I believe I can fly. Vane Lunatica, an instructor at Dubai Circus School Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Does a circus leave you awe-struck? Do you fancy flying in the air or doing a tightrope walk? Well, you can now learn these skills in the UAE.

The first of its kind Dubai Circus School, which opened last year, offers classes in everything from aerial and ground acrobatics to juggling, unicycling, contortion, tumbling and trampoline acts.

“We have programmes, workshops and individual classes both at the recreational and professional levels and they are open to the general public,” said Colombian Javier Galeano who came up with the idea of the school with his wife Marcela Bello.

Both art directors and choreographers who run an entertainment company (Dream Master), the couple said they were motivated to start a circus school as they felt the need for a pool of homegrown talent. “Earlier, we were relying on artistes from abroad to perform at our shows. At some point, we realised that we needed to create such talent within the UAE itself. So we decided to open a school dedicated to teaching circus acts.”

Fun and fitness

But Galeano is quick to add that that being in the circus school doesn’t necessarily mean you will be part of a show. “You don’t have to join the circus after studying how to perform various tricks. Anyone can learn circus arts. There are venues to become an expert at different levels but you can also do it for fun and fitness. This is a great way to get some exercise. Circus acts involve stretching your muscles, pumping your heart rate and a doing cardio,” he said, adding that learning the acts also entails a sense of personal achievement.

Galeano said the school has around 100 students training for various acts and at different levels. While the professionals go on to perform in shows, the others get many other benefits, with different acts having different advantages.

For instance, juggling has cognitive benefits because students learn how to understand patterns, set targets for their throws and work on their rhythm and timing. It also boosts creativity and problem solving. “You end up inventing new tricks, or even just a different way of performing a trick by imagining different patterns and different routines possible.”

Juggling also helps to treat dyslexia, attention deficit disorders and hyperactivity. The juggling skills that are taught at the school include clubs, diabolo, bouncing balls and pois, all of which help improve hand-eye coordination.

Similarly, the school’s aerial arts cover vertical dance, static trapeze, aerial silks, aerial hoops, straps and ropes. Circus acrobatics, on the other hand, entail a combination of traditional tumbling, hand balancing and mini-trampoline.

He said the school recently introduced special acts for special needs students. The exercises include mini tramps, trapeze, silk acrobats, aerial hoops and juggling.

Classes in general are held at the Safa Private School four days a week.

While one-off classes cost Dh120 for adults and Dh100 for children, packages come for Dh100 and Dh80.