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[From the Scene] Whimsical circus workshop offers fun workout

Sept. 27, 2023 - 20:00 By Hwang Dong-hee
Participants try out aerial silk performing during a "Circus Playground" workshop. (LG Arts Center)

If you've ever wanted to juggle, spin plates or soar through the air like a circus sensation, then the "Circus Playground" workshop was the place to be last weekend.

As part of LG Arts Center Seoul's fall season education programs, the one-day workshop, co-organized by the circus education experts at "Jumpers," provided an exciting experience for beginners of all ages, including the young-at-heart adults.

The morning session catered to adventure-seeking adults, while the afternoon session delighted elementary school students from grades 2 to 4. (Fifth and sixth graders had their chance in May.)

With a diverse turnout of roughly 36 participants, ranging in age from those in their 20s to 50s, the workshop welcomed everyone with colorful name stickers in pink, green or blue, determining their group for the day.

The action kicked off with a lively warm-up session, which involved balancing a ball on one's head, dancing a few steps and stretching to catchy tunes.

Soon after, participants were sorted into three groups, each guided by their instructors.

A participant tries out plate spinning while an instructor assists her during a "Circus Playground" workshop. (LG Arts Center)

In one corner, a group, sharply focused and concentrating hard, delved into juggling and plate spinning.

"Juggling isn't as easy as it looks," said a participant surnamed Kim in his 30s who found success with two balls but struggled when the third was added.

Plate spinning also proved to be a delicate balancing act.

"I signed up because I wanted to try something new. I got completely absorbed in the activities. Time flew by, and it was incredibly fun,” he said.

Participants try out hand-to-hand acrobatics during a "Circus Playground" workshop. (LG Arts Center)

In the hand-to-hand group, participants leaped, hopped and incorporated hoops and balls to limber up their bodies further. A type of acrobatics performed without equipment required a little extra warming up.

Participants learned the art of hand-holding in acrobatics and how to use each other’s strength to maintain balance. The final task was to stand on one's partner’s lap.

Participants try out aerial silk performing during a "Circus Playground" workshop. (LG Arts Center)

For the aerial silks performance group, participants tried to defy gravity while navigating long swathes of fabric -- in an exercise of physical strength and flexibility.

Some were feeling refreshed by the stretch as they suspended themselves in mid-air. Others discovered new realms of bodily discomfort while they hung onto the silk with the weight of their entire body.

“I have been doing pole dancing for some time,” said Park Se-eun, who is in her 30s. “I wanted to learn different types of body movements. And trying out aerial silks was really fun. I think I want to learn more.”

A couple in their 30s joined the workshop to engage in a shared physical activity. "We thought, ‘Yeah, why not?’ It turned out to be more enjoyable and physically challenging than expected. It was great to bond with each other while staying active.”

The "Circus Playground" workshop, which was launched this year, is scheduled to be held again next year. The participation fee was 40,000 won for two hours.