Circus Arts

Nashville Circus Center

As an initiative of Expression City, Nashville Circus Center has a mission to positively impact the lives of children, adults, and local organizations through circus education, outreach, performance opportunities, and elite quality training. The Center will serve as a home for circus professionals, hobbyists, and enthusiasts to come together in a shared space that the emphasizes principles of collaboration, creative expression, and community.

Aerial Silks, Lyra, Trapeze, Sling

FLEXIBILITY 100/200

This class is for total beginners and those who want foundational tools for their stretching needs! We’ll focus on the basic elements of stretching while also conditioning the body to retain flexibility and support joint stability. If you just wish to improve your stretch capacity or are learning how to stretch for the first time, this class that will honor your goals and give you the tools to understand your body’s needs.

***300 LEVEL PREREQUISITES: Must have splits and a flat forward-fold straddle that are less than 2 inches from the floor, and be able to press up to a bridge that has straight arms with the shoulders placed directly above the hands.

AERIAL FABRIC

Learn this popular and beautiful aerial form that is like dancing on air! Progress at your own pace and comfort level, starting low to the ground and moving to higher skills as your strength and ability grows.

***200 LEVEL PREREQUISITES: For students who can climb the fabric, invert from the ground, comfortably execute basic skills with some coaching, and are ready for basic inversion sequences and drops.

***300 LEVEL PREREQUISITES: For students who can invert in the air, execute cross back straddle, star drop and dive, and are ready for more complex transitions and drops.

***315 POWER LEVEL PREREQUISITES: Same as ABOVE plus up/down #2. This aerial silks class moves quickly and is for students who want a physically demanding class. Students must be able to review on their own in Open Studio classes.

***400 LEVEL PREREQUISITES: By permission of instructor.

AERIAL SLING/LOOPS

Learn how to roll, flip, and spin on this loop of fabric. We’ll begin with basic mounts and rolls in the fabric, then explore choreographies that include more dynamic sequences and spins.

AERIAL HAMMOCK/CLOUD SWING

The aerial hammock (also called cloud swing, although it doesn’t swing) is a double-point aerial loop using rope, fabric, or chain. This setup allows us to explore the vertical and horizontal planes as well as spinning. We’ll start with combining basic fabric/rope skills with dynamic wraps, drops, and spins, as well as partnering work. Students must have basic fabric/rope and/or lyra/hoop experience.

TRAPEZE

Discover the joy of hanging around. We teach trapeze movements tailored to your ability and desire. Learn at your own pace, explore at your own level. Trapezes are hung low at 3to7 feet high.

***200 LEVEL PREREQUISITES: For students who are comfortable moving from knee hang to standing on the bar, and are able to comfortably do front balance, ankle hang, and knee hang beats. We’ll add more dynamic movement with the higher bars and creative choreography on the low bars, plus exercises for increased strength and flexibility.

***300 LEVEL PREREQUISITES: For students able to beat from hands and knees, do a straddle back balance, one pull up and work on standing sequences, and are working on a beat pull over.

***315/POWER LEVEL PREREQUISITES:For students able to beat from hands and knees, do one pull up, work on standing sequences, do a straddle back balance, and do a beat pull over. This class moves quickly and is for students wanting a physically demanding class.  Students must be able to review on their own in Open Studio classes.

ROPE

****200 LEVEL PREREQUISITES: For students who can climb the fabric, invert, and execute foot locks in the air, welcome to the rope! This apparatus provides more resistance than the aerial fabric and has just one vertical piece so the focus will be on climbs, holds, wraps, and slides.

LYRA

***200 LEVEL PREREQUISITES: This lyra class is for students who have lyra experience and can do a pull over, pull up, spin, and comfortably execute sequences around and above the circle. We’ll add more complex skills, including slides and releases and develop spinning technique.

***300 LEVEL PREREQUISITES: Develop more advanced work such as complex choreography, fast spins, and releases. By permission of instructor.

AERIAL CONDITIONING

A once-per-month opportunity to add a punch of circus to your fitness regimen! Using a standard pull-up bar and other household items, you’ll learn ways to train for aerial arts when aerial apparatus aren’t around!

