Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Recommended Posts

Paolo

I've made the decision to drop out of college and pursue a career as a hand balancing/pole/aerial artist. Do you think they would accept my application if I decided to send one? Do you think age is a factor? I'm 19, turning 20 this year. I would like to know if anyone has some experience about joining circus school in adulthood. 


I want to be as strong as Cai Yong:


www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly1SSSyns-s


Here are some Cirque schools I'm looking into:


-Shanghai Circus School

-Ecole National De Cirque in Montreal

-National Institute of Circus Arts Australia

-School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts

-Circus Center San Francisco

-San Diego Circus Center

-Circus School in Moscow

-Orlando Circus

-Circomedia

-Zippos Circus UK

-Circus Space


Any other suggestions would be welcome.


If I can't become a performing artist, I would like to become a GB coach/personal trainer instead. Maybe even compete in some street work out competitions to demonstrate my new found skills :P


EDIT: How much will the price for tuition be? I am by no means an experienced hand balancer. I haven't been motivated to train handstands because I always figured that I could have an instructor teach me (whether online coaching or at circus school). The handstand is probably the most basic skill to learn in gymnastics so I haven't put much effort into it as much as the planche, FL/SL/BL, other skills. I think if I joined the circus I could learn really quickly, which is the reason I've been putting it off all these years. I think the most challenging part would be my lack of active/passive flexibility.

I can hold a HS (arched) on floor for a good 30 seconds and I can do pretty much every press (straddle/full lay planche) except for one arm skills/presses and stalder/v-sit press press on floor due to my lack of flexibility. I can't keep my head in between my shoulders with a hollow body - it's always sticking out. Am I someone that they could work with and transform me into an exceptional hand balancer within a year or so? I can post a show reel, but I do have a couple videos around the GB forums floating around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Daniel Burnham

Wait for yuri's response or PM him. There are several people a young that go to a gym. One of my coaches also worked for cirque de soleil. The most important skill is getting a handstand from what I hear. Also having a good mind for movement. Flow and shape are very important. Even more than shape in my opinion.

On a side note my coach also learned a manna as an adult so it is possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ben Shulman

I was friends with students at the circus school in Lyon, France, a few years ago. It seemed like a wonderful program. Most of the students were a little older than you are now. As I understood it, if you auditioned successfully, and were selected for admission to the school, tuition was covered by the government! Auditions, from the sounds of it, were very competitive. Students admitted to the program were already highly skilled.

 

You might also look into the Vancouver Circus School.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jake Lawrance

I hope you get something from college though, like a sub (half) qualification as I was considering leaving for a circus school after my A2 levels but, when reality hits, life will become very independent and challenging once you become solely an artist. So try and gain something from college such as a leadership thing or something as this will allow you to teach as well as perform, otherwise you'll struggle, I know I sound like a pessimist but I know people who've graduated from circus schools close to me and go around asking to sleep in friends houses, even if it is just a floor. 

 

Do consider getting something from college before moving out and develop your handbalancing skills during that time, as mentioned above, the auditions are competitive. 

 

I'm not bringing the idea down, because I've seen your videos and you are indeed very strong and skilled! I've got faith in you and wish you all the best! (PS: I do not recommend circomedia a lot for handbalancing, as they are more focused on theater and aerial. Plus no chinese pole instructor/teacher)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FREDERIC DUPONT

Good for you; have you told your mum? :)

 

You could always double up & hedge with accounting night classes down the road; if push comes to shove, every circus also needs an accountant. :)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jon Douglas

If you decide to look further at NICA let me know; I have a lot of friends there/graduated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alessandro Mainente

i don't know the situation around the world. but here in Italy enter in a circus school is one of the hardest things especially if you are not young,  i means 7-9 years old.

Actually i'm doing one session a week with a Graduated Coach of the circus of  moscow on handbalancing skills. I was lucky because i met a girl in my weigthlifting gym that trains 5 days/week on straps and one day is at my gym ans she helped me to have one hour IF the coach has free time. I don't tell to you how many difficulties he had to start in that school at 21 years old, she is an ex-member of a ballet of Notre Dame the Paris and she passed the audition. But tons on people ho aspire to train in a circus school have a good background on something.

The most will depends on your current level of skills/flexibility/ability to learn/ability to move.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nic Branson

Depending on your skill levels you can also look at the Professional Program at New England Center for Circus Arts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yuri marmerstein

Cirque du Soleil is having auditions in Vegas towards the end of august. 

 

Just remember that being a performer isn't just about the skills or strength.  A lot of it is about movement, presentation, and character. 

