“By turning you upside down, we teach you to stand on your own two feet. By dropping objects we teach you to catch them. By having you walk all over someone, we teach you to take care of them. By having you clown around, we teach you to take yourself seriously.” (Bob Sugarman – circus writer)
The educational program fulfills the first part of our mission. Although circus in Palestine is still perceived as clowning or just fooling around, in reality the center of the circus we practice - different from the traditional circus - has a strong value based pedagogical approach where trust, respect and teamwork play a key role. It focuses strongly on the socio-emotional development of the student: concentration, self-expression, working together and strengthening the creativity, next to developing many physical skills of the children and youth. All these aspects are fully integrated in the circus clubs where we teach different circus techniques like: acrobatics (floor acrobatics, trampoline, pair-acrobatics, handstand,..), aerial acrobatics (tissue, trapeze, ..), juggling (balls, clubs, diabolo, scrafs), Chinese pole, balance (walking on a slack or tight wire, unicycle, rola bola) and on the artistic interpretation skills of how to use circus to tell a story. Our educational offer is based on clear objectives and curricula for all its trainings.
With the social and pedagogical dimension of circus, PCS wants to counter the very harsh psychological impact of the military occupation on children and youth; a situation of injustice and expropriation that frustrates and infuriates. All Palestinians are constantly exposed to a wide range of feelings as sadness, loss, humiliation, frustration and rage, in many cases leading to violent action or a passive behavior, fatalism, resignation and a lack of hope and positive action. Therefore PCS wants to be an injection of hope and engagement for Palestine and its future generations.
Many others around the world have engaged in circus as a way of empowering children and youth in very challenging social and political contexts, like in Afghanistan, the favelas in Brazil, in European cities where poverty and migration lead to exclusion, in Cambodia, in South Africa and in many other countries. We stronlgy feel we belong to a larger international movement were teaching circus and social circus have allowed many young people living in distress and very challenging contexts to find a new taste for live and for their futures.
You can read more about the impact of our work on our students in the master thesis of Delphine Biquet: “Performing Arts as a vehicle for youth empowerment: the case of the Palestinian Circus School”