24 August 2016
La Pli I Donn showcases the acrobatic and musical talents of four international circus performers from Reunion Island, Madagascar and South Africa. Lizo James, a Capetonian that has reached international fame from humble beginnings at Zip Zap Circus, is part of the awe-inspiring show that will be performed at Zip Zap Circus on 21 September 2016. [Photo credit: Kamboo]
“I joined Zip Zap when I was eleven years old, and in that same year I performed in my first international show in Denmark. Thanks to my involvement with Zip Zap, I have had the incredible opportunity to work with international circuses such as Cirque Phénix in France and Cirquons Flex in Reunion Island,” says James.
In 2014 Cirquons Flex contacted Zip Zap: they were looking for professional performers to include in their international show. “I compiled a short video displaying my performing, singing and percussionist skills. They selected me and to this day I am very grateful,” exclaims James. “My years with Zip Zap have taught me the importance of being responsible, making the right choices and setting an example. This groundwork has opened many new doors for me over the years.”
Born in Khayelitsha and having grown up in a community with many socioeconomic challenges, James is enthused to give back to the community by inspiring hope and joy in other children. He does this by teaching social circus, where circus arts are used to bring about social good and positive change. “Since 2008 I have been actively involved in sharing knowledge and training wherever we perform. In 2009 I taught social circus in Australia to Aboriginal children, and in 2011 I became involved with Ibhongolwethu, Zip Zap’s outreach programme in Khayelitsha,” James continues. The Ibhongolwethu programme started in 2005 with the aim of uplifting and empowering children living with HIV, and to give them something exciting to look forward to every week. The children, who receive anti-retroviral medication, are exposed to a variety of games and are taught circus skills that focus on their mental, physical and emotional development. These children are now part of Zip Zap’s weekly outreach programmes.
James is excited to showcase his international performing talents to his family and friends in Cape Town on 21 September 2016 when La Pli I Donn will be performed at Zip Zap Circus. “I will be able to bring together both of my passions: my family and performing. I truly love what I do and it is a dream of mine to travel around the world, teaching and performing at different circus schools.”
La Pli I Donn, meaning ‘it’s pouring with rain’ in Reunion Creole, showcases the diversities of the Indian Ocean region. Reunion Island, Madagascar and South Africa are geographically close to each other, yet each country is rich in its own influences and characteristics. “This show is a mix of circus performance, traditional and fusional dances, music and visual recordings. I am representing South Africa by speaking isiXhosa, my mother tongue, and performing a traditional gumboot dance. This is a fantastic show with a lot of emotion, and I urge everyone to come and see it,” comments James.
After this show, James will be travelling to France and Switzerland for two months, performing for the French Gedera Circus. “I want to encourage our youth to never stop believing, and to work hard at achieving your dreams. Focus on what makes you happy in life, take it by both hands, and shine!” concludes James.
Tickets for the La Pli I Donn show is available at www.zip-zap.co.za. They cost R160 online, and R180 at the door. The show is taking place on Wednesday, 21 September 2016 at 18:00 at Zip Zap Circus, Founders Garden, Jan Smuts Street, Cape Town.
To make tax deductible donations to Zip Zap, visit the website www.zip-zap.co.zacontact 021 421 8622 or donate via Thundafund here. Find Zip Zap on Facebook www.facebook.com/zipzapcircus and check out the Zip Zap YouTube channel here to find out more.