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CIRCUS LIFE PROJECT (article first published : 2005-08-30)

The Swedish circus group, Cirkus Cirkor, is due back in Durban again for the month of September during which they will tour various venues in and around Durban, including Chatsworth, KwaMashu, Umlazi, Inanda, Hluhluwe and Ulundi.

Cirkus Cirkor is in Durban as part of the collaboration between the BAT Centre, the Swedish Cultural Council, the National Department of Arts and Culture and the Cirkus Cirkor group. This three-year project is focused on the rehabilitation of street children in Durban, and the Ohlanga Shelter in Inanda was selected in June 2005 for the initial phase of the programme.

In the words of the group themselves, they have seen "a need among the disadvantaged children and youth in and around Durban, the children and youth that live in the streets and shelters, a need for something to do. A need to get skills that in the future can be used to make a living. We believe that circus is a perfect skill for these children and youth. It’s physical, playful, mind blowing and artistic. We also believe that many of these children already have these physical skills, such as dance and acrobatics. But they need ways to use it for the right purpose".

The group will include artists and trainers who will begin working with a small group of children selected from the Ohlanga Shelter. They will simultaneously be training local artists who will then be able to continue with the training in the periods where the Swedish group is not in South Africa. The hope is that "After the first group of children and youth are ready to make a living on circus artistry, we hope that they will continue teaching new children and youth. The vision is to start a circus institution that can produce shows and have schools for children and youth".

September 2005 signals the beginning of this project in earnest. The Cirkus Liv / Circus Life group will be residing in Durban for a month and educating the general public and South African circus trainers about contemporary circus. "What is contemporary circus all about? It’s also the first possibility to show the children and youth what it takes from them to become real circus artist, because it takes a lot of training, it’s not something you can become overnight. The purpose of the first trip is also to set up studios for training that both the group of children and youth and the trainers can use, and to start the training".

The circus tour in and around Durban will be accompanied by African drumming and rhythms.

Cirkus Liv is a group of artists and musicians. Their home is the circus wagon and the local marketplace, their theatre. They describe themselves as modern nomads who meet a new audience every day: “Acrobats, a balloon man, aerial acts - an amazing show that will take you to another world for a while, or forever.”

Artist profile Circuslife: Jesper Joe Nikolajeff Jesper is a knife thrower, juggler and escape artist. With his long blond hair and a smile on his face, he scares his audience. Go see him! Angela Wand is a physical comedian, also known as Gunnel Glitter, who will dazzle with her whip and circus acts. Also known as the balloon man, Jan Unestam is a modern clown and fakir - watch him put forks in his nose, swallow a sword, or do tricks going in and out of big balloons.

Magali Bancel is a contortionist who holds audiences spellbound as she ties herself into knots. Mattias Lindström is a great acrobat who performs some of the highest somersaults ever seen. Wille Christiani is a pole artist who will demonstrate what strength is all about then thrill with his spinning fire sticks. Henke Ekberg Composer, guitarist and accordion player, is a well-known Swedish musician who has been on worldwide tours. Sara Rumar Singer is just about to release her solo album and her large fan club follows her on tours. Having toured worldwide, Hadrian Prett plays the violin.

More information on 031 332 0451.




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