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Circus groups unite

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2012
Auckland Community Circus
JASON OXENHAM

COMMUNITY BUILDING: Members of the Auckland Community Circus practise ahead of its performance at the Santa Parade on Sunday.

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A performance group that brings together diverse sections of the community is hoping it can have a similar unifying effect on its next audience.

The Auckland Community Circus will showcase its skills and teamwork ahead of the Santa Parade on Sunday in what will be one of its biggest performances to date.

Made up of several different groups who train independently of each other but unite for public performances, the circus has a diverse membership, including children, adults, able-bodied and disabled and people with mental health issues.

Co-ordinators Thomas Hinz and Frances Kelliher say bringing together so many different people broadens the horizons of each member.

For example when young children train with a group of deaf adults who communicate mostly through sign language there is an exchange of world views and experiences that few classrooms can offer.

The hope is that people who see the disparate units of the circus work as one will also experience a similar mind expansion.

"We're not just working with one age group or one type of people," Mr Hinz says.

"It's quite beneficial to have a lot of different groups bringing their strengths and specialties and combining them.

"That is what our circus is . . . it's not primarily the entertainment, for us primarily it is the community and then the circus, and how we support and challenge each other and grow together."

The circus has had successful performances this year and Mr Hinz says audiences respond well to what they see on stage.

"It really touches the heart, the stories that people have told."

Mr Hinz promises a lively performance from the circus, with many of the classic circus acts on show.

The group is divided into three sections.

The objects team will juggle and use streamers, the body balance crew will walk the tightrope, ride unicycles and perform acrobatics and there will also be a theatrical performance component.

The 30-strong circus will be walking the Christmas parade route an hour before the main parade, kicking off at Aotea Square at 12.45pm before heading down Queen St and back up Albert St.

The main parade starts at 2pm. The rain date for the event is December 2.

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- Central Leader

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