Palestinian circus show highlights life twists of Mideast refugees

Show produced by the Palestine Circus School will also tour Europe for nearly two months this spring

Xinhua February 18, 2018
Members of Gaza Circus practice juggling with clubs and rings in the northern Gaza Strip. PHOTO: REUTERS

RAMALLAH: A first-ever circus show inspired by stories of Middle East refugees was put on this week in the West Bank, capturing the hearts of the Palestinan audiences.

On a minimalist stage in the city center of Ramallah, seven performers presented the images of refugees with hats, boxes, a swinging trapeze and a Chinese pole, highlighting the shared plight of millions of refugees.

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The one-hour performance titled Sarab, an Arabic word for mirage, reflects the dramatic life twists of refugees by the tempo of artists' movements as well as narrating the stories of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Palestine and other places.

Rawan Harb, who has a child taking circus classes, said she was excited to watch the performance mixing circus with acting for the first time in Palestine.

"It addresses the issue of refugees, regardless where they come from. I think what we are seeing here is particularly nice because it blends circus with acting to give an image about refugees and this is not an easy thing," she said.

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The show, produced by the Palestine Circus School, will also tour Europe for nearly two months this spring, as many refugees have fled their countries toward the continent to seek a safer life.

Shadi Zmorrod, one of the founders of the school, said he believes a physical performance will always sink in people's minds and re-emerge when reality provokes it.

He told Xinhua that the idea of the performance was developed through one year of close interaction with refugees in the region.

"In this performance, we really concentrate on all kinds of refugees.

We have stories from all around the world," said Zmorrod, who was also born to a refugee family.

Circus theater is an evolution of modern circus which enables artists to express themselves and attach a heart to the stories of refugees in hope of convincing governments to take action, noted Britain-based choreographer Paul Evans, who is also one of the designers of the show.

As the first and only circus school in Palestine, the Palestinian Circus School was established in 2007, and its founders describe its journey as a "positive challenge to get over cultural perception of traditional circus." Enditem

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