Balancing act

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circus skills

Whether high in the air in a hoop or spinning in a wheel, Dr Tegan Hancock of Battery Point Dental Practice in Tasmania loves refining her circus skills.

“There are so many apparatuses when practising circus skills, there’s something for everyone. I soon realised that I liked anything circle-shaped so I started training with aerial hoops and the cyr wheel. It’s funny—working with this equipment feels very intimate. It’s just you, the hoop or the wheel, and you’re inside it. The challenge with circus skills is to transform what you are doing from the internal and bring it out to the audience.

“I played around with circus skills when I lived on the Gold Coast in Queensland but became serious about it when I joined a circus workshop after moving to Tasmania. I’m a member of The Circus Studio in Kingston and the atmosphere there is fantastic. It’s a not-for-profit organisation; I liked it so much, I’m now a board committee member.

“Even though I’m scared of heights, the aerial hoop really resonated with me. I can do drops and actually find them enthralling. I’ve also been working with the cyr wheel which is like a big hula hoop you stand inside. The cyr wheel allows you to spin, do cartwheels and many other manipulations. There are no handles; you hang onto the edge of the wheel. To avoid crushed fingers, you need to move your hand when the wheel is spinning toward the ground. Hand-eye coordination is definitely something you’ll master if you don’t have it already.

“The studio puts on shows every year but I’m not great at performing. However, everyone there is very encouraging so I do take part. With circus skills, you’re always on your own journey but you’re alongside people who inspire you. It’s an effective emotional and stress release that gives me a physical benefit as well. Many dentists fall into the trap of taking their work home with them and then constantly thinking about their patients. Circus skills moves you completely out of the dental world and into a very different one.

“Since starting circus skills, it has raised my confidence and self-esteem immensely. I used to be very quiet and would say no to everything. That attitude has now done a complete 180. It challenges you to work hard just to get the level you want to achieve. And when you finally get there, it’s a real high. There’s also a great community of people who have become almost like family. Circus skills makes you very happy in yourself and the journey is really great fun.” 

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