Upsala-Zirk

Upsala Circus is an unique project, which shows children and teenagers from social risk groups in St. Petersburg with the method of circus pedagogy an alternative from the street and to integrate them into the society. As the only organization of it's kind in Russia, Upsala Circus directly connects the professional circus and theatre art, with social work. By the everyday training in the circus and attendance at circus festivals, the children and teenagers from social risk groups experience exciting and difficult challenges.The circus is referring to "high risk" nearly like the life on the street. It simply appeals to them with magic, lets them explore their individual skills and...
Oct 17, 2014

Circus Summer in the Woods

Nordic summer can be sunny and warm if you spend it with the circus!

The younger group of Upsala-Circus spent two months in a big wooden house in a small village by the Estonian border. It's a great opportunity for kids to have a healthy and fun vacation. Most of the families we work with don't have any resources to take their kids out of the city. The circus camp allows the young artists to continue their trainings and stay out of trouble in the city streets, which is highly likely if a neglected child spends all her or his school summer break time at home.

In our camp the younger group went through all the challenges of socialization. They had their difficulties, but became great friends and a fine circus team with their own responsibilities. They all learned to cook and do dishes, make saltos and juggle with sticks, pine cones and apples that grew in our garden by the house. Long and dark evenings made the children read books, which was impossible for some of them just a few months ago. They learned to speak up and discuss things, to write letters to each other and to the circus trainers, with wishes and requests, to tell stories and just be friendly every day.

Finally, in August a Swiss circus Toameme came to visit: a bunch of fun young European artists, none of which spoke Russian of course, and our artists hardly speak any English. Upsala-Circus and Toameme trained together and staged a great circus show. It was obvious that the participants of that show understood each other perfectly even if they didn't speak the same language. Or rather they do: the circus one, the universal language for all the social classes, cultures and continents.

When the kids came back from the camp, they seemed to have grown up at least a year. Suddenly they were calm, mature and unbelievably open-minded. And most importantly, they want to continue their circus work: to spend more time together, to meet new friends from other countries, to see the world around them. Their world stays the same, they just approach it differently now.

Thank you for your interest in our work! Your donations make our everyday work in summer, fall, winter and spring possible. Please see the pictures of our young artists in the summer camp.

Yours,

Upsala-Circus

Jul 9, 2014

Circus behind the fence

Performance at Open Stage
Performance at Open Stage

Imagine a tiger, caught in wilderness and locked in a space the size of your bedroom. Better yet, imagine yourself being locked up for a couple of years -- not a solitary confinement, but still not allowed to run wherever you want to run, sleep whenever you feel like it and learn whatever interests you. Would you be able to fulfill yourself in such a place? Would you feel grateful when released, or rather desoriented and bitter?

Today we want to tell you about one of our projects and its successes: a circus group in a closed institution for boys who commited minor crimes like trying to steal some food or setting a car on fire. The group is called "Circus behind the fence". For a few years we have been working with these kids: conducting circus trainings three times a week at the closed institution where they spend 1 to 3 years (depending on the gravity of offense), trying to interest them in something new, providing the risk and the physical challenge they're so fond of. The circus project is extremely popular at the boys' institution, they all choose to attend at the beginning of each academic year, but by the end only the most determined and disciplined ones stay in the group. What they can perform after a few trainings, without any fear or shyness, is unbelievable. And in the end of this school year we managed to provide the kids an opportunity to show their progress and creativity at our Open Stage event at the circus. The kids came and performed in public, before the eyes of all the Upsala-Circus groups, trainers and staff, parents and volunteers, and most important -- a professional jury (St.Petersburg theatre and circus artists) that was evaluating and discussing each performance.

Twelve boys from Circus Behind the Fence worked to create their circus act together with their trainers. This allows them to feel their own importance, to improve their self-esteem and to realize there is another path in their future, other than getting released, hanging on the streets again, skipping school, commiting another crime and getting locked up in a juvenile prison. The boys are now real circus artists, and they will perform in September at our International Festival Flying Kids along with young professional companies and artists from Europe.

Thank you for your support of our project "Alternative lifestyle for Russian children"! Together we are making visible changes to our community.

Yours,

Upsala-Circus

Group performance
Group performance
Impressive acrobatics
Impressive acrobatics
Award for the Circus Behind the Fence performance
Award for the Circus Behind the Fence performance
Apr 16, 2014

Yay! Funds for the circus bus raised!

Dear Friends,

We are happy to announce that we raised enough money to buy a new bus for our young circus artists! We will be able to do that in May, right before the European circus tour that will take place this summer. That means that the children will have a very safe and fun trip through Europe.

As soon as we buy the bus, we will decorate it with Upsala-Circus graffity and stickers, and will surely put a report on our website and in our Facebook group, so that everyone could see it.

Thank you for your support and your generous donations!

If you are willing to support our Circus further, or have been giving recurring donations for this case, please consider supporting our main project:

https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/alternative-lifestyle-for-russian-street-children/

Hugs and saltos,

Upsala-Circus Team

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