Circus is in town!

Circus City

WORDS: André Vermeer

If you’re still expecting clowns and lion tamers at the circus, you’re in need of an update. Today’s circus – at least in Rotterdam – is a five-day festival full of spectacular shows, surprising workshops, live music and the world’s best acrobats. The 10th anniversary of the Circusstad Festival will be the most magical ever.

The time of simple folk entertainment is over. Today’s shows offer culture in the happiest way, with a message or clear story line. Circusstad Festival has grown into a major, enchanting event for every age, where the open festival site on Schouwburgplein will be the arena of original, modern productions, full of dancing, flying, balancing, juggling and acting. Get ready for some real sensations, because this anniversary edition has an unprecedented number of world and national premieres.

FIQ: dazzling opening act

The opening act of this 10th anniversary party should be spectacular. And it definitely is. The Dutch premiere of FIQ will be a show that sets the tone for the entire festival, because it simply contains the most vibrant energy of the new circus generation. FIQ is the latest production of Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger, a group of fifteen Moroccan acrobats, break-dancers, football freestylers, taekwondists and a DJ. You enter a millennial world of colour and movement, of change and texts, of gender equality and smartphones.

Ode to diversity

The story line of FIQ includes questions such as: how can I contribute to this complex and diverse world? ‘Circographer’ (or creative director) Maroussia Diaz Verbèke: “The quotes you get to see are from the acrobats themselves. It shows how they see and experience this modern world and which challenges they come across. It all starts in black – meaning uniformity and similarity – then comes the struggle of breaking out: how to literally add more colour to your life. There are so many differences in this world, so many clashing colours and people, but in the end, they can come together and make it work. FIQ is an ode to diversity.”

Smartphones on stage

Naturally, smartphones are an unmistakably important item in modern life, as in the opening show, where the acrobats effortlessly use it as a prop. Maroussia: “For some, those phones are a life partner; they are totally merged with it. For this production, I wanted to turn it around and make it into something poetic. Selfies, for example, are considered by many as superficial, but it’s also about showing who you are and what you do. To see yourself from your own perspective. There’re always two ways of looking at things, and in FIQ you constantly see this duality. Of course, physically expressed in astonishing acts that’ll blow you away.”

Dates: 29 April (7:30 PM), 30 April (7:30 PM)
Location: Theater Rotterdam (Schouwburgplein 25)


Other must-sees


A lot can happen during a train ride, especially when you’re travelling with Les 7 Doigts de la Main. This Canadian circus crew takes you on a spectacular high-speed train. Not everything goes according to the timetable, yet the delays are filled with impressive acrobatics on and with overhead line towers, luggage racks, lunch boxes and suitcases.

Dates: 2 April (8:15 PM), 3 April (3 PM)
Location: Theater Rotterdam (Schouwburgplein 25)


This production of the biggest circus group of Scandinavia is an amazing feel-good show. Cirkus Cirkör brings an ageless party, with a strong message: let yourself flourish, don’t hide, show yourself! With music of Van Beethoven and Bach, this act is simply a masterpiece. Teeterboard, perch, wire walking, rope, trapeze; you just don’t know where to look.

Dates: 29 April (3 PM), 30 April (3 PM), 1 May (3 PM & 8:15 PM), 2 May (3 PM)
Location: Chapiteau (Schouwburgplein)

Follow me

Ever thought of what you can do with a folding stool? Well, the possibilities appear to be endless. Be Flat, a Flemish urban acrobatics duo, surprises with an interactive outdoor show. This is next level climbing and scrambling with the street as a stage. One moment they hang upside down on a lamppost, the next they sit on top of a traffic sign.

Dates: 30 April (1:15 PM), 1 May (1:15 PM), 2 May (1:15 PM), 3 May (3:30 PM) 

Chouf le Chiel

The six acrobats of Colokolo let the audience jump for joy, because this is an urban circus of the highest level. There’s laughter and dancing, from hip-hop to traditional Moroccan dances. And the cinematic music makes it even more special. Colokolo doesn’t have a director, the artists themselves – all teeterboarders – form the creative force behind this show.

Dates: 29 April, 30 April, 1 May, 2 May (all 4:30 PM)
Location: De Doelen (Schouwburgplein 50)

Kader of bullit oid:
Circusstad Festival
29 April – 3 May


Foto’s Passagers:                             Francisco Cruz
Foto’s FIQ:                                         Hassan Hajjaj 
Foto’s Follow Me:                            Stefaan Beel / Jimmy Kets
Foto’s Tall Tales en algemeen:      Salih Kilic
Foto’s Bloom:                                    Klara G / Mats Backer
Foto’s Colokolo:                                Mara de Sario

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