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3rd October 2012

Circus Skills

‘’Because what else are you going to do on a Wednesday afternoon?’’ Adrian Blackburn, Chair.

Circus Skills is a testimony to the large variety of societies on offer at the University of Manchester. Curious at this unconventional past time, I went along to their weekly meeting to find out what Circus Skills actually is. Upon arriving, there was one person riding a unicycle, a group of people learning the diabolo, another group juggling and a few people staggering around with poles balanced on their chin. It was an unusual sight, yet everyone was so welcoming and after a few minutes I found myself  having a go at the ‘Rola Bola’ ( essentially balancing on a board) to the entertainment of onlookers!

I met Adrian Blackburn, this year’s Chair, who explained the diversity of members at the society: “While we do get some very talented new members, most people who join have little to no experience. This doesn’t matter in the slightest – everyone has to start somewhere!” This means associates learn from one another, so it’s a fantastic way to pick up new skills. The session runs for two hours, and the social advantage was obvious; between juggling and spinning plates, groups of people sat down to chat before having a go at one of the many other activities.

However, don’t be misled into thinking they are a group of hobbyists who sit around for two hours, as Adrian told me Circus Skills is teaming up with Student Action to run a workshop for children with learning difficulties. “It’ll likely involve teaching them some basic skills in juggling, plate spinning and a few other things. You don’t have to be particularly talented to do a workshop – as long as you know some basics it’s fine.”

Although Circus Skills is a lot of fun and a great way to meet new people, there is far more to it. “Many of the skills we do, such as unicycling or hula hooping, are great forms of exercise, and juggling is a brilliant way of improving hand-eye coordination. Not only that, but showing that you have interests and commitments outside of what is necessary is never a bad thing, and in this competitive world where most people’s CVs are identical, simply having a unique skill and niche pastime like ours might be what gets you  ahead of the other guy.”

Next time you are in University and have an hour to kill between lectures, why not try Circus Skills? Meet new people, learn new skills, and put something eye catching on your CV.

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