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Bachelor of Circus Arts

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  • Objectives
    The key objectives of the Bachelor of Circus Arts are to produce graduates who:
    * are professional artists prepared to take their places at a national and international level in professional circus and physical theatre industry in a range of contexts and become leaders in the next generation of circus professionals;
    * have a high level of academic understanding of circus both current and historical;
    * are able to integrate modern business plans and strategies into their own work in the circus industry;
    * can capitalise on the demand for circus performers locally and internationally.
  • Entry requirements
    The successful completion of Year 12 or equivalent is the minimum required educational qualification. Applicants should have a background in performing arts, physical theatre, youth circus, dance, acrobatic sports or gymnastics.
  • Course description
    The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) is a centre of teaching excellence for professional education and training in contemporary circus arts. NICA is incorporated as an independent not-for-profit subsidiary company of Swinburne University of Technology. The curriculum was developed following extensive consultation with the circus and physical theatre industries.

    The Bachelor of Circus Arts is a vocationally oriented degree aimed at providing talented performing artists with the skills, knowledge and creativity to take their place on a national and world stage in the field of contemporary circus and physical theatre. The degree also prepares artists to manage their own artistic careers in the world arena by providing sound arts business knowledge, leadership skills for the arts arena, research and academic skills and opportunities for innovation and experimentation with style and form.

    NICA strives to produce highly employable, skilled and creative artists who will be respected nationally and internationally in the global circus and physical theatre industry. Graduates’ destinations demonstrate that they are employed as professional circus artists.

    The current Bachelor of Circus Arts is a specific agreement between the TAFE Division and Higher Education Division of Swinburne University of Technology and the Federal Government through the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA.)

    Course Structure:
    The contact hours in the Bachelor of Circus Arts are higher than other degrees because of the intensive education process. The acquisition and performance of circus skills require continual repeated practice in order to achieve and maintain the level of fitness, conditioning, strength and technical expertise required to meet international standards of excellence.

    The degree is based on vertical integration of skills and methodology. These skills are introduced in the embedded two-year TAFE award then built on in the Bachelor year. Experiential learning is embedded throughout the program. Students must complete all subjects to complete the degree.

    Units of Study:

    Year 1 – Diploma of Circus Arts (course code N22047VIC)
    Semester 3 (whole year)
    NVU20072 Apply foundation principles of body awareness to individual fitness, strength and conditioning program for circus performers (100 hours)
    NVU20073 Implement foundation level individual fitness, strength and conditioning program for circus performers (300 hours)
    NVU20074 Execute circus skills to foundation level (350 hours)
    NVU20075 Develop foundation performance and movement skills for circus and physical theatre (220 hours)
    NVU20076 Develop foundation applied practices for circus performers (200 hours)
    NBOHS509A Ensure a safe workplace (60 hours)

    Semester 1
    NVU20077 Participate in circus equipment and rigging practices (60 hours)
    NVU20078 Research and apply history and theory to circus arts practice (40 hours)

    Year 2 – Advanced Diploma of Circus Arts (course code N22046VIC)
    Semester 3 (whole year)
    NVU20079 Apply intermediate principles of body awareness to individual fitness, strength and conditioning program for circus performers (100 hours)
    NVU20080 Implement intermediate level individual fitness, strength and conditioning program for circus performers (300 hours)
    NVU20081 Consolidate circus skills to intermediate level (350 hours)
    NVU20082 Consolidate intermediate performance and movement skills for circus and physical theatre (220 hours)
    NVU20085 Prepare for technical aspects of circus production (60 hours)

    Semester 1
    NBSMB401A Establish legal and risk management requirements of small business operations (60 hours)
    NBSMB405A Monitor and manage small business (45 hours)
    NVU20083 Consolidate intermediate applied practices for circus performers (200 hours)

    Semester 2
    NVU20084 Research and apply cultural contexts of circus (40 hours)

    Year 3 – Bachelor of Circus Arts (course code: CA10)
    Semester 1
    HNCA301 Circus Technique and Specialisation – Refining the Specialisation (300 hours)
    HNCA302 Performance and Dance – The Performer and the Audience (120 hours)
    HNCA303 Performance Practice – The Innovative Circus Ensemble (200 hours)
    HNCA304 The Business of Circus – Strategic Planning and Entrepreneurship (36 hours)

    Semester 2
    HNCA305 Circus Technique and Specialisation – Innovation and the Circus Specialty (300 hours)
    HNCA306 Performance and Dance – Performance Techniques (120 hours)
    HNCA307 Performance Practice – The Professional Circus Act (200 hours)
    HNCA308 The Business of Circus – Marketing the Artist and the Act (12 hours)

    Career Opportunities:
    Formal training in circus skills opens up exciting opportunities for a future career. Graduates are highly employable, knowledgeable and creative. They have found careers nationally and internationally. NICA training can lead to work in contemporary circus, traditional circus, social circus, stunt work, corporate entertainment, festivals, teaching and other sectors of the arts industry. New companies are emerging as NICA graduates find their place in Australia’s cultural landscape.


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