National Youth Circus Event 2018

Once again, Leeds Children’s Circus were lucky enough to have been selected to attend the National Youth Circus event in London this year. In February we took 5 of our young people and two trainers down to the National Centre for Circus Arts in London for a weekend of circus filled fun.

This was a huge honour considering it is the 250th anniversary of circus this year!

To celebrate 250 years of circus, this event aimed to bring the many expressions of circus together and recognise that each form brings a unique contribution. This event provided an opportunity for everyone to learn something new from one another in a celebration of our art’s heritage.

Our young circus performers took part in workshops and masterclasses that taught them new skills and allowed them to meet other circus groups from around the country.

There were a diverse range of sessions all offering exciting new skills, both practical and theoretical. Examples of the workshops at NYCE 2018 include:

The ‘Making Rigging Accessible’ session developed our aerial teaching practice to be more open and accessible. It reflected upon pedagogical methodologies and teaching environments.

The ‘UK Youth Circus Network’ aimed to inspire and empower the future leaders of youth circus organisations. The skills behind leading a local, national or international organisation were revealed in this workshop. Attendees got to learn about exciting plans for the next few years, and were invited to ask for support from the best.

Those interested in social issues loved our ‘Gender Roles in Circus’ talk from Martha Harrison, a teacher in Circus Arts who holds an MA in ‘Gender, Sexuality and Culture’. She has conducted specific research into representations of gender in contemporary circus. Her findings were discussed in an hour-long talk focusing on her research, followed by a Q&A!

The ‘Intro to Inclusive Practice with Candoco Dance Company’ workshop offered a unique opportunity for practitioners to come together and experience Candoco’s approach in inclusive practice. This workshop explored individual teaching practice and questions, and was open to disabled and non-disabled artists.


The ‘Ariel Clinic: Exploring and Developing Teaching Practice’ workshop involved exploring and developing your teaching practice in aerial. This session focused on practical work.

For those who are interested in the science behind circus, ‘Finding the Appropriate Level of Neural Stimulus for Youth groups’ introduced how the nervous system interacts with the body during movement. This presentation demonstrated the roles played by the visual, vestibular and proprioceptive systems, as well as alternative ways to increase or regress the complexity of a skill.

And these were just some of the classes!

Our kids did an amazing job representing Leeds on a national level and we are incredibly proud of them all. What an amazing experience, fingers crossed we’ll be invited back next year!

P.s. We even had our very own circus mascot called Derek the unicorn. See if you can spot him in the pictures on our Facebook page… #DerektheUnicorn