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Students learn to clown around for festival

Rosemary Heights Grade 3 students (left to right) Carter Atkinson, Josh Benson, Aiden McInnes and Spencer Lenz practise juggling scarves. - Sarah Massah photo
Rosemary Heights Grade 3 students (left to right) Carter Atkinson, Josh Benson, Aiden McInnes and Spencer Lenz practise juggling scarves.
— image credit: Sarah Massah photo

Grade 3 students at Rosemary Heights weren’t simply clowning around as they attempted to juggle colourful scarves in the school’s gymnasium on Jan. 22.

Throwing the scarves in the air, the students tried to perfect their timing to make sure the vibrant fabric never touched the ground, as they prepared for their performance at Surrey Children’s Festival in May.

“This year, for the Grade 3s, we have a circus theme,” explained teacher Janet Brewster. “Our circus theme is a way to rethink phys-ed as a way to develop personal fitness, co-ordination, strength, balance, dexterity and perseverance.”

The students, who have been receiving coaching from Mike Battie, who has juggled with Cirque du Soleil and Cirque du Surrey, will be roving performers at the festival and will also perform at the school in May for their schoolmates and parents.

“Much of the work is done as an individual, but can be performed as part of co-operative group, partnership or team,” Brewster said. “Juggling is an excellent way to develop balance between both sides of the body, forcing the brain to process and develop equally.”

While the students were in the gym on that particular day, Brewster noted that they are able to practise anytime, anywhere.

“We often take a break between lessons for five or 10 minutes of juggling to help us focus better and improve circulation.”

As for their May performances, the students won’t just be showing off their juggling skills. Other circus skills to be performed include balancing and spinning tubes, hoops and hats, patterned skipping, ribbon dancing and tumbling.

Tickets for the festival go on sale April 16, however group tickets are available now at www.surreychildrensfestival.ca

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