By Dominique Jando
The Tangier Troupe is one of many Moroccan tumblers' troupe whose composition—and even name—may change according to their engagements. Similarly, such troupes may disappear and reappear with different leaders. There have been, and will be, many troupes working under that name.
In Morocco, tumbling and building human pyramids is an ancient folk art, which dates back to the Middle Ages—and perhaps even long before that. Moroccan troupes of tumblers traditionally perform in public squares, during local festivals. Their repertoire is well defined, and varies little: a series of more or less elaborate human pyramids, culminating in the strong man of the group holding the largest possible number of his partners on and around himself, and a display of tumbling by each member of the troupe, whose quality depends on the talent of each individual.
The Tangier Troupe featured here was under the leadership of Hassan Ousrout, who began to learn acrobatic tumbling at age eleven, under the guidance of his uncle—who was himself fourth generation of a family of Moroccan acrobats. They were featured in 1987-1988 in the Big Apple Circus production of 1001 Nights At The Big Apple Circus.
- Video: The Tangier Troupe, Moroccan Tumblers, in the Big Apple Circus production of 1001 Nights At The Big Apple Circus (1987)