A young up-and-coming superstar of circus gets to grips with acrobatic aerial skills

Learning with performance

by Andy Bryenton

Sophie Ogden of Dargaville is keen to see kids learn and grow through the medium of performance. The Circus Kumarani veteran is set to pass on skills and inspiration in time for the summer as she and the team bring out a new series of classes for both preschool and young adult students.

Sophie says that aside from the fun to be had, learning about things like balance, motor skills and music, the new under-fives’ movement and balance class is also about family time and building self-confidence.

“Movement and balance are perfect for toddlers who are curious about exploration, singing, dancing, learning and playing,” she says.

“We carefully set up a safe space for little ones and their parents or carers to come and try out a range of circus activities. From aerial silks to the globe, trampolining, juggling equipment, dress up, tightrope, parachute play, ribbon twirling, bubbles and much more.”

That theme of developing confidence, especially in front of a crowd, is there in the more advanced youth performance group as well. It’s a focus for the community-based Dargaville circus group, who regularly support local events, such as the forthcoming Silver Fern Farms Dargaville Whanau Fun Day.

“We play dramatic games, improvise stories, create dances and learn new skills, all the while devising individual performances to showcase at our end of year show,” says Sophie, adding that it’s a chance to ‘escape one’s comfort zone’ for personal growth.

Classes for under-fives run every Thursday, 10.30am to noon, while Youth Performance Class is held every Thursday from 4pm to 5.30pm.