New international circus laboratory



Experimental workshop in de margins of our festival Smells like Circus

Circuscentrum in Belgium and Cirko - Center for New Circus in Finland produce an artistic laboratory for circus professionals in the beginning of their career in January and March 2016. Initiated by the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux, the laboratory is conducted in collaboration with CircusInfo Finland and Arts Centre Vooruit.

The participants

Three Finnish and three Flemish circus artists were selected for the laboratory through an open call. During seven days in Ghent (9 – 15 January 2016) and five days in Helsinki (22 – 26 March 2016) they will work as a group in an experimental workshop where the main goal is artistic discovery instead of an artistic production. The participants will be mentored by experienced art professionals from different fields. Theatre director Arne Sierens will be the mentor for the Ghent period, and mime Marc Gassot and actress Kati Outinen for the Helsinki period.

Meet the six participants, from an engineering student who escaped his life to circus as well as an acrobat who wants to dance – the circus lab team is a wonderfully eclectic bunch: 

Josse De Broeck
Josse De Broeck, 21, a hand-to-hand acrobat who studies at ACaPA, the Academy for Circus and Performance Arts in Tilburg, Netherlands. ”I want to be confronted with different opinions, visions and approaches on circus arts, knowing that nationality doesn’t matter when you are connected through circus,” De Broeck says.

Michiel Deprez
Michiel Deprez, 26, is a juggler who graduated from ACaPA in June 2015. Before that, Deprez got his diploma at the ‘Formation Pédagogique’ from the École de Cirque de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium. Currently he is working on two different solo projects. ”I enjoy working alone, but I feel the need to have input and dialogue, to challenge my ideas and my body, to meet other artists. In short: I want to expand my horizons,” Deprez says.

Hendrik Van Maele
Hendrik Van Maele, 20, started his circus career as a youngster in the Flemish circus school Cirkus in Beweging, where he performed in several shows and taught classes. Currently he is on his third year also at ACaPA, where he is part of a four-person acrobatic collective. ”I am eager to investigate the border between circus and dance,” Van Maele says.

Inka Pehkonen
Inka Pehkonen, 23, is a Finnish circus artist who specializes in Washington trapeze and handstand. She started her career in Linnanmäki Youth Circus at age 10 and graduated as a professional circus artist from Lahti Circus School in 2015. Pehkonen is currently working as a freelancer and is one of the founders of the contemporary circus company Sisus.

Mira Sirkka
is a soon-to-be graduate circus artist and teacher from Finland. She specializes in hula hoop manipulation and aerial chains. Sirkka is also keen on clownery, fire art and performance arts. Before entering the circus programme at the Turku Arts Academy she studied theatre. This helped her realize that circus, a dear hobby since childhood in the Lapland of Finland, was her true passion. Besides performing and teaching, Sirkka explores directing contemporary circus projects. ”I am interested in contracts, such as combining chains with sensitivity and hula hoops with deviant tricks and rhythm,” she says.

Otto Tammivaara
Otto Tammivaara, 27, is in his own words ”a failed engineering student who escaped his life to the Lahti Circus School”. Now Tammivaara is reborn as a fledgling circus artist with courage to pursue his lifelong dream as a stand-up comedian.

Information from
The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux
In the margins of
Smells like Circus by Circuscentrum & Vooruit

More information:  
Circuscentrum (Maarten Verhelst) or Cirko (Erika Härkönen)

Top row left to right: Inka Pehkonen; Hendrik Van Maele; Michiel Deprez
Below left to right: Otto Tammivaara; Mira Sirkka; Josse De Broeck
© Elliot Dehaspe, Alejandro Estrada, Jenny Mansikkasalo, Joonas Purastie and Maarten Verhelst

Written on 02.11.15