Circus arts teachers play a key role in passing on this multiple art form. Not only do they possess technical and artistic expertise, they also convey interpersonal skills and good manners which will help students find and develop their style and identity, each young artist’s own specific universe.
These skills were originally passed down verbally through generations of families, but this changed with the emergence of circus schools in the 1970s. Disciplines are taught by specialists from the circus, top-level sport, dance and theatre, mainly with one teacher per student providing one-on-one instruction.
However, there is still no recognised definition of the profession of circus arts teacher within the context of vocational training and higher education, nor a definition of the pathways into the profession. This is an occupation for which, at this moment in time, there is no initial training. Today’s teachers are sportsmen and women or former artists (circus, dance, theatre, etc.) who wanted to pursue their career in teaching. A generation of younger teachers is emerging, perhaps recent graduates from a school. The generation change is creating a need to document the methodologies and techniques developed by pioneers and at the same time, the innovations and mechanisms introduced by the teachers to adapt their lessons to the developments in circus arts, disciplines, apparatus and training frameworks.
So not only is there a need to identify the skills of the professionals and develop them, but also to train the young generation of teachers. Continuing professional development for teachers is actually one of the requirements for providing students with richer and more progressive initial training.
To overcome the lack of training opportunities across Europe, the FEDEC formed Focus Group TEACHERS which has established various successive projects and partnerships.
- INTENTS: Definition of the profession of circus arts teacher and recognition of its skills
- SAVOIRS: European profile of the profession of circus arts teacher/professor
- EPE: European Educational Exchanges
- REFLECT: REFLections and Exchanges for Circus arts Teachers
The FEDEC is a European network recognised by the European Commission - DG EAC and DG Employment – for its groundbreaking work in terms of initial and continuing training, artistic creation and definition of professions. The network is funded annually by the DG EAC in order to:
- Continue its good practice in terms of learning processes and employability
- Support the definition and recognition of professional skills
- Open up a dialogue with the other complementary fields of arts and performing arts and other sectors of vocational, higher, adult and youth training to develop high quality education systems and educational delivery methods
In this respect, the FEDEC is developing its multiple action through:
- Observation and research into training, jobs and professions in the circus arts sector through the partnership with specialist institutions for research into skills and qualifications (CEREP/ICQP) and through its participation in the classification of careers initiated by the European Commission DG Employment (ESCO) and Creative Skills Council - European platform for employment and training in the audiovisual and live performance sectors
- Active participation in the work conducted by the European education and lifelong learning platform (LLL Platform) in terms of policy monitoring and dialogue with the European institutions
- Dialogue with the arts training sector: participation in the actions of the ELIA and AEC European arts networks
- Intra-sectoral dialogue: support for the new European leisure sector network EYCO, continuous work in the joint working groups with the circus and street arts employers’ network Circostrada, the Territoires de Cirque network and JTCE Europe regarding the Circus Next project