Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Le Cirque du Middlest

School in France is different. And not just in the ways I've mentioned before like the Wednesday thing, the 2-hour lunch break and the fastidious attention paid to handwriting. For the past six weeks the Middlest's class has gone to circus school for six hours a week--every Tuesday and Thursday. They take the village bus back and forth and learn how to tumble, balance and swing on the trapeze.
The circus school thing is very popular here and if you think about it it makes sense. Somersaulting clowns are just a short unicycle ride to the boxed in land of mimes. And let's not forget Cirque du Soleil..that is French you know.

Although circuses in general freak me out, I'm not one for excessive contortions or harrowing acts of human strangeness, this is kinda cool. I went with his class last week as a chaperone and was sucked into the circus fun. Not only are they learning gymnastics but they are learning to work in tandem. For example, one of the exercises was to hold hands, pressing foreheads together and then tumble sideways with your partner. This was pretty funny. And harrowing.

sideways tandem rolling
They did a trusting exercise too but this wasn't falling backwards. Instead, they took turns being the carrot and the bunny; the carrot laying straight and still while the bunny hopped crisscross back and forth pretending to nibble. The carrot had to trust that the hopping bunny cleared them and didn't land smack on top of their prostrate carrot bodies. They did a crocodile/elephant thing that was akin to a yoga downward dog with an army trenches crawl underneath...back and forth, back and forth. Some of the teams were a bit physically mismatched which led to more circusy fun. Think more bear/gazelle than crocodile/elephant.

Middlest as le lapin
Turns out my Middlest is quite the circus act. He loves the balancing, rolling and feats of dangerous swinging high up in the air. Great. Surprised?

his favorite part of circus school
I think he'll be sad when it's over and now I'll have to add l'ecole du cirque to my list of Wednesday activities. Maybe there's a bit of American spirit to this French circus school after all.

looks fun,  huh?


  1. Cool.
    This is also a great way for them to learn how their bodies move/function. It also helps with their coordination and spatial skills. Oh, to be a kid and play along with Middlest. (Can you hear my wistful sigh?)

  2. That is too fun! And here I thought busing them to go to swimming class during school hours was exotic! Yet another reason to move South!

  3. Aidan,
    How much fun is that? I wonder if this is a regional thing. We got to walk to the pool once or twice a week when I was growing up but they never took us to Circus school. How great for the kids (and the chaperones, apparently ;-) -- Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  4. A few more kids and you could open up a circus of your own ;)

  5. I think it's awesome. As long as he doesn't decide to be a clown. That's would be freaky.

  6. I didn't' think the French did this sort of thing. It seems so American!

  7. I wish my school would have done something fun like this. Instead we just got to go the mortuary :( That's true, too. I think circus class would have been so much more uplifting!

  8. Oh NO! Cirque du Soleil is a Canadian company, based in Montreal so they speak French. Its not a French company at all.


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