What we do

The primary mission of all FEDEC schools is to offer future professional circus artists top quality training and provide them with all the necessary keys to artistic and professional success.

Each of the FEDEC’s member schools has its own history, work philosophy, educational project and educational team. They each evolve in a large number of different contexts which vary from country to country. However, the broad educational objectives and the transfer of expertise, interpersonal skills and good manners are common to every syllabus. These three notions are the foundations of the teaching approach developed by FEDEC members.

No matter which country they are in, to join the profession students must master one or more circus disciplines, cultivate their versatility, their receptiveness as a performer and their ability to put their all into a creative process. But above all else, they must cultivate what sets them apart and commit themselves artistically, as a citizen and a person, develop their own individual way of thinking and achieve their ambitions as artists.

The schools, therefore, have to provide their students with as many tools as possible so that they are free to choose the type of artist they want to be and the context in which they wish to express their art; whether as a member of a group, an independent artist, a performer or by joining a company. 

Vocational training for students takes 4 to 7 years on average. The training pathway is highly structured and progressive. The secondary preparatory schools and professional preparatory schools play a very important role: students learn the foundations of disciplines, physical fitness and healthy living, they acquire tools for artistic expression and individual and collective creation, and they become independent.

Focus Groups STUDENTS/creation & STUDENTS/mobility have defined 3 key priorities which are the focus of several projects:


FEDEC schools place creation and empowerment at the heart of their educational approach and support students with their artistic research and with defining their stage character. One of the primary goals is to encourage the emergence of new forms and break new ground. The circus does have a repertoire but only rarely is it repeated, unlike drama, dance or music where skills are more likely to be passed on through the knowledge and performance of a set of ‘classic’ works. Circus artists tend, therefore, to create their own individual act or contribute to a collective creative performance.

The FEDEC funds, and initiates, projects which get students actively involved in the creative process and encourage their empowerment and artistic risk-taking.

To find out more about the 3 projects which encourage student creativity, see:


Circus arts students wish to go on mobility trips to attend training programmes matching their needs, just like European students who are taking a non-artistic course of studies.  Mobility is complicated due to the wide variety of training systems which are not consistently in line with European standards (Bologna process), the specific nature of circus arts (mobility is often collective and short-term) and the schools’ limited capacity for hosting students. However, mobility has significantly increased as it is vital for the development of students’ artistic, technical and social skills

The FEDEC set up the ESCALES project to gain a better picture of mobility practices in the circus arts education sector, identify the needs and develop tools and conditions suited to the realities of circus arts students which allow recognition of the contribution mobility makes to the acquisition of skills and employability.

For further details:


FEDEC schools devise their educational programmes responsibly and with a commitment to each future circus artist. They desire to provide each student with the tools to achieve his or her personal and artistic fulfilment, and also to mature and adjust to a constantly changing professional environment. The schools are not at the behest of the labour markets, yet keep pace with developments in the professional sector and all have a major role in the professionalisation of future graduates.

In order to gain a better understanding of the European realities, the FEDEC is coordinating a research actions programme for improving circus arts students’ transition to employment:

For further details:

  • MIROIR 01 (2008): Survey on the key competencies of the circus artist from the point of view of sector employers
  • MIROIR 02 (2009): Survey-dialogue between employers and young circus arts professionals on the key competencies necessary for the circus artist of today
  • MIROIR 03 (2017-18): Survey on the career paths of former students of the schools, and the methods and initiatives used by schools, artists and production and distribution structures to help students find employment.