Guest Blog: Wires Crossed ‘A Balancing Act for Europe’
> Ulla Hokkanen
The Second Wires Crossed Erasmus+ Project Kicks Off
By Claire Sheehan & Ulla Hokkanen
Last week, Galway Community Circus kicked off its second Erasmus+ strategic partnership project for Wires Crossed – A Balancing Act for Europe. Partners from Belgium, Germany and France visited Galway for five days of meetings attended by representatives from Ecole de Cirque de Bruxelles, CABUWAZI, Galway Community Circus and Galway 2020. The project’s technical team Denis Josselin and Bruno Frenette from Le Centre Européen de Funambulisme and Bryan Donaldson from High Performance Productions were also in attendance.
2020 is fast approaching and we are already at the Level 2 stage in the journey into this ambitious and inspiring project. Last year, we ran the first ‘training for trainers’ course, which gave the first 12 European trainers the competencies to teach funambulism (tightwire walking) at lower heights of up to 2.5 meters. During last week’s meetings, the project partners officially kicked off the second Erasmus+ funded project, which provides further training for the 12 trainers over a period of 19 months, so that they can teach participants at heights up to 4 meters and further their technical and rigging skills.
“Our partners in Berlin, Youth Circus School CABUWAZI use funambulism to integrate young refugees into the local community working towards a large crossing of the Berlin Wall in Autumn 2019 as part of Wires Crossed.”
The Wires Crossed project has secured €140,000 of Erasmus+ funding to date through the Irish National Agency Léargas, with further European applications pending. This new funding allows the project partners to provide professional development for youth circus trainers who provide workshops for local young people developing their physical and mental wellbeing. Wires Crossed workshops have started in Galway, Brussels and Berlin where local children, young people and adult participants learn the basics of funambulism. Partners of Wires Crossed are youth and social circus schools which aim for social, personal and community development through circus arts. The Wires Crossed project aims to reach out to the most vulnerable in society. For example, our partners in Berlin, Youth Circus School CABUWAZI use funambulism to integrate young refugees into the local community working towards a large crossing of the Berlin Wall in Autumn 2019 as part of Wires Crossed.
“In a world of chaos and uncertainty, funambulism gives us all an opportunity to trust in ourselves and face our fears with grace, awareness and strength.”
Funambulism is at once a spectacular circus art that is accessible to people of all ages and abilities, and a powerful mindfulness tool that promotes mental and physical well-being. Walking on a wire conveys a sense of ease and simplicity, yet it requires balance, courage and determination. In a world of chaos and uncertainty, funambulism gives us all an opportunity to trust in ourselves and face our fears with grace, awareness and strength. Master of Funambulism for 35 years, Denis Josselin from France, is the pedagogic expert in Wires Crossed and visited Galway for the fourth time in the space of a year last week. For him, this journey to Galway and this project is not about the end destination, but the journey itself on the construction of the project and the beauty and joy of teaching and working with the students of funambulism. Already during the first year of Wires Crossed, we can see how the participants have been inspired and transformed by Denis’s unique and uplifting look on funambulism and life. Galway has become a second home to Denis and he can’t wait to spend more time here.
In the lead-up to 2020, Wires Crossed partners will teach funambulism to thousands of people throughout Europe, culminating in a spectacle of 400 people crossing the River Corrib and Claddagh Basin in August 2020. The Wires Crossed project is accessible to ordinary people without any previous skills or experience. ‘The sensation is as close as possible to being a real life super hero.’ Says Tony Mahon, one of the Wires Crossed trainers from Galway Community Circus.
Galway Community Circus is hosting a variety of funambulism / (tightwire walking) workshops for all levels from the ages of 10+ this summer and into autumn.
This coming weekend – workshops are available for adults who want to try it out.
14th-15th July – Explorer – 10am-1pm, 2pm-5pm – Adults
14th September – Taster – 12pm-5pm – All ages
15th-16th September – Explorer – 10am-1pm, 2pm-5pm – Families
This project is generously supported by Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, Erasmus+, HSE, The Ireland Funds and Slackline Ireland. Contribution towards insurance to be paid at registration:
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/602286513473684/
Wires Crossed FB page: https://www.facebook.com/wcrossed/