Taking circus back to families

Christine Chapman, daughter Isabella, 3, and Ezequiel Sosa have made circus life a family affair.

For Christine and Ezequiel the circus has become something of a family affair. Now they are hoping to share their love of performing and entertaining with other families across Cape Town.

Christine Chapman started her career with Zip Zap Circus in Cape Town where she trained in trapeze. After travelling for a bit, she ended up back in Cape Town, first with Madame Zingara and now with the Grifizzi Brothers. The pair are part of a show called The Story of the Moon which is running until July 23, in Fish Hoek.

“It’s just something that I’ve really always had a passion for and I’ve always done. I went to school but after school and on weekends I went to Zip Zap and trained,” said Christine. “I think if you love doing it, you are going to push and make a success out of it. The two of us (were) born to be on stage. We’ve just always loved it.

“I started when I was so young. My parents used to take me to school and circus over the weekend. It’s something they’ve learnt to accept. They let me do what I want because they saw how happy it made me.”

Christine met her partner Ezequiel Sosa while working at Madame Zingara. He had been working with his family, travelling around Europe and performing at different circus venues. Originally from Argentina, he has been living in Cape Town for the past four years. “I’m a second generation circus artist. I studied dance in Argentina and practised… all my family did that. I grew up with this.”

After his initial training, he moved to Europe where he worked in France for eight years.

“The people from Madame Zingara then contacted my cousin and we came here four and a half years ago.”

The couple say the show, which is animal-free, is aimed at all ages.

They’ve started the new venture with several other partners. Christine added: “We had great support, but it’s not easy. We are trying to do something new and different. It is now about a family show and creating an environment for kids but for adults as well so everyone can enjoy it.”

Christine and Ezequiel’s daughter, Isabella, is now three and already loves the stage. But her parents say they will let her make her own decisions if she wants to pursue it as a career. “I prefer if she decides for herself. I don’t want want to push her. She likes to be on stage,” said Ezequiel.

Christine said her advice for young people looking to pursue a career in the field was to follow their dreams. “You have to believe and commit and do it. It’s about finding somewhere to train.

“You just have to push and go for it. I think that’s how we both did it. It’s not an easy lifestyle and the people that eventually get on stage have to work hard. Behind the scenes it’s late nights and early mornings. Lots of practice and rehearsals. It’s hard but it is rewarding as well.”

Christine added that there would be more shows in Cape Town but they hoped to establish the circus nationwide.

The Story of the Moon is presented in a small top tent at the Athletics club in Fish Hoek until July 23 on Thursdays and Fridays at 2pm and 5pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays at 11am, 2pm and 5pm. Tickets are R120 each.

For more information and bookings, call 071 400 2250 or go to www.thegrifizzibrothers.com