The next breed of circus performers

Grace and Elliot in the aerial ring at Little Devils studio. 204554_03 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Danielle Galvin

When children come into the Little Devils Circus studio in Moorabbin for the first time, it’s fair to say they are very often blown away.

It’s a vibrant, lively and colourful atmosphere.

Behind the circus, Sergei Druzhina and his wife Louise, the director of Little Devils, have a fascinating story to tell.

“My background is in circus,” Sergei explains.

“I was in the Moscow Circus for 15 years and when I came to Australia I met Louise, she had already been teaching kids and adults in circus.

“We thought the kids in Melbourne could really benefit from circus as a way to build confidence, coordination and concentration, and so we started the company.”

With Louise’s background in teaching, and Sergei’s background in acrobatics and travelling the world with the Moscow Circus, it was a natural pairing.

“Little Devils teaches children a whole range of activities, juggling, hula hoops, spinning plates, acrobatics, tightwire, aerial and many other skills.”

Classes run for children as young as 3 all the way up to adults.

While it attracts the natural born performers, Sergei says it’s rewarding to watch the shy, under-confident children come out of their shell.

“The sporty and active kids really enjoy it and they get a lot out of it,” he said.

“But where we really see that benefit is the non-sporty kids.”

One of the benefits is that it’s not a competitive group sport, which can be off-putting for some kids.

“It’s a race against yourself,” Sergei said.

Many of the students don’t know about Sergei’s background in one of the greatest circuses of all time. But it’s fair to say he’s found his calling.

“I’m very happy here in Melbourne,” he said.

“It’s great to be able to pass the skills down to the kids.”