Flyin’ Bob teaching circus skills to Nunavut children

Flyin’ Bob Palmer has brought laughter and entertainment to audiences all around the world throughout the years

Sylvan Lake’s Flyin’ Bob took his circus skills to Nunavut earlier this week. He’s spent the past few days teaching children and performing.

Sylvan Lake’s Flyin’ Bob took his circus skills to Nunavut earlier this week. He’s spent the past few days teaching children and performing.

Flyin’ Bob Palmer has brought laughter and entertainment to audiences all around the world throughout the years, but never as far north as the Arctic Circle.

Until now, that is.

He’s spent the entire week teaching circus skills to children in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, where his students will put on a demonstration of their newly-acquired talents this weekend.

“I’m assuming it’s their first experience trying any of this, but it’s amazing how fast they learn,” he said, speaking with the Sylvan Lake News before leaving on Tuesday. “I’ll choreograph a performance for them, and get them to demonstrate and perform their skills with costumes, music and staging, and they’ll do a show for their community.”

Juggling, unicycling and tightrope walking are among the many skills he’s taught students this week. They’re skills he teaches regularly at his circus camps.

Located on Victoria Island 150 kilometres inside the Arctic Circle, Cambridge Bay marks the northernmost point at which he’s taught.

And he didn’t only teach circus there; he also performed his ‘Flyin’ Bob act — billed as a “one-man, three-ring circus”.

“They were going to bring me up to do my show, but when we started talking about the circus camp program, they decided that they wanted to have that in addition to the show,” he said. “They wanted to have a really great, unique, physical, hands-on experience for the youth up there.”

He added he was anticipating much enthusiasm from the Nunavut children — especially those who have never seen circus skills performed before.

“I really love working with kids who have never tried stuff like this before, because you just see that excitement and interest in their face when they start to catch onto it and start to acquire the skills.”

Although his business is based out of Red Deer, Palmer is a Sylvan Lake resident. At this year’s 1913 Days, he’ll put on a rare hometown performance that could see him doing anything from eating fire to balancing a stack of plastic chairs on his face.

“I’m always on the road performing and travelling, and I travel all over the world doing Flyin’ Bob,” he said. “This (will be) one of the first times I’ve ever performed in Sylvan Lake.”

While he’s currently booked solid through to October, he’d love to one day revive the circus camp in Central Alberta that he used to run, and which ceased operations about four years ago.

“It’s just a matter of finding some time to organize and put things together,” he said. “We had a very, very successful camp that we ran for five years in Red Deer, and it would just be fun to revive.”

Taking part in a circus camp can be a fun alternative for children who don’t like team sports, he feels.

Self-esteem, confidence, and an immense feeling of satisfaction when accomplishing a particular feat, are just some of the rewards that come with circus learning, he said.

“Circus skills aren’t that easy to learn. You’ve really got to work and sweat to get this to happen, but when you do, you’re doing something completely unique that almost nobody else can do.”

On top of that, it’s also just “really, really fun to do,” he added.

Videos of Palmer’s Flyin’ Bob performances are available online at www.flybob.com.