5

Education and training

As already mentioned, contemporary circus and street arts are not very well established forms in the Czech Republic, and this fact is evident in the lack of formalised education.

Street Arts

There is no special education programme for street arts in the Czech Republic. Professionals emerge from the Academy of Performing Arts – originating in virtually all the departments there, including dramaturgy, stage design, dramatic theatre, and puppet theatre. Many artists also come from art schools.

Contemporary Circus

There is no professional accredited circus school in the Czech Republic. Within university programmes in Prague you can find pantomime training at the Academy of Performing Arts, while Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno offers a unique programme devoted to clowning and physical theatre.

Circus artists ‘learn as they go’ during their creative work. The stage itself is their school. They attend different workshops and masterclasses both in the Czech Republic and abroad.

Cirqueon offers casual training through afternoon courses, weekend intensive workshops, and international masterclasses within the framework of multiple European education projects. Generally this latter category concerns education for teachers and creative masterclasses for artists. An important goal of Cirqueon is also to work with young people, and to prepare talented individuals for study at professional circus schools abroad. Cirqueon offers free training for registered professionals.

HAMU/The Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts – Department of Pantomime, Prague

The Department of Pantomime was founded at HAMU in 1992. It evolved out of a tradition of specialised study in the field of dance that was developed in the 1980s by Prof. Ladislav Fialka. After Prof. Fialka, Prof. Ctibor Turba continued the development of this feld and introduced the wider concept of non-verbal theatre and comedy. Ctibor Turba was instrumental in advancing the field of movement theatre and modern pantomime not just in the Czech Republic but also in France and Switzerland. The programme focuses on three genres of movement theatre: pantomime, clown arts and farce. In recent years there has been growing interest in the study of circus techniques in the department.

JAMU/Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno – Physical Theatre School, Brno

Acrobatics and clown arts are circus techniques taught in the Studio of Clown Arts for Stage and Film at JAMU. The studio was also founded by Ctibor Turba and it is currently headed by the French teacher Pierre Nadaud. The studio’s aim is not to train contemporary circus artists but to cultivate performers who have an understanding of the current forms of performing arts, including new circus.

Courses for children and young people

Education for children and young people is slowly growing in the Czech Republic. Among the organisations specialising in this field of education are Cirqueon Center for contemporary circus and Culture Centre Mlejn in Prague, Circus Legrando in Brno, Umcirkum in Ostrava, and Žonglér o.s. in Plzeň. In other towns there are smaller projects working within ‘youth circus’ that offer juggling courses and similar activities. Within the youth and social circus network CIRKONET (a Cirqueon project) these organisations and individuals meet once or twice a year to exchange their experiences in the field.