Balance Masterclass

January 2016 - Strasburg (France)


This is the masterclass program outline

13:30 – 18:00 Arrival and welcome

In order not to loose valuable time of the masterclass program we advise to plan extra time for getting everyone together at the venue.

19:30 – 22.00 First session – Explanation of project and program, getting to know each other

This is where the masterclass coordinator presents the preliminary program and together with the masterclass participants fills in the open spaces with the input and wishlists of the participants. 


09:00-12:00 Workshop on Theory of learning and teaching


14:00-16:00 Building up series of lessons

Excercise on setting up lesson material: what if you were to do a workshop on one balance technique, either for: – two hours – 10 weeks – one year, building-up to performing group

16:30 -18:30 Practical session

First exchange session by participants: inventory of what people want to learn and have to offer, and how to organize exchange on one of the following days.

20:00 -22:00 Free exchange time

Session on supporting the learners identity in circus training.



09:00 – 10:00 Warming-up by Participants

CHECK: GAMES for more input

10:00 – 12:00 Workshop on the Theory of Learning and Teaching – Follow up of Day 1


Cooling-down by participants

14:00-16:00 Exchange session – input by participants
  • Presentation video education project by Marco van Zanten (NL) – CHECK OUT: CIRCUS ELLEBOOGS PILOT 
  • Exchange lesson material and network building: show lesson material and exchaning contact details
  • Start setting up the Balance Bibliography

16:00 – 17:00 Workshop on Inclusion and social application of circus arts
17:00 – 18:00 Prepare workshops for Day 4
20:00 -22:00 Free exchange time
  • Globe-Workshop by Joan from Grain de Cirque – HAVE A LOOK AT:  ROCK PAPER SCISSORS – the movie

{VIDEO GLOBE WORKSHOP in foto’s en videos – zie serie}

NOTE: the morning part of this session was joined by teachers and trainiers of the hosting venue. This prooves to be a valuable asset of the program, both for the masterclass participants as well as the visiting teachers and trainers.


09:00 -18:30 Workshops on Creativity with youth and in youth work by Philippe Brasseur


20:00 -22:00 Free exchange time

Possibility to work with a youth group of host and preparing for exchange workshops Day 4



09:00 -15:30 Teaching the visiting trainers

Exchange workshops on different balance techniques by participants – topics:

  • unicycle
  • rope skipping
  • ladders
  • rolabola video
  • tight wire/tricks & creation
  • stilts
  • hoola hoop
  • board games for balance

16:00 -18:00 – Social activity to learn about hosting country, visiting the city
20:00 -22:00 Free exchange time for masterclass participants


9:30 – 14.00 Evaluation

Topics were:

  • How to build a network
  • Working with and understanding the European network/projects
  • What do you want to take home?
  • How can we share this experience in our own countries
  • What do we need in a resource centre.


  • Evaluation on logistics and content of masterclass
13:30 – 14.00 Lunch with the board of EYCO and Participants’ presentation on the masterclass
14:00 – 16:00 Free exchange time
16:00 -18:00 Departure time – Cleaning up and goodbyes


Find inspiration for your lessons

Photo balance teachingREAD EVERYTHING ON

Teaching creativity:
Working with groups:


Fun games for warming up for balance techniques

Check out these balance games – they help you with

  • warming upPhoto games note
  • creating the group
  • stimulating creativity and focus
  • practice your balance


1. Fingergrab - warming up in circle

Form circle, with everybody having the index finger of the right hand to the right and the left hand ready to grab the index finger of your neighbour.

  • First round in the count of three
  • Second round with other fingers
  • Third round with crossed arms
  • Fourth round with everybody turning their backs to the circle

2. Jellyfish - warming up

Jellyfish I

Start in a circle, Choose someone in the group -without telling them. Run around this person three times and then come back to the place where you were standing before.

Jellyfish II

Second round, you have to run around two persons at the same time.

3. Ants Hospital - tagging game

Tag game – ants hospital

When you are tagged, lay down on your back with arms and legs in the air: you’re an ant in need of a hospital.
The others can help you by taking you to the hospital by lifting you at your arms and legs and bringing you to a large crash mat (hospital) somewhere on the floor. They cannot be tagged, while helping you. Once you are in hospital you are ready to start over.
You can add a nurse to the hospital who can

  • give you a massage
  • if you are playing frosen, nurse is able to warm you up

You can add a clock-mechanism:

  • the person who is tagged stands straight, legs spread and moves arms around the body like the hands of a clock, counting til eight. You can be saved when somebody crawls under your legs.


