We’ve heard of Zumba and other group-based fitness activities, but what about trapezing and hula-hooping yourself into shape?
A veteran of international Equestrian Vaulting championships is taking part in a small business initiative with her new fitness idea.
Adventure Circus is a Bridge of Earn-based social enterprise founded by Gemma Simpson in January 2015. The small start-up is is currently taking part in the national competition TestTown - a scheme which offers entrepreneurs the chance to experiment with business ideas for real in town centres around the UK.
Together with fellow amateur aerial acrobat and business colleague Stephen Armour, the pair run weekly adult and youth classes in trapeze, rope and silks-and-hoop displays.
Gemma said: ““Circus is wonderful in that you make new friends and gain confidence and trust in others. It also helps you to become extremely fit and with repeated practice, participants can eventually perform impressive routines.
“It has changed my life so much in a positive way that I just knew I had to share it with others in my home town.”
Gemma is a gymnast, dancer and aerialist who is also Events and Marketing Manager with triathlonscotland. With a successful acrobatic background behind her, Gemma has competed for Team GB at the European and World Championships of Equestrian Vaulting. She was also a competitor in the first series of Ninja Warrior UK shown on ITV in May this year.
Stephen, a former student of The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, has also been trained by internationally-known aerial artists Yam Doyev and Leo Hedman at Gravity Circus School in London.
Adventure Circus is one of the businesses involved in TestTown, which supports start-ups that give back to their community in ten locations across the country. The organisation provides each area with funding and support to create skill-based activities in the centre of the town.
If Gemma and Stephen win their regional event, they will be invited to the Grand Final in 2016.
Stephen said: ““When we heard about TestTown, Gemma and I knew that we had to apply and were delighted to be accepted. We estimate that around 400 adults and children tried circus skills with us in the St John’s Shopping Centre and we have seen a spike in our class bookings since.
“Now we are turning our attention to developing our business plan and presentation to the TestTown panel in November.”
In addition, floor-based skills such as plate-spinning, hula-hoop and juggling are taught by the pair, who met while undergoing acrobat training in Glasgow.
Fully mobile with an outdoor aerial rig, Adventure Circus can now often be found supporting community events in the Perth area, as well as visiting groups nationwide.