This Ain't Clown College
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This Ain’t Clown College

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If you ever dreamed of running away and joining the circus, you were probably an idealistic, dirty-cheeked child living in depression-era Wyoming. But what if you think you could really do it? The call of the Big Top can be powerful (we hear), and you don’t get many opportunities to experience the glory of the centre ring.
Until now, that is. The National Circus School is accepting new students, but don’t bother applying unless you’re really, REALLY good.


rsz_circus2.jpg Torontoist can do all this stuff…we just don’t feel like it right now.
Beginning in February of 2008, the school will be holding auditions in Toronto (as well as Vancouver and Montreal) for talented performers. The school, based in Montreal, is the only one of its kind in North America.
Founded in 1981, the National Circus School has trained most of Canada’s circus performers. It currently has a roster of around 140 students, from a variety of backgrounds such as gymnastics, dance, acrosport, diving, and…you get the idea. Their graduates perform in North America, Europe, and Australia. The average age of their students is 18, so you’re probably already too old to join.
But let’s say you’ve got all the goods to become a full-fledged circus performer…should you be worried about finding a suitable venue in which to ply your trade after you’ve mastered the double layout, dismount, and er…dynamic stretching? The answer is, of course, “Hell no.” According to them, 95% of their graduates find employment after they’ve completed their studies, and some of them even end up in the Big Show. We’re pretty sure the post-secondary institution of your choice can’t claim success like that.
The school’s audition, also called an “entrance examination,” is a rigorous series of tests to determine an applicant’s physical and artistic aptitude. They are also committed to providing a well-rounded education, which includes high-school and college level classes. (They also promise not to teach your kid how to hustle strangers by betting on how many consecutive backflips they can do, even though they could make a totally sweet living doing it.)
For more information about applying to the National Circus School, you can visit their website, send them an email, or ring them up toll-free at 1-800-267-0859. Keep in mind that auditions are by appointment only, and the deadline to submit an application is midnight, January 18, 2008.
Torontoist is nursing an old ballet football injury, otherwise we’d definitely be applying too.
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Photos courtesy of the National Circus School.

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