Pale Juu NeXt: Update Number Two

So much has been happening in Pale Juu NeXt that it’s hard to believe the training phase is over and the rehearsals have begun.

On Tuesday 20th of November, 22 proud core Pale Juu students received certificates to mark their completion of the training phase.

Even more nerve racking was Thursday the 22nd of November, audition day. Students were informed to show talents they would like to perform in the Pale Juu NeXt show and that their act must have a story. It was truly an opportunity for them to independently create new and different circus acts. I was completely blown away by their skills and abilities, I was able to see things I didn’t know our students could do, and indeed things I have never seen before in any show anywhere in the world. After much discussion with acrobat trainer, John Washika and dance teacher, Gabriel Simbine, we selected our cast of 22 performers for the Pale Juu NeXt show.

See photos of the audition day here, taken by professional photographer Jennifer Huxta. Check out her other work at

Rehearsals have been going very well. Cast members have formed groups to perform their specialty aerial and ground acts. Our musician Charleti and dance teacher Gabriel Simbine have been working closely together with the cast to create strong and passionate African dance movements to live drumming.

We have also been engaging in discussions on peace, what peace means and how peace is achieved. This theme is very topical in Kenya at the moment as general elections will be held next March and the last elections in 2007 unfortunately saw rioting and bloodshed in Nairobi and other parts of Kenya. The bloodshed of 2007/8 still has implications today. We are all hoping and praying for peace.

The theme of the show will be peace. I am very excited by the possibilities to collaboratively create a new piece of contemporary circus with our 22 talented young cast members, our dance teacher Gabriel, musician Charleti and acrobat trainer Washika.

Last but not least Penny Campbell our technical director has arrived from Australia. She has brought with her equipment to enhance the lighting of the show at the newly upgraded Sarakasi Dome Theatre. She has also transported two brand new aerial silks which Vertical Circus will donate to the Sarakasi Trust, so that the artists and students can continue to practice, learn and perform the aerial arts once the project has concluded. Penny will light our shows, run workshops in lighting design and operation and is herself a trapeze enthusiast.

She is just as impressed as I always am by the talent in Kenya and also the friendliness of the students and trainers alike.

Everyone at Vertical Circus and Pale Juu NeXt wishes you all a safe and Happy Christmas. Till next year,

Catherine Daniel