Chennai: The red dirt road winds through the landscape, dotted with foliage and a few scattered buildings. Further along, it narrows into a lane, which leads to Miracle, one of the many communities in Auroville — a universal township in the making — about 130km from Chennai.
She spent the next few years shuttling between India and France. In Auroville, she taught fire dance; in Europe, she performed as part of Elixir professional circus. For years, she requested Auroville for permission to build a circus school and finally, in 2011, she built it in her garden, throwing the doors open to students the next year.
Today, she has about 50 students, and conducts classes for children and adults. On a Friday afternoon, eight girls, including Kalou’s daughter, Asia, all aged between 9 and 12, are busy perfecting their moves. They work in twos, perfecting headstands, before climbing up the silk and manoeuvring around the trapeze. Most of them love the aerial acts, though it demands a lot of strength and flexibility. “You have to hang by your feet and it can really hurt,” says Asia, who also loves the hula hoop and unicycle.
Claire, who has been attending the class for the past three years, says it has improved her flexibility. “I am now learning the lyra — aerial hoop — but that’s more difficult,” says the 12-year-old.
Kalou’s school attracts students from as far as Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai. What is it that attracts them? Probably the mind-body connect that Kalou teaches. “Transformation, art, creativity, concentration, joy, balance, harmony, love, magic, happiness and divine light — you get all this, and that’s why I teach people circus,” says Kalou, who does it for the sheer passion.