Founded over twenty years ago by Zygmunt Biegaj and Sophie Albasini, the Zôfy circus school is a pioneer in promoting circus arts in Switzerland. It tends to develop a "circus" culture through multidisciplinary and versatile education, integrating from an early age the main circus disciplines, theatrical performance, bodily expression 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.
The Zôfy Circus School offers a range of levels of training that evolve depending on the age and the interest of its students. From 2003, Zôfy was one of the first Swiss schools to welcome students in vocational training for circus artists, thus helping to launch the careers of many young people, and to prepare many others to join the great international circus schools. Some 90 artists and 17 seasons later, the founders of the school, fulfilled by their influence and their impact on the development and recognition of contemporary Swiss circus, put an end their professional course , to focus on teaching youngsters from recreational to advanced level. Always faithful to its principles of versatility and creativity, the school thus continues to transmit its passion, up to pre-professional level training.
The management of the school is taken over in 2021 by Solange and David Widmer Bagutti. The couple has been “cruising” within the circus world for 20 years. Solange brings with her skills and knowledge in promotion, and events / projects management in community and cultural circles. David is a circus artist and acrobat issued from the Zôfy vocational training, and has more than 10 years of experience in teaching circus arts in various local schools.
Several levels of training: recreational, performing group, circus-studies, 5 days camps at Easter and throughout the summer, hosting artists for residence or workshops.
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 up to an hour and a half, aiming towards an end-of-year public performance. All main disciplines are taught during each class, at a level adapted to the students. Classes are organised according to age.
Specialised classes are offered, depending on demand and disponibility:
- For adults wanting to explore aerial skills: trapeze, silks, rope, hoop (no public
show at the end of the season.
- Specialised acrobatics and trampoline classes, open to all.
- Flexibility/contorsionism, from age 10
- Swinging trapeze, from age 14
All classes begin with a general and a specific warm up session
This team of highly motivated young students aged between 8 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 of tem will go onto professional level circus schools.
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.
- Artist residency:
We welcome in residence in our 630 m2 space and our installations, circus companies and confirmed artists, at preferential rates, upon request.
- Occasional or annual workshops:
We share our space for various training sessions or workshops on demand
- "Discovery" workshops:
Introductory workshops for children: birthday parties or other fun group activities.
Discovery workshops for adults: corporate or other group parties...
Our school is located in the town of Charrat in Valais, in an industrial hall on the county road to Simplon, with parking spaces. This hall is at a 15 mn walk from the local train station. Our 630m2 and 9 meters heigh space contains all the specific circus gear and installations for practising all main Circus Arts disciplines, a fitness space, an office space, changing rooms and sanitaries, and a dining / relaxation space. The hall modulats into a performance hall with chairs on podiums that can accommodate a public of 200.
Administrative and artistic director
Solange Widmer-Bagutti, graduate in History and Art History, has worked in community and cultural circles with various museums as well as within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Professionally ctive in the fields of sustainable development, human rights as well as performing arts, Solange has skills in projects and events management, promotion and communication as well as contacts with artists and partners. Solange also developped skills in animation, venues and group management, through her experience in the museum environment and as a mountain guide.
She takes over the management of the circus school in 2021, with her husband, David Widmer-Bagutti.
Graduate from vocational training at the Zôfy circus school in 2010, David taught for several years in the circus schools of Artscénik, Ollon, and Fun'ambule, before joining the Zôfy teaching team in 2016, within his professional training. Specialized in acrobatics, hand-to-hand, balances and juggling, but also a theater and dance enthusiast, David continues his continuing education with the FEDEC. He always performs in parallel as an independent artist for various companies (Compagnie de Qui, Makadam, Compagnie Néo),
He takes over the management of the circus school in 2021, with his wife, Solange Bagutti-Widmer.
Former co founder of the Zôfy School and former artistic Director, 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, aerial straps, Chinese pole, and contorsion.