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Zip Zap instructor and performer Phelelani Ndakrokra literally in his element, a Cyr wheel, which is one of his particular circus specialities. Zip Zap instructor and performer Phelelani Ndakrokra literally in his element, a Cyr wheel, which is one of his particular circus specialities. Rodger Bosch

Making a difference under the dome

May 10, 2017

As part of its 25th birthday celebrations, the non-profit Zip Zap Circus and Circus School is putting on a special production to commemorate its work in providing training in the performing arts and other important life skills to its 1 000-member student base.

The show, titled “25 Years – An Acrobatic Walk Down Memory Lane”, features performances by younger members of the Zip Zap troupe who have been hard at work during the recent school break. Training, with coaching by more senior members, took place three times a week from 10:00 till 15:00.

The production will consist of trapeze, comedy, acrobatics, dance and juggling showcasing the young and talented team, who hail from across the Cape Peninsula, but predominantly from previously disadvantaged communities, including Philippi, Nyanga and Khayelitsha.

“The older students have just come back from performing at the third Match for Africa charity tennis game between Roger Federer and Andy Murray in Zurich,” says Anne Barbotteau, Zip Zap’s marketing and communications officer. “Our students have also performed for statesmen like Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama.”

Stage manager and instructor Lizo James was hard at work coaching and training Zip Zap’s next generation of circus stars when CityLife visited. He joined the school 20 years ago when it was still in its infancy and based in Woodstock. “We used to practise in an old warehouse with holes in the roof, with just a few mats and one old trampoline.”

Since joining aged 11, James has enjoyed visits to many shores on Zip Zap tours to Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. He’s also seen the school grow from strength to strength, picking up investors and private backing. The circus now has its own dome in the Founders’ Garden next to the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town’s Foreshore.

Zip Zap was started in 1992 by French international Laurence Estève and South African Brent van Rensburg as a project to inspire ordinary children to “dare to dream” at Zimasa Primary School in Langa – with a trapeze bar hanging in a tree. Under the duo’s guidance, the Zip Zap team went on its first South African tour in 1994 and an international tour in 1996 to Denmark.

“As part of our celebrations, we will also be collaborating with nine-time SAMA award winners The Parlotones. We have also secured a new building for training Zip Zap’s performers in Salt River. The dome will be used for Zip Zap productions and made available for corporate events,” adds Barbotteau.

Don’t miss these fun-filled shows, suitable for the entire family, on 20 May, 3 June, 1 July, 5 August and 9 September 2017. See www.zip-zap.co.za for details.

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 09:18
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