Step Right Up in London
Unleashing one’s inner superhero at the National Centre for Circus Arts.
As David Bowie once crooned, “life is a circus, it’s not fair.” But it sure is a whole lot of fun if the circus experience courses conducted by the National Centre for Circus Arts are anything to go by. Zip through the air suspended from cables or gain insight into what drove infamous tightrope walker Philippe Petit — who walked on a wire suspended between the roofs of the World Trade Center in Manhattan- to take such daring risks on the high wire.
Housed within a cavernous power station built during the Victorian era, the National Centre has been responsible for reigniting the spirt of “the greatest show on earth.” For starters, it has elevated the performance to heights that only an aerialist could fathom, with the first BA Hons degree program in circus arts. For those not quite ready to pursue tightwire walking at a tertiary level, there’s always a three-hour sampler session at the school.
Perhaps living out the fantasy of being a lion tamer or fire-eater might be a tad ambitious for a first-timer in the tent, but that doesn’t mean students at the National Centre cannot dive into exciting circus acts. Send adrenaline levels into overdrive by sailing through the air on a trapeze, or go beyond the typical yoga workout by contorting the body into pretzel-like poses.
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to be.” – Leonardo da Vinci
The daily grind is often one massive juggling act for urbane multitaskers.
For a change, veteran performers help participants channel that metaphorical skill into a much more pleasurable act of actual juggling. Here, the three-ball game is amped up into a mini workout session of tossing, rolling and pushing one’s hand-eye coordination to the limits. The best part is that, students leave the experience equipped with the basics to master the performance in their own time.