Circus arts training program for students in Sarasota & Manatee counties
Known worldwide as “The Greatest ‘Little’ Show on Earth,” the Sailor Circus Academy is America’s oldest youth circus, with more than 1 million spectators having attended annual youth productions. Sailor Circus Academy provides after-school circus training in Sarasota, Florida. Students ages 8-18 learn to develop life management skills, gain self-discipline, bolster confidence and a commitment to achievement, all in a circus atmosphere.
Created in 1949 as a high school gymnastics class, Sailor Circus has grown into a spectacular circus school that is one of the top in the USA, serving students in 4th through 12th grades and beyond. Through rigorous interdisciplinary performing arts and psychomotor skills programs, students learn circus arts in a safe and nurturing atmosphere. Sailor Circus Academy students are recognized as future leaders and major contributors to the circus legacy in Sarasota.
For more than seven decades, thousands of students have completed the Sailor Circus training program. Each year, students train countless hours per week with dedicated coaches and volunteers to create Sailor Circus Performances that have become a major tourist attraction in the Southwest Florida region.
Sailor Circus Academy students have the unique opportunity to work with international circus artists who travel to Sarasota from around the world to perform with Circus Sarasota. The professional performers deliver workshops and hands-on circus training in various disciplines to the Sailor Circus Academy youth.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Sailor Circus Academy?
This is an after-school, circus-arts training program in the Sailor Circus Arena in Sarasota. Students train in a variety of circus arts disciplines learning teamwork, building self confidence and learning life-lessons.
What is the purpose of the Sailor Circus Academy?
Sailor Circus has been serving area families since 1949, and is known as America’s Longest Running Youth Circus. Our experienced and caring staff and coaching team come from a variety of backgrounds such as retired or working professional circus artists, teachers, early childhood professionals, Sailor Circus alumni, gymnasts and more. One thing that they all have in common is a desire to pass on their love of the Circus Arts to the students engaged at The CAC!
We strive to provide a fun, safe and educational experience through the circus arts. We know that giving your child the opportunity to learn circus skills is one of the best decisions a parent can make for their child. Circus Arts teach important life skills such as determination, courage, strength development, flexibility, coordination, self-confidence, team work, discipline – and the list could go on and on….
What is the difference between the RED and GOLD Troupes?
The RED troupe is the original program started by the Sarasota High School back in 1949. The RED troupe performs in the Holiday and Spring shows to a live ticketed audience. The program beings in September and ends with the last Spring show performance. The commitment is for the duration of the school year with students training from two (2) to five (5) nights a week after school. How the long student trains each night depends on how many acts they are in. Auditions are required for the RED Troupe.
The GOLD Troupe was started in 2019 to help students develop circus skills and to possibly move up to RED Troupe, if they so desired. The Gold Troupe offers a Fall and Spring session, each session running for ten (10) weeks with a costumed showcase at the end of each session. Students are not required to join both Fall and Spring sessions. Students will typically train for three (3) nights a week in one (1) act for 1.25 hours. Auditions are NOT required for the GOLD troupe. Anyone ages 8-18 may join.
What is the after-school schedule for the RED Troupe?
Student training times vary according to the acts they are learning. Students typically train from two (2) to five (5) nights a week after school. Schedules are provided once registration is completed. The schedule changes from season to season depending on the acts training.
Rehearsals for shows: Rehearsals begin about 4-5 weeks before the show starts. Holiday Shows begin right after Christmas and typically run 4-5 days. Spring Shows are typically two long weekends around Easter. ALL Students are required to attend ALL rehearsals, no exceptions. Failure to comply could result in the student being removed for their acts and excluded from performing in the shows.
Is the student required to attend both the Fall and Spring?
For the RED Troupe: Yes, the commitment is for the full school year.
For the Gold Troupe: No, Students may sign up for Fall or Spring or both.
What is the process for my child to participate in RED Troupe, do they have to audition for the program?
All incoming students must be evaluated and then invited to join the Sailor Circus Academy Red Troupe. When evaluation information becomes available for the next season, it will be posted to this page. To receive notifications regarding joining the program please fill out the Sailor Circus Academy Interest Form. Prospective students and their parents will receive an email regarding upcoming procedures to register for an evaluation. For additional questions email the Sailor Circus Registrar, Tonia@CircusArts.org.
Are auditions required for the Gold Troupe?
Students ages 8-18 may join the Gold Troupe. Registered students will be evaluated prior to the start of the session to determine act placement.
Will there be a scheduled performance? If so, how can I buy tickets?
There are multiple performances a year. Exact show dates and times are posted in October on the website calendar. Tickets can be purchased through our box office or on our website.
Is it dangerous?
