Watch our reporter try new circus fitness school in Norwich

Reporter Jess Long having a circus fitness lesson at Spitfire Circus Arts.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Reporter Jess Long having a circus fitness lesson at Spitfire Circus Arts.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A new CrossFit gym which has opened in Norwich has introduced unique circus skills based classes to help people get fit.

Spitfire Circus Arts coach Emily Quantrill.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Spitfire Circus Arts coach Emily Quantrill.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Circus performer Emily Quantrill, 22, opened the Spitfire Circus Arts on Salhouse Road at the beginning of July alongside her fiancé David Smith, 36, who runs Crossfit Spitfire in the same unit.

The school offers classes in aerial hoop, trapeze and aerial hammock alongside acrobatic and circus-based fitness classes.

Emily is a former west-end dancer who joined the Academy of Circus Arts at the age of 18. She has since toured the country as part of the Zippo Circus and most recently performed as part of Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth.

Spitfire Circus Arts coach Emily Quantrill, left, with class member Grace Williams. Picture: ANTONY

Spitfire Circus Arts coach Emily Quantrill, left, with class member Grace Williams. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

She decided to get more involved with teaching circus skills after the end of the Christmas Spectacular run at the Hippodrome and said that it soon developed into the school.


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'At the end of the Hippodrome winter season I decided I wanted to start teaching hoop and trapeze as I was between jobs,' she said. 'We were always going to open the CrossFit gym but as I got more into teaching I thought why don't we open a circus school alongside it.'

The gym and school have only been open for two weeks but is already home to 75 members. Emily believes that the wide variety of classes on offer means that everyone can find a circus skill that they can enjoy.

Reporter Jess Long having a circus fitness lesson at Spitfire Circus Arts. Pictured getting tips fro

Reporter Jess Long having a circus fitness lesson at Spitfire Circus Arts. Pictured getting tips from coach Emily Quantrill.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

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'It is something anyone can come along to and whatever your age,' she said. 'We have children as young as three and then women in their 40s. Some of them come because they have dreams of joining the circus and want to learn the skill whereas others just want to come to get fit and have fun.

'It is a great all body workout and especially strengthens your core and arms and when people first come some are naturals but some need body conditioning which we work on with them.'

My afternoon at circus school

I have always been into sport and fitness but as many people will tell you I am not the most flexible person so I didn't have very high expectations of my circus ability when I arrived at Spitfire.

But once I got started on my hoop exercises with Emily my expectations dropped even lower when I realised just how hard it was.

The most difficult part of the whole session was just getting up onto the ring. It took all of core and upper body-strength to pull and flip myself up and onto the hoop- I could only manage it a few times.

And within the first ten-minutes of the session my hands were covered in blisters and my arms were beginning to tire. I was grateful for the rest when I finally got to try out some tricks in the hoop.

Even though the session was hard I actually really enjoyed it. It was refreshing to try a new type of fitness class and as I was so focused on getting myself up onto the hoop and where my body had to go, I forgot I was even exercising.

And I can tell you that as I type this I can already feel how hard I worked in my arms and core, they really ache.

•For more information on the circus classes available visit the Spitfire Circus Arts website.

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