The upside down school

The upside down school
Montreal: Birdie Hooper spends most of her day hanging upside down. She is one of more than 100 young people from around the world training at Canada's National Circus School in Montreal.

Her dream is to become one of the world's leading contortion strap circus performers.

"Every day is challenging. We get very tired and sometimes injured and that sort of thing. But I think that's why we love it," says Hooper. "I mean, I get so much pleasure getting home in the evening and being absolutely exhausted but knowing that I've worked really hard. It's really rewarding."

National Circus school was founded in 1981. Since then, it has trained hundreds of students in classic circus arts.

In spite of the troubled global economy almost 100 percent of the graduates find work in circuses around the world, year after year. The world-famous Cirque du Soleil situated just across the street from the school, is also a prominent recruiter.

"With the training we give them here, and because of the dynamism of circus arts Montreal, in Quebec and in Canada, and also because of the international ...demand, it's a very favourable market for young artists who are well trained." says the school's director, Marc Lalonde.

Clearly this is one school where jumping around would not get you thrown out of the class.