Jabali African Acrobats

Jabali African Acrobats

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Jabali African Acrobats

Biography

JABALI AFRICAN ACROBATS

The Jabali African Acrobats are a never before seen entertainment revue from
the hearts of Africa that is for the first time touring America.

Originating in Mombassa, Kenya the Jabali Acrobats have performed in over 25 countries in the last ten years, including Australia, China, Korea, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. They have been performing in America since February of 1999 and have received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.
Their show can be up to one hour in length and blends what we have come to call “circus” acrobatics with popular dance moves set to live and taped African music. The result is an electrifying experience. What we have here is a re-evaluation of the variety arts which is as radical as that which happened to popular music in the late 1950’s: the culture of youth, with all its energy, vitality and rhythm has now taken over the circus.
It is already a well-established cliché in our minds what a circus looks like.
Even when examples break the mold, like the excitement which surrounded the Chinese-based circuses in the 1980’s or the Cirque du Soleil in the 1990’s, the paradigm was still the same: the music and over-all performance style was not in step with the culture that our youth and indeed what we ourselves, grew up with. As a result the circus has been diminished as a vital American cultural phenomenon.
Circuses, even the most avant-garde like Cirque du Soleil work on the European concept of “spectacle”. At its most glorious it is akin to watching a symphony. People want immediacy, they want in-your-face excitement. The reason that young people can’t relate to slow-pace of traditional circus performance is that they live in the same world that we do, which is fast-paced, rhythm driven environment of the MTV-generation. From Elvis Presley to Janet Jackson, the American culture that has so effectively transplanted itself around the world has been that of a “rhythm nation” which vanquishes all competitors.
As a result the success of the first Jabali tour has been both immediate and irreversible. These first six African acrobats came like thieves in the night into the American cultural scene and took it by storm. Within three months they had went from one NBA half-time show booking to a schedule which saw them perform for almost every NBA team once, and some twice and more. They were being called to open the tours for major recording stars like Monica, 98 Degrees and Blackstreet and getting rave reviews on the process. David Letterman took notice, and called for them to come on his show, which they did on July 21, 1999. Their calendar booked up fast and soon they were able to reach millions with their message.

ADAPTING THE MESSAGE

Because they are an experienced professional performing group the Jabali Acrobats can and have adapted their full performance to suit the needs of their clients. From young to old their reception by audiences has been “univer-soul”. For schools and children’s theatre there is an educational component in the show and, with a multicultural study guide furnished in advance for young audiences. In Europe, the Jabali Acrobats worked almost exclusively for corporate sales meetings and world cultural festivals. In America they open tours of recording stars and televised award ceremonies, perform half-time shows for the MBA, theaters, festivals, and schools and much more. Everyone, it seems, raves about these 6 guys form Kenya.
What’s the secret to their success? No one has ever seen traditional variety arts and circus skills done Africa-style. The show is like a high energy dance act, part Cirque du Soleil, part Harlem Globetrotters, which is, above all, fast paced and full of energy. People marvel at the teamwork displayed, the co-operation, which exemplifies the rewards of working together. They also have an uncanny ability to get people involved in their show, with conga lines, skipping, acrobatics, limbo and even hand-clapping and laughter.
When Matano Ismael, the leader of the group, put this circus show together 10 years ago he had no idea that it would lead to the success that they are presently experiencing in America. “We came off the plane thinking it was a gamble,” says Mantano. “In my country we have an expression, you only live once but you will die many more time second guessing yourself". So they paid for their visas and our airfares and have hustled with their manager just to get the ball rolling. Given the universal appeal of the show it is important to keep in mind how the Jabali Acrobats adapt the presentation for each audience that we play for.

The Jabali African Acrobats have recently performed at:

SIX FLAGS GREAT ADVENTURES SIX FLAGS ST LOUIS
VALLEY FAIR AMUSEMENT PARK ORANGE COUNTY FAIR
NEW STATE FAIR BUSCH GARDENS
ALASKA SATE FAIR TEXAS STATE FAIR
INDIANA STATE FAIR SAN DIEGO ZOO
WILD ADVENTURES AMUSEMENT PARK