Professional Circus School Discovered First Hand

For the first time, Cirqueon sent on of its student to a 5-week study program at a professional circus school. Jonáš Janků signed up for Katarína Rampáčková’s dance acrobatics lessons and his fascination with circus and movement in general made him work on his floor, partner and aerial acrobatic skills full time. Jonáš became a proficient acrobat capable of handling the training demands at the Escuela De Circo Carampa circus school in Madrid.

Jonáš shares his experience with us directly from Madrid:

When you get up in the morning, most muscles on your body still hurt from the training of the day before. You eat your breakfast and walk to school through a park hailed by the voices of green parrots just waking up in the chilly morning air. The first lesson starts at nine and it is an hour and a half of contemporary dance. Immediately following, there is a trampoline and acrobatics class after which you don’t even manage to catch a single breath before a wholesome hour of workout packed with very efficient muscle-building exercises. Nobody is surprised there are no breaks between classes and every class starts with a warm up and stretching of the muscles you will need the most in the upcoming activity, regardless of the fact you might have just spent an hour and a half working out the same muscle group. It’s 2pm and you haven’t had a chance to stop for a minute yet but now it’s lunchtime and everybody takes an hour to rest outside in the sun on benches among trees. It’s up to you what food you bring to feast on but you should take your choice seriously… The clock has turned to 3pm and it’s time for a two-hour handstand class immediately followed by a two-hour evening training of partner acrobatics (acro balancing). It’s 7pm and your daily schedule is over, nevertheless for most students, this means it’s time for individual training of the skills learned during the day, rehearsals of school performances, preparation for exams or focused training of the acrobatic discipline of your choice.

In effect, you leave school between 8pm and 9:15pm and walk home through a park just as the stars and the moon start appearing above you and you are thinking about what to feed your body with for the evening and what to cook for the next day so that you have enough energy to go on. When you return home to the place you are sharing with other students and several professional circus artists, nothing surprises you less than a few welcoming handstands or new hand-to-hand balance tricks.

That is an ordinary day of a student of Escuelka De Circo Carampa.

First-year students have no specialization in their schedules and apart from the classes I’ve mentioned, there are also lessons of aerial acrobatics (silk, trapeze, rope), balancing on objects (unicycles, balance boards, huge balance balls, ladders, tight and slack ropes), juggling, theater (focused on improvisation, clown techniques, etc.) and a stretching class. The schedules also include occasional theoretical classes, such as anatomy, theater makeup, job-market orientation, etc.

In the second year, the study schedules are more individualized as each student choses two majors. The lessons take place in smaller groups with greater attention to individual needs and the physical workout is left up to the students. This is the program for five days a week but there are also teaching internships with children on weekends or you can use the weekend to make some money performing partner acrobatics or juggling at pedestrian crossings in the city center…

My schedule is a mixture of classes for first and second year students and evening courses which are open to the public but also attended by some day students. The school management was very kind to tailor my schedule to my needs and desires.

 It is absolutely remarkable to see how enthusiastic the young circus artists at the school are about their activities investing the absolute maximum of their time into their personal growth. You couldn’t even exist here without being so enormously motivated. These people simply love and live for the circus arts. Once here, your life becomes the art of circus. I found it beautiful that the enthusiasm and physical hardship the students share also brings them closer on the human level. They support each other and provide each other encouragement and it isn’t actually limited to the student body: even though some of the teachers are very strict and tough in class, most of them are very friendly (and sometimes almost maternal) with their students and the whole school feels like one large circus family.

So much for my impressions after two weeks in Madrid, Spain.

Jonáš Janků.

Cirqueon would hereby like to thank the management of Escuela De Circo Carampa, especially Mr. Donald Lenh, the director, and Mrs. Hélene Lario, the study program coordinator.