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A Smashing Second Term for Aspire

Published: 15 Apr 2014


Young people who take part in Aspire worked together to learn how to Express themselves, both through sessions in schools and a term- long programme of Circus skills workshops, led by the National Centre of Circus Arts.

The Circus Workshops

The Aspire young people enjoyed three workshops during Term 2. Each workshop was a whole morning away from school, a chance to meet new friends from another school, the opportunity to try and learn risky circus tricks and be mentored by real circus performers. The Aspire young people had the opportunity to learn how to walk in stilts, to wow their friends with tight rope walking, and to juggle with three balls. Many also perfected the Waterfall and Throw and Catch tricks while controlling their Diablo. The circus workshops ran from 11th February- 28th March, and culminated on Saturday 29th in a brilliant and thrilling Aspire Circus Showcase!

The Showcase

Aspire Showcase

The Aspire Circus Showcase was a celebration of the performances of the young people, and a chance to showcase their circus skills to an audience of parents, friends, fellow Aspire young people and Aspire staff and volunteers. At 2pm an audience of around 30 parents, friends and neighbours filled the theatre at Oxford House and the lights dimmed for an introduction from the Aspire team and the Circus teachers (while walking on 3 foot high stilts)! Zakir from Oaklands School became the friendly compère, wooing the crowd with card trips and making sure they were vocal in their praise of the performers. Parents of young people from Langdon Park, Central Foundation, Mulberry School, Swanlea, George Greens and Oaklands were amazed and thrilled by the confident young people, who wowed the crowd on stilts, with Diablo tricks, juggling and on the tight rope while performing and dancing to Happy!

Why teach Circus skills

All of the circus skills learned by the Aspire young  people are challenging and risky, and required a good level of confidence to try them out and stick at them past the feeling of trying without getting any better... Many of the circus skills require team working to allow young people to continue to get better, and it was impressive to see some great pairs of young people supporting each other, especially in defeating the tight rope and mastering stilt walking.

In their own words

I love performing in front of others. It gives me a satisfying thrill.” Aspire Participant

“I feel excited because I have learnt new skills and I feel proud of myself.” Aspire Participant

“I feel great because now I have learnt something new, I have learnt to juggle and now I can practice at home and become perfect.” Aspire Participant

“The circus workshops in Term 2 were during my first weeks with the Aspire project, as the new Aspire Project Worker, and it was great to see so many of the Aspire young people enjoy themselves, working together and becoming  better and better in their skills. As the workshops went on, the young people told us that they really enjoyed learning new skills, and they felt proud of themselves for trying, taking part and achieving”.  Ailidh Macleod, Aspire Project Worker

Amira Mohamed-Raouf, Youth Services Manager about the Showcase event:  

It was a fantastic day, the young people took the show seriously and really wanted to give the audience something to remember! We were so impressed with their maturity, natural ability to perform and courage to take to the stage with such presence. Everybody loved it, we are so proud of all the young people that took part.”