Solo hand balancing is an especially difficult act to sell. 

 

Mikael would be the best person to talk to here, as he entered Circus school in Stockholm at age 23

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Brian Li

I thought of joining circus school too before, but sort of backed out of the idea. 

 

Best of luck to you! 

 

How much does a circus performer/artist make annually or monthly?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yuri marmerstein

I thought of joining circus school too before, but sort of backed out of the idea. 

 

Best of luck to you! 

 

How much does a circus performer/artist make annually or monthly?

 

It varies depending on the gig, whether it's a traveling show, stationary show, corporate event, night club, etc.  In a big budget show it will also depend whether you are soloist, generalist, etc. 

Starting salary for a generalist in a non-traveling Cirque du Soleil show is something in the realm of $120 per show at 10 shows per week.  This amounts to around 60k per year. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Brian Li

Thanks! That is pretty good even as a generalist. What about an instructor or coach?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paolo

Cirque du Soleil is having auditions in Vegas towards the end of august. 

 

Just remember that being a performer isn't just about the skills or strength.  A lot of it is about movement, presentation, and character. 

Solo hand balancing is an especially difficult act to sell. 

 

Mikael would be the best person to talk to here, as he entered Circus school in Stockholm at age 23

Oh I don't plan on auditioning to do performances for quite some time. I'd like to devote the next 2-3 years training rigorously to reach my full potential.

How much do you think will be the tuition? I am by no means an experienced hand balancer. I haven't been motivated to train handstands because I always figured that I could have an instructor teach me (whether online coaching or at circus school). The handstand is probably the most basic skill to learn in gymnastics so I haven't put much effort into it as much as the planche, FL/SL/BL, other skills. I think if I joined the circus I could learn really quickly, which is the reason I've been putting it off all these years. I think the most challenging part would be my lack of active/passive flexibility.

I can hold a HS (arched) on floor for a good 30 seconds and I can do pretty much every press (straddle/full lay planche) except for one arm skills/presses and stalder/v-sit press press on floor due to my lack of flexibility. I can't keep my head in between my shoulders with a hollow body - it's always sticking out. Am I someone tthat they or even you could work with and transform me into an exceptional hand balancer within a year or so? I can post a show reel, but I do have a couple videos around the GB forums floating around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yuri marmerstein

Of course you could make a lot of progress in your hand balance.  However, don't put any numbers or time limits on it.  If you are dedicated it will always be a work in progress. 

 

Also understand that you are starting a bit late which does put you at a disadvantage.  You are strong but for high level hand balance you have to learn how to not use your strength but rather technique. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Daniel Sarnowski

I was a student and eventually a coach at Circus Center in SF for over 10 years. Its a pretty ok place to learn. There are a few old school teachers from China there teaching most of the acrobatics. If you have any interest in traditional Chinese Acrobatics then it's a good place. Elena Panova (world renowned trapeze artist) runs a training program for Aerial Arts. She is a good coach and she's tough as nails. She's produced some really good athletes but dont expect her to pat you on the back and say "good job". Its just not the old school way. But nonetheless I think her students look the best of almost any aerialist I've seen come out of the US. I remember one of the coaches there taking me to middle of the gym and announcing to everyone present that "his problem is he VERY weak!" LOL. Circus Center would also give you the benefit of being in the SF Bay Area, a region literally saturated with circus gyms, teachers, workshops, enthusiasts, etc. So there would be more to choose from than just Circus Center.(there's another school, ACRO SPORTS, just down the block! Tuition isnt cheap, and the cost of living in SF is outrageous. But there's a lot of opportunity.

 

There are also a lot of good people coming out of the school in Austraila. My favorite aerial coach ever- Rita Van Oopzeelander(yes thats her name!) she used to teach there. I dont know if she's still there but if you can work with her you'll get a lot out of it.

 

I have a number of friends who travel to the school in Wuqiao, China. They keep going back so it must be ok. The tuition is very reasonable and includes room and board. Again, a good place to go if you like the chinese style. For hand balancing, I cant say it would be the best place tough...  IMO the Chinese dont always use the best Hand Balancing techniques, especially the farther south you get(further from the Russian influence). Obviously thats just a generalization as we have all seen some great Chinese Hand balancers! But I can say that my friend who studied foot juggling there said the hand balancers just practiced by themselves all day with occasional help from a coach.

 

The National School in Montreal is a great place to check out. The audition process is pretty straight forward. Obviously it is a top notch school and you can be guaranteed a great education there as well as a lot of job opportunities afterwards.

 

In the end it will depend on the style you are attracted to, what you hope to do with your skills, and the overall logistics of the matter. 

