After Maria, San Juan’s Circo Fest Wants to Make Puerto Rican Circus Stronger Than Ever - CircusTalk

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After Maria, San Juan’s Circo Fest Wants to Make Puerto Rican Circus Stronger Than Ever

As soon as Circo Fest wrapped in San Juan last March, the organizers started working on the 2018 festival. It’s a massive logistical undertaking for the programmers, artists Maximiliano Rivas, Maite Rivera Carbonell, José Carreño, and Anais Nadal, who together comprise ACirc, or the Asociación de Artistas de Circo y Artes de Calle de Puerto Rico.
Circo Fest brings acts from around the island and the international circus and street theater community to Old San Juan to perform for thousands of visitors in the cobble-stoned colonial neighborhood that’s the picturesque face of Puerto Rico. For the week of the festival, more than 100 clowns, aerialists, dancers, musicians, contortionists, magicians, and others must be housed, fed, and cared for. But the last year has been, to say the least, more complicated than usual. For one, that same spring ACirc also took up occupancy of its first physical space, a multi use cultural center now known as El Bastión. Perched high in the northwest corner of the neighborhood, inside a thick-walled colonial complex known as the White House run by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, El Bastión now houses a circus training space and a dance studio; it’s home to a Saturday farmers market and nighttime music jams. But when ACirc signed the lease last year, the space – which had b...
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Martha Bayne

Martha Bayne is a Chicago-based writer and a senior editor with Cleveland's Belt Publishing; her work has appeared in Belt Magazine, the Baffler, Buzzfeed, the Rumpus, and many other outlets. She is also the founder of the long-running Soup & Bread community meal project, an ensemble member with Chicago's Theater Oobleck, and an eternally hopeful aerialist. For more, see marthabayne.com or @marthabayne.