Don’t Close the Curtains on Kenya’s Acrobats

They Fly Through the Air and Build Human Pyramids to Tourists’ Delight. But the Performers Struggle for Recognition and Financial Stability

It’s showtime at one of Kenya’s five-star resort hotels.

Tourists from around the world move in small groups to the performance area next to the pool to see the evening’s headliner: Burning Spear Acrobats.*

The five members showcase the art and skill of Kenyan acrobatics. They adjust themselves into elaborate human pyramids. They fly through the air in perfect synchronicity as the ropes turn in opposite directions during the double rope skipping act. And they create an impressive tower of stacking chairs and hand balance from one to another to great heights.

Their …

Our Favorite Essays of 2023 | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Our Favorite Public Programs of 2023

It Was a Year of Hard-Hitting Conversations, a Traveling Public Square, and Even a Dance Party


It’s Zócalo’s 20th birthday, and we hit the two decade milestone running—we hosted 21 events in 2023 to fulfill our mission of connecting people to ideas and to each other.

At …

Photographer Catherine Opie

We Have to Put Everything Into Our Fight for Trans Rights

Catherine Opie is an artist and educator working with photography, film, collage, and ceramics. Opie’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is held in over 50 major …

Artist and Educator Suzanne Lacy

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Suzanne Lacy is an artist, educator, writer, and professor at the USC Roski School of Art and Design. Before taking part in the Zócalo, Thomas Mann House, and L.A. Review …

MOCA Director Johanna Burton

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Johanna Burton is an art historian, critic, curator, and the Maurice Marciano Director of The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Before taking part in the Zócalo, Thomas Mann House, and …