Brussels – the circus circle


I think of myself as a responsible and serious person, but sometimes I really need – and enjoy – going back to being a child. Watching the students from the Secondary School of Circus Arts (l’école Supérieure des Arts du Cirque) perform will bring anyone back to their childhood and will make them believe in magic and beauty again. That’s why you should go and see one of their shows if you get the chance.

Their work has nothing to do with those cheap and sloppy circuses that come into big and small cities nowadays, and it doesn’t use animals either. If something like Moira Orfei is your idea of a circus, forget it! On the other hand, if circus for you means something like the ‘Cirque du Soleil’ then you’re on the right track.

I went with some friends to see the show called Exit 12 where final year students performed their best exercises. They may only have three years of school behind them, but the talent is undeniable. The acrobatic exercises are difficult and technically very good. But it’s the passion and the beautiful artistic elements that make it magical.

Two innovative elements were the break sketches and the music. In addition to their personal performances, the artists acted in 5-10min sketches between performances so as to distract the audience from the changes of the equipment on stage and creatively introduce the next act. Some sketches were funny and others more serious, but either way they helped to keep the audience engaged and curious. The soundtrack throughout the whole show was perfect: every piece was in line with the exercises and reinforced the emotions and mood of the act.

The audience was completely absorbed: it was like landing in an amazing new world. The audience held their breath, amazed by what a human body can do or moved by the beauty and emotion of some performances; they clapped madly at crazy jumps and holds; and laughed their heads off at the jokes.

Exit 12 ended a week ago after five nights of an intensive 2.5 hour show, but if you ever see one of their shows advertised go and see it, you won’t regret it! It might be worth keeping an eye on the school’s website too.



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