Circus Fitness

“Circus is good for you,” said Ernest Hemingway. (Yes, it hurts; yes, there are injuries; but consider the level of fitness of your average circus artist compared with Joe Blogs.)  And in the video trailer for the Taschen book The Circus 1870-1950 (see Arron’s post here) Voiceover Man describes how in the 19th and early 20th century “the display of women’s physical strength was groundbreaking.”

Doing circus makes you strong, flexible, agile and coordinated. Who wouldn’t want that?

I don’t know why but in recent years people seem to embracing that circus is in fact good for you, and a whole host of circus fitness programmes have been springing up. Here’s a few that I’ve spotted.

*The full Ernest Hemingway quote is “the Circus is good for you. It is the only ageless delight that money can buy.”

Reebok & Cirque du Soleil’s Jukari – Fit to Fly and Fit to Flex

You can read more about Jukari in this NY Times article or on the Cirque du Soleil website.





Juggle Fit


Circus Fit

A US youth fitness programme launched by Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey.


Obviously attending any circus skills class would help you get fit and if you’re looking for a class you can start by checking this post on Learning Circus.

Do you know of other circus classes that are designed to improve fitness? Let us know in the comments below.

8 thoughts on “Circus Fitness”

  1. The jugglefit is really one of the most terrible things I have seen in my life. Luckily the ringling brothers then raised my trust in human kind again.

  2. Great to see all these gathered together: it’s been a couple of years already since JUKARI was being pushed quite hard here in Germany.

    I am always so torn by these things: yes, it’s great that people get fit, and circus is a “fun” and “exciting” motivator. But at the same time, I always feel that it’s tearing away at the art form.

    Getting fit is a side effect of circus, not the target.

    It’s good to have a new market for teaching, to maybe educate some people about the effort involved in circus: but then I see some fitness inspired performance, where it is clearly about sport and nothing else, and a little bit of me dies.

    1. I know what you mean but at the same time I think that anything that raises the profile of circus and gives it credibility as both an activity to participate in and an art form to appreciate is a good thing for us all. The more people are aware of and interested in circus the more demand there is for circus, and the more demand there is, the more work there is for us as performers and teachers.

    2. As someone who takes circus classes in the evenings and weekends, I don’t think anyone I’ve met in my classes think less of circus as an artform than before we started classes. If anything, we better appreciate how much strength and technique (and sweat, blood, bruises and torn hands) are involved in ‘just’ doing the basics. So when we see artistry on top of that, we are just wowed.

      Although we are quick to criticise as well when we see shows of mostly phyiscal fitness and skill and little artistry – don’t get me started on Cirque’s ‘Totem’.

  3. I’ve found another: Silksercise

    From the video it looks like people having a nap. And apparently they’re licensing instructors after a two day training and will be running classes all over the UK soon. I’m not sure how I feel about this (read: I’m really sure how I feel about this and don’t want to say it).

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