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World-famous clown teaches kids to juggle fun and gymnastics

By Camille Doty
June 15, 2011 at 1:15 a.m.

Clowns Paige Borak and Quinlan Mozisek balance plates on sticks during Circus Camp at Gymagic. Children performed beam balancing, rolling globes and spinning plates, among other activities.

Get to Know Mike Spiller a.k.a. Dr. Professor Froglips

HOMETOWN: Houston,

AGE: 64

COMPANY NAME: Games of the World

WEBSITE: www.msgow.com

TRAVEL EXPERIENCE: Has been to 40 countries and every continent except Antarctica.

NUMBER OF PUBLISHED BOOKS: 29 (all self-published).

OCCUPATION: Runs circus camps. Trains physical education and classroom teachers.

FAVORITE QUOTE: "Heaven on earth is a choice you must make, not a place we must find." - Wayne Dyer

Hunter Bourland was "Mr. Incredible," at least for a couple of days.

The outspoken 8-year-old said he enjoyed dressing up in different costumes at Victoria Gymagic's Circus Camp.

"It's fun. It's exciting and full of surprises. It's actually kinda cool," he said.

Hunter's face lights up when talking about rolling globe and balancing on the beam, that's his favorite.

On Tuesday, the Industrial Elementary School West student wore an Incredibles outfit, Superman cape, sequin cap and sunglasses. And his instructor, Mike Spiller, encouraged him to stretch his imagination in costume.

"It allows you not to be who you are, but who you want to be," said Spiller.

The circus camp altered Zoie Lowery's reality. She was the tallest kid in camp, sitting on the shoulders of the world-famous clown. "I think it's cool because I get to be taller than Emily (her older sister)."

He said the transformation is extraordinary and he's thrilled to see kids learn how to juggle, ride mini-bikes and walk on stilts.

The 64-year-old travels around the world, teaching children gymnastics in a surreal way. He's had a full circus camp in Boerne for the last 18 years.

This was his first trip to Victoria.

He said he loves the kids because they are so eager. "They're strong, flexible, and talented," he said. "And those are all the attributes a good circus performer would have."

The Houston-based teacher said gymnastics helped his self-esteem. He first learned the trampoline and then started clown diving. And he wants the same for his children. He says the skills they learn will help them to feel special.

"It's a remarkable thing, the circus. Because the kids get to work together," he said. He also added that team building is one of the most important skills to learn.

Hunter was one of 20 children who participated in the three-day camp taught by Spiller, also known as Dr. Professor Froglips.

Even the kids have their own clown name, Hunter's was "Chatter Box."

On Wednesday, Hunter showed his parents, Lisa and Paul Bourland, all he's learned at camp. He had them put on costumes, have fun, and get the chance to feel incredible too.

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