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Centre National des Arts du Cirque

Higher school

FEDEC member since 1998

Since its creation in 1985, the Centre National des Arts du Cirque (CNAC) has had a prominent place in the contemporary circus scene, both nationally and internationally. 

To virtually visit the CNAC sites, click here. Enjoy!

The CNAC trains numerous circus artists who participate in the renewal of the aesthetics of the performing arts. It provides continuing education responses to the evolution of professional practices and generates resources and supports research for the circus sector. 

Since her appointment as a Director in January 2022, Peggy Donck is ushering in a new era for this historic institution by affirming its singularity, its power of action and its ability to accompany the transformations of the professional ecosystem.

  • © Raoul Bender
  • © CNAC
  • © Blue Studio

Training offered

1. Ecole Nationale Supérieure du CNAC

A 3-year diploma course which evolves: DNSP-AC (bac + 3)

The Centre national des arts du cirque (CNAC) offers a 3-year training program leading to the Diplôme national supérieur professionnel d'artiste de cirque-DNSP-AC (level 6 diploma, Bac +3). The CNAC trains the artists of tomorrow, performers, authors and directors, who are renewing the aesthetics of the circus and the contemporary show. 

The pedagogical goal of the CNAC's training is to prepare students to become circus artists by giving them the tools that will allow them to integrate and evolve in the professional and artistic world, face the challenges of a changing society, and affirm their artistic identities forged with their sensibilities and their views on the world. 

The CNAC's pedagogical project is collective, and carried out primarily by the teaching team in conjunction with : 

  • An artistic, pedagogical and scientific college coming from various horizons and aesthetic fields (circus, theater, dance, music, plastic arts, etc.) guaranteeing and nourishing the CNAC's project over time, in order to remain coherent and in permanent resonance with the professional world,
  • Artists who are recognized for their writing skills and who have the will to accompany the singularities of each student,
  • Alumni (former students),
  • Sponsors for each class.

Training towards professionalization

Throughout the curriculum, the CNAC facilitates and implements measures to prepare students for various professional situations.

For more information, please contact the school's team and the professional integration department at encac@cnac.fr.

2. Lifelong learning

The CNAC offers to the circus arts professional sector (and, more broadly, the performing arts sector), a continuum between initial training and professional life (lifelong learning in the European scheme).

The offer of training and service fosters the development, the update or the perfecting of skills and knowledge, and makes it possible to obtain a qualification, build a professional project (artistic, technical, pedagogical, etc.), accompany a reconversion, or validate professional experience.

For more information, contact the Lifelong Learning team: formation.continue@cnac.fr.

3. Resource and research at the service of pedagogy at CNAC

The CNAC has a resource and research center, a pole associated with the Bibliothèque nationale de France / BnF, which hosts a very rich collection on the circus arts and, more generally, on the performing arts. The resource center is open every day of the week and welcomes students, researchers and curious ones.

  • © S Rousseau


  • Based on application file, to download on our website.
  • © S Rousseau

Disciplines taught

  • Acrobatic portés
  • Acro dance
  • Aerial acrobatics
  • Aerial cradle/Korean cradle
  • Aerial hoop
  • Aerial rope 
  • Aerial starps
  • Bascule/Teeterboard
  • Balance on bike
  • Chinese pole
  • Equilibristics
  • Floor acrobatics
  • Flying trapeze
  • German wheel/Cyr wheel
  • Juggling/Object manipulation
  • Rope
  • Russian bar
  • Russian swing
  • Silk
  • Slackrope
  • Static trapeze
  • Swinging trapeze/Cloud swing 
  • Tightrope
  • Trampoline
  • Unicycle
  • Washington Trapeze
  • © T Picaude

Learn more about this member

Founded in 1985


  • General director: Peggy Donck
  • Director of Studies and Professional Integration: Mathieu Antajan

Academic year

From end of August to mid-July.

Teaching language

French (standard or elementary)


Centre National des Arts du Cirque – CNAC
1 bis avenue Maréchal Leclerc
51000 Châlons en Champagne