4. Rubber Chicken

Form a circle. Start counting together, while everyone shakes his arms and legs one by one. First  8 counts, then 4, 2, 1 and jump and shout together ”rubber chicken”.

Use this a warming-up with your group right before starting a performance.

5. Magic Paint

Start in a circle. Leader tells a story about an imaginary painting and imaginary paint: you use both arms and legs to reach for the paint in huge buckets and start putting on enormous canvases and make your own imaginary masterpiece.

6. Falling and flying

Everybody starts walking through the room; when the teacher calls your name you start falling down real slow and the rest of the group catches you. Instead of using names, you can use for instance numbers or animals.

  • variation: the group lets you to go down to the floor
  • variation: the group lifts you up

7. Core stability

Tag game: one is the catcher and if he catches you, you lay down on the floor on your back.
How to save: someone who is free will came to you and lifts you up by lifting both your legs so that your lower body is no longer touching the floor (you need to stay as a stick).
Then saver will let go one of your feet while you still need to keep your body very straight. Counts to three.
After that he lets your feet down again and you are back in the game.

8. Getting to the island

You try as a group to cross the space to get to the ‘island’ without touching the ‘water’.
Use two hoops or mats to build the ‘bridges’.

9. Beam swap

The whole group stands on the balance beam and people swap places without touching the ground.

Variation: put yourself in line according to age, height, etcetera.

10. Chicken tag

Everybody inside in closed area and everyone is a chicken on one leg.
There is one blind chicken on 2 legs walking around.
Chickens on 1 leg can only hop 10 times and are aloud to avoid and dodge.
The blind chicken has to find and touch all other chickens.
Every chicken that is touched is out of the game.


11. Human surfing

Standing on somebody in box-postion (hands and knees), who is moving around.


  • race
  • parcours
  • soft-prop-combat
  • flyers try to debalance the other flyers
  • bases try to debalance other bases

12. Human bridge

Bases (on hands and knees) form a bridge with different heights – like stairs. One flyer crosses the bridge with the help of an assistent.


13. Human Sausage roll or sofa game

Base lies on the floor. Flyer stands on top. Base starts rolling and flyer tries to stay on top.

Variation: use a prop instead of a base, like a barrel or a foam-assistent-block.

14. Obstacle course

Balance obstacles on the floor. Climb over the obstacles in interesting or inventive ways.

Variation: Floor is ”lava”, so do not touch it.

15. Bus Swan Monkey

Form two circles. Inside circle runs in the other direction that the outside circle. Leader calls a shape (see picture for examples)

  • London bus
  • Swan
  • Monkey in the tree

Create this shape as quickly as possible with a partner from the other circle. The couple finishing last is out of the game.


16. Rope wrestle

Work in pairs: facing each other both holding a short piece of rope.
Try to debalance the other by pulling the rope.
If you move a foot you will lose the game.

Variation: instead of rope, put hands together and try to push the other out of balance.


17. Off-ground tag

Tag game: you are safe while standing on the balance obstacles on the floor.
You are only allowed to stay on this obstacle for 3 seconds.

Later on only 2 seconds, or even 1 sec.

The game-leader can replace or take out obstacles.


18. Prop tag

Use several taggers with each one holding a different prop. There is a movement for each prop.
Try to choose very different movements so you cannot combine the movements.
You can avoid being tagged by doing this specific movement. You can only do one movement at the time.
If the tagger touches you, you are the next tagger.


19. Board games for conditioning or creativity


  • Any old board game with different coloured spaces, e.g. Pictionary
  • Lots of dice (one per particpant/team)
  • Lots of tokens or player pieces (one per participant/team)

HOW TO USE IT boardgame explanation picture

  • Assign a different activity/exercise to each colour. E.g. Blue = Press up, Green = Sit up. Red = Star jump. etc.
  • All player roll dice at at the same time (or whenever they are ready)
  • Whatever colour their piece lands on is the exercise they must do, the number on the dice is how many reps of that exercise they have to complete. e.g. I roll a 4 and land on a blue square so i must do 4 pressups before i can roll again.
  • The game continues until everyone has made one (or two) circuits of the board. Or until a certain amount of time has passed.
  • Players are not competing against each other. But those that finish first can have a longer rest!


  • Use it for specific equipment training e.g. colours represent different static trapeze moves.
  • Use it for creativity in juggling e.g. colours represent an emotion and the number represents the intensity.


These techniques will improve your teaching balance and performing


Introducing the unicycle quickly and with loads of fun: try UNICYCLE MINI WORKSHOP! Also watch and use all these wonderful videos:


Introducing tightrope quickly and with loads of fun: try this TIGHTROPE MINI WORKSHOP!


