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Do you want to round out your repertoire with new skills? Do you love working with kids, teaching, and having fun? Are you a school teacher or educator looking to add some new skills to your toolbox?

Learn teachable circus arts and lead your own circus arts programs. I teach a one-day Circus Arts Leader Certification course, available online.

The benefits of learning Circus Arts leadership skills

Circus teaches partnership. Through connection and trust, we can create wonderful things together. Circus emphasizes cooperation over competition. Circus arts are non-competitive and require collaboration, trust, and support of each other. When every individual shines, we experience true community.

While learning and leading Circus Arts, you can:

  • Expand your creativity, confidence, perseverance, and gain a positive sense of self while teaching life skills that give you a sense of success and recognition.
  • Promote health and physical literacy through diverse physical activity, motor skills refinement, and safe risk taking.
  • Build trust, collaboration skills, and teamwork by creating nourishing environments in which to challenge fears and develop positive personal relationships.
  • Integrate art into daily life by making it accessible to all.
  • Offer artistic gathering spaces in which to dialogue, dream, create and transform.
  • Engage both the left and right hemispheres of the brain, improving focus and concentration, and improve hand-eye coordination. Circus Arts are great for students with learning difficulties.
  • Reduce stress, express yourself, forget your problems for a while. Feel peace, excitement, and a feeling of flow.

In the Circus Arts Leader Certification course, you’ll gain confidence in your ability to juggle with scarves, balls, clubs, hula hoops, spin poi, diabolo, spinning plates, and so much more.

You’ll be filling your toolbox with lots of games and ideas for creating successful, fun Circus Arts programs. You’ll discover the best sources of equipment and how to build your own, and you’ll take away weekly class plans that you can adapt for different age groups.

The skills you’ll learn in this one-day course

If you’ve seen Cirque du Soleil, you’re probably thinking of these five main categories of circus arts: dance, acrobatics, aerials, manipulation of objects, and clowning (or theater). Let’s talk about the arts that I focus on in this Circus Arts Leader Certification.

Certification program, leadership, creative expression, fun exercise, neural pathways, poi, unique exercise, break routine, juggling nanaimo, circus program kids, circus program kids nanaimoManipulation

This is the main category of Circus Arts in this course, the manipulation of objects. Think poi spinning, hula hooping, flower sticks, and juggling a variety of objects like scarves, balls, clubs, and rings. We’ll also do the Chinese yo-yo (diabolo), and plate spinning.

What I love about manipulation in circus arts is that the only limit is your imagination! I’ve seen people manipulate so many different props, and each prop requires unique skills and creativity. Besides the ones listed above, I’ve seen people using hats, cigars boxes, contact juggling, fans, staff, whip, levisticks, ignis pixels, yo-yo, knives, and kendama, to name a few.


We’ll explore balancing: balancing on a unicycle, and the toys that can help you get there, like wheel walkers, balance bikes, balance boards, and slacklines.

Theatre and clowning

So much fun and learning can be gained through theater and clowning! We’ll focus on elements of clowning such as role-playing, improvisation, storytelling, and building characters. To counteract the “scary clown” phenomenon, I often play a superhero. Maybe you’d like to develop your superhero character too! We’ll also explore a variety of games we can do with clowning.

Acrobatics and aerials

This is something that I tell my students right off the bat: If your goal is to learn acrobatics, it’s best if you take gymnastics classes, because it’s much safer to do in a gymnastics school. For aerials, like the trapeze and the rings, you need rigging. So, as a rule, I don’t teach acrobatics.

Once in a while I go to a school that has a small trapeze and I demonstrate some basic skills, but again, if you want to learn aerials, it’s best to find a place that’s suitable and safe.


If you really want to learn dance, I suggest that you go to a dance school. We do some dancing in the course, but more as a way of feeling a character’s emotion, or incorporating movement in games. In this course you’re not specifically learning how to dance.

Playing with fire

This topic will come up as you start leading classes, because people have seen fire juggling and spinning, and they might excitedly ask: “Can we light this on fire?”

What people need to know is that fire props are specialized. Working with fire is pretty technical, and the props are made to handle contact with fuel and fire. People don’t know that, so it’s good to be able to explain it to them.

If you want to learn about fire spinning, you’re welcome to send me a message and we can talk about it, but that’s not the path we’re taking in this Circus Arts Leader Certification.

All the tools in your toolkit

What I like about having such a variety is that you’ll have a lot of ideas and skills to draw from when you’re teaching kids or adults. You might not come to love all of the skills that you learn, but you’ll have learned the basics at least.

Maybe you’ll love hula hooping, but won’t be so keen on poi spinning. That’s okay. You’ll develop your own toolkit and you’ll be pulling your own favourites out of your bag when you’re leading Circus Arts. That’s why every leader is unique!

Don’t feel any pressure to get good at all of these skills. It’s really just the play and learning that we’re going for.

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Training your body and mind through play

I’m fascinated by the way the circus arts train our bodies and minds.

When I did my Medical Exercise Specialist certificate, one of the tools that they were recommending for people with shoulder injuries was a rope and ball. Patients would spin the ball at different angles and heights to rehabilitate their shoulders. This blew my mind, because when you spin poi, you also put your arms and shoulders through circular motions at different angles.

I had never suffered from shoulder injuries, and always felt like I had a strong back and shoulders. So I was fascinated to realize that spinning poi might have contributed to that. The same thing can be said for hula hooping: Not only is it fun and entertaining, but it’s really good as a core exercise.

You can say the same thing about so many of the circus arts. I have a friend who’s a psychologist, and she helps clients using eye movement therapy.

She did her Masters thesis on how eye movement patterns are affected by juggling, because if you think about it, in daily life, our eyes are often focused on one thing, or we go from left to right, sometimes moving our eyes up and down a little bit.

But when we juggle, we’re looking up higher, and our eye movements are different from our normal day-to-day movements. I thought that was an interesting concept and exploration to take on.

I’ve heard that in some cultures, jugglers have been seen as people who could help change and cleanse the energy in a space. I really like this idea. When I used to perform at festivals or celebrations, I would deliberately set up a feeling of playfulness and a positive vibe before (and during!) the show.

The Circus Arts Leader Certification course lets you explore and gain skills that have so much benefit for your body, mind, and spirit.

Circus arts really activate different parts of your brain. People might start out saying, “Oh, I can’t do that,” but they will be amazed at what they can do when you lead them through the fun exercises that lead to the circus skills.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my Circus Arts leadership training.