Congrats to the January #AYCOPhotoContest winner, Evangeline of @one.tent.away

Evangeline is 8 years old and has been practicing circus since she was 4. She says, “Circus is good for you because it helps you be healthy, strong, creative, and brave!” The skills she has learned from circus have helped her overcome many obstacles, most notably her struggles with anxiety. So, we say it again: Circus is good for you!

AYCO Monthly Newsletter

AYCO Youth Membership costs $35 per year and is for anyone 21 and under and college students who are passionate about circus arts. This is your chance to plug into the national circus community, network and show off  your circus pride.

Membership benefits include:

  • Surprise swag mailed to your door three times a year
  • Eligibility to perform in AYCO event showcases
  • Discounts on events and merchandise
  • Monthly email AYCOgram newsletter filled with circus opportunities, news, and videos just for you!

Want to join? Grab an adult and click the button below!

This Month’s Organization Update


A New Year often means change. And we’ve had quite a few here at ACE/AYCO HQ. One of those changes is actually a person! 🙃 Meet Ashley! She has stepped up as our new Communications Coordinator, and we are thrilled to have her on our team. Our previous champion of communications, Rainie, has moved on to even better things!

2021 Review with the Hup Squad!!!

2021 may be over, but it left us with some great memories!! We invite you to take a ride down memory lane with our 2021 HUP Squad. 🤸🏽‍♀️

Stay tuned to meet our 2022 Hup Squad Members!!!

Shout out to squad member Emily Fulton for putting together this awesome highlight reel! 🤗

Non-Profit vs For-Profit Circus Studios

In this entry of the Circus is My Life blog, Stacy sits down with Amy Christian, Co-Founder of Wise Fool New Mexico, and Shayna Swanson, Founder of the Aloft circus studio in Chicago, to compare and discuss non-profit and for-profit circus studios.

Safety Spotlight

Did you know Elsie Smith is one of the founding members of the Safety Program and an active Safety Program Committee Member?!? She got into circus safety because she felt a commitment to developing safer aerial teachers and to giving people the tools to become more effective members of the circus educator community. Elsie and her twin sister founded Nimble Arts.

Nimble Arts (a recognized member of the Safety Program) offers a variety of creative performance options for outdoor and indoor entertainment – community event, fundraiser, private party, corporate celebration or theater shows. Nimble Arts also shares art through workshops for teachers and practitioners, and builds select equipment. Nimble Arts is hosting our week-long workshop Intro to Teaching Aerials at NECCA in Vermont Feb 19-23 – don’t miss it!!! To find out more, visit

Rigging and Risk Management for Aerial Acrobatics, Circus and Dance: Aerial Rigging Basics Workshop

This two part workshop, taught by Jonathan Deull, is hands-on and will focus on the principles and practices of rigging and risk management for circus, acrobatic, and aerial dance performance. It is suitable for riggers, performers, coaches, studio/facility/theatre managers, and others involved in executing or overseeing aerial performance. Topics range from dynamic loads and forces to inspection and retirement protocols to rigging math and more!

Jonathan Deull is an industry professional with over a decade of experience. He is certified through the Entertainment Technician Certified Program (ETCP), and is an ETCP Recognized Trainer. As a Safety Committee Member for the American Circus Educators Association, he helps lead the effort to develop safety and risk management guidelines and protocols for circus performance training programs and facilities.

To find out more and register, visit

NECCA Presents: The Circus Spectacular

The Circus Spectacular is a dazzling fundraising show starring guest artists from circuses around the world! This is a unique opportunity to see some of today’s most renowned high flying aerialists, acrobats, and jugglers in Brattleboro, VT on the Latchis Theater stage. An evening of incredible, world class entertainment for the entire family with a live stream option if you prefer to watch from the comfort of your own home.

When: 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 5, 2022 (in person & streamed live) and 1:00 pm, Sunday, March 6, 2022 (in person only)

Where: Online and at The Latchis Theater 50 Main St. Brattleboro, VT 05301

Cost: $15-50 (all sales benefit NECCA’s scholarships and programming)

More Info:

2022 Circus International Film Festival Submissions Now Open!

Submissions to the 2022 Circus International Film Festival are now open!\

This year’s categories are:

  • Under 18
  • Shorts – Under 10 Minutes
  • Shorts – Documentary
  • Shorts – Non-Documentary
  • Full Length


  • Regular – Ends Jan 31st
  • Late – Ends Feb 20th

Submit films at, and find updates about online screenings, along with Fest sponsorship & volunteer opportunities at and on IG & FB. Juried awards will be announced on World Circus Day, April 16, 2022.

CIFF premiered in 2021, founded and directed by Marisa Diamond (AYCO/ACE Board member), with the support of Festival Assistant Emily Fulton (AYCO HUP Squad member), Festival Communications Director Jonathan Meehan (formerly with Cirque du Soleil), and esteemed international jurors and sponsors.

