Posted by Nel Simpson
Train the trainer March 5th -8th 2015
Early in March I facilitated a "train the trainer" weekend with all the usual Sandfly Circus teacher and trainee suspects, (Franque, Meredith, Anna, Ben, Madhavi, Rachel, Rhiannon, Dimity) along with some new additional trainee teachers since I was last training the teaching team 3 years ago - namely Reuben, Kai, Katie, Hayley, Elise, Ruby, Pam and Mira: welcome! What a great bunch you all are. Broome is one lucky town to have such a diverse, talented, crazy crew to inspire and teach local circus nuts!
Friday afternoon kicked off the weekend with a special couple of aerial classes for a few lucky Sandflies, watched by the trainers and assisted by a few seasoned student aerialists. We covered some basic and essential figures in silk and trapeze, how to spot them, what to look out for and how to assist beginners. During the day I also put up new apparatus for the aerialists to get their hands on.
Saturday morning began with a whole lot of warm up games followed by discussions and activities around class structure, different kinds of warm ups for different age groups and juggling exercises for Midgies up to adults. By the end of that first morning everyone was juggling quite fluently, and even first time jugglers were successfully juggling three balls. The next challenge gang is to get the entire Sandfly circus juggling by showtime!
The afternoon saw a rigging review, including a few essential knots, more drills and spotting techniques for aerials and then a juggle at the park with a few club jugglers - with passing techniques and a few new patterns to practise. We also partly erected a new freestanding tight wire rig which will be up and running shortly after the few missing components are designed and built!
On the second day we had more games, including some really great new games I'd never played before (Thanks in particular Kai, Rachel and Frank). I then led an adult warm up which helped reinforce the importance of stretching to the emerging trainers! The stretching prepared the group for some adagio and pyramids - some simple new figures along with safety protocols and the importance of silence and timing for pyramids in large groups. Reuben and Madhavi learned some more dynamic adagio moves.
The afternoon saw everyone stilting up with lessons on how to get a beginner started, followed by Ruby and Elise participating in a miniature stilt master class for all to observe. Later we did some shared teaching time, focusing on how to hone the delivery and presentation for teaching various skills including hoops, poi, diabolo, devil sticks, contact ball etc. I even mastered a new hoop move (thanks Ruby and Elise)!
I was really struck by the difference in quality of teaching that has grown amongst the home crew since I last took a train the trainer workshop three years ago. The legacy of the Sandflies lives strong in the hearts of the current team and is a credit to all that have passed on their skills and talents down the line. As the Sandflies expand and evolve so does it's richness…it's a wonderful gift in the town of Broome: enjoy your little treasures grasshoppers…and remember boys : as Bruce Lee once said, "Be like Water" - fluid prepared bodies prevents injury and enables super powers!
Many thanks to Meredith, Gwen and Pam for all their hard work to plan and enable fantastic learning opportunities like this. And to Meredith for all the wonderful food we ate. May you all have a wonderful year of circus!