For more than 40 years, the National Circus School (NCS) has been training and developing the new talents of the next generation of circus artists from Quebec and around the world. Renowned worldwide, the NCS is also dedicated to research and innovation in the field of circus arts, in addition to ensuring the conservation and enhancement of heritage, history and living memory of this age-old art.
The School welcomes more than 150 students each year from across the country and around the world. With its huge studios adapted to all circus disciplines and its high-performance equipment, it offers a training and practice context that is absolutely unique in the world.
The NCS teaching staff includes more than 80 qualified trainers, consultants and artists from the world of circus arts, performance, dance and acrobatic sports. In addition, the small size of the groups makes it possible to personalize the training and to respect the learning pace of each person.
The placement rate for NCS graduates exceeds 95% on average. These artists perform on the national and international scene within various networks for the production and distribution of circus works.
Independent of circus companies, but remaining sensitive to their evolution and to the professional reality of circus artists, the School participates in the development and influence of local circus arts. Today, she is proud to have contributed to the birth of renowned companies, including Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Éloize and the collective 7 Fingers.
The National Circus School (NCS) was founded in Montreal in 1981. At the time, there were no such establishments in Canada or elsewhere in North America.
Having taken up residence in the premises of the former Center Immaculée-Conception, the NCS first attracted young artists with a passion for acrobatic theatre. But quickly, it decides to integrate new disciplines into its program to meet the growing demand.
With this in mind, the artists and co-founders of the NCS, Guy Caron and Pierre Leclerc, develop a new program for people wishing to specialize in one or more disciplines and to pursue a career as circus artists. Seeing the number of students in its cohorts increasing from year to year, the NCS moved to the Dalhousie station, in Old Montreal, in 1989.
During the 1990s, the contemporary circus arts industry grew exponentially all over the planet. This growth further confirmed the relevance and necessity of an establishment such as the NCS, whose high-level artists contribute to forging the reputation that the Quebec circus industry has internationally.
In 2003, the NCS turned a new page in its history by erecting its official headquarters in the Cité des arts du cirque, which it co-founded with Cirque du Soleil and the En Piste group. Fully equiped, custom spaces are built there, designed specifically for the practice of circus arts, and housing a specialized library.
On the strength of its 40 years of existence, the NCS is today a veritable laboratory of experimentation, research and ideation for circus artists, as well as one of the most important centers of innovation for the sector of the performing arts in the world.
Discover the Radio-Canada report from 1982 on the National Circus School.