No. The Circus Arts Conservatory is a professional organization with expertly trained artists, and our coaches are experienced in working with students at all levels. Though the training is rigorous, we evaluate each student’s individual potential and push them only to their limit and ability. Students start on the ground and slowly, one step at a time – and only when they are ready – do they advance. Students are never in an unsafe environment, as they are harnessed or over nets when above ground. We use top of the line gymnastics mats and safety equipment. This is a hands-on training program in a safe environment.
Who are the coaches?
We have professional coaches from around the world. Click here to see a line up of our coaches.
I would like to volunteer - where can I find more information?
Contact Aaron Watkins at Aaron@CircusArts.org
What happens if my child misses a class or a class is canceled? Can they make up the class?
No. If classes are canceled for ANY reason, coach is out, event scheduled in the arena, inclement weather (including hurricanes) or any other reason, there will not be any make up days/classes. Due to several programs running simultaneously throughout the year we can not hold make up classes. Tuition will not be refunded or prorated due to canceled classes.
- Student’s are enrolled by invitation only.
- Confirmation of enrollment and receipt will be sent via email through MindBody
- Please see our Policies and Procedures Tab
Medical Refund Policy
- Please see our Policies and Procedures Tab
- Parents/Guardians are required to sign a “General Release” and a “Waiver of Liability and Indemnity Agreement” prior to a Junior Sailor Circus Student being admitted
- Proof of insurance is required for all participants
Is secure once payment is collected and all forms are completed and returned to the Circus Arts Conservatory. Confirmation of enrollment and receipt will be sent via email through MindBody.
No Registration Fees
Tuition already paid can not be refunded after the training period begins. There are no refunds for cancellation, or schedule changes, or early elective withdrawal. There are no refunds for students dismissed from the Sailor Circus Academy Gold Troupe due to disciplinary reasons or found with evidence of lice. If a student leaves due to an injury incurred while training which prevents completion of the season, a pro-rated refund will be considered. Credits for recreational classes are non transferable and can NOT be applied to Sailor Circus Academy. The CAC reserves the right to make exceptions to this rule without setting precedent.
If classes are canceled for ANY reason, tuition will not be refunded or prorated due to canceled classes.
If a student leaves due to an injury incurred at Sailor Circus Academy, a prorated portion of the tuition may be refunded. If a student is injured prior to attending a scheduled session and it prohibits them from participating, we will consider a refund upon review of the doctor’s note. A doctor’s note must be received prior to the start of the Sailor Circus Academy Gold Troupe session in order to be considered for a refund. Any tuition refunded will incur a $50 admin fee. The CAC reserves the right to make exceptions to this rule without setting precedent.
Parents/Guardians are required to sign a general release and waiver of liability and indemnity agreement prior to the student being placed in a session. In addition to a release proof of insurance is required for all campers.
PARKING/ DROP OFF /PICK UP
Parking is in the High School Parking Lot. Students should never be dropped off/ picked up in the staff parking lot/ticket sales lot by our main office. All drop off and pick up for students is located at the midway gate adjacent to Sarasota High School parking lot. Look for our “Circus Entrance” banner on the fence to direct you.
Parents/Guardian may NOT escort students inside the building. Wait outside the main doors for the student to enter on their own.
Sailor Circus Academy RED Troupe training is a closed space and we do not allow parents or guests to spectate during the training times. Parents/Guardians/Visitors are not permitted to stay during session time.
CODE OF CONDUCT
All students will adhere to the full values contract below. Full Values Contract is a verbal agreement within a group to try, support, and encourage everyone to achieve their personal best.
The F.V.C. is used to secure the bonds of teamwork, perseverance, and dedication in a learning environment. We will ask the participants to abide by the following philosophy:
- I will try everything and be respectful to my instructors
- I will try everything and support and encourage myself and my friends
- I will model this behavior all the time because I am a leader by example
- I will keep my hands to myself
- I will not call students names or purposefully hurt their feelings
Bullying will not be tolerated under any circumstances. The consequence for not adhering to this policy is removal from the program.
Drop Off/Pick Up: All drop off and pick up for students is located at the midway gate adjacent to Sarasota High School parking lot. Look for our “Circus Entrance” banner on the fence to direct you. Students should never be dropped off/ picked up in the staff parking lot/ticket sales lot by our main office. Parents/guardians walk your child to the main doors and wait inside the doors for check in. CAC staff to greet you and check in your child.
- Masks are optional
- Enter through the MAIN DOORS in the midway.
- If your child has tested positive for COVID-19 do not send them to practice. Notify the SCA manager immediately.
We are putting the following measures in place for the safety and well being of staff, volunteers, campers, and families
- Sanitizing all communal spaces, and equipment daily.
- The Circus Arts Conservatory reserves the right to cancel or modify any planned program, camp session or scheduled class due to insufficient enrollment, in which case, refunds or credit toward future programming will be processed.
If a student or family member tests positive for COVID-19 the CAC will not refund tuition for any missed days. If the student doesn’t return to training any unused tuition (credits) can not be used for future programming.