This post was originally written for Circus Geeks but I thought it might also be useful for my readers here.
Many people these days want to learn circus, whether it’s just for fun or fitness, or professionally because they want to be a performer.
Regardless of why you want to learn circus, the circus arts are a fantastic set of skills to have and to learn. Training in circus skills is great for strength, flexibility, stamina, dexterity and coordination, and is also incredibly social. Circus skills are used to develop physical, mental and social skills in young children are used around the world as a tool for social change with disadvantaged youth.
Depending on your age, experience and your intention (do you want to be a professional performer or do you just want to do it for fun/fitness?) there are many skills you can learn and lots of places you can learn them.
Through a short series of posts I’ll direct you to a variety of places where you can learn them. Rather than trying to list every place or circus company in the world that offers circus skills training (which I’m pretty sure would be close to impossible) I’m going to try to point you in the right direction.
Being a Londoner, I thought I’d start with circus training in London. So if you’re in London and want to learn circus skills either professionally or for fun and fitness read on…
I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible but I can’t promise that everything here is 100% accurate. If I got something wrong about you, I apologise. Please let me know and I’ll correct it. To cover my own ass I’m not vouching for any of the following schools, groups, classes or organisations (with one exception). I’m just letting you know what I know about. As ever you should check them out for yourself.
Greater London (and close enough for jazz)
Circus Space – the UK’s biggest circus school
Circus Space runs classes for everyone from 2 years old and up, both recreationally and professionally. If you want to learn flying trapeze, acrobatics, tightwire or handstands check them out. They also run workshops for companies or groups as team building or purely for fun. If you head to Circus Space you may end up with me teaching you so watch out!
AirCraft Circus @ The Hangar – London’s other big training space
Located in south east London, the Hangar is London’s other major circus training centre. They offer a 15 week full-time course as well as evening and weekend classes for adults and children. Their AirTime programme also allows adults to train and practice their disciplines in a less formal setting.
Albert & Friends Instant Circus – Circus for Everyone
Albert & Friends have been around for yonks. Based in Hammersmith, they run classes for young people irrespective of their socio-economic environment or physical ability at a couple of locations in west London.
Jacksons Lane – Circus with So & So
Jacksons Lane associate artists, So & So Circus, run weekly Jacksons Lane Youth Circus as well as acrobalance classes for adults 16+ in this converted church in Highgate.
Airborne Circus – Getting circus off the ground
This is the one I’m allowed to vouch for. From this November, I’ll be running regular circus classes in partnership with Finchley Youth Theatre at their converted church in East Finchley. Classes are currently available for young people aged 8-19 and cover acrobatics, juggling, diabolo, stilt walking and trapeze.
Highgate Newtown Community Centre – North London Trapeze
Highgate Newtown Community Centre have aerial classes for children and adults a couple of times a week.
Circus Suburbia – Circus in Surbiton
Some of the brightest young circus artists around have gotten together and are running classes in aerial, acrobatics and juggling for young people aged 10-19 and adults at a local school. If you’re south of the river check them out.
My Aerial Home – Aerial, aerial, aerial
My Aerial Home run classes in static trapeze, corde lisse, aerial dance and the aerial arts out of a sports centre in Beckenham.
Gorilla Circus – Circus in the park
Often found in one of the parks Gorilla Circus offers classes in Flying Trapeze to anyone that can fit into a safety harness! Sometimes they can also be found running flying trapeze indoors at the Hangar.
Cirque Nova – Circus & Street Arts
Cirque Nova specialise in circus for people with physical, learning and mental health disabilities, homeless and offending backgrounds as well as children and local schools.
Circus Glory – Trapeze for Kids
Circus Glory run classes and workshops in trapeze for children and young people.
Do you know any other circus groups or organisations in and around London? Let everyone know in the comments below.