by Lilith Schaap
Eleven circus artists from different European countries. Five Spanish. One teacher. Vegan food. A week long training. The subject? Contemporary Dance and Wellness Techniques for a Circus Training Practice. With at the end of a week of training… a circus festival in the little town Sot de Chera. The week is led by Roseta Plasencia Fenollosa. She has a background in acting, dancing and
choreography and shares her knowledge during the week. Her interest in the body and its limits made her explore different circus and wellness techniques. She is specialized in trapeze and yoga. During the week Roseta teaches various techniques for stretching, manipulation and body awareness. She uses exercises from Pilates, Yoga and Contemporary Dance.
There are choreographed dances that the students practice during the week. Every day the movements get more elaborated and complicated. Students master more and more. Playful dance exercises make a good balance with the choreographed dancing. There are a lot of improvisational exercises around weight, rhythm, balance and unbalance. At the end of the day the students look forward to relaxing their bodies with stretching, massaging and manipulation.
The KAOTIK festival takes place in Sot de Chera, a little village nestled in the mountains of the surrounding national park. It is the third time the circus festival is held. Artists and visitors come from far to attend the festival. On Friday evening bonfires light up (and warm up!) the town. A music group meanders through the narrow streets. People gather and while dancing follow the musicians. At the small square of the town the orchestra stops.
The festival consist of a collaboration between Hogueras and the circus. Concerts, a market, parades, cabaret and fire make a wonderful mix and complete each other. The weekend is full of activities. A dazzling circus show with three sensual presenters, Czech jugglers with enormous mustaches, luminous hoops lighting up the stage in changing shapes. Workshops in acro-yoga, urban dance and acrobatics. Devils walk through the streets while their fireworks rain down on the audience. The stalls on the market sell handmade soaps, cakes, incense and belts from recycled tires. Concerts from big bands to single singers fill big and small stages.
The entire week is a mixture of learning, sharing experiences, inspiration and art in different forms and shapes. People leave with new bonds, new skills and good memories.
Robyn is a Bristol-based director, teacher and performer. With over 20 years experience she is a passionate practitioner of clowning, physical theatre, circus and street arts. She has a MA in Circus Directing, a Diploma of Physical Theatre Practice and trained with a long line of inspiring teachers including Holly Stoppit, Peta Lily, Giovanni Fusetti, Jon Davison, Zuma Puma and Deanna Fleysha.
Robyn has collaborated with companies including Let’s Circus, The Sexual Health Circus and Whispering Wood Folk and performed with acclaimed physical theatre companies including, Derevo, Akhe, Oceanallover, and Gappad as well as her own award-winning company, Fun in the Oven Theatre.
During the pandemic in 2020, Robyn set up The Online Clown Academy with Holly Stoppit and developed a series of Zoom Clown Courses. Robyn’s research, started during her Masters, has been exploring the meeting point of clowning and activism, online, in the real world and with international collaborators. With this drive to explore political edges of her work she has also dived back into the world of the Bouffon; training with Jaime Mears, Bim Mason, Nathaniel Justiniano, Eric Davis, Tim Licata, Al Seed and the grand master Bouffon-himself; Philippe Gaulier. She has also set up the Laboratory of the Un-beautiful; a collaboration with Deborah Antoinette Bard, exploring the bouffon & grotesque with womxn theatre makers.