the school | 









écoles soeurs

sister schools

ESAC was founded on the expertise of other trailblazing circus schools: The National Centre of Circus Arts in Chalôns-en-Champagne (CNAC), The National Circus School in Montréal (ENC), and National Center for Circus Arts. ESAC was one of the first circus schools to be integrated into the Bologne system, a step which allowed it to grant its graduates a Bachelor’s Degree in Circus Arts.

Since 2003, the promise of ESAC’s program has continued to grow and improve. The foundation of Annie Fratellini’s Academy in 1974 changed the nature of the circus world forever, shifting the majority of circus training away from the traditional families and into new circus schools. If this training model was revolutionary at the time, who then would have believed that, forty years later, circus universities would take their place among other institutions of higher learning in the arts? Today, the map of Europe testifies to an exponential increase in the number of circus learning institutions since the late 20th century.

Circus fans and students are apparently unstoppably mobile. Participate in a convention or attend a school show and it becomes clear: distances in the circus world are small, and the nomadic tradition is very much alive and well. Circus artists, students, and teachers travel non-stop, and as a result the major circus schools are intrinsically linked. If circus is now reaching to the far corners of the world, the circus community remains small and tightly-knit.

the Fedec network

It quickly became clear that the circus schools would benefit from forming an official network. Often from the moment of their inception, the schools have been sharing ideas. Thus, even before ESAC’s official foundation, it helped organize (along with CNAC and Circus Space) the European Federation of Circus Schools.

Today the federation brings together 40 schools and 14 circus-related organizations from 23 countries (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chili, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States). By the strength of its members and partners,  FEDEC has become a formidable network. FEDEC facilitates a healthy conversation between circus schools and organizations, encouraging an exchange of ideas about teaching and helping circus grow as an art form.


This network is essential to the organization of student, teacher, and administrative exchanges between schools. FEDEC’s stated goal is to initiate, formalize, and realize practices leading to the development and evolution of circus pedagogy and creation.



masters 2

Brussels is one of the hearts of Europe, and very much a vital organ. For artists, this city is a meeting-place of ideas, with inspiration around every corner. The vitality of Brussels’ stages, and of the arts in general, is remarkable. There are many art schools here, and for good reason: it’s impossible to be bored in Brussels! One loses count of the things to love about this city: its accessibility, its friendly citizens, its delicious mussels and its dirty sidewalks… the city acts like a magnet, and many are the nomads who keep Brussels as their base. Many ESAC students remain in Brussels after they graduate—there are always circus people passing through, facilitating an exchange of job opportunities, contacts, and housing. Moreover, many companies have chose Brussels as a place to find residency space and develop material—the spaces here are modest, but offer a large degree of freedom.

With l’Espace Catastrophe, les Halles de Schaerbeek, Feria Musica Company, the Trapeze Workshop, the Brussels Circus School, and la Roseraie; close to Circus Centrum and Latitude 50; with dance companies like PARTS, Charleroi danses, and Ultima Vez; offering both independent arts spaces and official cultural centers; seat of the Commission of Circus, Fairground, and Street Arts; serviced by Brussels-South railway station and two airports—Brussels is, like a heart, infinitely connected.


Since its official recognition in 2003, ESAC has conformed to the guidelines laid out in the 2004 Bologne decree. This document formalized equivalency between European degrees and assures the mobility of students throughout academia in Europe. By describing the component parts of the academic program, the Bologne decree guarantees the transparency of the University-level school system in Belgium’s French-speaking community. The resultant diploma is therefore a known quantity, not only within academia but also in the European workplace.

The diploma is composed of two documents:

  • the diploma identifies the awarding institution (with a logo), as well as the graduating student (last name, first name, date and place of birth). It specifies the academic year in which the diploma was granted, the type of degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s in…) and the level of distinction attained.
  • the supplement to the diploma (SD) contains information about the nature and level of the completed studies, the institutional context in which the studies were completed (Superior Art School), the language or languages of study, and peculiarities of each student’s program, as well as an explanation of the ECTS classifications in force at ESAC

link to the Bologne decree

A circus open to the world brings the world into its ring.


In order to develop its international actions, Esac has requested for an Erasmus+ charter.

Please contact the international office for any questions :

Thaïs César – – +3225267902