Circus Arts Classes

Parent Q&A

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  • There are 3 terrific aerial and acrobatic studios in Oakland, but we are sick of the commuting headache/nightmare since moving to El Cerrito. I am wondering whether anyone knows of any similar studios in Contra Costa county, preferably west CCC? I am looking specifically for circus arts/aerial/acrobatics classes for two young girls.

    Thanks a lot.

    UC Village has some great circus/aerial arts programs and it's not too far from El Cerrito.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Circus Arts for a 3 year old

Nov 2014

I'm interested in the Kids Circus Arts classes offered at both Kinetic Arts and Trapeze Arts in Oakland. My first question is what people think about one school versus the other. They seem to be pretty similar, except Kinetic Arts seems to offer more classes and of course Trapeze Arts has, you know, the flying trapeze. Has anyone tried the kids' classes at both schools and if so, any thoughts about one or the other?

In addition, both seem to offer classes for younger kids -- Kinetic Arts has a Pre-Circus Kids class for 2 years-preK, and Trapeze Arts has a 3-4 year old class. Would it be worth it for me to put my 3-1/2 year old in one of these classes, or would it make more sense to wait another couple of years until he is in the 5+ year range, which is where the classes really seem to start up in earnest?

Not Sure We're Ready For The Circus Yet

We've done classes for 3- and 4-year-olds at both Kinetic Arts and Trapeze Arts. We've been consistently pleased with Kinetic Arts for creating an environment in which our daughter stays focused and pushes her own abilities -- and she loves it! The downside is that the classes tend to stay the same over a long period of time, and older kids tend to drift away after they get bored. Kinetic Arts is talking about setting up a class just for four-year-olds, which would be excellent.

Trapeze Arts is much more variable in its quality. The kids spend a lot more time waiting for a turn (as compared to the Kinetic Arts obstacle course approach, in which the kids are moving for almost the entire class), but when they get a turn, they often get really valuable help from instructors. Some classes have been excellent, but in others we've watched our daughter stare at the ceiling for most of the class. The instructors do try to make sure that each kid comes out of every session with a new skill, and they put on a great show on the last day of the session. We've decided to stick with Kinetic Arts for now -- though if they don't create the new class for four-year- olds, we may switch to Trapeze Arts or gymnastics.

Circus class for 7 year old son

March 2010

My almost 7 year old son is very interested in taking a circus arts class. He wants to learn acrobatics, static trapeze, tight wire and so forth. The two classes we are considering are: 1) the Kids' Circus class at Trapeze Arts, and 2) the Circus Droplets class at Splash Circus (part of Head over Heels gymnastics) in Emeryville. I would love to hear about your experiences with either of these classes, particular if you have any opinion about how the classes are for beginners. [Please, no reviews of Head over Heels Gymnastics -- we're only interested in the circus classes. Thanks :).]

My two daughters, aged 7 and 9, have been enjoying weekday circus classes at Trapeze Arts for the past two years. They also did a weeklong summer-camp program there last summer, and declared it good but exhausting--the kids get worked HARD during that week.

We never tried the circus classes at HOH, but found our way to Trapeze Arts after doing gymnastics at HOH for years. My kids hated the chaotic atmosphere and repetitive exercises ay HOH; they've really resonated with the quiet weekday atmosphere at TA, and the variety in the excercises they're learning.

For what it's worth, I think you may have overlooked one other new alternative: Kinetic Arts Center on Seventh St in W. Oakland, very close to Trapeze Arts. That might also be worth your investigation! darcy

Trapeze arts/aerial summer camp?

March 2006

I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has had experience with either Trapeze Arts Circus Camp or Studio 12 ''Girls Who Fly'' aerial summer camp, or the regular classes for either of these programs. I have an athletic 12 year old who would love to try these, but first I'd like to talk with someone who can fill me in on the pros and cons. Thanks! eve

My athletic 10 year old has taken two 5-week sessions of Cherie Carson's ''Girls Who Fly'' at Studio 12 and loved it. Cherie is a wonderful teacher - very patient, inspiring and creative. I believe this is the first summer that she is offering the camp and I'm sure it will be of the same high quality as her classes. She has multiple activities planned to keep the girls engaged and active! Jen

Circus school in the East Bay?

Oct 2004

My almost nine year old daughter has become fascinated with balancing acts and the trapeze. I know of the Circus school in S.F., but does anyone know about circus- type classes (verses tradtional gymnastics) in the East Bay? Thanks for any information! Melissa

Try Trapeze Arts in Oakland. They have classes for adults and children. They're listed in the telephone book. Website here: with a coupon!

