IRC Centroamérica 2019 at Guatecirko
The IJA Regional Competition – IRC Central America 2019 was held at the Guatecirko Circus Festival in Mixco, Guatemala on the 12th of April. This was the 5th annual IRC held in the Central American region, and received more entries, from more countries and at a higher skill level than all previous years. 13 preliminary competitors participated from Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Florence Huet of France, Matan Presberg of the USA and Gonzalo Purvis of Argentina made up the preliminary judging panel. The competitor pool was narrowed down to 9 finalists once the prelim judges cast their votes.
Guatecirko Festival is held at a lovely retreat center in the city of Mixco, just outside Guatemala City. The 3 day festival was attended by approximately 150 people. This is the second time this festival has hosted IRC Central America. There were less attendees at this year’s event compared to 2017, but the professional focus and overall skill level appeared to be higher than the previous year.
The competition was held in the festival’s main practice space. A stage was constructed throughout the day by the festival team hanging black curtains, laying down black floor material and setting up lights and sound. By the time they finished, the stage had a professional and polished look. After technical rehearsal, the audience packed into the room filling all available sitting space. Erin Stephens and Jorge Vilchis, the IRC Directors, went backstage to hype up the competitors and wish everyone good luck. This culminated with a huge cheer and all the competitors jumping up and down together behind the curtain, ready to start the show!
The performances were beautiful, featuring a wide array of props, styles and skill levels. Clubs, balls, contact juggling, hoops, hats, diabolo and even a trombone were all featured in the acts. The audience was amazingly warm and supportive of the acts, with Nohelia Zúniga of Nicaragua and Richi Fallas of Costa Rica earning the standing ovations of the evening. Another thing to note was how supportive all of the competitors were of each other. They said that back stage during the show everyone was positive and cheering each other on, and as the final act performed, all other performers ran up and gave him a huge group hug in congratulations.
The audience and fellow competitors erupted in applause and support as the medalists were announced:
Gold Medal: Richi Fallas Montero of Costa Rica
Silver Medal: Nohelia Zúniga of Nicaragua
Bronze Medal: Bryan Argueta of El Salvador
This year, thanks to the donations of a charity called Pure Circus, the IJA was able to bring in a media person to do professional documentation of the IRC Central America. The IJA invited talented juggler and video creator, Taylor Glenn, to be the official media person. Taylor attended both the IRCs in Guatemala and Mexico to record the competitions and create highlights videos of the medalists and events.
We are excited to release the first highlights video in celebration of World Juggling Day. This video does an amazing job of documenting the talent and emotions of the IRC, as well as it also the Guatemalan culture and Guatecirko Festival. We hope you enjoy it and that it gives you a deeper insight into the IJA Regional Competition – and the passion, creativity and inspiration they are helping to bring in the international juggling community.