ZIO MWALE, Lusaka
CIRCUS Zambia, the country’s first and perhaps only professional circus, is set to tour the Awaji Art Circus 2017, an international performing arts festival to be held on Japan’s Awaji Island from September 26 to November 8.
Artists gather on Awaji Island from around the world and perform for about one month at multiple venues, schools and local events on the Island, as well as enjoy the history and nature of the island. They also get to experience its traditional culture and share the appeal of Awaji Island and Japan with the world.
Genres are also different; there is physical theatre, contemporary dance, modern flamenco dance, street theatre, Irish folk dance, traditional Romanian music, world ethnic music, Indian folk music, acrobatics, hand balancing, mirror people performance and anime.
Over 350 groups applied to be part of the festival this year and Circus Zambia was one of the few selected.
This year`s artists are coming from Zambia, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Ireland, India, Ghana, South Africa, Bolivia, Mexico and Singapore.
“I am looking forward to participate in the Japanese cultural experience such as the Japanese dances, musical instruments koto and wadaiko etc,” Circus Zambia artistic director Gift Chansa said.
Circus Zambia head of production Amos Malokwa says that he will use the opportunity to learn different skills and create networks with many artists.
“We are specialised in juggling, aerial acrobatics, acrobatic dance, hand balancing, fire breathing, banquine and cyr-wheel,” he said.
Patrick Chikoloma is, however, optimistic that Circus Zambia will use the platform to put the country on the map.
“We want to learn more about other people’s creativity and cultural exchange,” Patrick said.
Circus Zambia was founded by a group of four young acrobats in 2014, all born and raised in Chibolya, a poor compound just outside capital city’s central business district.
Circus Zambia has established a circus school in Lusaka’s Kabulonga area where children from Chibolya and other compounds can be linked to other organisations.
“We want to give them a place where they can run, jump, fly and land safely,” says Charlotte Groen, the Circus Zambia executive director.
“Our organisation helps in equipping marginalised children-at-risk, living below the poverty level in the slums of Zambia with academic and life skills which are critical foundations in developing strong, confident adults.”