A group of my friends wanted to do something fun and out of the ordinary. After some discussion (and my coaxing), they were enticed to "run off and join the circus" through a daily deal on Groupon. The class was newly created in the fall of 2010 exclusively for subscribers of Groupon. Since it was new, I decided to give it a try by joinging Tara, Rachel and Stella.
The "Intro to Circus Workshop" at Philadelphia School of Circus Arts (PSCA) provided a physically and mentally challenging afternoon of fun. Upon our arrival, we immediately received a vigorous warm-up with PSCA's experienced instructors. After warm-ups and stretching, we were broken up into teams. Our team would first learn the tightrope. We started on a low, wooden bar, and eventually worked our way up to the higher tightrope. The instructors demonstrated how to step and walk the bar, while balancing with your hands.
Tightrope was something I was looking forward to trying for a long while. During my weekly visits to PSCA, the rope would challenge me to conquer it. Now that I had my chance, I was excited to see how much balance and coordination I had. The scariest and hardest part of the rope, for me, was the very first step. Mentally, you have to balance and then decide that you are going to let go and move your other foot forward. Rachel ended up being a natural — as she literally walked across the bars with great ease.
After we conquered the tightrope, we were given a juggling demonstration and lesson. I have been taking juggling at PSCA on and off for several months. My friends, however, had no prior experience juggling anything other than their calendars. The teacher started the demonstration using three multicolored scarves. The scarves helped Rachel, Stella and Tara ease into the excersise. The various colors helped them observe where each scarf would land and how it got there. Tara immediately by-passed the scarves for the more challenging juggling balls. After a few moments, all three of them were juggling and keeping three scarves (or balls) in constant motion. Stella, in particular, was a master at the scarves. (She looked like she was having so much fun I might need to get her a set!)
The final activity during the workshop was aerials. PSCA instructor (and cupcake guru) Meg Skill provided us with instruction on both aerial rope (corde lisse) and silks (tissu or fabric). I took PSCA's other workshop ("Intro to Aerials) so I had some experience with the rope. I immediately jumped on and darted toward the ceiling. Within seconds, I was a dozen feet up in the air, touching the top of the rope. After several attempts, Stella and Tara finally secured a their own place on the rope, several feet off the ground. On silks, the three girls did a great job. Rachel, again, seemed like she was a naturalborn circus star. Stella and Tara both glided with ease.
"Intro to Circus Workshop" is now open to everyone (with or without a Groupon). It runs every Saturday, at 2pm, at PSCA, 5900A Greene Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144. The workshop is only $25 per person for a one hour class. Registration is required by visiting www.phillycircus.com .