 

I would love to keep writing but I have to get to work.... duty calls!

 

Good luck, and if you have any questions, let me know, I'm glad to help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paolo

If you decide to look further at NICA let me know; I have a lot of friends there/graduated.

 

 

Good for you; have you told your mum? :)

 

You could always double up & hedge with accounting night classes down the road; if push comes to shove, every circus also needs an accountant. :)

 

Can you put me in contact with your friends from NICA? I just want to know if I can get a job in Australia that doesn't require a degree. However, if in the words of FredInChina "push comes to shove", then I will reluctantly go back to college and acquire a degree for a job that's high in demand in Australia. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jon Douglas

Yeah, Ill give em a kick later on.

If oz is your goal, you'll definitely have an easier time of it by applying for PR on the preferred occupation list-- a search will find that. Medical, anything to do with mining, and for some reason hairdressers.

Will pass it on, although I can't promise they'll respond immediately-- you know those circus types :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David McManamon

Pick up a copy of "The Ordinary Acrobat" to gain some perspective and start training flexibility much more seriously because at every circus audition you will be tested on it along with your hand balancing.  You can audition for Montreal into your mid-twenties but only Cai is as strong as Cai.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mikael Kristiansen

To be honest, you would probably need some sort of preparatory program or school first if you would want to go to one of the better circus schools. In the "circus school world" they often separate between preparatory and professional programs, and you often need a couple of year in the former category to enter one of the bigger schools(at least its a lot like that in europe). Like Yuri said, you need to have some skills as a performer(some experience on stage, dance or theatre helps a lot) to be accepted to auditions, and they also look at your general acrobatic level, so building a decent foundation in tumbling is important.

 

 

As for becoming a handbalancer, not to be negative, but noone can get even close to the level of Cai Yong if they arent extremely genetically gifted AND gets hard and specific training from young age. What you see in his act is nothing compared to what he is actually capable of. The chinese balancers do stuff like staying up changing 1 arm positions for 45 minutes or more, 100 jump switches in a row on 1 cane, 2x20 min handstand before breakfast, etc. Im working as a professional and Im not even close to half his level.

 

That doesnt mean that one cant become very good though. It does take a lot of work, and flexibility quickly becomes a bigger limiting factor than strength. You have great planches, but handstands are of a different nature both strength and technique wise. To efficiently work towards it, you must work a lot on your splits, pike, pancake and build actively flexible enough shoulders to have perfect alignment. 30 sec arch must become 2 min perfectly aligned, rock solid and thats just the beginning. Very good un-planched press handstands is also neccesary. From what I have seen of you, you have stiff shoulders, which is something you need to adress asap.

 

I know a bunch of people who have trained in San Fransisco and later gone to ENC in Montreal, so i think there is a scene there. I think its Lu Yi who teaches there and I have friends who trained under him. The guy doing handstands wasnt allowed to do anything before he could do 4 min perfect handstand from what he said. It might definitely be a good place to go though!

 

I know little of the chinese schools. My impression is though that the chinese are very relentless with their methods. They produce the best because the kids start early and because the coaches have the possibility to break many in the process to find the prodigies.

 

ENC is hard to get into without prior experience i think. If you have very good basic handstands and are getting your 1 arms with decent technique+good level at tumbling they might take you.

 

NICA has some good stuff for sure. Very good people at straps coming out of there. Lewie West is from there and he is an absolute mutant. It is considered a professional program

 

I know nothing of Orlando Circus at all except that my first handbalancing coach lives there! I suppose he is involved with teaching somewhat, but i know nothing more. He is a great guy and a good teacher.

 

Circomedia is a good preparatory program I think. I know some people who are now at the school in Stockholm, which I attended, that came out of Circomedia.

 

Circus space has also some good stuff, though I dont know how the general level there is and what they seek from their aplicants.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ian Richardson

This is a fantastic thread Paolo thanks for starting it :)

I myself am interested in auditioning at NICA Australia with dreams of becoming a handbalancer (or whatever they see fit for me,) in the next couple of years and this information incredibly helpful. I am currently going Drama as a subject for my VCE at school so i have some experience in preforming and its heaps of fun. 

Mikael, if you could respond this i would have a mini heart attack becuase your video

is one of my all time favourites and was one of my many inspirations to seriously consider handbalancing as potential career.


I am currently 17, in year 11 school. My current plan was to train throughout this year, as well as 2014 and audition in late 2015.
One of my biggest current questions about handstand training is its frequency, i know in the big scheme of things i am very young, and i really dont want to overstress my joints/body with training too much. Is it a good idea to start practicing every day?  Should i be, at this stage, building up volume in my handstands? As in, getting my body slowly used to doing handstand training for 10-15 mins every day or 5 days a week?

