Circus BA


You want to reach the top of circus. You are looking for an inspiring, international setting to bring out your talent as a performer and to develop your authentic and artistic identity. Codarts offers that setting.

At Codarts you study a wide range of circus disciplines. From acrobatics to juggling and aerials. You also choose a specialisation in which you wish to excel. You learn how to integrate various art forms in your performance: music, dance and theatre.

Each year you perform before an audience. You can do an internship either here or abroad. At the end of your studies you leave Codarts as a broadly trained artist who can design and perform the greatest acts, both individually and as a team member. During your studies you make good connections which enable you to find work in a varied workfield.

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Year 1

In the first year the focus is on improving your technical and performing skills.

  • You will be prepared to take a wide range of subjects in circus techniques and learn about the various circus disciplines.
  • The programme includes: circus history, health and anatomy, cultural philosophy, dance, theatre, ballet training, music and physical preparation.
  • As of the second semester you concentrate on your chosen specialisation. But you also continue taking classes in the various circus disciplines.
  • You create a group production with other students, supervised by a choreographer (Circus from Dance).
  • You design and perform a solo act or a duet.

Year 2

The second year marks the start of the main phase. You focus on deepening your specialisation and your profession as a performer.

  • You take intensive specialisation classes in small groups.
  • You create a solo act, which you perform before an audience.
  • You continue with the art classes from year one (dance/theatre/music) and a number of theoretical classes. You start with Laban movement analysis.
  • You continue with classes like health, safety, food, training and rigging.
  • You take part in a group production about circus based on theatre.

Year 3

In the third year, your independence as a circus performer becomes more important.

  • You take intensive specialisation classes in small groups.
  • You can do an internship with a company in the Netherlands or abroad, for at least three weeks.
  • You take classes in entrepreneurship to learn about production, marketing/PR and financial management.
  • You create one solo piece and one duet. For the duet you collaborate with a fellow third-year student from another specialisation.
  • Together with a coach you develop your own training programme. By now you know what the best warming up is for you.
  • You make a production, supervised by a circus maker/director.

Year 4

The final year is your graduation year, with the following highlights:

  • Your specialisation: with a coach chosen by you you will optimise your individual act.
  • You take classes in the fields of music, light, sound, production, costumes and styling. You use this knowledge in making performances.
  • You write a graduation paper, demonstrating that you have analytic research skills. You are capable of presenting a convincing and appealing performance and you have a well-considered view of the profession.
  • You graduate with an individual act and a group production supervised by a renowned circus maker. You perform these in one of the larger theatres in Rotterdam.

After graduation

After graduating you can start a career as an independent circus artist or as a member of a collective. Many of Codarts’ alumni have landed positions with professional companies, including Seven Fingers (Canada), Cirque Eloise, XY, Panama Pictures, Grensgeval, Freiwalds Menagerie Circus, Gandini Juggling, Corpus Acrobatics, the Dutch Opera and Freiwalds Menagerie Circus and various circus companies and vaudeville shows in Germany and Switzerland.

Joris de Jong (graduation year 2010), juggler:
‘Immediately after graduating I started working with TENT, a then new initiative by some friends of mine from Amsterdam. In their productions they combine spectacular circus techniques with other disciplines such as mime, dance, music, theatre, design and performance art.’

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To be admitted at the Bachelor Circus Arts at Codarts a specific entrance audition must be passed. Each area of study has its own admission procedure with accompanying selection criteria and supplementary requirements.

To enroll at Codarts you should be in possession of a havo diploma, mbo bve-level 4 or a (foreign) certificate of equivalent value, in which the subject packet or the profile is of secondary importance. In special cases the above diploma demands can be set aside. The student-to-be then has the possibility to take a capacity test, to check if there is sufficient general development to be able to follow the study. The fees for this test are charged to the student-to-be.

In order to gain an impression of your talent you are required to participate in an entrance examination. The entrance examination consists of a pre-audition and final selection. Throughout the entrance examination you will be observed to see if you possess the necessary talent to successfully complete the study course. You will be judged according to a number of criteria. These criteria relate to the degree in which you possess sufficient skill, aptitude and development possibilities to successfully complete the study course. Required competencies include artistic expression, technical circus skill, physical possibilities, stamina, ability to improvise, team spirit, and learning ability. It is important that you are physically fit.

Practical info


Under “more information” we give you all the important information you might need to know for your study at Codarts. Under “more information” we give information on the tuition fee, useful websites that can help with finding suitable accommodation, how to study at Codarts with a disability, and give tips for applying for a scholarship. We will help you to find your way at Codarts.


Our teachers will be more than just your teacher. They will be your coach and mentor during your study. Our teachers have won their spurs in professional practice and bring their knowledge to the classroom. They will inspire and stimulate you to fully deploy and use your talents. You will find yourself transferring their influences to your projects and performances.

Meet them all

Student life


Codarts provides numerous facilities designed to offer you a learning environment in which you can develop your talents as a sustainable performer. Our circus department has its own building at the Rotterdam harbour, directly across from Hotel New York. It has a large, light practice space, as well as dance studios and a fitness and massage room.

As a student of circus arts you have to perform at top level, which can be quite demanding. This is why we offer you plenty of physical and mental support. If you have any problems in these regards, our Health Centre employees are there for you. Codarts has physiotherapists, manual physiotherapists, a fitness coach, a transition coach, a speech therapist, a sports dietician and performance coach. Know this: it is okay to fall. We will help you back on your feet again.


Many famous musicians, dancers and circus artists have studied at Codarts Rotterdam. This page contains a selection of the circus alumni.

Click here for an overview



+31 (0) 10 21 71 06 0

Veerlaan 19F

3072 AN Rotterdam