Testimony – Terje Bernadt’s project in Chile

Terje Bernadt from Tsirkusestuudio Folie (Estonia) tells us about her mobility project in Chile:

I am Terje Bernadt,  a founder and director of circus studio Folie since 2000. I and my colleage from our school Eero Druus took the trip to Santiago de Chile  for learning how el Circo del Mundo works, to find out about different teaching methods and the curriculum in el Circo del Mundo.

I booked the accommodation in central Santiago, a flat which was very convenient. We  were having breakfasts in the flat and dinners somewhere outside to try the local cuisine (which is excellent).

There was a language barrier, of course, since neither me or my colleague speak good Spanish and most of the people we met speak no English at all. However my experience with languages was very useful and 2 months beginners course of Spanish actually helped a lot. If you are bold and your partner has some talent for languages to try to understand, it is completely possible to communicate.This kind of communication was a big challenge and very exciting every day (would they understand or would I understand).

El Circo del Mundo is the only professional circus school in Chile, however circus life in Chile is much more alive and active than in our country.

Together with my colleague Eero we followed the classes –  the ones for the professionals and also social circus classes for the kids. We made notes and videos and we had meetings with trainers and the training program leader Carolina. Also we were lucky to become to know several artists and trainers and those professional discussions are always very fascinating  and important.

There was a lot to learn. I was very impressed by the strenght training, how they do it and how effective it is for doing circus.

I think that from now on we will do even more strength training at our school, even though it has always been an important part of the training. But it made me realise that in case of proceeding to professional school this is exactly where we would have to improve. And gave inspiration how to do it within our limited hours during the week.
We also enjoyed the self-discipline class of the professional formation. It was great to see how the artists practice and we learned some different tricks, that we had not seen before.
The meeting with Minicompania, which is the equivalent of our school`s performing group, was rather interesting. We were able to make communication through translation, done by one of the students. The students asked a lot of questions about our school, country and culture. We could also learn about their programme and dreams – to become professionals. Those young people are willing to do a lot to proceed in circus and they really want to go abroad and see the world. Those children are just the same like our Estonians and it was so nice to learn about that.
In the little village TilTil at the school workshop we saw a lot of schoolchildren training just for fun and definitely having fun. It was great to get to know this team of young trainers and see their teaching method which seemes to be so very similar to ours. It was very bounding and we still keep contact.
El Ciro del Mundo has this petit volant in their yard, built by Nilton (who is really proud of it) and it is only possible in this kind of warm climate. I think this is so much fun to do fly trapeze in the open air.

We had a chance to visit another school in Santiago called el Centro des Artes Aeries.

This centre has great conditions for all aerials and floor acrobatics and we were watching some classes and learned a lot about strength exercises (again) and a method to do aerials with a bigger group of people and also sth about the curriculum of this school. Simple and effective.
It was great to visit Valparaiso at the time of the circus festival, we made it to 1 peformance and this was so inspiring, by the company Balance. We hope to see them in Europe one day. We also visited a local festival with a circus programme and got to know some profesisonal artists there. This event gave us quite a good overview of the Chilean professional circus and we were  positively surprised of such contemporary orientation of all those artists.

We had our free days during the exams of El Circo del Mundo and we took a trip to the Atacama desert which was a great experience. I have never seen anything like this before. The nature is just incredible and the people are so friendly and nice. A volcano started to burst and we happened to be there and saw it – really amazing to be witness of this kind of event of nature.
I had also some time to visit the museum of Precolombian art in Santiago and that was very educative. It was good to get this kind of overview of the different periods and movement of Incas, Indians and Spanish – made the history much more clear and explained the background of Chile of today. We also visited the Maritime museum in Valparaiso, as well as Pablo Neruda´s house – both really great places to visit and learn. After visiting the Maritime Museum suddenly all the names of places made sense, and behind the street names I now see the great heroes (mainly captains) of the country.

I find the Erasmus+ project to be of such great importance for people offering a chance to improve professionally, meet colleagues and get inspired. Having experienced this kind of exchange your motivation is high and you are able to inspire also your colleagues back home.

The ones being visited will also have a lot to remember.
I deffinitely suggest Erasmus+ as means of professional improvement and learning.