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Home: Freunde Waldorf

Circus pedagogy in the favelas of São Paulo

Ponte das Estrelas – this is circus education, accompanied by school - and artistic activities for children and youths from the favelas of Sao Paulo. This mixture works curatively on the life and development of there young people – and creates a strong counter balance in the face of the hopelessness, violence and criminality in their immediate surroundings.

Every circus year begins in February with a lot of training; rehearsal periods for new students and of course all the everyday obligations such as school, homework, exams. The circus group develops a story, the theme of the tour and works out the appropriate choreography, stage sets, and costumes and maintains the inventory of utensils so that they shine for the performance. As of March there are extra sessions for common choreography. From May onwards, no one is allowed to miss, that is one of the obligations of an artist. Then time starts to fly towards the performances. During four to six weeks they live together and go from our base in the interior of São Paulo to the various places where they perform. Towards the end of the year it is time for other activities: music lessons, art classes and courses, and at the same time we start the production of juggling balls, wooden bridges and stars for the Bazaars at German Waldorf schools.

Why “circus”? Of course one could mention all the therapeutic, educational, medical and crisis-preventing advantages especially as our clientele could be described as people suffering from crises or prolonged trauma patients. Our children come from the slums of Sao Paulo, and suffer from violence, a criminal environment, chronic diseases, neglect, abuse, and live below the poverty line. There are enough reasons to come up with something “special”, just to bind the children to the circus work. But that is not the whole story.

Circus is the promise of constant encounters between people. It is a promise to meet in a world in order to play, to practice, to make an effort, without there being a single serious reason. Besides the aspect of meeting among artists, there is also the aspect of trust, because without trust the project will not work. Furthermore, the encounter with one’s own borders, but also the unexpected abilities and opportunities of responsibility and last but not least, the encounter with the world, our audience and the of happiness when one is rewarded with applause. These are all wonderful encounter experiences that can slowly return the trust in such a seemingly relationship lacking world.

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Due to current international travel restrictions, we are unfortunately unable to accept applications from volunteers outside the EU at this time. As soon as the travel restrictions are lifted, applications will be possible again.


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