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Unicycling, juggling, clowning and salsa stilt walking in Nicaragua with Performers Without Borders

NSC News | Thursday, 20 March 2014 |

Six circus performers from Britain with their array of circus and acrobatic skills entertained 700 children at schools and colleges in Managua that have UK solidarity links. This included the Colegio Santa Rosa, supported by the Santa Rosa Fund in Tavistock http://www.santarosafund.org and the Escuela Los Pollitos, supported by the Islington Managua Friendship Association. http://www.imfa.org.uk PWB is a UK based organisation that teaches performing arts to vulnerable children in countries with a high level of child poverty.

Of the group visiting Nicaragua Jake from Swindon has also spent time visiting and performing in Swindon’s twin town of Ocotal, http://www.solswindon.co.uk strengthening the links that have existed since 1990. Bags is from Bristol which is twinned with Puerto Morazon http://www.bristolnicaragua.wordpress.com and Emily and Justin are from Brighton which hosts solidarity activities about Nicaragua.

PWB has been in Nicaragua for the past three months performing and doing workshops with Proyecto Barrilete, an after school project for poor children in León; Los Quinchos who work with abandoned and mistreated children in San Marcos; and the School of Comedy and Mime who work with young people from precarious family situations in Granada.

Tilly, a member of the group writes in a blog about the highlights including:

* ‘ International circus Los Quinchos’ performance with ‘stilt walking, dancing on stilts, clowns, unicycling, juggling, and acro-balance, all performed by a group of the children that PWB worked with last year.’

* Watching a group of older children from El Barrilete rehearse and then perform their own acrobatic and acro-balance routine. ‘We had taught them various moves, as had the lads from Estelí, but they made a whole act all by themselves, complete with entrances, combination tricks that they had made up, and a finale. It’s truly rewarding to see children find their own way to perform tricks and seeing them perform them was fantastic.’

* A skills exchanges with the stilt walking salsa troupe from Leon. ‘ In the last session we had I even managed to salsa, throw in an acrobatic partner move we’d taught, and then back to salsa, and land more or less back in rhythm I think!’

* The performance of the youth circus troupe from the School of Comedy and Mime who preformed for Los Quinchos. ‘It was a super exciting day already with visiting Italian supporters, pizza, missionaries bringing donations of clothes and then the bus of Escuela performers plus guest artist Tito from Australia. The whole of Los Quinchos watched the show with founder Zelinda in the centre of the audience of her children. The faces of the children as they watched the show, performed by children the same age as themselves, were a picture, as (we hope) they realise what is possible with practice!’

Further information on Performers without borders: http://performerswithoutborders.org.uk