The festival of another kind

When I arrived in Granada a couple of days ago, I was immediately fascinated by the beautiful colonial heritage, noticable in its architecture and city structure. Moving a bit further outside to the „Casa de las Botellitas“ (the house of bottles) in the suburb of „Pila de Agua“, it was more obvious to see, despite the booming tourist economy, that Nicaragua is still one of the poorest countries of Latin America.
So I was very excited to see how a circus festival is able to rough up a city for one week...

I was welcomed with open arms in the „Escuela de Comedia y el Mimo“ (the School of Comedy and Mime), considering myself very lucky to be able to stay with them while the circus festival „El Berrinche Ambiental“ is taking place. For the 7th time already, the school hosts this festival with more than 150 artists coming to Granada from all over the world, camping in the garden of „La Casa de las Botellitas“. And inbetween all this „gran locura“ (the big chaos) I now find myself, an Austrian girl that has never before experienced a social event like this:
Right from the start on Monday I felt all of these amazing artists were bringing an immense energy to Granada. Especially outside the city center, where kids and also adults might usually not get a lot of cultural entertainment, the faces of young and old immediately illuminated when they saw the parade of all this cheering and dressed up people passing by.

All the artists performing pro bono, there are lots of acitivities and shows happening every day, filling the streets of Granada with a lot of joy, music and dance. Each day a group of clowns and acrobats was spending some time with the kids in different parks in the neighbourhood. Isn’t it the most beautiful thing to see a child’s purest smile when experimenting with the diabolo, trying the monocycle or putting on some show with the magic stick?
But not only the kids are trying and learning, also the artists are participating daily in each other’s workshops, discovering and improving new forms of art and expression. Right now, there is a pedagogic lecture about social circus going on, while in the meanwhile there are also people giving workshops in contact exercises with balls. In another part of the garden some artists are taking the meditation class, while in the common area of the house others are partnering up for a fun swing dance. The ongoing vibe of the noncompetitive but joint practice and shows of all kinds of circus activities is stunning and makes me feel really thankful for being part of it.
Everyday so far there have been big „espectáculos“ in the city center going on. People stopping by, wondering and applauding for the high level of entertainment. As a big finish of the day, there has been one more show each night in the theatre of „La Casa de las Botellitas“, welcoming all the neighbours, integrating the kids in the shows and having a big fiesta altogether.

Whereas I remember myself always enjoying to go to the circus as a kid, the whole social aspect of what is happening right here in Granada is definitely standing out for me: Comedy, mime, clowning, juggling, acrobatics, dance, puppetry – art and entertaining is bringing people together and lets them escape daily life for a moment and just have a good time.

Thank goodness, the festival is not over yet: every person in and around Granada is invited to spend the last day with us – to share some of this great atmosphere. Today, Saturday 23rd, all the artists are going to share their passion again with the people of Granada before everyone is following other projects in Centralamerica, Southamerica or Europe. So make sure you take the chance of seeing a great production of all the participative artists today at 5.30pm in front of la „Casa de los tres Mundos“ in the city center of Granda.

And although I feel this circus adventure needs to go on forever, „El Berrinche Ambiental 2016“ will eventually find it’s end tonight at 8pm in „La Casa de las Botellitas“ with a great show by the collective „Artistas sin fronteras“ (artists without borders).

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