GALLERY: Zuzu Acrobats wow crowd at City College

The Tanzanian troupe balanced, contorted, danced and hammed it up for the first live on-campus event of the spring semester


Kathy Archibald

A long-empty Curran Plaza came to life with a performance by the Zuzu Acrobat troupe as a part of the World Cultures Program at San Diego City College on Feb. 22. The Tanzanian performers enticed an audience of students and faculty, teaching them phrases in Swahili, inviting the audience to participate, while performing gravity-defying physical feats. Photo by Kathy Archibald/City Times Media

Kathy Archibald and Kathryn Gray

San Diego City College students whooped and hollered as the Zuzu Acrobats performed in Curran Plaza on Feb. 22 for the first live event of the spring semester.

The event, perfectly timed between rain showers, was sponsored by the World Cultures Program and kicked off with opening remarks by Mike Espar, assistant professor of music and World Cultures Program director.

Four members of the Tanzanian troupe balanced on chairs and unicycles, danced and drummed, and encouraged the group to join in with call-and-response chants and rhythms.

Early in the show, the acrobats drew City College music production student Charlie Sebastian from the crowd to participate in their jump rope performance.

“That was amazing,”  Sebastian said. “The skill and the focus that takes. And the rhythm. Especially the guy on the bike and the (unicycle). He was dancing the whole time.”  

The Zuzu Acrobats delighted the audience of a few dozen students, faculty and staff passing by between classes, which largely returned to class this week.

Using everyday items like bowls, bicycles and umbrellas as props, the acrobats balanced and bent their bodies to wide-eyed onlookers. 

According to their website, the Zuzu Acrobats base their performances on 2000 years of Bantu culture, bringing their art, talent and passion from Tanzania.

“Each member of the cast has received special instructions from elders in the Bagamoyo Arts and Cultural Institute to perform these ancient traditions to audiences around the world,” according to their website.

To learn about upcoming World Cultures Program events click here.

For other Black History Month events at City College click here.