Camp ZinZanni Begins

By Alison Sargent, Camp ZinZanni Counselor

Today marked a historic event in the Kingdom of ZinZanni – the very first day of the very first session of Camp ZinZanni. With tables and chairs cleared away, Seattle’s spiegeltent takes on a whole new character, beginning a double-life as a schoolroom by day and a showroom by night. And like everything ZinZanni, the camp promises to be filled with love, a whole lot of chaos and a few snacks.

To kick off the week, parents and kids received a grand welcome, complete with balloons and a mini performance from Sergiy Krutikov (our Siberian juggling instructor), and a large group introduction to what Teatro ZinZanni is all about. Then we said “goodbye” to parents so the real fun could begin. The kids were separated into their groups for the week – air, water, and fire – and given either a yellow, blue, or red tee shirt to match their element.

The morning was spent learning – and for some kids perfecting – juggling. As it turned out, several of the kids were already pros, capable of juggling five balls and clubs! But, with a juggling guru like Sergiy around there are always new challenges ahead. The next time Teatro ZinZanni needs new recruits, Camp Zinzanni is definitely the place to look. Then, as added inspiration, we enjoyed a performance from their teacher himself, Sergiy Krutikov, who proved that you can juggle just about anything – including hats and cigars and rolled up gloves.

In the afternoon the kids were left at the mercy of the wild imagination of Doloreze Leonard (Teatro ZinZanni’s original Madame ZinZanni), who took them outside into the fresh air and turned them into tigers, monkeys, refrigerators, and the color green. The kids worked in groups to create movements inspired by their element which they will incorporate into their final performance on Saturday. They also learned to sing the official Camp ZinZanni song, with original lyrics by Doloreze, sung to the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. Doloreze also gave us some props to play with, and we learned that one can easily turn a blow up giraffe into a stylish chapeau, or a coat hanger into a bow and arrow.

By the end of the day, kids, counselors, and staff were all wiped out, but even then, many kids had a hard time putting down their juggling balls for the evening. It was an action-packed day – a little hectic, but undoubtedly a success.

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