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Circus Helsinki was founded in 2001. It started off as a school of seven students but has grown to be the biggest recreational circus school in Finland with 922 students (2015). Circus Helsinki employs four full-time and one half-time office worker. There are 28 instructors and six board members. The school has a 700 square meter training facility in Helsinki and an additional 300 square meters in the same building for storage, offices, dressing rooms and lounge space.
Our objective is to create an ideal environment for recreational circus training. An encouraging atmosphere, good facilities and high-quality instructors are the means to achieve this goal. We also aspire to reach audiences of all kinds with a variety of circus performances. Our own performance venue and an active network of young and professional artists make this possible.
The school is part of a government-funded arts education program, which sets certain standards regarding the structure and quality of the tuition. Circus Helsinki provides education in tumbling, partner acrobatics, hand balancing, trampoline, chinese pole, aerial acrobatics and juggling. The school works daily from August to June. In addition to the scheduled classes, intensive courses and training camps are organized periodically in order to provide supplementary education and education also in disciplines which are outside of the curriculum, such as clowning and tight wire.
There are classes for all age groups but the main focus is on school-aged children and young adults. The instructors mainly speak Finnish but there are also classes in Swedish, English and Spanish.
There is a performing group, in which the young artist practice more and perform outside of the school as a part of their curriculum.
During day time circus professionals use the space for practice and creation. There are also frequent visiting groups such as schools, private companies, cheerleaders, dance groups and soccer players. Circus Helsinki collaborates with a Spanish circus club Circus Criollo, a Russian social-circus project Upsala and a Finnish parcour club, Parkour Akatemia.
The majority of the school’s students get to perform once a year with their group in the spring fete.
The performing group presents one full-length circus creation annually. The main venue for the show is the Circus Helsinki stage. Additionally the shows have toured European festivals and have been invited to other stages in Finland and Europe. The performance group has approximately 60 appearances per year in various events. Circus Helsinki has received numerous awards for its performances. The Ministry of education in Finland appointed Circus Helsinki the Finnish Young Cultural Ambassadors in 2005-2007 and 2009-2010.
Circus Helsinki also organizes about five Open Stage -evenings yearly. Amateur and professional artists from all over Finland meet at this event. Often there are also foreign guests either as performers or audience.
Circus Helsinki has accommodated 5-10 circus-themed commercial events per year providing the facility and performers as a package.
27 percent of the school’s costs are covered with governmental and municipal support. Tuition fees cover 46 percent of the costs and the rest is gathered through other activities, such as camps, rental incomes and performance revenues.