Circus Degree offered in Mexico

Posted on Jul 20, 2011 in News | 0 comments

There’s no doubt that the circus deserves its own place within the arts and its own place within education as well! Like any other career or profession it takes study, time, dedication, and as every circus artist knows, lots and lots of practice.

Now for the first time in Mexico an actual degree is being offered in Performing Arts and Circus in The Mesoamerican University of Puebla (Universidad Mesoamericana de Puebla). A curriculum that has integrated 10 quarters consisting of what is widely regarded as the best of curriculums from circus schools in France, Cuba and Russia. The school’s vision is to create a new image and concept of what it means and takes to be a circus artist.

The integrated curriculum combines the Russian schools’ scientific point of view when it comes to the study of circus, the Cuban schools ‘emphasis on artistic creation based on teamwork, and the French schools’ vision of artistic concept for the acts and the vision of contemporary circus. This entire curriculum is paired with management training as well.

Dr. Salvador Calva Morales, chancellor of the university, has emphasized that the school has gone to great lengths to invest in a gymnasium suitable for circus acts and to bring together international experts in circus art that will not only train students to perform acts technically perfect but also instruct them in understanding the circus as an art and teach them to create and perform drama.

The school’s web page describes the degree’s “Objective” as  “To form professionals who with their physical capabilities can develop creative body language within the framework of the specific aesthetic of contemporary circus”.

The page goes on to describe the “Graduate Profile” as follows, “Upon completion of the curriculum, students will have acquired the following knowledge, skills and attitudes: artistic sensitivity, the physical and intellectual capacity to create and perform circus acts with professionalism and in a contemporary manner, which means that a graduate can act, dance, sing, and perform their specialty in addition to running the circus as well as active participation in every step of tasks  personal or collective. The graduate must also be capable of maintaining balanced health and scenic drive and meet ambitious projects in the field of artistic creation.”

As of 2010, the Mesoamerican University of Puebla also offers scholarships.
The school opened its call for obtaining a grant for 25% of tuition for young Mexicans who wish to study the Bachelor of Performing Arts and Circus degree.
Before a jury of experts, interested parties must submit their personal documents and a presentation of eight minutes on their skills in acrobatics, juggling, balance, art of clowning, aerial acts, or other scenic or sporting discipline, even if they have had no previous experience, provided they have a personal interview about their motives. There is no age limit for applicants

The application to participate can be downloaded from the University’s website.

The circus is part of the origins of man and is common to all cultures and civilizations. In Mexico, it is held as an essential element of the emotional landscape, history and culture. It is a tradition that moves to the pre-Hispanic times, and that was forgotten with the Conquest.

There are approximately 500 circuses of national origin, some of which traverse the Republic, and others that transcend borders, from the U.S. to Argentina.
There’s also a rapidly growing interest of dozens of young people who come from circus families,  and also those who have stepped into this world, especially in the street level, but gradually begin to find a place also in clubs and discos

Puebla is now widely considered the capital of circus art in Mexico, thanks to this new degree now offered by the University
Art historian, author, and researcher Julio Revolledo Cardenas stated “There is no doubt regarding the need to recognize the circus as a cultural heritage and at the same time as an artistic expression at the level of theater, dance and music, and not just assume it as a form of entertainment or amusement.”

Revolledo Cardenas also noted that there is a Latin America-wide movement in which the circus has started to come out of the tent, its natural place, to enter new areas such as theaters and art galleries, while begin to converge more strongly with other performing arts such as dance and theater and visual arts. A process that is greatly due to the presence of companies or groups in France and Canada, such as Cirque du Soleil, which have led to a change in the conception of the traditional circus, where the focus is more on the aesthetic of surprise or skill.

Revolledo concluded his comments by stating “With this offering, we intend to professionalize the art. We believe this is a historic moment for the revolution of the circus in Mexico.” ■