Contemporary training with circus elite at NICA

As a starting point for a career in circus arts, NICA offers unrivalled training for aspiring circus performers.

2013 NICA graduate Jonathan Campos performing in Circus Showcase 2013, directed by Megan Jones and Meredith Kitchen. Photo by Aaron Walker.

Never fulfilled your childhood aspirations of running away with the circus? Or just looking to develop skills within a physically challenging environment? The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) offers training in contemporary and traditional circus, movement, act creation, and business skills to give graduates the tools needed to secure the career they strive for whether this be in commercial entertainment, joining a circus production, or creating their own companies.

From humble beginnings in an un-renovated warehouse in the Melbourne Docklands in 1999, today NICA offers a bachelor degree and certificates along with short courses, holiday programs and team building workshops.  At NICA, circus is not just for elite athletes – complete beginners can enrol in a short course or participate in a workshop.

Its core program offers a three-year Bachelor of Circus Arts, as well as teaching a Certificate III and IV in Circus Arts accredited by Swinburne University of Technology. NICA graduate and CircaNICA agency artist, Ella Horner started with the institution at a young age, completing high school at the same time. Horner started doing a Certificate III and eventually completed the three year Bachelor of Circus Arts.

‘NICA within Australia is very unique and really the only one of its kind. There are not a lot of other places that offer a certificate program. Within the program, the theory they teach is very comprehensive and relevant. All of the facilities and the training offered – you won’t find anywhere else in Australia,’ said Horner.

As a way of not only finetuning skills, but staying physically fit, NICA’s programs are taught within its purpose-built circus training studios, performance spaces, drama and movement studios, with equipment and costume storage spaces and dressing rooms, in a one-of-a-kind training institute in Australia.

A number of graduate artists are employed internationally by Cirque du Soleil, Franco Dragone Entertainment Group, P&O Cruises, La Soiree,  NoFit State Circus, Circus Oz, Circa and more. NICA also offers employment opportunities through its own CircaNICA, one of Australia’s leading agencies for professional circus artists. As well as supporting graduates to gain long-term employment, CircaNICA places artists at corporate functions, private parties, product launches, festivals and community events across Australia.

NICA currently has more than 100 students across five year levels, with the Bachelor degree the highest level of accredited circus training available in Australia. The degree is aimed at developing circus basics such as tumbling, handstands, flexibility, aerial, manipulation, balance and partner work, as well as performance, creative and theoretical elements. Horner said that applications are open to anyone that is serious about circus arts.

‘The best applicant for the bachelor program is someone ready to make a commitment to the study and training, someone that is really passionate about circus performance and wants to work within the industry and someone that cares about the physical side of training as much as the artistic side of learning what makes a good performer,’ said Horner.

To apply & for more information visit NICA