CIRQUE SURREY: A look at circus tricks taught to teens at the arts centre

On Tuesdays, students can still get involved in the Cirque Surrey sessions

Cirque Surrey students Haiden Fort

Cirque Surrey students Haiden Fort

SURREY — The Studio Theatre at Surrey Arts Centre has turned into a bit of a circus on Tuesday evenings.

Teens are learning juggling, stilt-walking, unicycling and other circus skills from Mike Battie, a longtime performer and instructor.

On a drop-in basis, students can still get involved in the Cirque Surrey lessons, which began on Jan. 10 and continue until March 7. The sessions are free to attend for a second year, thanks to sponsorship by Envision Financial.

“This is supposed to be fun,” Battie said. “They’re learning circus skills and after the first day, they get to do whatever they want in here – stilts, rola bola (balance board), juggling while on stilts, whatever they want, I’ll teach it.”

(STORY CONTINUES BELOW)

Battie learned to juggle while in college, and he took it from there to stages at Expo 86.

“Right place, right time,” he said with a smile. “I learned a lot of different (circus) skills, and I came to Vancouver with a thought of becoming an actor. People knew what I could do, and juggling became my job for a while because after Expo, everyone wanted to have a juggling act.

“That was the advent of street entertainment, locally, right there,” he added. “I was still inexperienced but I got a lot of jobs for a guy who had my experience.”

Today, Battie performs at a wide variety of events locally, and has taught circus skills to students at Kwantlen Park and Guildford Park secondary schools in Surrey.

(STORY CONTINUES BELOW)

 

PICTURED: Instructor Mike Battie with students. Photo: Tom Zillich

“You teach someone to stilt-walk, and if they actually get into that and become good and get a character, it’s very lucrative,” Battie raved. “You get a good character and wander around a festival or fair, it’s very lucrative. On a sliding scale, the low end is about $300 for your day, for three half-hour sets walking around on stilts, but you can get paid a lot more than that.”

At the second Cirque Surrey session, on Jan. 17, Willow Hill, a Grade 9 student at Frank Hurt Secondary, was already juggling tennis balls, which were filled with sand and covered in tape.

“It wasn’t that difficult for me, but I’ve been told I pick up things unnaturally easy,” Willow said.

Nearby, Jessica Boutsivongsak also juggled.

“Originally I’m self-taught, a little bit, just around the house, but this has really helped me improve my juggling skills,” said Jessica, a Grade 11 student at Fraser Heights.

“I’m more interested in exploring new hobbies, but I’m hoping to get involved with circus more, in the future,” she added. “It’s a great atmosphere here and I’m meeting a lot of new people, and the tricks you learn, it’s interesting.”

The 90-minute sessions start at 6:30 p.m.

“During the last session we invite the parents to come watch and even try the stuff themselves,” Battie said. “We were going to do a show at the end last year, but we thought, ‘Let’s not pressure the kids, let’s just invite the parents in, have the kids show them what they’ve learned, and maybe have the parents try something.’ It’s a way better fit.”

To get involved in Cirque Surrey, call the arts centre at 604-501-5566 (press 0).

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Teachers at Maple Green Elementary in Surrey stage a walk-in before school on Wednesday (March 3, 2021), as Fraser Health continues to announce variant exposure cases at Surrey schools throughout the district. (Submitted photo: Julia MacRae)
Surrey Teachers’ Association calls for district-specific COVID-19 safety measures

STA holds third and fourth walk-ins after multiple COVID-19 variant exposures

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

The new Phoenix Flame BBQ truck serves as a “Mobile Community Kitchen” in the Surrey area. (Photo: phoenixsociety.com)
New ‘Phoenix Flame BBQ’ truck now mobile with food for Surrey’s ‘hard-to-reach populations’

Also launched: Another Surrey Honda Raffle to help the Surrey-based agency and others

BC Human Rights Tribunal. (The Canadian Press)
Human rights tribunal rejects complaint against Surrey brewery

Tribunal dismisses former worker’s claim he was bullied because of his ethnicity

A memorial of flowers, notes and photos grew quickly on the median adjacent to where Paul Prestbakmo died on Aug. 16. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Witness in South Surrey murder trial says he saw Paul Prestbakmo get stabbed

Defence questions difference between witness’ statements to police, testimony

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Langley RCMP outside of Walnut Grove Secondary on Wednesday, March 3. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: Bomb threat forces evacuation of Langley high school

Police asked the public to avoid 88th Avenue and Walnut Grove Drive

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Two Vancouver police officers were struck by a car when the driver learned he was being arrested for allegedly using a fraudulent credit card to pay for food. (Vancouver Police Department)
Driver being arrested for alleged food order fraud rams Vancouver police with car

Two officers are in stable condition, suffering soft tissue injuries following the incident

A discarded blue surgical mask is shown hanging in a bush in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
B.C. RMT suspended for not wearing a mask after confirmed by undercover clients

College of Massage Therapists has 5 open files, said suspension necessary to protect public

Most Read