Circus Kathmandu – A Circus With a Difference

Using the Nepali word for “dreams” or “aspirations” as its name, Sapana Social Circus Project offers marginalized children and youths the opportunity to develop performing skills in a safe and supportive environment. The need for such an organization came about when private organizations fighting against human trafficking rescued a number of Nepali children from circuses in India where they had been forced to perform after being kidnapped or sold into slavery. Although these children had been taught skills to entertain audiences, they lacked many basic rights, such as education, proper nutrition and a nurturing environment. Today, through the hard work and dedication of volunteers who care about them, these children are learning to use their skills to develop a positive and rewarding career.

Teaching methods at Sapana focus on the positive aspects of their skills, replacing traumatic experiences with agreeable ones. Volunteers from theaters and circuses around the world may work with the students from time to time, broadening their horizons and sharing positive experiences. Those who have received the benefit of training are encourage to train others and to be proactive in passing on a legacy of learning. In addition to assisting children and young people who have been rescued, Sapana runs a social outreach program in Kathmandu in which communities are made aware of the dangers of trafficking while helping children and youths to develop self-confidence and social skills.

Performers in the increasingly popular Circus Kathmandu were all at one time captives forced to perform, but now they choose to do so. Their acts include breathtaking aerial tricks and precision ground-based maneuvers, weaving traditional Nepali story-telling into their shows. For example, Circus Kathmandu’s show called Dakini tells the story of a man’s journey to retrieve a love he has lost. Using acrobatics, dancing techniques, exotic costumes and special effects, the performers draw the audience into a world where the forces of light and dark clash as the hero of the story battles in his quest.

Circus Kathmandu also offers a range of acts as entertainment at special events. These include skillful use of a hula hoop, juggling, contortion, balancing acts, stilt walking and aerial acts. They are even prepared to tailor-make costumes to suit the client’s event theme. Anyone attending a Circus Kathmandu performance or hiring the circus to entertain at an event, can do so with the knowledge that they will be helping to break the chains of bondage for many.