Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Circus Elleboog

On Monday we visited Circus Elleboog, the local youth circus. Their main building is right in the center of the city, but they work at dozens of sites all over Amsterdam. We were amazed to hear some of the facts about this organization:
It's a non-profit which has been around for 60 years! 30 years in their current building.
The vast majority of their funding is from the government, grants and contributions. A tiny fraction comes from student fees.
Their students range from about age 6 to age 22. They teach 1100 kids per week in all of their different locations and programs.
They pride themselves on Social Circus, using circus to connect communities and bring strong values to kids – self-esteem, a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging.

We actually had the experience of working with a group of Elleboog kids at the Totem tent last week. Cirque du Soleil brought them in for workshops, as a Cirque du Monde outreach program. It was a nice experience for the Totem artists, having a chance to teach, and to meet some kids from the community.

Here is a picture of Bert, the facility manager, showing us the archives area of Elleboog - they keep photo albums of the entire 60-year history of the school! He was one of the people who gave us a really nice tour of the space, explaining the workings of the school.

It is so exciting for me to visit places like this, to see first-hand how circus education is being done in other parts of the world.


  1. What does Elleboog mean? When I first saw the post title I thought it was going to be an Issa story.

  2. That is so funny that you asked - I assumed it meant nothing at all, just a name - so I looked it up in my Dutch dictionary - it means ELBOW! :)

    1. My friend was a member in the 1950s. He tells me that it was named "Elbow" to parallel the name of a Swiss circus named "Knee" (Knie).

  3. I'm leaning on my elleboogs right now reading this.