c/o Commonwealth Circus Center
8 Brookley Rd
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 U.S.A.

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What is Social Circus?

In the last decade, a movement called social circus has been gaining momentum worldwide. Its mission is to use circus arts for social change. Social circus often means prioritizing the idea that underserved populations should have access to circus arts, and also that circus arts can and should be used to build life skills, such as confidence, resilience, communication, and the ability to self-advocate. Social circus often works with at-risk youth, using circus arts as a medium for social justice and for providing opportunities to children in underserved communities.   

First developed by circus performers and instructors, social circus is now embraced and practiced by people from a wide range of backgrounds, including social workers, teachers, and youth counselors. At Circus Up, we often collaborate with allied health care professionals (occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech language pathologists) and social workers to help us make our programs and equipment more accessible to children and adults who might need accommodations. Circus arts offer many opportunities for helping individuals to develop confidence and skills, and to improve physical conditioning through various circus arts, including partner acrobatics, clowning, juggling, and aerials.  

Circus arts are also extremely adaptable and can be easily made accessible to people with a wide range of abilities, which allows people to participate fully. For example, a student with limited flexibility might feel more comfortable working on juggling or clowning; a student with a great deal of energy might connect strongly to acrobatics. Skilled educators can develop and lead specific circus games and activities in order to help individuals or groups practice communication, cooperation, turn-taking, reading body language, and endless other social and emotional skills. 

Watch this amazing video from our hero and inspiration, Circus Harmony and Jessica Hentoff, to learn more about social circus.

Watch this video to learn more about supporting Circus Up's social circus initiatives.

Circus Up is dedicated to promoting and expanding social circus throughout Boston. To learn more or to participate in social circus, contact us!