“Thanks but no thanks, I am afraid of clowns.”
“I am too old for circuses!”
“It’s too far!”

These were the responses I received when I asked my family members and friends to accompany me to the Shwe Daung Circus. I guess most of us have this fixed idea that circuses are for children and only as part of parental duty, along with watching Frozen a hundred times.

In the end, I persuaded my cousin to step away from his game console for one night. At 22, he’s gladly and thankfully still not too cool for circus and admitted, “I have never been to a circus!”

Come to think of it, neither have I.

The only circus shows I’ve seen were those shown on television. The last time circus was a popular “thing” in this country was back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, when U Maung Maung Circus was at the height of its popularity and the crowds much easier to impress.

Despite my reservations, my cousin and I broke into deep grins when we reached the circus tent. Something about it stirred the little kids in us. I ordered pizza from the Parami Pizza Stall while waiting for the show to start. By the way, you can also order from Mahlzeit and Le Planteur.

As music echoed out from the tent, we found ourselves unable to contain our excitement.

A seasoned TV director and documentary filmmaker, Michel first came to Myanmar in 2004 to do a programme about wild elephants. To cut the story short, he was enchanted by what he saw and has been coming back for more.

The idea to form a circus came to him while filming in Samoa, in the South Pacific, where he saw a travelling circus perform all over the archipelago, wowing the audience and giving them a sense of pure joy.

Collaborating with Sarah Schwarz and Sergio Nguyen, renowned circus performers in Europe, Michel then formed “Shwe Daung Circus”. British choreographer Kate Smith wrote the show also chipped in.

Shwe Daung Circus is made up of an international team – France, Germany, Britain, Argentina, Ethiopia and more – and is continuously adding Myanmar cast members.

“We want to learn about the culture and work with the people of Myanmar. We have two musicians in the band from Myanmar, as well as the magician and his team, and the face clown. Our costume designer is also Burmese, who’s assisting the Canadian Prop Master,” said Schwarz.

“Our performers want to bring joy and want our audience to go away with big smiles on their faces.”

The show lasts for two hours with 15 minutes of break in-between, taking place in the tent that could hold up to 800 people. On the Thursday night we were there, it wasn’t a full house, but it was sure full of smiles on the faces of the audience, many of whom were parents with young children.

There were a total of 23 acts in the show which range from Canon Act to dizzying acrobatics. The performances were charming, sweet and entertaining but the music, goodness gracious! The music was amazing! The lead singer, Valerie Wizen, is sexy, sassy and a vocal powerhouse while the band backed her up and the performers throughout the show. Even if you are a jaded adult who is not into acrobatics, you will be bowled over the music. This was a dazzling display of teamwork to entertain you. Sarah Schwarz who was a pretty, petite lady during the interview was transformed into a breath-taking Goddess in the ring. The style, the grace and the confidence of her performances make you realized being a circus performer is no child play. It is indeed a lifelong dedication with so much sweat and tears while flashing smiles to the audience. It was indeed an honor to see her performed. When the show was over, my cheeks were hurting from smiling so much and my hands hurt from so much clapping.

As we walked to the car park, my cousin told me he would be coming back with his friends. I texted my friends about how great the show.

For the hardened souls, I texted “Well, there is wine”.

The show ends on April 30 while the crew, understandably, takes a break to avoid our glorious monsoon. They will be back but with different routines so do not miss it!

 

Address: People’s Park
Dhammazedi Road Entrance
Yangon, Myanmar

Ticket Prices
Comfort – 8,000 Kyats
Superior – 14,000 Kyats
Premium – 20,000 Kyats
Gold – 40,000 Kyats (Food & Beverages Included)

Ticket Hotline: 09960596979 / 09960012348

BUY AT CIRCUS TICKET BOOTH OPEN DAILY FROM 9AM TO 6PM

 

 

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