Young, dedicated and passionate, students at a Palestinian circus school entertain their audiences - while delivering a more serious political message at the same time.
Their show, entitled ‘Eat Cactus’ and performed in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, is peppered with references to the political situation in the Palestinian territories and a variety of social issues.
Circus school head, Shadi Zumorod, said nearly 200 Palestinian children youngsters were currently being trained in circus movements and skills.
“Today we are teaching circus skills to students from Hebron, Bethlehem , Ramallah, Birzeit, Jalazoun camp, Fara’a camp and Jenin city. We have around 170-180 students. Many people start to join us after understanding the importance of the circus, that it reinforces the Palestinian identity, not only in Palestine but also abroad,” he said.
The Palestinian circus school was established in 2006 and is based in Ramallah, with trainers touring West Bank cities to hold local courses for those interested.
Zumorod said the performances aimed to stimulate debate and reassess daily Palestinian life.
“Today’s performance is called ‘eat cactus’, so we can understand from the performance how we, as Palestinians, eat cactus. The performance also tackles contradictions and the struggle to achieve power. It highlights daily life on the streets,” he said.
Children and grown-ups alike were enthralled by the acrobatics, modern music and colorful clothes at the Bethlehem show.
Iraqi artist Sina’ Atta said the performers had found a unique way of expressing themselves.
“The most important thing is that this is a type of youth communication which we don’t find in other performances. Despite the difficult situation, there is still hope and a youthful spirit that insists on creativity and the expression of ideas. It’s really beautiful,” he said.
Younger audience members were also impressed.
“Everything was nice, the movements that they did. The performance was so beautiful,” said Lamar Hazboun after watching the show at Bethlehem’s Dar Annadwa International Centre.
The show was performed by five young men from the West Bank, who plan to tour Palestinian cities, villages and camps until mid-February.