Hooping

Hooping is a circus-inspired fitness class combining an adult-sized hula hoop, simple “tricks” and creative body movement, plus playlists to put you in the mood to DANCE! Even if you “don’t dance” or “couldn’t hula hoop as a kid,” you will dominate that hoop and floor space in your own way by the end of class. As practice makes progress, I will give you new moves and combos to work into your vocabulary. Be prepared to laugh and sweat your way to dance floor stardom. All levels are welcome!

Juggling

Build hand-eye coordination, self-confidence, and teamwork skills in a low-pressure juggling class. Whether you’re a first-time juggler or looking to improve your skill set, this is a perfect place to get started.

Chinese Yo-Yo

It may look like an over-sized yo-yo, but this beautiful 4,000-year-old art form is much more than that. Learning the basics is simple, but the possibilities are endless.

Contact Juggling

A mesmerizing off-shoot of traditional juggling, contact juggling uses a single crystal ball rolled across the hands, arms, and whole body in unbelievable ways.

Cyr Wheel

Cyr Wheel lessons are available as a private or semi-private lesson (up to 3 people). Cyr Wheel (roue Cyr) is one of the hottest circus acts right now. Standing in a custom-built steel ring, you will learn to balance, waltz, spin, and manipulate the wheel through various drills and exercises. As progression is an individual experience, new moves and drills will be introduced on an individual level. This means you can share a lesson with a friend but do not have to be able to do the same tricks! Barefeet or lightweight acrobatic shoes are recommended for this class. Kristen Leophard is the first professionally trained Cyr artist in Middle Tennessee, debuting her Cyr act at the Nashville Sideshow Fringe Festival in August 2014 after graduating from the New England Center for Circus Arts in May 2014.

Acro

L-basing Acrobatics

Acro Yoga and L-basing acrobatics are two names for the same concept. This is a partner-driven acrobatic practice in which the base is positioned on a solid surface on his or her back. L basing utilizes all four limbs to support a flyer as they transition between different positions. In L-basing the pair will learn communication, trust, and cooperation. Physically anyone can enjoy the connection that is L-basing. Learning how to connect to each other in a purely constructive form is the goal of this acro-yoga class.

Standing Acrobatics

In standing acrobatics class, we are a bit further off of the ground so safety is paramount. We will seek to create an environment in which everyone feels safe to explore new transitions and poses. Bases will be on their feet and flyers will be in a variety of poses. Slow pouring of weight and counterbalancing are key concepts in this type of acrobatics. Spotting, communication, and tempo are some of the main ideas that will be used in this acrobatics class.

Acro Dance (Adagio)

Acro Dance is another partner-driven endeavor. This particular subset of standing acrobatics is meant to be flowy and beautiful. Acro Dance is used a great deal in performance art. With the dance concept, a majority of the lifts are momentum-based. A basic level of practice with standing acrobatics is encouraged before attempting Acro Dance. This class will focus on the concepts of timing, communication, and grace.

Stilt Walking

Stilt Class engages every part of the body as you learn to balance through a constant state of motion. The goal of this class is to teach one how to walk on 2.5′ peg stilts with confidence and ease. The first few classes will teach students how to fall down properly. Once that is accomplished and any fear of falling diminished, students will focus on basic walking on various surfaces, together in rhythm, and later incorporating other parts of our body to offset any loss of balance. Attire: Pants must be worn that hit below the knee. We do not want to stilt cuff under the knee to rub and irritate the skin. Neoprene sleeved knee pads are required. This class is a prerequisite for stilt dance classes being offered.

Stilt Dancing

Stilt Dancing is an advanced stilt class that incorporates various forms of dance on 2.5 feet tall peg stilts. This is a performance company class, and students must have instructor approval to enroll. Prerequisite: Stilt Walking Class.

Youth Circus Performance Troupe

On Thursdays from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm, students are taught a variety of circus skills. Once students attain a certain skill level, they will have the opportunity to perform at events with our circus professionals.