Circus Smirkus Camp Registration is OPEN!

At Smirkus Camp, kids develop new ways to challenge themselves, learn skills like teamwork and problem solving, get terrific physical conditioning, and enjoy fun summer camp traditions like singalongs, costume themed dinners, kickball, and more!

This summer, Circus Smirkus is offering the following sessions at Smirkus Camp, including placement-based camps that require a video submission, as marked with ★ below:

All Levels Circus Camp | 1 week | June 19-June 24 | Ages 8-16

All Levels Circus Camp | 2 weeks | June 26-July 8 | Ages 8-16

Intermediate Camp | 2 weeks | July 10-22 | Ages 12-18

★ Intermediate Skills Intensive | 3 weeks | July 24-August 12 | Ages 12-18

★ Advanced Ensemble | 3 weeks | July 24-August 12 | Ages 12-18

★ Advanced Individual Acts | 3 weeks | July 24-August 12 | Ages 12-18

Get more information and sign up at

Cirques Experience’s 2022 Wheel Weekend

The 2022 Cirques Experience is hosting the annual March Weekend. Held in the north side of Chicago, Wheel Weekend is a great opportunity to expand circus artists’ skills and knowledge in the world of wheel.

There are several workshops including Cyr wheel, Gym Wheel, Judging, Coaching and More! Whether the focus is performance, competition, physical fitness, or merely FUN, all are welcome! Whether a beginner or a professional this is a great opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills.

When: March 18, 8:00AM – March 20, 5:00PM

Where: 5944 N. Magnolia Ave | Chicago, IL, 60660 | USA

More information can be found below as well as registration for Wheel Weekend.

Catch Circus Harmony Alumni (Or Future Alumni) Wherever You Are!

Here’s what our Circus Harmony Alumni are up to:

  • Claire Wallenda is walking wire with the Flying Wallendas
  • Keaton Hentoff-Killian is with Circa Contemporary Circus in Australia
  • Terrance Robinson will be opening with Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia at the Royal Albert Hall in London
  • Melvin Diggs is part of 7 Fingers new hit show, Dear San Francisco, in the city of the same name
  • Kellin Quinn and Elliana Grace can be seen in the Circus Harmony ring at City Museum in St. Louis
  • Sidney ‘Iking’ Bateman is flipping in a square ring under the name of ‘Reggie’ on WWE’s Monday NIght Raw.

Also!! Circus Harmony is currently seeking a Chinese pole and hoop diving teacher.

For more information and to contact them, go to

Game of the Month: Unicorn Race

This 5 minute game is a great way to have fun and encourage focus!

Materials Needed: One peacock feather for each participant

How to play: Have participants line up on one side of an empty space. Indicate where the start and end lines are. Pass out feathers reminding participants to take care of the materials, themselves and each other. Have participants place the feathers on their foreheads. Countdown “3, 2, 1… Go!”

Variations: Rhinoceros race (off nose) and flamingo race (on flat palm), add obstacles like a wedge mat, rola bola, or a specific travel pattern. Can also be done individually while others in the group watch and cheer!

Tip: Practice feather balancing first on different body parts.

Circus Up Community Troupe


This month, the Circus Up community troupe, KIRKOS will be sporting around their new sweatshirts (and logos) designed by Haus of Jules Design .  It is cold here in Boston, and there are no shows due to this damn pandemic, but we are determined to celebrate and play how we can!

CSAW Microgrants for US Circus Artists of Color

CSAW – Connection Circus Students Around the World met their fundraising goal for the second year in a row and it means that they can provide another year of Microgrants! To be eligible to apply for a CSAW Microgrant for US Circus Artists of Color you must identify as a person of color who is a citizen, resident alien, or permanent resident of the United States looking to further their education in circus and/or fund their circus related projects and needs. All applicants must be 14 years or older to apply for and receive a Microgrant. Applications are open from the 1st-15th of every month. For more information click here.

Discounts for AYCO/ACE Members

Want to get discounts with these awesome Circus vendors? Discounts are just another awesome perk of being an AYCO member.  Become a member today!

AYCO News Article Submission

Interested in including your news or events relevant to the national circus community in AYCO/ACE’s newsletters? Send your submissions to by the 2nd Friday of the month to be included in our monthly newsletter. Submissions should be no longer than 150 words, written in the third person, and include appropriate links and contact information if relevant. We cannot include PDFs or images, but we can link to them. Please also indicate if you would like your submission included in the AYCOgram (directed towards youth), ACE News (directed towards organizations and educators), or both.

Thank you to our Gold Members!

We Are The American Youth Circus Organization!

PO Box 1123, Easthampton, MA 01027

We are a nonprofit 501(c)3

Support AYCO with a Donation