Circus arts training program for students in Sarasota & Manatee counties

From humble beginnings as a high school gymnastics class in 1949, the Sailor Circus Academy has grown into one of the top circus training programs in the USA. Known worldwide as The Greatest ‘Little’ Show on Earth, the Sailor Circus is America’s longest-running youth circus, having been seen by more than 1 million thrilled spectators!

The Academy provides a rigorous after-school program where students learn life management skills, self-discipline, confidence and a commitment to achievement; all in a safe and nurturing circus atmosphere. Sailor Circus Academy students are recognized as future leaders and major contributors to the legacy of Circus in Sarasota.

The Sailor Circus Is 2 Unique Troupes

Gold Troupe (Beginning – Intermediate)

  • The Sailor Circus Gold Troupe is for students in First through Twelfth grades
  • No experience is required to join.
  • Students may enroll in either Fall or Spring sessions or both. 
  • Students must commit to regular attendance and participation, as they would in any school sport.
  • A showcase with full-production values of students’ skills will be the culmination of each season.
  • Membership in the Gold Troupe may be primarily for recreation or a path to the advanced, performance-oriented Red Troupe.

Red Troupe (Advanced)

  • The Sailor Circus Red Troupe is for students through Twelfth grade.
  • Membership in the Red Troupe is by invitation only.
  • Students must enroll for the entire season, including both Fall and Spring sessions.
  • Students must commit to regular attendance and participation, as they would in any school sport.
  • Participation in the Red Troupe requires practice during the December school holidays.
  • Red Troupe students may be invited to perform in outside events, such as parades and other celebrations.
  • Red Troupe students work toward and present a spectacular, full-length production at the end of each season.

The Evaluation Process

Evaluations are required for three types of students…

  • Students who are new to the program
  • Students who are re-enrolling in the program after a period of absence
  • Students wishing to advance from the Gold Troupe to the Red Troupe

During each evaluation, a panel of coaches will lead students through a warm-up and introductory sessions on both ground and aerial circus apparatus. No experience is necessary, but coaches will assess strength, flexibility, agility, ability to pay attention and follow instructions, and a desire to learn and succeed.

To ensure a thorough evaluation by a variety of coaches, prospective students must attend one of several scheduled evaluations. Individual evaluations at other times are not possible. If you miss your scheduled evaluation, there will be no makeup dates due to the required panel of coaches.  Following the evaluation, students will be invited to join either the Gold Troupe or the Red Troupe. Invited students must register by the date specified on their emailed invitation or their spot will be forfeited. 

Evaluation space is limited. 2024-25  season evaluations will be held…

Tuesday, June 25 

Pre-registration is required. Walk-ins are not allowed.

The registration deadline is the Friday before the evaluation date at 6:00 pm, or when all spots are filled, whichever comes first.

The evaluations will take place in the evening.  Your registration form will allow you to choose the time for the evaluation. Once you submit the form, you will receive an emailed copy as confirmation of receipt.

Click below to pre-register. If you have questions, please email 

Visit this page in December for information on Spring Gold Troupe evaluations.

Did you miss your evaluation or the evaluation sign-up? We will not schedule make-up days or individual appointments for evaluations. Our panel of coaches and multiple stations ensure fairness and accuracy. Evaluations will only be conducted on designated days and times. We regret that we cannot accommodate special requests for students who cannot attend or miss the scheduled times.

Summer Campers cannot be evaluated for Sailor Academy during camp, as the full panel of coaches will not be present.

For more information, choose your program below: