The Zambaioni children have already rehearsed a pyramid. Left in the picture: circus teacher Susanne Baumgartner. Image: Klaus Franke
It looks so easy how the eight-year-old turns in the rope that dangles from the ceiling, then jumps a little higher like a squirrel to make herself comfortable just under the ceiling like in a floating hammock. With three elegant turns and a “Yuchuh”, Amber is finally back on the floor of the circus hall in Loretto.
The rope that dangles from the ceiling is called a vertical cloth, and the circus hall is the movement space in the office of the Tübingen children’s and youth circus Zambaioni. There, in the approximately 100 square meter room, the younger children in particular practice their passion for what excites them about the circus: juggling, balancing, trapeze, vertical sheeting.
“In Zambaioni it doesn’t matter how skilled, ambitious or talented a child is,” says circus teacher Susanne Baumgartner. “It’s about the joy of movement, it’s about the challenge, the courage to dare to do something, and it’s about social interaction.” For this very reason, inclusion children would also find their place in all groups.
The offer covers almost all age groups: In the Zambambini courses, children aged six to eight can have their first circus experiences in a playful way. Basics in various circus techniques are available for eight to fourteen year olds. Between eleven and eighteen year olds, who have not lost their passion for the circus over the years, are finally aiming for one of the coveted 50 ensemble places. The members of the ensemble are the ones who present their skills on two weekends in the spring in their own circus tent on the Derendingen festival meadow. But there are many more offers: the “Zamba Intensive Project (ZIP)”, for example, the open training program “Monday Open Space”, or MOPS for short, and circus camps during the school holidays. “We have been experiencing enormous demand for circus education for years; the demand is significantly higher than the offer in Tübingen,” says Gaby Müller from the Zambaioni board. At the same time, current studies show that children and young people are very stressed and are in constant crisis mode, so to speak. “It is all the more important to have trusting, safe extracurricular spaces in which young people do not have to function, but are seen with their issues,” says Müller. “Zambaioni wants to contribute to this with its range of exercise activities, which are not geared towards performance and competition, but rather enable creative, participatory processes.”
But that’s not possible in the 100 square meter room in the Loretto, in which, on one of the course afternoons, ten-year-old Emma practices the “parrot” on the trapeze: her feet are knotted to one side of the rope, her hands are tied to the other side pushed as far away as possible. Like a human balancing act in mid-air. “Great,” says 17-year-old Ellis, who is in the ensemble and, after completing her trainer training, trains the younger children on the trapeze.
For the younger children who are just discovering their passion for movement in the form of circus tricks, the height of the trapeze and the vertical cloth is completely sufficient, says Baumgartner. However, you cannot practice the momentum that you need to show your skills in the circus tent in the low room. That’s why we practice with the young people in the hall of the Dance Sports and Rock’n’Roll Center. The ceiling there is seven meters high. However, the training times for circus enthusiasts are limited. After all, most of the dancing takes place in the hall. The “Circus House” project with two large exercise rooms next to a training hall could solve the space problem, especially the problem that children who register for the courses repeatedly have to be turned away.
The “Circus House” project, which is to be built in a building partnership with the GWG and the city of Tübingen in the southern part of the city on the site of the former Autopalazzo, would not be able to be financed by the Zambaioni association without donations. The circus house would then be a place where everything is bundled, says Gaby Müller: the course and training operations, workshops, rehearsals, artistic and craft activities related to the performances as well as administration, storage rooms for props and costumes. “We also see a great need to cooperate more closely with schools and daycare centers,” says Müller. That would also be possible with the new space.
Eight-year-old Noah and nine-year-old Julius also show how much fun the movement tricks can be for children. As if it were a matter of course, they run through the room in the Loretto with small tapping steps on a large movement ball. As they pass each other, they take out their hats as if to say: Allow me, we are part of the Zambaioni circus, welcome!