Circo Volátil Tarifa with Sara Rodríguez
Is the circus on it’s way out? Are its days numbered? Does it belong in the last century?
The answer to these questions can easily be found by visiting the ‘La Raqueta Sports Centre’ in Tarifa, for example, where every Monday and Wednesday groups small children – ages three onward – as well as adults attend workshops hosted by the Circo Volátil Association.
The association provides an alternative sports and leisure activity that is attracting people from in and outside of town.
In a corner of the room, which is well-equipped with circus tools, instructors help the little ones warm up as they get ready to perform balancing exercises and practise body control and equilibrium with trapezes and aerial fabrics.
The boys and girls, some of whom have already attended these workshops for some years, perform all kinds of manoeuvres in which they use their amazing body elasticity to execute the most implausible pirouettes.
There are no limits, and it’s always possible to go a little further, Sara Rodríguez, the young director of the circus association tells us. She speaks with great passion about this re-emerging activity that has even won awards for some Andalusian schools.
“The circus concept has changed. We’re no longer talking about the circus with animal shows, not even the Cirque du Soleil, but a new generation of circus that combines dance or theatre with circus skills. It’s a new kind of show that is gaining ground and followers.”
Sara Rodríguez smiles at the students’ ideas. While she speaks, she observes the young ones doing their exercises. Some of them have a notebook in which they document the feelings that these experiences evoke in them. “These workshops are very valuable for the children; they learn how to cooperate and function as a team. There’s no competitiveness here, but comradeship and body awareness.”
The workshops focus on ‘the first steps’, from which the kids can progress. They feature floor activities such as acrobatics, juggling and equilibrium exercises using balls, mallets or hoops, and aerial exercises with fabrics or trapezes.
All the while paying special attention to health and safety. “They have a great time; and the parents recognise the benefits of what the circus has to offer”.
WHAT YOU CAN LEARN AT THE CIRCO VOLATIL?
- A main benefit of the circus? Strengthening motor functions by working on physical abilities. In other words, it helps children acquire a greater understanding of their body, as well as a greater control over it.
- One of the most important elements we can introduce after a session of circus skills is breathing and relaxation.
- We can help develop the oral skills through short presentations which help members of the group to communicate ideas and feelings, to improve vocabulary, to work on intonation, pronunciation, etc.
- Since the circus is an artistic expression, it is always possible to relate it to other arts like music, painting, dance and theatre.
- The world of the circus helps us work on our self-esteem from an early age, as it allows each individual to develop within his or her possibilities and, at the same time, strengths teamwork, cooperation and trust, as well as tolerance.
- These skills contribute to one’s self-improvement; children can observe their own progress and get the motivation to continue taking small steps and will be grateful for the skills they have achieved.
Circo Volátil Tarifa