's very important. Everything-strength, endurance, stretching, artistry, dancing, overcoming fears. It helps in life, too.
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