Introducing walking globe quickly and with loads of fun: try this!

Laying down

Standing and walking

Mounting and Jumping





Introducing ladder quickly and with loads of fun: try this!

Rolabola Solo

Introducing rolabola solo quickly and with loads of fun: try this handy to use drawings and also watch and use these wonderful videos:

Rola Bola

Rolabola in pairs

Introducing rolabola in pairs quickly and with loads of fun: try this

Rola Bola


These people were involved

Isabel van Maele

Isabel van Maele

teacher Cirkus in Beweging multi and aerials

This is Isabel van Maele. Steady force, member of the educational team of Cirkus in Beweging and coordinator of the BIC training of Circuscentrum Vlaanderen. Specialized in multi circus and aerials, co-author of Circus in School.

Contact Isabel at:

Petra Mäki-Neuvonen

Petra Mäki-Neuvonen

youth circus trainer

This is Petra Mäki-Neuvonen; she is a youth circus teacher in Finland, passionate about circus since the age of ten. Teaches circus skills since 1992. First as a hobby with groups of children, and after four years circus studies in Turku University of Applied Sciences (Art Academy) as a circus trainer, director and educator.
Petra has been working as a full time circus trainer since 2000 and nowadays her main job is to be a main circus trainer in Art School Estradi (Taidekoulu Estradi), which has three parts: circus, theatre and popular music. She did her advanced degree on Theatre Academy in Helsinki and graduated with Master of Arts (Theatre and Drama) in 2010.
She has been part of pedagogical team of EYCO (CATE-project 2012-2014) and also one of our pedagogical team in Finnish Youth Circus Association in Finland.
Petra took part on Balance Masterclass within PEYC-project (Strasbourg, 2016) and was one of the trainers on CATE II within PEYC-project (March, 2016).

Contact Petra at:

Valentin Andreas Hecker

Valentin Andreas Hecker

youth circus trainer

This is Valentin Andreas Hecker, born in Germany (1961), nowliving in Orvieto, Italy.
Valentin started his carreer in circus in 1986, as autodidatta and attending Fooltime Circus School in Bristol (GB). Years of street performing followed, focusing on juggling, slackrope and unicycle .
From 1997 the tightwire became the most important aspect of the performance. From 2007 Valentin has been performing with “Los Filonautas” as “tight rope-theatre” company all over Europe. Since 2003 he is teaching circus to children, at Orvieto Circusschool, “Sul Filo e Dintorni”, and trains trainers in tight rope since 2006.
He is a Functional Psycomotrist since 2008.

Contact Valentin at:

Tobias Lippek

Tobias Lippek

youth circus teacher

This isTobias Lippek.

Contact Tobias at:

Nathan White

Nathan White

youth circus trainer

This is Nathan White from the UK.

Contact Nathan at:

Guro Falck Olsen

Guro Falck Olsen

youth circus trainer

This is Guro Falck Olsen, she is a performer at Compagnie with Balls and a multidiciplinary circus teacher mainly at Circuswerkplaats Boost in Amsterdam (Holland). She completed the Formation Pedagogique at Ecole du Cirque de Bruxelles (2008).
She is initiator of Circus Welkom, an outreach project for refugee kids.

Contact Guro at:

Ben Hyde

Ben Hyde

tutor of inclusive and social circus

This is Ben Hyde, he is a tutor of inclusive and social circus at Circus Eruption and NoFitState Circus in the UK, and has been working with youth circuses since 2001. He is also a trainer and director of Dynamix, a workers cooperative that focuses on children’s rights, youth participation and creative learning methods.

Ben’s approach is to put the learner at the centre of the experience and adapt the circus skill and teaching style around the learner’s abilities and needs.

Contact Ben at: or



Marjolein Wagter

Marjolein Wagter

youth circus trainer and artist

Marjolein Wagter is a youth circus teacher with over 23 years of experience. She travels the world as an artist with Compagnie with Balls, and has delivered considerable input tot the CATE Handbook.
She is also designer and coordinator of the PEYC Masterclasses.

Contact Marjolein at:

Novella Morellini

Novella Morellini

youth circus trainer

This is Novella Morellini of Catapulta Teatro Circo, Italy. She works a an actress, stilt dancer artist and teacher of peadagogical circus.
In 2001 she founded with other 11 artists the company “Pies Negros”, which makes physical theater, and started working with the street theater company “Abraxa teatro”. She started teaching in 2004 to children in nursery, primary and high schools in Rome and Civitavecchia, and a few years later as a circus teacher with Circomix. In 2012 she founded “CATAPULTA Teatro Circo” focussing on circus pedagogy and education.

