This February NICA performance teacher and trainer Zebastian Hunter will travel to Beijing International Arts School to direct a student performance as part of a new exchange initiative between the two organisations.
The project is the first chapter of this relationship, which is hoped to evolve into a joint graduate presentation by the two schools. Through these exchange projects, NICA aims to be a leader in the development and education of circus arts around world.
Beijing International Art School, formerly Beijing Acrobatic School, is the largest secondary art school in China teaching circus arts, martial arts, dance and fine arts. Mr Hunter who is a former Cirque Du Soleil artist and has a Master of Fine Arts (Directing) from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), will work with students from the school for a period of four weeks to devise an original performance piece featuring four jugglers.
Mr Hunter started his artistic career with the Flying Fruit Fly Circus in Wodonga. Upon completion of his studies, he became the first Australian to attend and graduate from the prestigious Ecole Nationale de Cirque de Montreal in Canada. He was also a featured soloist in Cirque Du Soleil’s, Alegria from 2009 to 2013.
The exchange evolved from the work of Mr Guang Rong Lu OAM, Director (International Engagement), founding member and former Head of Circus Studies at NICA. Mr Lu says he hopes it will strengthen the relationship between Australia and the circus community in China.
“We greatly value the connection we are building with the Beijing International Arts School. We believe there are shared values between the two schools and will continue developing this relationship by initiating future projects to enhance the development of circus arts in Australia and around the world,” Mr Lu says.
Mr Lu has been highly influential in the evolution of circus arts in Australia. Having graduated from the Nanjing Drama School in the early 1970’s he went on to perform and tour with the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe around the world until 1987. Mr Lu was an original member of “Nanjing I” and “Nanjing II”, a cultural exchange project between Australia and Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe of China in the 1980s.
NICA is a national not-for-profit arts training organisation registered as a cultural organisation and primarily funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Communications and the Arts. It is one of eight national arts training institutes and offers Australia’s only Bachelor of Circus Arts. Graduates of NICA have gone on to pursue exciting careers both locally and internationally and have contributed to the development of Melbourne’s vibrant circus arts industry. The course is accredited by Swinburne University of Technology and attracts applicants from around the world.