His children laugh at the clown’s grimaces, falls and trips. This is the first number of circus afternoons on school fields in the poor neighborhoods of Caracas, and these shows are an exception.
Trapeze artists, jugglers, singers, acrobats and clowns will applaud and applaud for two hours in the La Vega district, one of the most violent places in the Venezuelan capital in 2021 and the site of violent clashes in 2021. It provided surprises and laughter.
“How are you?!” asks Habishaw the clown in a pretentious, pretentious tone. “Like!” the audience excitedly raises their arms. “Someone who likes magic!?”
The Javishow, named 24-year-old Isaac Magallanes, performs magic tricks with cards and ends with the children in the audience happily collecting cards.
Venezuela has accumulated almost a decade of severe economic crises that have annihilated the purchasing power of the population, especially in the most vulnerable sectors. For many people, leisure activities don’t fit into their budget.
The pitch’s cement stand is bursting. Seven-year-old Neighbor applauded, jumped from his seat, and laughed. New to the circus, “He likes the circus very much.”
“These most forgotten communities may not have access to this kind of cultural event,” Zoribel Garcia, director of the Manzano Arte Foundation, which hosted the event, explained to AFP.
“It’s the third time we’ve done it here in La Vega and people love it,” says the Swiss-based Venezuelan artist.
“Do this for the rest of your life”
ManzanoArte has been making annual festival visits to these regions since 2018, and this weekend concludes its fourth edition with presentations in La Vega on Saturday and San Agustin on Sunday.
“It’s about taking a circus where no circus goes,” says Argentinian Emiliano Ron, known as the “smooth rope master” and one of the international guests.
The artist, who has worked on similar initiatives in Palestine and elsewhere, said, “We work with children in popular communities and provide them with tools that allow them to express many of the emotions they have.
The first hour is devoted to students at the circus school the Foundation has opened in Carayaca, a mountain town in the coastal state of La Guaira in northern Venezuela.
The first clowns appeared, led by José Abreu and Kelvin Gonzalez. Both times he was 19 years old. Boys of all ages also perform acrobatics on trapeze and dough.
“I want to do this for the rest of my life. I want to travel to other countries and meet more people,” says José, who has been at the school for four years.
~ “Funny and cute” ~
Professional numbers include impressive acrobatics on ropes and webs.
36-year-old Swiss woman Lucy Nduhilahe glides over the ropes as if she were flying, just like Emiliano, who climbs and descends with ease, without muscle tremors.
At one point in his show, Emiliano climbs onto the roof of the field, a green zinc can, and picks up a pair of tennis shoes hanging from an iron piece. Put it on, then shoot again. And he does everything without his truck in the background. He explains that the audience reaction is his music.
“It’s funny and nice to have performances in theaters, festivals, etc., but being able to come to places where people have never seen a circus, or at least not much…” Lucy says it’s been a wonderful experience.
The ManzanoArte festival also included training workshops in the communities visited, this year including indigenous communities in the state of Amazonas (Southern).
Stina Otterström concluded the afternoon show. In that show, she stands on her hands, moves her glasses as she pleases, and then walks.
A girl who predicts disaster and covers her eyes. Her friend urges her to let her know she’s done, and she clappes her… hands.