review by Tabitha
Since my son was born, he’s always been a bit trepidacious about new situations. I’m, of course, the opposite! Since he was very small I have always pushed him to do things he wasn’t necessarily comfortable doing … swimming classes, dance classes, art classes … you name it and we tried it! And we spent a lot of time on the sidelines watching the class, with me wondering why in the world I had spent hard-earned money on this? Well … over a year ago, I stopped pushing and let him take the lead about things we did … and it’s worked out wonderfully!
When the opportunity to take a Do Jump! Baby Circus class came up, I was at first hesitant, remembering all those classes we had taken and just sat on the sidelines of. I talked at length with Do Jump! School Director, Wendy Cohen, about my concerns, and she said it happens all the time! She said many kids are not comfortable in new situations and that the teachers are great at incorporating the kids into the activities in a way that helps them feel comfortable. We talked about the structure of the class and how they would be able to move and run and play in a safe environment. So … we signed up. We hadn’t signed up for anything in so long, and we were excited.
On the first day of class, we arrived at the Do Jump! studios (located on SE 37th just North of Hawthorne) and walked into a theatre-type space, complete with black curtains and tiered seating. The room was big, the floor covered with padding and there were tunnels and rings and trapezes hanging from the ceiling. I took off Marshall’s shoes, and before I could get mine off, he was gone – running and jumping on the mats with the other kids! Needless to say, all the worries I had about him not participating were quickly dissipated.
Class started with teachers Tia and Lindsay running in a circle and singing “Follow me to circle time” – and the kids and parents all fell into line behind them. As the group formed a circle and the short song came to an end we all plopped down for some more interactivity. We sang songs about turtles, painting and drumming, all of which involved full body movement. Some of the kids followed the teachers lead, and others ran around … and it was all ok! There was no pressure to participate and the kids who didn’t join in didn’t disturb the flow of the class. Then they showed us some fun activities that allowed us to use our bodies to roll and play with our children safely. And then … the trapezes came down. Teacher Tia demonstrated some of the fun things we could do on the trapezes with our kids, adding in some tips to get them excited about swinging. Many of the kids were swinging and swaying like pros very quickly, some on their own and some with their parents. And some of the kids were not interested in the trapezes at all and played on the padded obstacle course instead.
As the class wound down – the teachers again sang the “circle time” song and rounded everyone up. We all said goodbye by holding hands with the kiddos and swinging them into the middle of the group.
First class … a total success!
As the five weeks of our session progressed, each week the teachers would give us more and more challenging activities to do with our children during the physical play and trapeze sections of the classes. Some things Marshall loved, others he wasn’t interested in. Of course, he’s three so it’s to be expected.
About Do Jump! Physical Theatre School
Do Jump! Physical Theatre School teaches classes in creative movement, physical theater, acrobatics, partner acrobatics, trapeze, aerial dance, and juggling for ages 1-100. Most of our kids’ classes are “circus skills” classes, a general overview class for beginning and intermediate level students interested in physical theater, trapeze and acrobatics. We also offer intermediate and advanced classes for kids, a full range of aerial and acrobatic classes for adults and teens, and Baby Circus for ages 1-3.
Our focus is to encourage physical confidence, freedom, and grace in a creative and non-competitive atmosphere. Students explore their own imaginations while working together to explore the craft of ensemble physical theater performing and aerial dance.
We were invited to take the class at no charge on behalf of PDX Kids Calendar.