Training without proper guidance can become a little annoying because its hard to know what standards/goals to strive for at this stage. Ive got a copy of H1 and its fantastic for programming and information, but i know realistically a pro handbalancer would be working on other skills rather than going through it all from step 1 to the finish, even though currently thats what im doing and finding it beneficial. Ive looked into booking a private lesson at NICA but they havent gotten back to me, i will persist :lol:

Here's a really shotty and every un-edited video of my handbalancing from a few months back, /watch?v=AY99uY7OmhQ&feature=c4-overview&list=UUnbDxJ6_S-Zl7-mLuDoRJjg (hope that works). I can currently do a couple of freestanding HeSPU which im very happy with.

Honestly i only train about twice a week, i know that if i want to get to a higher level that will certainly have to increase by alot, i just want to do it safely in a progressive way :) Thankyou for any response from anyone on the topic, this is my very first post on this website :D
And Yuri, your videos are also amazing, you have also been another major inspiration for me. Both of you, including the gymnasticbodies family have changed the direction of my life more than I can explain :)
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mikael Kristiansen

Im very happy you are inspired by it! I feel i look terribly stiff in it haha.

 

Giving it a year or two of training to audition is definitely a good way to start. I would even urge you to audition next year, maybe not with the biggest ambitions of making it, but to see how the audition is, so you can be prepared to go at it for real in 2 years.(bear in mind that i know very little of what they look for and what their level is). Your drama background will definitely be a stepping stone since you know how to be in front of an audience.

 

As for training, you should be building up towards being capable of training handstands 5-7 days a week. H1 is probably as good a tool as any, and I would reccommend to stick with it, but you will need more. Your handstands in your video arent half bad. you can control your legs decently and you should continue wiht that. Not over doing it in the beginning is important, but you need to work a lot on alignment, endurance, leg movements, presses(a lot), weight shifting towards 1 arm as you progress, etc. Prehab and stretching is also mandatory. Pike, splits, pancake and shoulders need a lot of attention flexibility wise.

 

Build up some sort of level in acrobatics. having a foundation of good rolls, cartwheels, front and back handsprings, front and back saltos and beyond is always a plus.

 

If you are really serious about getting in, I would reccomend also doing dance classes of different sorts to start to build body awareness and movement quality. There is a too much variation in the dance field to say what exactly would benefit you, but i suggest you do some research in your city to find out what the options are. A lot of people would say ballett is important, but the truth is that to learn ballett to a level where you can actually use it, takes years and years. Even so you might consider it. Trying out some stuff within the contemporary or jazz fields might be an idea. Stuff like capoeira too focus on flow and movement so it might be worth checking out.

 

I saw you do rubex cube on your channel. This might sound far out, but that kind of stuff can reallly aid you when it comes to circus. As becoming a performer is a lot about being creative and working with concepts as well as physical material, utilizing personal things like that can be worth something. Im not saying you should go and do rubex cube at once, but at auditions they are always looking for people with character and personality.

 

This became a lot of text, but to finish I want to say: go for it. You are young and with hard and smart training you might make it. Same goes for you Paolo. If the fire is burning for this then do it. It WILL be hard, but so is anythign which is truly worth something.

  • Upvote 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ian Richardson

Wow what a fantastic response! Thank you so much! I cant explain what a reply like that means to me :D Having a level to strive for will really help over the coming months/years :)

As to training handstands 5-7 days a week, would i have to include bent arm exercises in those sessions as well (not including warm up)? Ive always wondered if handbalancers do, even though over time they do become a breed apart and maybe they become so used to it, it isnt as necessary compared to a fitness enthusiast.  And would would the sessions being that frequent last more than only 10-15 min of balancing then stretching after to avoid over training (for someone my age personally)? I keep reading on this forum that training only straight arm isnt a good idea, ive always wanted to ask someone who really knows for hand balancing specifically :P I do bent arm dynamic theroband exercises to warm up now for my balancing training, is there anything else bent arm wise that is important as well? Apart from the static H1 progressions?

I am already so grateful for your last response and I am sorry I have so many questions, im just feeling very, very excited and encouraged. I hope you can understand :D

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jon Douglas

Paolo-- I sent you a PM with a mate's Facebook profile link. Contact him re NICA, he graduated a year or so ago and is very involved with it and the cirque community in Melbourne still and will help you out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×

Important Information

Please review our Privacy Policy at Privacy Policy before using the forums.