The Magazine of Ethiopian Airlines
Style + Substance

Modern-Day Circus

Capture the spirit of the continent through a pulsing performance by this all-African troupe.

VERANSTALTER / COURTESY OF CIRCUS DER SINNE

If you were to combine Cirque du Soleil, Stomp and an African drum circle, you might end up with something like the beat-heavy and dance-infused performances of Tanzania-based Circus der Sinne, or “Circus of the Senses.”

The group, which was founded in 2006 by director Winston Ruddle, is comprised of a cast hailing exclusively from around Africa. And yet its show, called “Mother Africa,” has a decidedly international appeal — appearing in recent years off Broadway in New York City, in London’s West End, and throughout Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and beyond.

Perhaps that’s because the production, dubbed a “low-tech, high-energy extravaganza” byThe New York Times, is refreshingly unplugged and widely accessible. Rather than centering on special effects or technical tricks, the show celebrates an easy and spirited African way of life through a happy riot of song, dance, drumming and acrobatics (picture hula-hooping, juggling, tumbling, balancing and surprising combinations thereof). The cast learns these skills at Circus College in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, also founded by Ruddle, where instruction is offered for free.

To see where the show is headed next, visit circus-mother-africa.de.