Clare Anderson from National Centre for Circus (United Kingdom) presents a new method she’s learned during her mobility project with El Circo Social del Sur (Buenos Aires, Argentina): The style and focus for Circo Social del Sur work in the Community.
After spending time with Circo Social del Sur and seeing their grass roots projects working, I was encouraged by the success of their circus training for different individuals and groups.
The skill level of those who had gone through the 3 years of physical training was excellent. The confidence of those who had achieved these unique skills in shorter courses was obvious too.
Most of the groups they teach are from areas in Buenos Aires that just coming from those areas puts them at a disadvantage. The work I saw CSdS do in these areas was transformative, positive and inclusive.
The teaching philosophy of the school is one of communication, understanding and finding the best solution. The teachers and staff in the organisation were all lovely, patient, warm, thoughtful and kind human beings as well as being good teachers. There is possibly a place for the military style instructors I was taught by, but here I saw none of this.
The young people respond well to the philosophy of knowing the possibilities and the boundaries of participation for the project. Attendance, respecting others and participation were key. The level of expected participation was relevant to the group. For the single mothers group who had to bring their children to the session so they could attend, time spent learning circus for themselves and time using circus skills or ideas to occupy their children were equally designed into the classes. Working with who they are as a group and finding ways to interest them individually within the skills to be taught, was evident in the success of the classes.
The benefits of these social circus programmes are not to be amazing circus performers but amazing people, fulfilling their own potential.
Clare Anderson in Buenos Aires, November 2015