The focus of the Joint Staff Training in Berlin was for me, Veronika from Hungarian Juggling
Association, to observe and assist the schools programme of the Cabuwazi circus, get to know the
teachers better, and exchange teaching knowledge and experience with them.
Cabuwazi have been running their in-school programmes for nearly a decade alongside many other
extra-curricular circus programmes.
Since the concept is both relevant and interesting, I was eager to learn more about it.
Why is it relevant?
School education today tends to be more and more academic than ever before. The students have
vast amounts of information to memorize, and less and less hours to experiment and learn about
their own body and mind. Circus is a medicine for this illness, and much more.
Circus at Cabuwazi gives school students an opportunity to spend one week together in a very
different context to their usual daily curriculum. During the week the physical work and closeness
generates a new ambience for their relationships to grow. Body contact during partner-acrobatics
builds teamwork, positive body awareness, physical closeness, and as a consequence, emotional
connections are built as well. They learn to trust in each other, work together, and help each other to
Circus is an opportunity for students who are struggling academically to shine physically, and to find
a new position in the ’hierarchy’ of the class. This helps to build confidence and an opportunity to be
proud of their achievements. Circus also gives students the ability to be creative, spontaneous, and
learn how to improvise. Often the students who struggle academically are known as the ‘bad boys or
girls’ in the class. They have a lot of energy, and circus provides an opportunity to channel these
energies: they can “show off” their newly acquired skills, so they get the attention they seek in a
The aim of the week is for the students to create a performance and present it to their schoolmates
and family members. The performance creates a motivation to practise their circus skills, and helps
to build many social skills as well. The students need to cooperate with each other, to express their
opinions, present their ideas, find solutions together, and debate. They have to be able to front their
own ideas, and leave space for fellow students to do the same. This is about learning assertiveness
alongside modest social skills, something they will constantly need in real life. Having a common
body of work in place, a creation process and presentation, is a fantastic tool for encouraging this
learning. The tool for this is to create a show, and the language is the circus.