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Celebrating the cultures of Africa

Cirque Africa, a show that celebrates the colour and culture of Africa, starring 22 performers from six African countries is heading for Brisbane. It’s the show that won five stars at the Adelaide Fringe Festival this year, is acclaimed as the greatest performance experience from Africa and it will call the Roundhouse Theatre in Brisbane home for two weeks from October 24 to November 4!

“Cirque Africa has been called the ‘Lion King on steriods’,” said director Papa Africa, aka Winston Ruddle. The Zimbabwe-born Ruddle, draws many of his talented cast from the ranks of the Hakuna Matata Acrobats trained at the school he established in Tanzania in 2003.

“Cirque Africa is a highly visual show - there are no language or religious barriers to enjoying it. It is fresh, funky, bold, cooly urban yet infused with centuries of history, and it’s incredibly fun. It enthralls, and takes your breath away. Our acrobats and dancers will challenge your imagination with their strength and flexibility. And of course, there’s the smile, the most shining, glorious happy smiles you have ever seen!”

The show is a critically acclaimed acrobatic and dance experience, born of Ruddle’s desire to celebrate Africa’s colour and people with audiences all over the world.

Skilled performers build a 10-person human pyramid and bring a whole new meaning to pole dancing. Each act and spectacular dance from different parts of Africa is performed to original rhythms of African music composed for the show.

“Our show is a 100% African cultural experience, a blockbuster production which transports audiences to the positive, joyous side of Africa,” he said. “The live band, performing original African music, gives the whole show a concert feel; it’s an all-round, feel-good experience that makes Cirque Africa the perfect circus for our times,” said Ruddle.

As always, it’s the artists that make a show special. Strongmen Omary and Fadhili Ramadhani were trouble makers on the streets before Ruddle intervened. They balance head to head, dependent on each other’s strength and skill and despite the identical last name, the pair are neighbours rather than relatives

Circus Master Ruddle’s story is not dissimilar to many of his artists - “I started as a break dancer in the early 80s and when it was going out of fashion I was lucky to meet a group of acrobats in Zimbabwe and thought ‘I can do that’,” he says. “I started (the circus school in Dar es Salaam) in 2004, it started as a mistake then it became a profession. Eventually Cirque Africa was born. Teens now spend a minimum of two years training at the school before becoming part of Cirque Africa or being head hunted by troupes, acts and venues around the world. “We want to portray a positive image of Africa, we want to change what perceptions people think about Africa,” he says.

When: October 24 to November 4 - evening, weekend and matinee performances.

Where: Roundhouse Theatre, La Boite, Musk Avenue, Kelvin Grove

Tickets: $89 adult, $79 concession, $59 student, $49 child under 15 or family (2 adults, 2 children) $189

More stories in Showbiz News.

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