People of any age can join the circus
CIRCUS skills and dance are two areas in which the arts and physical activity cross over.
In our borough, we are lucky to have two organisations - Skylight Circus and Can’t Dance Can - which are leading lights in their fields.
I recently caught up with Martine Bradford of Skylight Circus to get an update on exciting projects on the horizon.
Martine is delighted that the Silver Circus project has been refunded by Heywood Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group Social Investment Fund.
Silver Circus is open to all people over the age of 55, although Martine assures me that no proof of age is required!
She explained: “We have had people in their nineties. We make circus skills accessible. It is the group that laughs the most.
“Their attitude is very much, ‘I didn’t think I could do it at first but I did, I did it’.”
Martine is very impressed by how fit many in the Silver Circus group are. She added: “They want to do things like trapeze, tight wire, they sometimes have a bigger determination than younger people, they are still competitive.”
She is however keen to emphasise that the group is also open to people who are much less active.
She said: “It helps with balance, not falling over, not tripping up.
“If people don’t have much mobility, a lot of the activities can be done seated. They also meet new people, become part of a group, things going wrong together and things going right together.”
Martine revealed that we may have the opportunity to see Silver Circus in action. She said: “If the group want, we would like to offer performance opportunities.
“Some of their skills are phenomenal - juggling three clubs, people on trapeze, tight-wire balancers.”
Silver Circus participant Pat Crawford said: “What a terrific experience, seeing us all achieve levels of amazement, when we all said at the beginning ‘I can’t do that’.
“Well we did and the fun, camaraderie and exercise we had along the way was lovely.”
The sessions are held on Mondays, 11am to 12.30pm, at Skylight Circus Skills, St Chad’s Fold.
Silver Circus has also secured funding for two further projects, one targeting groups of young people who Martine says ‘wouldn’t necessarily get the opportunity to take part in physical activities’.
The other a project is supporting #THRIVE, and is designed for people with mental health issues.
For more information, email martine.b@ skylightcircusarts.com.
Participants from Woodclough Day centre in Middleton taking part in Silver Circus