Testimony – Tine’s project in Chile

Tine from Cirkus in Beweging (Belgium) tells us about her mobility project at El Circo Del Mundo in Chile:

My name is Tine, and i work in the administration of the Belgian circusschool, Cirkus in Beweging. I organize the workshops, the vacacions and the schoolprojects. I’m in carge of writing the notes for the governement.
When I had the age of 11 I started to take circusclasses in the circusschool of Leuven. I stayed for five years, and I entered in the first producion group of the school. We did a lot of shows with the group of youngsters. I did some acrobatics and a little bit of juggling. It was a great time!
Now my daughter takes circuslessons.

My motivation to participate at the project was to start again with circus, to get to know circus in an other part of the world, to connect with people who are living circus, to learn more about teaching children circus.

I went to Chile for a course of social circus. The course was divided in two parts: practise circus and theoretical lessons about children in need.

We had lessons of acrobatics, juggling, security, clown, groupplays and aerial silk. The aerial silk was to dificult for me and I hurted my muscles in my belly during the second lesson of acrobatics, so I couldn’t participated in every classe. But I started again with juggling, which I liked a lot. I discoverd that I ‘m still able to juggle and that feeling was amazing. The first class of acrobatics was really hard, but I liked it a lot! I felt that I still was abble to do something with my body.
It was also very beautiful to see that a lot of boys did the aerial silk. In Belgium more girls then boys participate in this kind of acrobatics, but in Chile it’s really normal the boys are also very good in it.

It was the first time I took a cours of clown. I was really afraid in advance, not only about to be funny for a public, but also because of the language.

I thought it would be impossible to make people laugh in an other language. The feeling I had when my classemates started to laugh when I was doing an exercise was very nice. The second class of clown was harder, I didn’t feel that relaxed then the first classe, and so it was more dificult to no think to much about it.
It was very interesting that we also had two classes about security in a circus. We learned about knobs and security equipment, and the importancy of security.

We had a workshop of facepainting. That was the workshop I liked the most. It’s amazing to change my face with so little materials. Back in Belgium I started immediatly to search a cours to learn more about facepainting. I discussed it with my boss in Belgium and maybe they will arrange a course off facepainting in the springtime.

The theoretical part  of the course handeld about children in need, the history of the school, the part of the teacher – the importancy of self care; and how to organize a course.

Sometimes it was really hard to follow and to understand everything. ‘Resilience’ for example was a really important part of the course, but it was hard to understand the real meaning of the word. The beautiful thing was that every teacher gave me more explanation if I asked for it.
We had a classe of groupplays, and for me it was very nice that we learned the theory about it, and we realy played also a few games.
A part of the theory was not new for my, because of my background of youthconsel and social worker. But the good thing was that we reflected about ourself, and talked a lot about what we were thinking. So it was a way for learning more about the others.
I needed more information and more methods about teaching circus. The theory had to be more usefull for daily use in a circusschool. There was one classe about the importancy of working in circles, that I liked a lot and I already used it in Belgium. But I needed more of that kind of information.

The hostel was realy basic but very beautiful. It had a swimmingpool in the garden and it was located in a really beautiful old house.
It was a colorfull neigbourhood with a lot of street art, a lot of bars and restaurants. There was a little park nearby, in which a lot of people came togheter. Also youngster who were practising acrobatics, putting their silk in the trees.
We ate there breakfast at the hostal, and when we went back from the school we ate a empanada, a chilean cake with meat or vegetables. And at night we searched different places to eat. We discoverd a nice Peruan restaurant and we went eating Chilean food with Carolina.

One night I ate mussels with chips, very typical Belgian food, but in the Chilean way, with gigantic mussels.

There was a language and cultural barrier. I lived in Argentina so I can speak and understand Spanish, but the Spanish of Chile is hard to understand. They speak very different and fast. But I was able to communicate and to make myself understand.
The cultural differences were very unexpected.  The Chilean people are very closed. Nothing like the other people I met from America Latina. So the first week it was very hard for me to connect with the people. I expected open and joyfull people, and the reality was different. This part was the most difficult for me during the project.

During our free time, we did a lot of things in our free time! I was so glad that also Daniel was in Chile with me, because we spend all the free time together!
We went to different places in Santiago, we visited other barrio’s, we climed a mountain outside of Santiago, we went to visit a friend from the Chilean School in his neigbourhood, we went to the museum of history, we went to a fiesta in a plaza, we went dancing cumbia, we saw a lot of circus in the streets and in the parks, … the museum of history was very emotional because we met a guy, who was in prison during the dictatorship. So it was very real everything we read in the museum.
Also we spent time in the hostel, talking with people from all the world. We met people from Francia, Brasil, Kroatia, Peru, …

I learned that circus can change people, that circus can help people, that it can be a lifechanging experience. All the youngsters of my course talked about the lifechanging experience they had through circus, the people they met, the passion for circus.

I learned the importance of ‘the circle’. In a circle everybody is equal, everbody has his responsibility. It’s important to start and close your classe de circus in a circle. This I already used in Belgium, in my first workshop I gave.
I learned again the importancy of joyfullness, that you only can teach circus with good vibes, with a desire to play again.
I learned to overcome my fear to be a clown, and I learned the joy of painting faces.

I would recommend this Erasmus+ project. Because the expectacions can be very different then the outcome, but you will learn a lot! About yourself, about how is circus in an other part of the world, you would met a lot of nice, interesting, creative people.

Thanks to this Erasmus+ project I gave my first circusworkshop with a lot of confiance and enthusiasm, because I know now the joyfullness of a good circuscourse.