VOOMA! –presented by Zip Zap Circus

Where: Zip Zap Dome (Artscape precinct-10 Jan Smuts Street)

When: May 27 and 28 and June 3 and 4, 2023- two shows each day noon and 4pm
Tickets: R125
Bookings: Quicket  
Group bookings: Discount packages available for fundraisers. Email events@zip-zap.co.za  for more info
Watch VOOMA! Trailer here: (51) VOOMA! Zip Zap Circus Trailer – YouTube    

Event info: Doors open an hour before the show starts. Seating is unreserved raked seating, available on a first come first served basis. Refreshments are available. This is a cash free event. Credit/debit cards and SnapScan only.        

Vooma! – the new show by Zip Zap Circus- is a wow. Vooma! is polished, fun and full of ‘vooma’- the South African expression which evokes vitality, spiritedness, joy, exuberance and energy.  Vooma marks another triumph for Cape Town’s Zip Zap Circus.

Vooma! opened to peals of joy and standing ovations on the weekend of May 27 and 28, 2023. The season continues June 2 and 3, 2023 in the Zip Zap Dome, which is adjacent to Artscape. It is the 31st year of existence for the internationally recognized social circus. Recently [late 2022 and into 2023], Zip Zap’s professional company wowed audiences on an international tour of Europe, with its show, Rhapsody, which included a season at Cirque Phénix in Paris.  Audiences went wild and now Cape Town audience are being treated to the premiere season of Vooma! It is an extravaganza which includes juggling, aerial silks, tumbling, clowning, double strap, rolla bolla and comedy acrobatic bench. Not only do the young artists nail circus arts, but they can dance – stunning choreography by Adele Fisher.

Vooma! features the young contingent of Zip Zap artists from its Zappers and Dare2 programmes and also includes cameo performances by Zip Zap company members- veteran artists, Jason Barnard and Trompie (aka Jacobus Claasen) and young stars, Phelelani Ndakroka and Vuyani Lottering.

Vooma! is a remarkable show. It is extraordinary to consider that these are the young artists in action and not the professional company. Zip Zap was established as a social circus. By definition, this is circus which is geared to development of community and social cohesion. Social circus is inclusive in that anyone may become involved at no charge and it provides creative expression for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Often it is the energy and expression of circus as a medium which is core in social circus. However, Zip Zap has been bringing artistic excellence to its shows with its emerging performers – with exceptional production levels in terms of design (costumes, lighting), music and concept.

Vooma! is emblematic of Zip Zap’s ethos as social circus and its zeal for artistic excellence. Most of the acts, feature more than one performer and one can see the focus in how the artists support each other – physically – holding, catching, balancing and emotionally – cuing each other in and teasing out comedic moments. Their mutual care is evident as they watch each other at all times – ensuring safety – so that each act proceeds seamlessly. I was transfixed by the artistry, concentration and team-work of Nombulelo Ngemntu and Morgan Moult on double Lyra. [Lyra are the aerial hoops in circus, also referred to as ‘cerceau’ – basically steel hula-hoops].Their concentration, strength and artistry is beguiling. We see an extravaganza of acrobatic tumbling and then fabulous clowning. Jugglers dazzle and the next thing, they are balancing and standing on each-others’ shoulders. A spectacular acrobatic adagio, culminates in a towering human pyramid.  This act is layered with exquisite acro-balance and acro-dance – what one would expect in professional circus and here we have it all in Vooma!

A revelation is seeing the amazing Bridgette Berning. She is in her final year of the Dare2Dream Programme and was part of the Rhapsody company. It is thrilling to watch her – solo on aerial silks –and with the ensemble company. Amy Wood who is responsible for digital marketing at Zip Zap, takes on the role of MC – what we used to call ‘ringmaster’ in old style circus. She is terrific at warming up the young crowd and chats briefly about Zip Zap and its origins as a social circus.

Vooma! is geared for young audiences but people of all ages will love the spectacle and extravaganza of the acts. Bravo to the talented young Zip Zap artists and to the veteran Zip Zappers who make stunning cameo performances. The soundtrack is upbeat and inspirational.  I loved Elton John’s I am Still Standing – with the adagio/pyramid act -which reverberates, for me in terms of Zip Zap’s vison over three decades – developing this extraordinary social circus as a space for creative and artistic excellence and its resilience in continuing to create through the pandemic- initially online and then live, with socially distanced masked audiences. Here we are- 2023- Zip Zap Circus flying high with Vooma in its Dome in Cape Town. During the pandemic, seating pivoted to picnic style to enable people to sit in socially distanced bubbles. Now for the first time, after lockdown, Zip Zap has been able to put in raked seating in the Dome and play to over 600 a show. Vooma! is a joy to watch.

Adagio-pyramid: Shyleen Chavula and Sarah Roff supported by Craig Nyakapanga, Liyabona Makhele, Akho Narwele, Jason Barnard and Luqmaan Benjamin- Vooma! by Zip Zap Circus, Cape Town. Pic: Joan Ward.
Acro-bench: Lukhanyo Samson and Matthew Risk – bench act – Vooma! by Zip Zap Circus, Cape Town. Pic: Joan Ward.

Images by Joan Ward – supplied. Featured image: Nombulelo Ngemntu and Morgan Moult – double lyra -in Vooma! by Zip Zap Circus- pics from the FDR- June 2023.

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