Wide Angle

Marouane and Imane, two young acrobats trying to overcome the health crisis through street art

Marouane and Imane perform acrobatics in front of several traffic light intersections in the streets of Casablanca. The couple, who used to perform in several events, decided to undertake this move to overcome the health crisis and their financial difficulties following the banning of gatherings and festivals.

Imane and Marouane, Casablanca-based acrobats. / DR
Estimated read time: 3'

Although they grew up in the same neighborhood, acrobat duo Marouane and Imane met for the first time in 2016. Their love for street art brought them together, as they were both training for fire performances. «We decided after that to up our skills and learn circus performances from YouTube videos», the couple told Yabiladi.

To work out and learn new tricks, they used to meet in an empty area in their neighborhood. It was the only space that allowed them to practice their passion and explore their talent. Their friendship started around sports and turned into love.

After eight months of training, to master acrobatic movements, they decided to make this passion a job. In 2018, the couple joined the «Nomad theater troop in the Hay Mohammadi neighborhood». «Trained by professionals for months, we learned a set of movements that we used to find difficult to master previously», they recalled.

We used to practice at night and perform in front of a group of spectators in Marechal Square in Casablanca. After that, we started to tour Moroccan cities to play in the streets and we called our troop the «CasaArt». 

Street art together

After gaining more experience in the art of circus, they started receiving offers to participate in several events. «In the beginning, our livelihood was the street in addition to some small events, such as birthdays, but then we started receiving invitations to participate in big events», Imane said. Indeed, in 2018 they participated in the «Karan» festival in Oujda, and in 2019 at the «Cedars» festival in Khenifra.

The invitations were not limited to Morocco but were also coming from abroad. «In 2018 we got a work contract in a mall in Kuwait. We used to prepare and perform acrobatic shows. We spent four months there, and we returned to Morocco», the couple said. «We used to do shows in a several hotels. We worked there for about four or five months», they added.

«Before we received these offers from abroad, we used to receive the same offers here too, but for meager sums, we were despised, because we are street artists. They would think that as long as we accept small amounts from the street crowd, we have to accept anything», they regretted.

«Sometimes, event organizers feared us and refused to hire us because we are street artists, but after we got offers from abroad, things changed», the couple explained.

Imane believes that working in the street is not an easy thing, especially for girls. «I used to hear hurtful comments from some spectators and passersby», said the 24-year-old mother who had problems with her family because of her job.

«My mother did not really understand what I was doing and some people from our neighborhood went to her and told her that I was begging with a man (Marouane) in the streets. This angered my mother and hurt me».


«My mother was against the idea of working in the street, but what was complicating the matter was my work alongside a stranger, so Marouane and I decided to get married even though we were not financially prepared. We got married in 2017», Imane said.

In addition to these problems, the duo have also been harassed by authorities, who were preventing them from performing at the Marechal Square. «Everytime, we had our equipment and money seized», they regretted.

Hit by the health crisis

At a time when the reputation of the duo began to reach a large number of people, the health crisis happened. «Our situation went from bad to worse after all festivals and gatherings were cancelled and prohibited», they said. «We could no longer perform or pay the rent (…) So, we moved out to live with Marouane's father, despite his difficult financial situation», Imane said.

After the lockdown was lifted, they decided to resort to traffic lights and perform in front of drivers for a few seconds. They managed to win a special audience, but the harassment continued to haunt them wherever they went.

«We try to play in places that do not have surveillance cameras, because we get arrested every time we are spotted by the police», they said. «Every time, we are forced to stay 48 hours in the police station, and we are referred to the court, on charges of begging and sometimes on charges related to drugs, even though we do not consume drugs», they said.

«Our goal is to entertain people in exchange for a very small amount of money», Imane said, adding : «We are not troublemakers».

Despite all the troubles they are exposed to, they do believe that «the street for us is a place that welcomed us and taught us a lot of things which we could not learn in schools or on stage, not only on a professional level, but also on a personal one».

The duo called for «anyone who has a talent and wants to show it off to go for it» stressing that street art is by no means a form of begging.

Be the first one to comment on our articles...