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...
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

Mar 5, 2014

Circus dreams come true

the Niece show for Cirque du Soleil artists
the Niece show for Cirque du Soleil artists

Once upon a time our Circus was one of the smallest circuses in the world: we had no tent, we only had one trainer, and no more than 5 kids. 13 years later we have two circus tents, a dozen staged performances and our former artists who became our trainers. And through this journey we always had the brightest example that we could refer to: the biggest and the most famous circus in the world once also started as a small company. We are talking about Cirque du Soleil, of course.

Year after year the little artists of Upsala-Circus watched the Cirque du Soleil shows and admired the jugglers and the acrobats, the dancers and the clowns. We even went to Moscow by train to see a Varekai show. Next year we met the Cirque du Monde (the social branch of Cirque du Soleil) representatives and told them about our little circus. And the next year our little artists were invited to see the grand rehearsal of the show. One year later the whole Upsala-Circus team was invited to see what was going on behind the curtains, to talk to the Cirque du Soleil artists after the show. Little jugglers and acrobats of Upsala-Circus were getting closer and closer to their heroes, the people whose movements they have been following on stage with their eyes and mouths wide open. It is very important for the children’s development and self-esteem, to see somebody they adore and respect so close.

One more year has passed, and our artists had an exclusive workshop with Cirque du Soleil artists: they did acro together and learned some new tricks. We thought that was the best real circus experience our children could ever have.

And this year we were proved wrong.

This year the Cirque du Soleil artists from the Dralion show came to our tent.

They saw the Niece show of Upsala-Circus and our little artists got standing ovation.

Imagine our little artists, our little Anton, who was cheered and admired by the best circus artists in the world.

After the show we made Russian pelmeni (dumplings) together and ate them all and there was so much fun and laughter and real closeness that can only appear between people sharing the same ideas.

Our little artists circus dream came true! There's always a place for magic in the circus.

Upsala-Circus artists in the end of the show
Upsala-Circus artists in the end of the show
Standing ovation from Cirque du Soleil artists
Standing ovation from Cirque du Soleil artists
Little artists and big artists bonding
Little artists and big artists bonding
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