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National Circus Project visits Long Island school

Photo Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Si Yue Jiany, Melville

For one week, the National Circus Project ( visited our school to teach the fifth-graders professional circus skills.

The National Circus Project is a company that visits schools and teaches kids the professional skills of being a performer. Our school learned seven different acts: clowns, devil sticks, diabolos, acrobats, plate spinning, balancing and stilts.

The clown group was taught three different acts: Boxing Clowns, Old Friend Clowns and Rockband Clowns. All of these acts are very different, but each one used the same skill, of being a mime. A mime is someone who expresses their feelings with no words, just body language.

Another act was devil sticks. The devil sticks are long sticks with a material like felt on the end that you flip in the air and do amazing tricks with. Some of the skills that we learned were Tick Tocks, The Helicopter and The Car Wash. A tip that the devil stick team learned was to always lift the devil sticks and never pass them side to side.

The plate-spinning team learned to spin plates on their fingers, throw the plates up in the air, and toss them back and forth.

Acrobats are like a gymnastics team. There were three different positions that we did. One is called the leapfrog. We have a base and a top. The base has to arch his or her back so the top can jump on. Another position is the bridge train. First, one person does a bridge, and then the next person crawls underneath and does a bridge next to them, and it keeps going on. The next position is called the totem pole. There is a base, middle and top.

The diabolo is sometimes called the Chinese yo-yo. You can do many tricks with the diabolo, like throw it up in the air and jump rope with it. There was a boy who had broken his leg, but he was still able to do most of the cool tricks that the rest of the diabolo team did.

Stilts were the first act we did. The stilt team did different tricks such as walk over their instructor. They also walked on top of a stack of mats. At the end of each trick they took their stilts, crossed them, and took a bow.

One more act we learned was balancing. The balancing team had to balance things like tennis rackets, feathers and even stilts! To make sure they didn’t drop whatever they were balancing, they were taught to always look up, not down or straight.

The National Circus Project is a great company to visit your school to teach kids how to professionally perform in a circus!

Mary Ralph’s fifth-grade class, South Oceanside Elementary School, School #4


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