Circus performers delight pupils

What do you get when you combine a Chinese teenager, more than a dozen steel hoops and a colourful unitard? A school hall full of screaming and excited children, of course.

Zirka Circus visited St Brigid's School, in Dunedin, this week. Jaws dropped as Chinese hula hoop performer Kai Li (16) spun a steel hoop around the ankle of her right foot while doing a handstand. The school's about 100 pupils were encouraged to clap and cheer for the performer and the decibel levels rose as they screamed and gasped in awe.

Chloe Woodhouse (7) said the performance was ''awesome''.

Her favourite part of the show was ''when she got all the hula hoops up on her''. Chloe said she was looking forward to going to see the circus while it was in Dunedin.

Principal Chris Hogue said it was ''brilliant'' the circus had chosen to visit the school.

''It's a good chance for the kids to see some real performers in action, up close,'' he said.

Zirka Circus spokesman Kevin Hurring said St Brigid's was among 15 schools the circus was to visit this week.

The show, at the Oval, featured 17 performers in a variety of disciplines including magic, illusion, comedy, acrobatics,juggling and contortion, MrHurring said.

While Zirka Circus had visited Dunedin twice before, each tour was ''completely different'' with new performers and new acts.

Shows are performed daily, except for Monday and Tuesday, until next Sunday.

Zirka Circus will then head to Oamaru for shows on March 25 and 26 at Awamoa Park.

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