Cirque Zuma Zuma, often referred to as an African-style Cirque du Soleil, will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, October 20 at the Winthrop Red Barn. Cirque Zuma Zuma combines the mysticism of Africa with the excitement of a theatrical cirque performance. In 2011, Zuma Zuma was a finalist in America’s Got Talent.
The show is filled with non-stop action and African culture, including dance, acrobatics, tumbling and music. Featuring artists trained in Kenya and Tanzania, the performance will showcase some of the most exquisite skills associated with African variety arts and culture. These include: a South African female vocalist, club juggling, limbo dance, South African gumboot dancers, pole acts, Zuma Zuma Acrobats, a chairs handstand balance from Tanzania, comedy, Gabonese tumblers, contortionists from Ethiopia, the Africa Lion dance, Ethiopian foot table juggling and percussionists from Zimbabwe.
“We’ve been having quite a lot of shows all across America, and not only America, but all over the world because we have also toured Europe and Australia,” said Eve Kawadza, spokesperson for Cirque Zuma Zuma.
All of the performers were born in Africa and trained by Cirque Zuma Zuma to learn indigenous dances and drumming. Performers also hone their juggling, acrobatic and contortionist skills. “We are from different countries in Africa,” Kawadza said. “Each of us has different talents.”
“This show is a high energy program which comprises of dance, drumming, acrobatics, juggling and a whole lot more that go on, so it comprises of people from different parts of Africa. It’s not just one country we presented. For instance, on this tour, we have artists from Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe,” she said.
The group is based in Kenya, where it has a training center to help develop the talent seen on the stage.
“What we like about getting to perform to different cultures is they have a greater appreciation because it is something different that is coming to their area,” Kawadza added. “It’s the ultimate African circus, the African version of Cirque du Soleil. Our circus really, it’s encompassing more of like the African culture. We’re trying to portray the African Culture which is where you can get it in the music that we play, we dance to, the drumming that we have and probably the skill that we have It’s more African.”
The audience can’t help but get engaged, moving to the rhythm from their seats, she said. Adding to the experience are colorful costumes decorated with beads and instruments from various cultures within Africa, which date back to traditions from 2,500 years ago.
Cirque Zuma Zuma began in 2010 as an offshoot of an African acrobatic company, she said. Since then, it’s been auditioning and training performers from 16 African nations and touring with an array of performers with different skills, she said.
“It is so much fun. On this current tour we have 15 member performers,” Kawadza said. Among her favorites is a woman who juggles with her feet and the balancing chair act. “We have excellent acrobats and jugglers. They all studied starting at a tender age.”
The audience will also observe Gabonese tumblers, contortionists, the Africa lion dance, foot juggling, comedy and human pyramid formations.
“This is an ultimate African experience,” Kawadza said. “It will leave the audience breathless and stunned.”
TICKETS: $25/Reserved, $19/Adults, $10/Kids (5-18), $24/adults at door. Tickets available @ Riverside Printing in Winthrop, Methow Arts Office in Twisp, online @ brownpapertickets.com/cirquezumazumawinthrop CASH/CHECK ONLY at event. Beer, wine, beverages for purchase. Doors open at 6:15 for ticket holders. Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org INFO/CONTACT: email@example.com, 509-997-4004. LOCATION: Winthrop Red Barn, Winthrop, WA.