Circus Arts Class Creates Eight Foot Childrenby Charles Spillar on Jun. 13, 2009, under arts, Tucson Art
by Charles Spillar
Yes, the title is true. I witnessed it yesterday while visiting the last classes of the summer at Tucson Circus Arts here in Tucson. In their stilt walking classes I saw normal size children grow to over 8 ft. tall. This class was one of many conducted at their large studio these past two weeks exclusively for children.
The classes offered this year included Stilt walking, Poi spinning, Taiko drumming, Aerial silk, Ballet and Journal Writing. These were their first classes created just for children. They have taught Circus arts to adults for many years around the United States and in several foreign countries.
Professional performers with extensive backgrounds teach all of the classes at TCA. The class I visited was taught by Nadia Hagen of Flam Chen fame. She starts her stilt walking class with a series of over 50 different stretching exercises designed to build strength and coordination. Students are then taught to properly put on their stilts and next experience a series of exercises while on stilts. The students then practice walk-around procedures to develop their skills lead by their instructor.
Another class was taught the art of Poi spinning. Most of Poi spinning is three main exercises but there are literally thousands of variations. Poi was first started in New Zealand and has now grown worldwide.
Earlier in the day I experienced the Taiko drum class conducted by Okaido Sonora founders Karen Falkenstram and Rome Hamner and was overwhelmed by their students’ enthusiasm and talents. I had met the instructors previously when they taught students at Senita Valley in Vail where I was substitute teaching.
When I was young I told my parents I was going to leave home and join the Circus. They said, “Send us a postcard.” After carefully evaluating the situation I decided I loved my mom’s cooking, free rent, my warm comfortable bed, someone to wash my clothes, a nice allowance and my favorite dog so I never left. If I had lived in Tucson at the time I could have had all my creature comforts AND experienced my Circus performance desires.
The classes at Tucson Circus Arts are closed now but next summer they will be even more expanded. Tonight, June 13, they are having a great performance showing off the students talents joined by Jodi Netzer, students of the Theatrical Mime Theater, Okaiko Sonora, Butucaxé and more. For information visit http://www.rhythmindustry.org or call 520-481-8003.
For more information about future classes at Tucson Circus Arts located at 1013 S. Tyndall Ave. in Tucson, please visit: http://www.tucsoncircusarts.com and if you want added inspiration visit http://www.flamchen.com, one of the United States best performance groups located here in Tucson. Many of their performers teach the Circus arts classes.