An aerialist and clowns’ “club” that has struggled for years in its historic Peruvian home building has received a lease for one of the spaces it owns in New York City.
PeruvianCirque, the group that operates under the name Cirque de the Clouds, held its first performances in the Manhattan business district on Monday.
Leaders of the parent company, Cirque de Amazonas, said they’ve been without a New York space for nearly a decade, and the decision to start working with Hotel Desire was the direct result of the PeruvianCirque application. The organization’s low-budget shows ran to about $25,000 a performance. But with the leases set to expire June 30, 2016, the new space will allow them to adapt to their future needs without sacrificing a key cog in the successful Cirque model.
“One of the ideas is to host performances for as long as it takes to kind of build out what their own aesthetic will be,” said Mary Raftery, part of the team that took over operations at Hotel Desire. The hotel will provide the permanent space, she said.
Cirque de Amazonas’ PeruvianCirque has nearly 200 members on staff, including 20 aerialists who perform during the shows. Members are paid about $30 a day per show, said Juanita Granados, a Peruvian Cirque performer who came to the States three years ago. Living in Central Park, she said, has helped build the social and artistic communities that are needed.
“The passion that we do has a lot of energy,” she said. “I love to think that people come from all different walks of life. You can also think of this in a more serious way as a story or a circus. And what we do with human enhancement is phenomenal.”
Granados, 40, came from Tacna, Peru, in 2004 to pursue her dream of becoming an aerialist. Her experience led her to the Peruvian Cirque’s Circuso program, which teaches circus to underserved youth in Peru.
“Here it’s not so much about education as to see that we are have incredible teachers,” Granados said. “You’re not leaving without a lot of knowledge. You’re not leaving with that physical strength. … Just understanding and having the desire to learn and the dedication to see it through.”
Perhaps even more important, she said, is the opportunity to share the stories of her Peruvian Cirque colleagues.
“We have amazing figures of volunteers,” she said. “When I was talking to the younger ones about the stage, I say, ‘You’re more than a performer. You’re more than a performer because you’re a storyteller. You’re a journalist.’ We provide the opportunity for kids in Peru to experience a team not only to perform, but to learn from the other side. … We do activities that bring the community together. We do events that bring the community together.”
PeruvianCirque’s short performances in Washington featured aerialists from the group’s Cirque de Amazonas and PeruvianCirque, a theater company based in Peru. Almost 30 dancers from the group performed the mixed dance and acrobatic routine for which the PeruvianCirque is known. Cirque de Amazonas performers Fanny Costa, 34, and Lily Glorioso, 35, entertained with the traditional dance they learned from their rural Peruvian culture.
Costa, who moved to Peru in 2006, said the PeruvianCirque has been the best living situation she has found so far.
“It’s been one of the best things that I could ever think of,” Costa said. “It’s interesting to be here because you’re surrounded by wonderful cultures and incredible arts and talented people and great people. The people are different, the dynamics are different. … It’s amazing how we’re able to bring a tapestry together. We do projects here that play in Peru, in the United States and in Asia. It’s amazing that you can connect people all around the world with a piece of art.”