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Circusfest at the Roundhouse

Posted on February 24, 2012

cirque mandingue credit milan szypura

cirque-mandingue_credit_milan-szypuraCircusfest 2012 is a five-week celebration of contemporary circus from around the world, held at London’s Roundhouse. The season features everything from vintage circus carnival and street dance acrobatics to an intimate tale of love, loss and Las Vegas.


The season opens on March 28 with Cirque Mandingue (pictured), a troupe from Guinea, in Foté Foré. This new production fuses circus skills and street dance, to a soundtrack of hip hop and live West African drumming. The company, a collective of 12 Guinean circus artists, is both a circus school and a company, with funds raised through touring going back to the school in Guinea.


Undermän, by Swedish company Cirkus Cirkör, explores the story of three “undermen”, the Swedish term for the circus performer who lifts and supports the “flyer” in an acrobatic act. It’s the true story of three “undermen” who lost their partners in love and performance, leaving their careers in doubt.


Other highlights include Professor Vanessa’s Wondershow, which looks back at the circus sideshows of the 1930s to 1950s, the street dancers and acrobats of Funk da Cirque and Collectif and then… in the new Lost Post, which plays with communication from paper planes to smoke signals.


The festival also includes films, talks and a “Take Part” strand for 11- to 25-year-olds, with workshops and performances.


For more information, see


Picture: Cirque Mandingue. Photograph: Milan Szypura


Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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