Wow Hoop (Vau vanne) baby circus familiarizes parents and infants with the joy of circus. Through soft movements, acrobatics and circus tricks parents learn to interact more with their infants. Pioneer of Baby circus Mette Ylikorva brings her cutting performances and workshops to New York’s Scandinavia House in August.
Mette Ylikorva developed the Baby circus based on the needs of infant families to stimulate interaction between infants and parents. The performances are actually interactive workshops where both parents and infants participate. They are tailored to match infant’s level of sensory development and kept intimate to create safe environment.
The show begins gradually and softly. As the audience arrives, performers get acquainted with each child before moving to the performance space. There is no visible differentiation between the stage and the audience and babies’ parents are also welcomed to participate. Babies are gently allowed to become familiar with the stage props, which are both safe and bite-resistant. The performers introduce circus characters and acts, which captivate the attention of the infants and entertain parents.
The performance provides families with infants an easy way to introduce the liveliness and joy of circus to everyday life. The performance ends as gently as it begins. Afterwards, the participants can freely explore the stage area and circus equipment. This serves as a good transition to the workshop. During the workshop session, participants learn basic tricks and partner acrobatics. These practices encourage self-assurance in handling infants, brings fun to everyday life and improves children’s overall development.
During baby circus lessons, parents gain confidence in handling their children. After partner acrobatics exercises, even the most recent parent no longer feel nervous about lifting their baby or changing diapers. Partner acrobatics is fun for the family! Circus practice is communal and peer support among families arises as a natural consequence. Though partner acrobatics forms are in the focus, instruction for developing balance and for juggling techniques adapted for families are also presented.
The performance has toured child health centres, cultural centres, festivals and children’s events since 2008. It has been seen by 1105 infants and adults. Audiences have expressed both gratitude and surprise: “We didn’t know what to expect when we came, but thankfully we did. Our baby followed the performance and now we can continue at home with our own circus.”
Pioneer of Baby Circus, Mette Ylikorva
“I was trained as a circus instructor in Finland, at the Turku University of Applied Arts, and completed studies as a circus trainer for people with special needs. I have worked as a circus trainer and performer since 1999. I initially became familiar with infant culture through infant word-play groups, for whom I created movement material. In 2006 I became a parent myself which naturally led to my interest in baby circus. I was greatly helped during my early phases by studying Finnish psycholgist Kirsti Määttänen’s Dialogical baby dance, which is used to stimulate interaction between infants and parents. Through my research, I noticed that there is very little material about baby circus. I collected all the material I could find and started developing various circus forms adapted for infants. I continued this work with infant groups and began cooperating with child health centres”.
Wow Hoop (Vau vanne) baby circus
Friday August 16th at 11 am & 4 pm
58 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10016