About

"Circus arts are an education, a profession and an art."

Philippe Goudard ("L'école en piste. Les arts du cirque à la rencontre de l'école")

Founded almost twenty years ago by Zygmunt Biegaj and Sophie Albasini, Zôfy Circus School is truer than ever to its desire to promote circus arts in Switzerland. We focus on developing a "circus" culture through multidisciplinary and multipurpose instruction, integrating from the earliest age the principal circus disciplines, theatrical play, physical expressiveness and musicality. We aim to provide an apprenticeship that begins with play, and progresses over time towards high-level athletic and artistic performance, where everyone gives of their best in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect.

Zôfy Circus School offers a range of levels of training that evolve depending on the age (young children, adolescents or adults) and the interest of the students. In 2003, the school opened its first full time professional course and continues to launch the careers of young artists, or to prepare them for entry into the major international circus schools.

Disciplines taught:

  • Trampoline: practice of acrobatic movements and coordination
  • Silks - fixed and swinging trapeze - aerial cradle - aerial rope - aerial hoops
  • Teeter and Hungarian board - Russian bar and swing
  • Juggling and object manipulation
  • Equilibristics - on a ball - on a ladder - on a tightrope
  • Tumbling : practice of jumps and floor acrobatics
  • Monocycle and Cyr wheel
  • Hand-to-hand

There are five levels of training: recreational, performance, pre-professional circus studies, professional, and continuing education. Weekly holiday camps are also organised at Easter and over the summer.

Recreational training

Classes for children and adults wanting to explore circus arts, open to anyone during the school year, from 3 to 77 years of age, as weekly workshops lasting an hour and a half, aiming towards an end-of-year performance. Each discipline is covered at each class, at a level appropriate to the students. The classes are split according to age.


Specialised classes are offered: 

  • For adults wanting to explore aerial skills: trapeze, silks, rope, hoop (not for performance)
  • Specialised acrobatics and trampoline classes, open to all.
  • Flexibility/contorsionism, from age 10
  • Swinging trapeze, from age 14
  • Parkour preparation, from age 14: focused physical preparation on trampoline wall and tumbling, indoors. (PARKOUR is a sports discipline which consists of tackling a range of urban and natural obstacles, via rapid and agile movement, without equipment to assist)

All classes begin with physical fitness exercises.

Description of the premises: 

A large industrial space on the main road to Simplon, with parking, not far from the thermal baths at Saillon, at the heart of the orchards of the central Valais, in the small community of Charrat. The hall is located 600m on foot from the railway station, where a regional train stops every hour. Its 630m2 floor area, with a ceiling height of 9m, contains equipment designed for the disciplines offered by Zôfy Circus School, toilet and changing facilities, an office area, a weight-training area and an eating/relaxation area. The hall changes into a performance area at the end of the year, with capacity for 200 spectators.

Performing group

This team of highly motivated young students aged between 6 and 18 train all year (evenings, weekends, sometimes during the holidays) to create individual or group acts that they produce on demand as public or private performances or entertainments,  (business functions, village fêtes or sports events, private parties, etc…).


These young people are selected through auditions or noticed during the recreational training courses for their physical aptitude, motivation, charisma and general behaviour. They must all follow at least eight hours of coaching a week. Some will go on after their training into the circus school's professional training programme or that of another professional circus school that is a member of the FEDEC.

Circus studies course (Sports-Arts-Course)

This course is designed for students who have finished mandatory school and who want to continue their studies while practising circus arts in a semi-professional way, in order to participate in the various festivals and performances that take place in Switzerland or abroad. This training requires twelve hours of coaching a week. It can only work if there is close collaboration between the interested parties (parents, instructors and school management) in order to obtain the necessary dispensation for the hours of coaching. It enables students to attain a strong  physical level, wide experience in practising circus arts and a qualification in circus arts instruction issued by Zôfy Circus School and perhaps the schools involved.

Professional training


This course is designed for young people or young girls who have finished compulsory schooling in Switzerland or abroad and who want to enter into a career as a circus artist or (once official state recognition is obtained) as specialist circus arts instructors. This training takes place over three academic years. Evaluations take place during the second and third terms as well as a final yearly performance. Individual or group projects are prepared and performed in various circus festivals in Switzerland or abroad, as oppportunities to potentially being taken on, after completing their qualification, by different Swiss circuses, depending on demand.

