Artist & Coach
student of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Jan's journey in education in art and movement began in childhood with playing the classical guitar and practicing breakdance acrobatics. At the age of seventeen, he had the opportunity to utilize and develop his physical abilities at the "Student Academy" of Dialog Jesenius, where he met his first teacher of performative expression, Adam Halaš. Later, he enrolled in the Department of Nonverbal Theatre at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU), where he studied for two years under lecturers such as Radim Vizváry, Roman Horák, and Martin Zbrožek, among others. At the end of his second year, he took the opportunity to interrupt his studies and pursue his interest in New Circus. He applied for auditions at the Academy for Modern Circus in Denmark and concluded it with a solo performance called "Le Petit Box."
Jan Jirák thus became the only person in the Czech Republic to graduate from a three-year bachelor's program in New Circus - Hand Balancing at the Academy for Modern Circus in Denmark. At AMoC, he had the opportunity to explore several methodological approaches to equilibristic training under instructors such as Signe Løve Anderskov, Søren Flor, Mikael Kristiansen, and Julia Smidt. In addition to its technical (acrobatic) background, AMoC also had a theatrical and dance orientation, incorporating Jacques Lecoq, clowning, releasing techniques, and more.
He enriched his studies with several internships, including one at the renowned Kiev Circus Academy under the guidance of trainer Natalie Alexandrovna Pozdniyakova, another in France under Pascal Angelier, and one in Germany at Die Etage, where he studied acrobatic gymnastics with instructor Viktor Renpenning. There, he also learned Meyerhold's Biomechanics from Tony De Maeyer and others.
After completing the circus academy, he became interested in both Chinese and Western martial arts and therapeutic exercises/techniques, such as Qigong, Tai Chi, boxing, Northern Chinese Kung Fu, BJJ, chiropractic, strength training, calisthenics, and more. Currently, he is a student of Chinese medicine (acupuncture, herbal therapy) at the TCM Institute in Prague.
Jan is a performer, director, and co-founder of the Feel the Universe Circus Company, which has been producing movement/new circus performances since 2016. As a performer, he has participated in international collaborations with directors such as Firenza Guidi - NoFitState Circus, Florent Berghal - Cie Oktobre, Cecile Da Costa, Matěj Forman, and others, creating both solo and collective performances.
In 2023, Jan together with Eliška Vavříková are working on the project "IIII. Dimension," which is a fusion of acrobatics, dance, theatre, and visual art. He has established a school for equilibristics and healthy movement called #PragueHandstand and has taught in many countries around the world. He has also developed a concept for a university course on expressive-functional movement called "Movement Laboratory," which he has been developing and teaching with his students at the Department of Nonverbal Theatre at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague since 2019.
Under the brand #PragueHandstand, he also manufactures Czech sports-theatrical props for handstands, which are exported to more than 20 countries worldwide.
At this moment, he continues his endless journey of exploring physical theatre, new circus, and healthy and expressive movement.