Circolombia Return to London

As one of the world’s most exciting circus troupe’s to evolve from last year’s CircusFest, JungleDrums talks to Circocolombia on their love of performing, Columbian roots and life on tour

With its youthful exuberance and raw energy, circus troupe Circolombia‘s return to London’s Roundhouse theatre could not have come any sooner.

Hailed as one of the most innovative groups to rise out of a recent upsurge in contemporary circus acts, the young performers, ranging from the ages of 17 to 23, give a performance of high-energy acrobatics, circus stunts (such as the infamous “frontal perch” routine) and street dance-all set to a backing track of Latin American reggaeton that ultimately reflects the impoverished upbringing that many of the performer’s experienced growing up in Cali, Western Colombia.

Established back in 1992 by Héctor Fabio Cobo Plata and London-born ex-circus-performer Felicity Simpson, Circolombia was initially set up as an incentive for disadvantaged children of Cali to lend purpose to their otherwise chaotic lives in the slums. Most of the troupe’s performers attended the National School of Circo Para Todos (“Circus for All”), a social as well as professional development project that has over the past twenty years become a marketing talent company- sending a quarter of its graduates to work in worldy-acclaimed circuses (such as Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey) as well as top cruise ships around the world.

So, if you’re expecting candy floss, clapping seals and the usual dated, humdrum circus show, you’ve come to the wrong place. Circolombia is what contemporary circus is all about – raw energy, passion, vibrancy and talent – all set within a multitude of musical and dance styles that will keep you at the edge of your seat and begging for more.

JungleDrums’ Amy Cunningham sat down with Circolombia’s Gustavo Gomez to find out a little more about the project.

How did you get involved in the National School of ‘Circo Para Todos’?
I was working in the police as replacement for my military service, there they had a circus group, and this was coordinated by a woman who was also involved with Circo Para Todos. When I finished my service I was invited to visit the project and to be part of it as a monitor.

Could you tell us a bit about the recruitment process of training and working with Circo Para Todos?
Through this community workshop, we visited different communities, teaching different techniques of circus during a determined period of time. At the end of it we chose the young boys with the most skill and motivation to be involved in the school.

What is your favourite part of performing?
When you put all your energy on stage and people give you a big round of applause, you get an amazing feeling in return for the claps.

What has it done to your lives? How it is different?
There are many reasons why circus has made my life special, specially the Circo Para Todos project. Not only the confidence that this creates for you, but also the self esteem and the possibility of helping others through the arts. Also to be able to travel and see the world with your own eyes.

Which other dance troupe’s/circus groups would you recommend?
The seven finger troupe from Canada.

Why is Circo Para Todos any different from other circus troupes such as Cirque Du Soleil?
Because of the social compromise, because of being the first foundation that manage to prove this through a social project, to offer real life opportunities to those vinculated to the project.

Everyone gets tired at some point, but where on earth do you get your raw energy and vibrancy from for every show?
When you choose a profession that you like you give everything for it, you don’t feel tired (you always have a reason to give more).

What do you miss about Colombia when you are away on tour?
Food mainly, family too.

Where are your favourite places in Colombia and where would you recommending to our readers?
Cali, Medellin and Cartagena, the pacific and Atlantic coasts, the Amazon; all of Colombia in fact.

Do you like London? If so, where have been your favourite places so far/ best moment?
Its amazing place full of different cultures, it’s like having the planet in one city.

Words and Interview by Amy Cunningham. Photo by Matilda Temperley

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April 4th – 16th, 7.30pm (also 2.30pm on 9th & 16th Apr), £5-20
Circolombia: Urban

Roundhouse
Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8EH
Box Office: 0844 482 8008

roundhouse.org.uk/whats-on/productions/circolombia-urban

2 Comments

  1. Sam

    Amazing show..where Is the London after party today?

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