Contact Novella:

Mira Sirkka

Mira Sirkka


This is Mira Sirkka, is a  recently graduated circus artist from Finland. She specializes in hula hoop manipulation and aerial chains. Sirkka is teaching in two circusses in Helsinki called Sirkus Woltti and Hakasirkus. She teaches all disciplines for beginners and aerial acrobatics for advanced level.

”For me circus, besides it is a exciting way to do sports, is a tool to learn and teach about human beings and good values in the life.” she says.

Contact Mira at:

Websites of the circus and projects:




This is Maiju-Saarimaa. She started her circus hobby at the age of fifteen. The spark of circus has lead her to professional circus school, University of Applied Sciences – Arts Academy.
Maiju graduated in Spring 2015 as a circus artist and circus teacher. Her main disciplines are tight wire, hula hoops and fire art.

At present she is teaching circus in Hämeenlinna, Finland. Her pupils ages are between four and fifty years old so variation is quite big. Maiju is teaching basics from acrobatic, juggling, balance and hand standing. In addition Maiju has a couple circus projects in the works so teaching and artistic work go side by side.

Contact Maiju at:

Laura Montaldo

Laura Montaldo

youth circus trainer

This is Laura Montaldo of Carampa-Circodromo in Spain.

Contact Laura at or

Johan Wuyts

Johan Wuyts

youth circus teacher

This is Johan Wuyts of Cirkus in Beweging, Belgium

Contact Johan at:

Fréderic Klink

Fréderic Klink

This is Fréderic Klink, from Morges, the French speaking part of Switzerland.
He is the director of the Coquino Circus School since 1998. Specialized in trampo-wall.
His goal for his 300 students: Raise your head into the stars with a really well balanced body, so that everyone can shine his personality and joyfulness.
Coquino circus school will be glad to invite foreigner teenagers for workshops exchanges during vacations.

Contact Fréderic at:

Daniel Patschovsky

Daniel Patschovsky

youth circus trainer

This is Daniel Patschovsky of ZAK in Cologne, Germany. Daniel is a teacher of circus arts, specialized in balance and acrobatic skills and special education teacher (Diplom Heilpädagoge). Since 2010 he is the coordinator of the circus-pedagogic formation-ship at ZAK Zirkus- und Artistikzentrum Köln. He has been working as a partner- acrobat for several years (Cie. Kontrapass, Atemzug e.V., Traumtrapez).  As a circus teacher he works since 2001 with children, youth and adults in several youth circuses, Social-circus projects, schools  and universities in Cologne and abroad.
In his work he is trying to create an each one teach one learning atmosphere.

Contact Daniel at:



Caroline Therond

Caroline Therond


This is Caroline Therond of Graine de cirque, in Straatsburg, France.

Contact Caroline at

Anna Fussler

Anna Fussler

This is Anna Fussler. She has been teaching circus for almost three years at the circus school Graine de Cirque in Strasbourg, France. She works along with schools, preschools and kindergartens and gives weekly multidisciplinary classes to children, teenagers and grown-ups. She is currently completing her B.I.A.C. (Brevet d’Initiateur aux Arts du Cirque – certificate for circus arts instructor). She also teaches, practices and performs aerials (vertical rope, static trapeze, silks and hoop) as her speciality, but keeps exploring various discplines in and out of the field of circus arts.

Contact Anna at:

Philippe Brasseur

Philippe Brasseur

This is Philippe Brasseur (1964, Belgium) is author and illustrator of several books on creativity, some of them children’s books.
As a teacher and consultant he promotes ‘creative thinking’, in both schools and businesses.
Philippe is passionate about pedagogy and ‘thinking in images’ voor pedagogie.

More information on Philippe:



Useful reading material


  • Basic techniques in circus arts – Fondation Cirque Du Soleil


  • Le Monocycle by Barlomiej Soroczynski (Les Èditions LOGIQUES)
  • Petit Traité d’équilibre sur boule by Ludovic Lauriere (Collection savoir faire)
  • Multiple intelligences, by Howard Gardner
  • Encyclopedia of Ball Juggling by Charlie Dancey
  • Social Circus Handbook for Teachers by Cirque du Monde




  • The Partner Acrobatics & Pyramid Cards – Tips and Instructions for Using the Cards (Finnish Youth Circus Association,

foto bij titelbar media v2

Newspaper article DNA on Balance Masterclass January 2016

For participants

Only available for people who participated

For participants to enter the masterclass detailed information, click here.