What comes to mind when you think of the circus? For most, it’s the fun and the spectacle. Those things are certainly true, but the circus has evolved into so much more solidifying its place as a performance art form. Learning the circus arts has become increasingly popular for both children and adults. Check out the benefits, and you’ll see why.
Circus Arts Defined
The National Endowment for the Arts generally defines the circus arts as a type of performance art that focuses on various aspects of physical movement, strength, and endurance, and the ranges possible for the human body and physique. Disciplines include:
- Aerial silks – Fabrics that may be in two pieces or one piece folded into a loop that aerialists use to climb, wrap, suspend, drop and swing through the air.
- Aerial hoop – Also known as Lyra, this circular steel apparatus is suspended from the ceiling as aerialists perform acrobatics. It can be used static, spinning, or swinging.
- Aerial sling – Essentially a swing made of fabric that works as a hammock in which the aerialist gets in to performs various poses and drops.
- Aerial straps – Two narrow bands made of close-woven material fastened to a truss. Wrapping the strap ends around hands and wrists, the aerialist performs holds, twists, rolls, and maneuvers.
- Trapeze – A small round bar suspended by ropes or metal straps from the truss. It can be used static, swinging, or flying and performed solo, double trapeze, triple trapeze, or as a group act.
- Stilts – A pair of upright poles (made of wood or metal and in varying heights) that are attached to the performer’s feet, allowing them to walk, dance, or perform acrobatics above the ground.
- Juggling – Manipulation of one object or many objects simultaneously, most often using one or two hands but also possible with feet. The most recognizable form is toss juggling.
- Poi – Involves swinging tethered weights in rhythmical and geometric patterns. Artists may also sing or dance while swinging their poi, which can be made from different handles, weights, and effects.
- Hooping – The manipulation of and artistic movement or dancing with a hula hoop (or hoops). Hoops can be made of metal, wood, or plastic.
- Plate spinning – Spinning a row of plates each on top of a thin flexible pole at the same time. It can also involve holding multiple poles in the hands while spinning a plate on each one.
Benefits of Circus Arts
Like the circus itself, the circus arts are for people of all ages (and fitness levels). They offer physical, emotional, and practical benefits that include:
- Stimulating imagination and creativity
- Improving hand-eye coordination, concentration, throwing and catching skills, and ambidexterity
- Improving confidence and self-esteem
- Developing persistence and perseverance
- Opportunities to learn something new and make friends
Last but certainly not least, it’s fun!
Circus Arts Classes at Expression City
We’re so passionate about the circus arts that we created a dedicated space in the studio for our Nashville Circus Center. Plus, we’re proud members of American Circus Educators and the American Youth Circus Organization.
In addition to circus summer camps, we offer an integrated course schedule from beginner to professional with circus education, outreach, performance opportunities, and elite training. In fact, some of our instructors are professional circus artists from Beyond Wings Circus. The fact that they teach and train at Expression City speaks to the quality of our studio and program.
For more details on Expression City’s circus arts classes, check out our Class Registration Schedule today!