Testimony – Jonas Van Soom’s project in Argentina

Jonas Van Soom from Tsirkusestuudio Folie (Estonia) tells us about her mobility project with El Circo Social del Sur (Argentina)


Day 1 :Arrival at the airport, A cab driver offered me te get me to BA for 35 euro’s, I took it down to 30 euros which is a bit less as normal.

After some rest and a shower I met up with Maarja, the girl from Estonia who is also visiting. We met at Circo Polo, where the Circo Polo festival took place, which is a 15 min walk from my hotel.
Circo polo is some kind of park surrounded by fences and guarded by a lot of safety guards. The ticketing would open at 14h but it only did at 14.15, the guy selling me tickets could speak quit good English and kept apologizing for his slow computer, we bought one ticket for the same night and a free ticket for a show on Wednesday (you have to get tickets for some of the free shows).

After the tickets I tried to get a metro pass in one of the kiosks but that seemed a challenge we were sent from one place to another without getting a metro card. Some venue’s sell the cards, in other venues you can top them up… but finding a place where the card is sold is not that easy.
I used Maarja’s card to go to La Boca, or better, direction La Boca because there is no metro near this place and you have to walk quit far to get there, La Boca was rather disappointing, 3 touristic streets with colored houses and people trying to sell you things or get you in their restaurant

After La Boca we wandered towards San Telmo to find something to eat, we were looking for a decent place to eat with good foor and vegetables… that seemed a challenge, BAers like meat and bread. We ended up in a pizza place and ordered a vegetarian Pizza which was Ok..

In the evening we went to see an Swedish Show at the Polo Circo Festival. The Pink inside is not the best show, but the guy was persistent and skilled, respect for that.

Day 2: On day 2 Vanesa came to pick me up at the hotel to show us around Puerto Madero, a renewed part of Buenos Aires with high skyscrapers, behind peurto madero there is an nature park which is very nice.
After that we visited 2 classes in a place in San telmo. When arriving at the location the door was closed, everybody who wants to enter has to ring a bell and someone comes and opens the soom. Something tells me that this is not the best part of the town.

There were 2 classes: the first class was a social project in collaboration with Cique du soleil and the City.The second class was a more conventional aerial class with teenagers between 14 and 17 years old. The warm up started with the whole group.

It was a very functional warm up where not a lot of ‘playing’ was involved. After the warm up the group split in 2 groups: trapeze and tissue. The trapeze was given by an assistant, a younger guy, almost the same age as the participants which had a motivational effect on the young female participants. On the other hand the younger ‘assistant’ could show off his skills and get some teaching experience.

In the evening I went to Circo polo festival again: NOOS is an amazing show with 2 acrobats, they used cardboard as a tumbling mat.

Day 3
On the third day we saw a show of one of the Circus Universities in BA at the Circo Polo festival. The idea of combining group parts with dance and movement is good but you would see in the execution that the artists were inexperienced in performing and dancing, their technical circus skills was ok. Off course it is better to know more the context of creations like this: how experienced are the artists, how long did they work on this.

After the show we went to a ‘Milonga. These Tango evenings are very famous in Buenos Aires and you have to go to one if you are visiting. In the beginning there is a tango class and after that there is a party where everybody dances Tango.. is is nice but if you are not an experienced tangos dancer it is quit difficult to dance with the experienced dancers. I should take some more classes to fully enjoy the Milonga-experience.

Day 4:
On day 4 we took a day Off from circus and visited Tigre, 1 hour with the train from BA. Interesting place with water, old rusted boat wrecks still in the water, but also orientated for tourists.

Day 5: I saw the show NUBE: is it 15 minutes on a big construction but nothing really happens a waste I think.
After Nube I went to OCTOBRE an amazing fantastic show

Day 6-8:

Visit Circo Criollo a circus place where Circo Social del sur organizes circus classes for youngsters.

The place is very big and divided in 3 areas, while the youngsters have their class there are advanced trainings going on in the other areas. I like the interaction between the youngsters from the social project and the more advanced students.
The youngsters from the social project could choose 3 different techniques: Aerial, Juggling or Taekwondo. The last technique was quit awkward for me in a circus class but after some time it made sense to me. The taekwondo classes started with a juggling exercise.

Day 9: The last day I visited some classes at the Espacio Colon with aerial classes and the project with Cirque du soleil.


The Polo Circus Festival:

I talked with some of the organizers of the festival.  POLO Circo is a permanent circus place with 2 big tops, they take care of their audience and are experienced in organizing events.
During the year there are different circus shows, mostly traditional show. The responsible told me that there is not much interest in circus-shows in BA. Once a year they organize Polo-circo festival with an impressive programme of contemporary circus. Seven fingers has been a regular the last years but this year they are not in the programme, other names that passed: Gravity and Other Myths, Octobre, Underman, Compagnie XY, Gandini, Circolombia…
A nice mix of European and Latin Amercian contemporary circus