Circus School in Toronto
In Toronto, circus school is in session. Right now, Montreal's National Circus School is on a recruitment tour, holding auditions in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver over the next month or so.
Last week I met two National Circus School students who were giving a demo at the Zero Gravity Circus Space on Gerrard St. E., which looks like an old movie theatre. They demonstrated some amazing aerial feats, hand balancing, juggling, acrobatics, walkovers and flips that they've learned at the school.
The National Circus School is the only school in North America that offers young, aspiring circus performers a chance to combine training with an academic education. They boast that 95 per cent of graduates find employment within weeks of completing their degree. With our Cirque du Soleil doing so well, it's no wonder.
I spoke with two of the students about how they came to join the circus school: Emma Stones, 16, from Oshawa, Ont. (pictured below) and Charlotte O'Sullivan, 16, from Toronto (pictured above).
"I danced from when I was six years old until I was 13," said Stones. "But acrobatics was always my favourite. I was hooked when I saw Cirque du Soleil's Allegria when I was 11.
"My mom found out about the auditions," said O'Sullivan. "So I thought I'd give it a go, even though I hadn't done any exercise in about seven months. I had just five weeks to get ready, practicing for five hours a day."
The audition, or entrance examination, determines a candidate's potential aptitude and capacity to successfully complete a program. Tests of both physical and artistic aptitude are given to evaluate candidates' potential and skills and ability to complete the program.
Circus school hopefuls may come from a multitude of backgrounds, including gymnastics, dance, diving, figure skating, martial arts or circus arts.
Ever wanted to run away and join the circus? Here's your chance to join one of the top circus training facilities in the world. The application deadline is January 15 at midnight. Then you'll need to pass their entrance exam, which tests for coordination, spatial orientation, flexibility and body awareness. Auditions in Toronto happen on February 4.
Photos by Roger Cullman.
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