“We believe that the arts are a powerful tool in creating the world that we want to see, and the fact that young people are endowed with untapped talent, skills and potential, we perceive that impact among the youth and their immediate community will be experienced as an outcome of this project.”
Written by Anne Wanyoike.
The Youth Acrobata World (YAW) is a project co-funded by Erasmus+ Program of the European Union and implemented by Circo e D’intorni, that presents a new idea of social circus and of the new professions of live performance. During the roll out of the project that involves artists from Italy, Kenya and Colombia, they have been participating in trainings that cover a wide range of topics from Circus History, Performance Law, Circus Data Analysis, Circus Types among others.
The project’s vision is to have 2 transnational mobilities, 2 workshops in Kenya and Colombia, 1 educational course in Italy, 1 international conference at IULM university, 1 conference at International Circus Festival at Monte-Carlo, and 1 documentary by its completion.
For the month of October 2021, Kenyan-bred Sarakasi Acrobat-dynamic group, the Italy-based Black Blues Brothers came back for their homecoming tour, as trainers to our performing artists at Sarakasi Trust, in Nairobi Kenya.
The two-week long training applied the format of combining theory and practical performance, in a complimentary way, in order to optimize our artists’ performance. During the workshop, creation and production, costume and set design, graphic design, we included some other elements to the curriculum such as financial management, handling contracts, branding, social media marketing for the artist, career management and leadership. Speaking to the artists at a session, trainer Bilal from the Black Blues Brothers submitted, “I think it is important to have this kind of training to our artists because knowledge and talent meets skill does create not only an optimized performer, but also a wholesome human being.”
Innovation of the arts and cultural space cannot be achieved, unless we are willing to invest in the artists’ journey, while catering to their individual needs as performers, but also ensuring that we prepare them for the local market place as well as the global market and audience.
“…I would like to thank Youth Acrobata World in conjunction with Circo e D’intorni for seeing a niche in the industry and creating this opportunity for our artists to benefit from. This is a step towards the right direction, and we are open and hopeful for more of such opportunities, as we open up the space for our artists not only in Kenya, but beyond…” Marion Op het Veld, Managing Director at Sarakasi Trust remarked at the closing of the workshop, that ended with a colorful Circus Show held on the 6th of November 2021 at Sarakasi Dome, where our artists got to present new ideas that they had been learning throughout the program.
“…We hope to have more partnerships that place our artists on the international landscape as we look on approaches of having more of these platforms on a rolling basis, to help produce the best performers in the business.” Coach Edu, the Creative Manager at Sarakasi Trust remarked.
Circo e D’intorni is a client and partner of Sarakasi Trust and the owner of the Black Blues Brother’s show.
Written by Anne Wanyoike.
The global pandemic has but not only left us with memories of what a “normal life” looked like, but more so it has robbed us of what it meant to be normal at one point in time.
As usual, I was taking my walk around the Dome for some inspiration. This particular cold Wednesday evening, I went straight to the point and looked back at a very empty and (almost) lifeless Sarakasi Dome, as though she was sitting in agony and disbelief of what once was. There I was writing my article, where Kelvin, an acrobat, was juggling and doing his usual flips. He continued to practice, very oblivious to the fact that there was one audience member, me. I always seek to hide myself at a specific dark corner as I work (creatives find the most awkward positions to channel inspiration), and that’s why he couldn’t see me. Suddenly, I came out clapping for him, because of an act that he had put on, which was seamless.
Later on, we started chatting about the arts industry and his general convictions as an artist. The journalist in me could not resist turning our conversation into an interview. So I proceeded to ask him why he had stayed behind when everybody else had long left the Dome. “I am very passionate about my art. This is the thing that saved my life, and now the only way to save it, is by doing it.”, he answered. “…I know that this past year, we artists have been thrust into an unprecedented system shock, where all that we knew, was suddenly halted and we had to look for other ways to survive…” At that I left the Dome with so many questions and musings, which I shall be sharing in my subsequent articles.
That got me thinking about how art has continued to be dismissed and disregarded for a long time, where it is often seen as an afterthought or something that we can do without. The truth, we cannot do without it. It is no doubt that the arts sector has been hit hard by the global pandemic and to sit through this hardship has sparked a keen interest within me, to not only dream better for the arts, but to dream anew. Many people turned to music, dance, books among other art forms as escape, from the global pandemic and its vast implications. We have had to be normalized to art and the various expressions of it; may be it was a matter of life and death to choose art- for those like me who chose art, we have gotten to live.
If only we protected art and artists the way they protect us, if only we delighted art the way it delights us. We have to yet make strides in advancing the arts as a collective, and our job is quite simple; to let art save us before we end up running out of ways to save it.