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Académie Fratellini

Higher and preparatory school

The only one of its kind in France, the higher circus arts course at the Académie Fratellini is based on an educational programme – combining group teaching and personalised technical learning – which alternates between periods of training (60%) and work placement (40%).

Throughout their 3-year course, our young aspiring artists become initiated into the profession by performing within the Académie – in shows and events – or outside in a wide variety of projects (circus, theatre, dance, opera…) led by arts partner teams.

Each students’ project is examined in terms of its educational advantage to the apprentice(s) concerned. These apprentices can then be sent to work with an arts partner team for anything between a few days to several weeks, depending on the nature of the project.

In this way, apprentices can become involved in projects covering all artistic disciplines and perform as a group or individually in performing arts shows in France and abroad.

  • © Julie Carretier-Cohen
  • © Académie Fratellini

Training offered

In three years, the CFA prepares students to become circus artists. This course leads to the Diplôme National Supérieur Professionnel d'Artiste de Cirque (DNSP-AC).

The DNSP is part of the European higher education system (Licence-Master-Doctorat) and is registered at level 6 (bac+3) of the Répertoire national des certifications professionnelles (RNCP). 

The DNSP in circus arts is evolving into a diploma with a Bachelor's degree; this recognition, planned for 2025, will exempt students from having to follow a double university course. The three circus schools in France (Académie Fratellini, CNAC, ESACTO) are working together on this project.

The diploma we are offering is level VI (Bac+3).

The apprenticeship access class

This programme prepares trainees for admission into a graduate school, either the Académie Fratellini or another Circus Arts graduate school. At the end of the programme, trainees who successfully audition at the Académie Fratellini join the CFA Circus Arts centre in Year 1 and sign an apprenticeship contract.

The trainees follow an 8-month programme which includes classes in physical fitness, acrobatics, balancing, acting and movement as well as classes in their specialism. Since 2022, young people admitted to this class have benefited from an 8-month professionalisation contract: 25% training time, 75% professional time.

  • © Julie Carretier-Cohen
  • © Julie Carretier-Cohen


The entrance examination involves a 2-stage process:

  • Candidates are pre-selected on the basis of their application and video

  • Pre-selected candidates are auditioned during 6 days of immersion at the Académie.

Auditions will include:

  • An individual technical evaluation in the candidates’ chosen speciality
  • An evaluation assessing candidates’ physical conditioning, acrobatic ability, balance, dance, acting and dramatic skills.
  • An individual artistic performance in the big top lasting a maximum of five minutes, with or without music
  • An interview in front of the school’s jury, presided over by the general director of the Academie

Entry requirements:

  • Be between 16 and 29 years old,
  • Be a European national or have a residence permit authorising candidates to work in France,
  • Have the baccalaureate or an equivalent qualification (level IV),
  • Bave an advanced level of circus experience (or dance, sport, etc.),
  • Interest and motivation in artistic research in all its forms,
  • For non-French speakers: Level 4 of the French Language Test (TCF) is required to meet the university entry requirements for the DNSP. The Level 4 TCF corresponds to Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Disciplines taught

  • Acrobatics
  • Aerial cradle/Korean cradle
  • Aerial straps
  • Bascule/Teeterboard
  • Chinese pole
  • Clowning
  • Equilibristics
  • German wheel/Cyr wheel
  • Juggling /Object manipulation
  • Rope
  • Silk
  • Slackrope
  • Static trapeze
  • Swinging trapeze - Cloud swing
  • Tightrope
  • Trampoline
  • Unicycle

Learn more about this member


  • Director: Stéphane Simonin
  • Pedagogical Director: Valérie Fratellini

Academic year

  • September - July

Training language(s)

  • French

French Language Test Level 4 (level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)


Académie Fratellini
1-9 Rue des Cheminots
93210 Saint Denis La Plaine, France