I don’t know about you, but I have always struggled to find circus camps that were both affordable and meaningful to me based on age or skill-level. However, when I went back to France two years ago (where I am originally from), I used the opportunity to sign myself up to a circus camp and discovered hidden opportunities to perform with other circus-loving teens. All of these programs below are part of what is called in French a “colonie de vacances”, or a sleepaway camp where the main purpose is to have fun. That is why all of these offer activities on the side, such as mountain-biking, swimming, tree-climbing… but don’t worry, circus remains the priority! These summer camps are also all based on a more-or-less camping environment, where kids sleep in tents but still have access to prepared meals and proper buildings (except maybe for the last camp!) Maybe they will also give you a reason to touch up on your French!
CPA LAthus- Cirque en tournée
This two-week long camp was the one which I went to and I had a blast! During the first week, a group of fifteen or so of us 14-17 year olds worked together to create a show with acts separated by discipline, but under the general theme of links and relationships. The instructor also had us perform a collective dance, which was really different but also fun for me! The second week, we drove to different local villages and performed our free shows for all kinds of audiences. Also, almost all of us unicycled, so we traveled this way to lunch, dinner, etc. In our free time, we went tree-climbing, did handstands and juggled on upside-down canoes, and went swimming. This year, the camp starts on July 30th. You can find more information on http://www.cpa-lathus.asso.fr/camps-details-camps-14-17-ans-(3_241_011).html
Oval Séjours- Les arts du cirque
This camp offers a month-long circus adventure in the heart of France! Teenagers, ages 14 to 17, prepare a show and perform it on the prestigious local stage at the end of the camp. The instructors can really focus on strengthening and teaching circus skills during this camp because of its longer duration and short performance time. For more information, visit https://www.asso-oval.com/sejours-vacances/stage-de-cirque-ete
Aventure Artistique Itinérant Ado – Cirque Tournée Spectacle
Similarly to the first camp, this camp is two weeks long and focuses on creating a show during the first week, and performing it locally during the second. However, it is different in that the concept of camping is embraced even more, with kids helping with chores such as cooking. Working this way can definitely bring people together like family! More information at http://preenbulles.free.fr/sejour/sej_c-tournee.htm
Colozère- Séjour “Cirque en bullant”
If you enjoy rough living, this 13-day camp is definitely for you. After planning their show for the first couple of days, the team of performers embarks on a journey on bike or on foot, and travel around locally to perform their show. For details, check out their website: http://www.enfants-vacances.com/sejour+cirque+en+bullant-fiche50.html
I hope this little article gave you some new ideas on how to spend your summer and inspired you to “expand your circus horizon”! Best of luck to all of you in your future circus endeavors, and like we say in French, Au revoir!