How do you remember your first day of school?
Think back and no doubt you’ll have flashes of oversized school uniform, all scratchy collars and bunching sleeves. The clammy-hand feeling of walking into your first class and even more frightening, walking into the canteen.
Now imagine walking into a school specifically for circus arts. Here at the National Centre of Circus Arts, it’s less about shiny new stationery and more about mastering manoeuvres on a unicycle.
Housed in a stately Victorian power station a stone’s throw from Hoxton Square, the centre welcomes professionals, amateurs and little tumblers to join in the creation and performance of circus arts every year.
It started at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington, but with limited space – trapeze artists had to open the theatre’s doors to avoid crashing into them – the centre re-located to a more acrobat-friendly space in East London, right before the area’s transformation into a tech-hub and hot spot, helping the centre to flourish.
The centre, whose bachelor’s degrees are accredited by the University of Kent, is a registered charity and one of Europe’s most recognised faculties of circus education. Previous alumni include Ben Loader and Craig Gadd with many graduates going on to dazzle as part of companies including Troupe Vertigo and Circa Contemporary Circus. As well as leading classes on the Circus Arts Degree programme, a large portion of the teaching staff are involved in research and creating work within the arts.
Not limited to educating just professional gymnasts, the National Centre for Circus Arts offers courses for all levels. Adult classes welcome participants to try their hand at all manner of tricks, flips and stunts: want to try your hand at tightrope? Or how about mastering the perfect handstand? Ever heard of Chinese Pole? Plus there are workshops and away days available for all occasions, from hen dos to corporate team-building exercises.
Which, in the case of the human pyramid, is taken very literally.
Words by Immy Smith
NOTE: The National Centre for Circus Arts offers classes daily. You can find out more, and book, HERE.
National Centre for Circus Arts | Coronet Street, London N1 6HD
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