Cirque Africa

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Cirque Africa

For the first time this month and next, Geelong gets to experience the wonder and talent that is Cirque Africa. After taking a 70 tonne circus set up throughout USA, Germany, Costa Rica, Italy, France, Romania, Russia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain, performing to sold out shows, Cirque Africa brings its best circus acts straight from Africa for over 50 shows at the Geelong Showgrounds.
The show itself was formed by ‘Papa Africa’, aka Winston Ruddle, and first started as an underground acrobatic school in Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam in 2003, but has quickly grown to the world-renowned production it is now loved for. Over its time Cirque Africa has trained more than 150 acrobats and dancers, 80 per cent of which are Tanzanian, who have gone on to have world class careers, including the Amazing Hakuna Matata Acrobats who will be performing in this show. Another such acrobat is Yetnayet Melese the incredibly talented hula-hooper who has been likened to a human slinkee.
“I was trained in my home town in Ethiopia, and then Winston Ruddle supported me and is now my manager and trainer at Cirque Africa,” Yetnayet says.
In Yetnayet’s performance, she balances on a large ball and begins to drape herself in an abundance of hula hoops. “I was looking at videos of other performers and I started with just one and kept practicing so much and I can do it now with up to 100 hula hoops. I have big hopes to do more,” she says.
“With everything you just have to start from the beginning, and once you know how you’re going to do it, it all becomes easier.”
Her show is one of many, that range from a contortionist “snake man”, chair balancers right through to foot jugglers, all of which are backed by an 8-piece live band.
As Cirque Africa began its Australian stint in Melbourne in June of this year, reviews on the show are plentiful, and all remark on the ease in which performers do their tricks and the genuine warmth that each acrobat exudes on stage. Speaking to Yetnayet it’s clear that working with Cirque Africa is an honour, and that happiness to be part of the team performing around the world comes through on stage.
“I love Cirque Africa and I’m very proud to be a part of this,” she says before adding, “It’s really nice and I’m really enjoying performing my acts and just being involved.”
Tickets can be purchased from the website
When & Where: Geelong Showgrounds, Geelong – December 16 – January 31