Trapeze Arts in West Oakland is a fantastic place to learn circus arts! Flying Trapeze, Aerial Arts, Trampoline, juggling, etc. The teachers are experienced with kids and with performing and are a varied and enthusiastic group of people. Adults and teens take classes here too. My daughter and other kids I know have been really happy with classes at this one year old Circus Arts school. Give them a call for types and times of classes.(510) 419-0700. Laurie

Splash Circus at Head over Heels in Emeryville. Visit or call 655-1265, ext. 202. Rebecca

Head Over Heels Gymnastics (and Splash Circus) in Emeryville has an excellent circus program directed by Chelsea Zephyr. You can view general info. at or call 655-1265. They do a few shows a year that are absolutley amazing. I believe the circus program does summer camps for beginners ages 8 and up. anonymous

My daughter (age 8) took circus classes at Head Over Heels in Emeryville, and loved it. She also attended their circus summer camp and will again this summer - it was great. There's an amazing place in West Oakland called Trapeze Arts that teaches flying trapeze (both my 8 and 12 year olds had great experiences), as well as more grounded circus arts classes, but we haven't tried those yet. The teachers all seem great though. good luck! Lucia

MOCHA (Museum of Children's Art) in Oakland has given circus classes in the past. My children did a winter break class a couple of years ago and loved it, and my daughter also did the class one summer. Cynthia

I have some good information on Circus classes in the East Bay.(see below)

  NAME: Afterschool Dance Classes in Aerial Technique taught by Jo Kreiter  ADDRESS: ZACCHO Dance Theatre, 1777 Yosemite Street, 3rd Floor in the Bayview District, SF. (Cross street is Third Street) PHONE: 415.333.8302 or 415.822-6744 (attention Lizzy Spicuzza) WEBSITE: DETAILS: Free Ongoing Classes for Youth, Ages 7-16 October 2001- April/May 2002: Tuesdays: 3PM-4PM, Thursdays: 4PM- 5:15 PM, and Saturdays: 11-12:30 PM. Current classes include Aerial Technique, Upside-Down Movement, and Contact Improvisation. The class description for Aerial Technique is as follows: This class introduces students to dancing off the ground. Combining principles from modern dance technique, Chinese Pole Acrobatics, dance trapeze, rock climbing and gymnastics, the class focuses on developing physical strength, patterns of circular and pendulum flight, climbing techniques, and improvisational partnerships with moving objects. These classes are available through a partnership between the California Arts Council Artist in Communities Program, ZACCHO Dance Theatre, and Flyaway's Artistic Director Jo Kreiter. Please check out their website, mentioned above, and/or contact t hem for more detail. They have a fantastic website.  NAME: Trapeze Arts Inc. ADDRESS: 1822 9th St. Oakland, CA. 94607 PHONE: (415) 337-1900 WEBSITE: DETAILS: Trapeze Arts is a school that offers High Flying Trapeze, Single Trapeze, Double Trapeze, Spanish Web, Trampoline, and Juggling for children of all ages. For schedule, pricing, and all other information go to the above mentioned web site, click on Oakland Brochure, then click on Oakland Brochure File.  NAME: Head Over Heels Gymnastics ADDRESS: 1250 45th Street, Suite E Emeryville, CA 94608 PHONE: (510) 655-1265 WEBSITE: DETAILS: Head Over Heels Gymnastics offers 2 week sessions in gymnastics and circus arts in Emeryville for children ages 4 to 12. Please call the number above for more information. Please see their web site, mentioned above, and/or contact them, for schedule, pricing, and other information. They have a great website.  NAME: Windmill Gymnastics ADDRESS: 5221 Central Avenue, #2 Richmond, CA 94804 PHONE: (510)-527-0570 WEBSITE: DETAILS: Windmill Gymnastics offers gymnastics and dance classes to children of all ages and levels, including circus, Olympics and sports theme classes. >From ages two through eighteen, beginner through  competition, you can find a class that will match your ability and meet your expectations. Their 12,000 square foot gym is packed with gymnastics equipment, including bars, trampoline, springfloors, rings, beams, vault and pommel horses. Parents can watch their children through large viewing windows from the comfortable lobby. Please see their web site, mentioned above, and/or contact them, for schedule, pricing and other information. 


Head Over Heels Gymnastics in Emeryville has circus classes. Also check out Wavy Gravy's summer camp, Camp Winnarainbow , I think it's called. Christy

Sorry if this is a repeat, but you could try Head over Heels Gymnastics in Emeryville. They are also the 'home' of Splash Circus. Haven't seen them perform, but we watch them practice every week while our daughter has class, and they always seem to be having a good time. Leslie