In 1995, at the end of the world, in a country called Chile in South America, a circus called El Circo del Mundo was founded.
El Circo del Mundo (CDM) was the first new social circus in the country. El Circo del Mundo is a non-profit organization, a non-governmental organization, and social circus with a focus on children and young artists. In 2000, the social circus grew into the first professional school, in the country, under the same title: El Circo del Mundo, the School of Circus Arts. There are now over eight generations of graduates and more than 50 students who attend.
El Circo del Mundo was created with the help and initiative of Cirque du Soleil and Jeunesse du Monde. In a project of International Cooperation with La Corporación el Canelo de Nos, they helped create circus workshops for Chilean artists (mainly actors and dancers) with the objective of helping children and young people with social problems.
It was in 1995 that Alejandra Jiménez (CEO and Founder) learned the circus teaching techniques and met the Cirque du Soleil teachers. Cirque du Soleil visited Chile only twice to lead the team on circus education and, after that, Jiménez continued the work. Nowadays, El Circo del Mundo is dedicated to teaching, cultivating, promoting and professionalizing “New Circus” in Chile. They consider the circus arts as a means of intervention in the psychosocial, educational and cultural field. El Circo del Mundo is dedicated to promoting social transformation towards human development and in collaboration with the community. The mission of El Circo del Mundo is to promote and disseminate circus as a performing art and transformative experience for human development: promoting creative, artistic, formative and methodological content.
In its 24 years, El Circo del Mundo has started several programs. The MiniCompany is the oldest of these programs and has been the soul of the organization from the very beginning. The program is a permanent space for learning and inclusion. It is currently composed of 28 participants, whose ages fluctuate between 7 and 17 years of age. The MiniCompany is designed to contribute to the transformation of children and young people, who grow to become the hero of their own lives. The students learn from experience, live in the community, and are taught respect, freedom, acceptance and how to be themselves. The MiniCompany works every Saturday from March to January. This program is funded with resources from El Circo del Mundo and comes at no cost to the families.
The newer of El Circo del Mundo’s programs is the professional training program. This was developed for young adults to learn and become professional circus artists or to graduate and go on to other circus schools. Auditions and graduations for the school of El Circo del Mundo happen every three years. They are currently in their 8th generation class which has 12 students.
The professional program has 15 instructors and includes courses in physical training, ethics, dance, banquine, lighting, acrobatics, German wheel, cyr wheel, straps, and art history. The professional students will present their graduation numbers in December of this year. They will then graduate and go on to start their careers or to join other circus schools.
In January of 2020, auditions will open up for the next round of professional students, ages between 18 to 25 years old.
El Circo del Mundo has wonderful staff and instructors. Daniela Torreblanca is just one example of this: Daniela Torreblanca (34 years old) surprises with her power and dexterity. One day it is possible to see her on a stage flying over the high-altitude trapeze with bright suits and tights, and the next day off the stage lifting a tent or installing circus devices of great technical difficulty. She arrived at El Circo del Mundo in 2002, at just 19-years-old, after participating in a field workshop in her commune. From that moment she made the circus her second family. Torreblanca has performed in various numbers in shows such as SubZirko, Giróvago, and Koreto, among others. She is currently the academic manager of the Circus School of Arts and responsible for the security and technical assembly in the shows and presentations of the school.
The primary mission of the Circus Arts School is to consolidate the task developed by El Circo del Mundo-Chile, offering continuity and professional projection to the different young people. The school is also an academic opportunity of excellence, unique in the country, for every young Chilean or region who wants to make the circus their profession. It also provides technical training and methodological training to those artists or monitors who want to use the circus as a means of personal and social development.
The Circus Arts School opens applications every 3 years. In 2017, we started the academic cycle until the end of 2019, the year in which we will open a new application for the 9th cycle 2020-2022.
Check out more from El Circo del Mundo on their YouTube channel.
All photos provided courtesy of El Circo del Mundo.Photo credits: Isadora Arenas & Nancy Arancibia