See the web page devoted to professional training.



Continuing education for established artists

Our experience in coaching top-level athletes, as much in acrobatics as in circus arts disciplines, such as teeterboard, hand-to-hand, Russian bar, banquine, trampolining, tumbling, aerial arts etc… enables us to welcome professional artists either for residency, self-practice or private coaching.

Our coaching team

ZYGMUNT BIEGAJ

Technical director, circus arts instructor

First medallist and coach in acrobatic gymnastics in his country, Zygmunt Biegaj then specialised in circus arts instruction. He had a long international career, first as professor at the Ecole Nationale du Cirque in Montreal, then as coach at the Cirque du Soleil in Montreal, Cirquenchêne and at the Geneva Circus School. He set up Zôfy Circus School in 1999 in Valais, with Sophie Albasini.


Zygmunt teaches floor acrobatics, hand-to-hand, Russian bar, Russian swing, banquine, tightrope, Cyr wheel, equilibristics, aerial skills and physical fitness.

SOPHIE ALBASINI

Artistic director, circus arts instructor, aerial skills, contorsionist, comedian

Sophie Albasini first trained as a comedian, with the Centre Dramatique de Lausanne, at the Petit théâtre de Françoise Gugger in Sion, in Geneva with Jacques Gardel, in Italy at the Ecole de Commedia dell’Arte, with Antonio Fava, at the École de théâtre Serge Martin in Geneva as well as at the Théâtre du Conservatoire de Sion. She then specialised in practising and coaching circus arts, in particular aerial skills, following the EPE modules of the European Federation of Professional Circus Schools (Paris-Berlin-Brussels-Switzerland) and the Geneva Circus School, acrobatics section. She set up Zôfy Circus School in 1999 in Valais with Zygmunt Biegaj.


Sophie coaches static and swinging trapeze, hoop, silks, fixed and flying rope, Chinese pole, theatrical play and everything connected to it, flexibility, specific physical fitness. Sophie is continuing her training by following seminars designed for circus instructors at the European level (most recently in March 2018 at the FLIC Circus School in Turin).

VALERIE RENAULT

Dance instructor, choreographer

Valérie Renault, trained in France by Colette Milner at the Conservatoire de la Rochelle, then at the Conservatoire Cantonal de Danse in Sion and Martigny, medallist at the age of 15 and award-winner in competitions on the French stage, joined the Compagnie Maurice Béjart in 1989. She starred in leading roles such as The Rite of Spring, Arepo, le Presbytère etc, then became a coach for fourteen years. She then set up and directed her own school in Lausanne, Move Art Dance Center. Today, she mainly concentrates on teaching, at the Conservatoire cantonal de Danse de Sion. 

Valérie joined the coaching team at Zôfy Circus School in the professional and pre-professional training in 2012, as choreographer and modern dance teacher.

SIMON PROGIN

Trampolining and acrobatics coach

Recently qualified from the Zôfy Circus School in professional circus arts training (2007 to 2010), Simon Progin is also a skilled fencer, Swiss fencing finalist in 2005, snowboard instructor at the Ski Club de Begnins and "youth and sport" level 1 trampoline instructor. He continues to train in trampolining for fifteen hours a week with the Swiss national team in Aigle. He has been teaching trampolining and acrobatics since 2010 at the Zôfy Circus School. 

In order to enhance his circus skills and coaching techniques, Simon is carrying on with his continuing education by participating at Zôfy Circus School, at training sessions for circus arts teachers organised by the FEDEC (Intents - Berlin 2016

DAVID WIDMER

Coach in acrobatics, equilibristics and juggling

Professionally qualified with Zôfy Circus School in 2010, David has taught in several recreational circus schools (Artscénik, Ollon, Fun'ambule), before coming back to his roots in 2016 by joining the professional course teaching team at Zôfy Circus School. A specialist in acrobatics, hand-to-hand, equilibristics and juggling, but also skilled in theatre and dance, David continues to perform in parallel as an independent artist for a range of companies (Compagnie de Qui, Makadam, Compagnie Néo). 

In order to enhance his circus skills while developing his coaching techniques, Simon is carrying on with his continuing education by participating at Zôfy Circus School, at training sessions for circus arts teachers organised by the FEDEC (continuing education Intents de Turin).