Baby Circus as leisure and aid to infant development

During baby circus lessons, parents gain confidence in handling their children. After partner acrobatics exercises, even the newest parents no longer feel nervous about lifting their infant or changing diapers. As an instructor I have often been told by parents that, acrobatics involving their infants going upside down, improves the depth and length of naps. Partner acrobatics is fun for the family and many parents enjoy showing their new tricks to friends and family. Circus practice is communal, peer support among infant families arises as a natural consequence. Though partner acrobatics forms the focus, I also provide instruction for developing balance and for juggling techniques adapted for infant families.

Pioneer of Baby Circus, Mette Ylikorva Vauvasirkus_still_0132

”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, which naturally led to baby circus. I was greatly helped during the early phases by learning about 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. Individual circus trainers have practiced partner acrobatics with their infants and/or held baby groups. I collected all the material I could and started developing various circus forms adapted for infants, with my own child. I continued this work with infant groups and began cooperating with child health centres. -Mette Ylikorva-”

Wow Hoop

Premiere 25.2.2008 / New Premiere 16.12.2014

Consept and performance: Mette Ylikorva

Clothing: Riikka Matala

Scenography: Riikka Vuorenmaa

Music: Mari Mulari & Pelle Mulari / Mulair

Photos: Tatu Kantomaa / Joonas Martikainen

Production: Cross Art Collective Piste