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Gemma Hopkins

Gemma Hopkins

Gemma Hopkins


Favourite discipline:
I love pole, trapeze and acro, and I’m dying to give aerial hoop a go!

Time/years active at Greentop:
I’ve been coming to Greentop for around 11 years now – I was invited to one of the Circus In Performance end-of-course shows, made a few friends; Rhys, Jakob, Ali, and Polly, and started attending the monthly cabarets regularly.  As a pole fitness teacher and performer, I made the transition to circus fairly easily, and attended the Thursday night skillshares and acrobalance sessions.  My youngest daughter Beth is becoming quite proficient on the aerial hoop and silks, in fact I think she would live at Greentop if she could!  I even celebrated my 30th birthday party here, and have fantastic memories of that evening.  I’m now giving back to the community as the regular cleaner, helping to maintain a nice environment for everyone.

Where I am/what I am doing now:
I’m currently doing a desk job, but I’m back training pole, reigniting my love of movement after several surgeries, and building up my strength again.  I enjoy practising both aerial and floor-based skills.  At the moment, it’s a case of balancing my aspirations with my limitations!  Flexibility classes in particular are helping me to overcome my hypermobility by developing the strength to support my joints, instead of compensating for that lack of strength.

Favourite joke:
A skeleton walks into a bar, orders a beer and a mop…

Quote summarising the impact Greentop has had on your life:
Coming to Greentop Community Circus Centre was a way for me to discover that circus doesn’t necessarily just take place under the ‘big top’ – circus is wherever you make it, wherever you practise it.  It made circus skills accessible to me and my daughters.  And it’s convenient, as it’s right on my doorstep!

Your circus story:
I’ve bonded with my girls over circus – it’s a fantastic family activity, as there is something to appeal to everyone.  My youngest, Beth, is into aerial silks, and the other two have enjoyed the manipulation workshops.  The whole family, including both sisters and my ex-husband all support and encourage Beth when she performs.  We’ve all really missed the experience during lockdown.

I discovered circus via pole dance, and the strength, flexibility, discipline, stamina and co-ordination needed translate well between the two environments.  For many years I ran my own dance studio in Sheffield, A Pole New Adventure, and started Pole for Purpose, an annual dance showcase raising thousands of pounds for local charities such as BEAT eating disorders.  I featured in an online cabaret in March called Crystal Queer, which provided performance opportunities for LGBTQI performers.  Filmed in advance and ticketed via Zoom, it was a great example of how the Arts were quick to adapt to life in lockdown.  I’ve also entered the Southern Pole Championships and will be performing two very different numbers – I’m kind of nervous, as this will be my first time back on stage following my surgeries!

I can’t wait to get back to classes again – I’m going to give hoop a go, but I think silks might be a bit beyond my abilities!  I’ve mustered up the body confidence to go back to pole training, and am doing some basic conditioning to build up my fitness levels again.  Conditioning is important, but I like the fact that Greentop isn’t a ‘bootcamp-type’ environment – I want to enjoy myself, have fun, train and explore safely.  Coming from a dance background, I really enjoy performance, and the theatrical aspects of circus.  The skillshare sessions are a really great way to pick up new skills and combine disciplines.  My experience as a pole performer really informs my circus practice – I’m in my element when I’m moving my body to music.