Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mexican circus school keeps dreams alive in pandemic-hit country



Mexican circus school keeps dreams alive in pandemic-hit country

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An aerial artist of the circus company ‘Atayde Hermanos’, Jairo Avila, practises at the ‘Lumina Cirkum’ circus training space in Atizapan de Zaragoza, Mexico State, on July 13. AFP

Mexican circus school keeps dreams alive in pandemic-hit country

Children hang from hoops and aspiring acrobats balance on tightropes or spin in the air at a circus school in Mexico, determined to keep their dreams alive despite the pandemic.

When the coronavirus forced circuses to close last year, one family began searching for somewhere to practice in a suburb of the hard-hit Mexican capital.

Hoping to one day perform with the internationally renowned troupe Cirque du Soleil, they found a warehouse that they adapted as a gymnasium, where Lumina Cirkum was born.

Before long their tightrope, unicycles and hoops had attracted the attention of the neighbours and they decided to offer acrobatics lessons to local children.

The classes help to keep the 30 students occupied during the pandemic and the family to pay the rent for the space.

When the coronavirus first spread quickly through Mexico, leading to the closure of non-essential activities, everything was up in the air, said Ana Zavala, who coordinates the project.

‘I can too’

It was unclear if acrobats would have jobs to go back to or if they should change careers, said the 44-year-old, whose daughter Karina gives lessons at the school.

“We decided to continue with the dream and the training for when the circus work or activities resumed,” said Zavala, who has shared her 21-year-old daughter’s aspirations since she was a child.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Children hang from hoops while aspiring acrobats balance on tightropes or spin in the air at a family circus school in Mexico, determined to keep their dreams alive despite the pandemic. AFP

The school is adorned with images of Karina’s performances and colourful posters, one of which shows a bear walking while beating a drum.

Spotlights and unicycles hang from the ceiling. There is even a popcorn machine.

It has the feel of a proper circus – an activity with a long tradition in Mexico but which has been brought to its knees since the pandemic arrived more than a year ago.

It was only in April this year that the circuses begin to reopen with limited capacity due to social distancing measures, in a country with one of the highest known death tolls from Covid-19.

At Lumina Cirkum, children wearing face masks arrive smiling and begin to do acrobatics even before receiving instructions from their teachers.

“It feels great that the children come to their first class and they are all happy and want to keep coming back,” said Jairo Avila, a 23-year-old Colombian acrobat and coach at the school.

The children’s enthusiasm is clear as they contort themselves in the hoops and on aerial silks under the watch of their teachers.

One of the best things about coaching is to make what seems unattainable come true, said Zavala’s partner Cristobal Salcedo, a tightrope walker with 20 years experience.

“You tell people to stand on a rope and it seems like an impossible thing to them, but when you turn a corner near your house and see a guy walking on the rope you say: ‘If he can, I can too.’

“That’s what I like to teach,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The