Gymnastics, ballet and acting classes are all great after school extracurricular activities for kids and yours have done them all for several years in a row now. If your little acrobats and actors are getting bored of the same old same old, consider letting them join the circus instead! Ok, well maybe that’s going a bit too far, but we’re willing to bet they will flip for these circus and aerial acrobatic classes—and after you read our roundup, you will too.


photo: via The Circus Project

Circus Cascadia
This fun non-profit offers after-school workshops that teach kids how to stilt walk, spin a dabolo, balance on a friend’s shoulders and more. The workshops culminate in a show for the students’ families. In the past they have served 7 schools across the Portland Metro Area and they work closely with the Portland Parks and Recreation Sun Program. They are currently taking registration forms for their class at Woodstock Elementary but welcome requests to come to other locations as well.

Phone: 503-806-0210
Woodstock Elementary Registration: Here

The Circus Project
Founded with the mission of empowering homeless and at-risk youth, this incredible project expanded its programming so that children from all walks of life can experience the circus arts. Your kids will be introduced to the trapeze, aerial fabric, aerial sling, and aerial hoop and learn to fly while attending these progressive circus and aerial classes. Classes also teach hand balancing and focus on building strength, flexible, confidence and giving kids an opportunity for self-expression. Fall classes include Little Circus, Kids Aerial I, Kids Aerial II, and Kids and Teen Aerial III and run from Sept. 4-November 19.

Location: 1420 NW 17th Ave., Ste. 388, Portland
Phone: 503-764-9174


photo: via The Circus Project

Echo Theater Company
The ETC school has designed a suite of aerial classes for kids of all ages. Their programs are designed to encourage physical confidence, freedom and grace in a creative and non-competitive setting. Classes help students develop strength, balance, flexibility and their imaginations! Classes run Sept. 7- Oct. 18 and Oct. 18- Dec. 3. Offerings include Trapeze and Acrobatics, Aerial and Acrobatics, Baby Circus and classes for adults. They even have family-focused classes so that you can start your own mini circus at home.

Location:1515 SE 37th Ave., Portland
Phone: 503-231-1232
Register: Here

Pendulum Arial Arts
Pendulum Aerial Arts offers Portland’s only German Wheel class as well as a Circus Sampler class that is perfect for students who are just beginning. Difficult acrobatic elements are broken down and made accessible to those who are new to the art. If you have kiddos who are extra flexible, they may be ready for the Flexibility class designed to improve contortion and hand balancing. Fall classes (with the exception of German Wheel classes) run from Sept. 6-Jan. 28. German Wheel classes run from Sept. 8-Oct. 20.

Location: French American International School
8500 NW Johnson St., Portland


photo: via The Circus Project

Afterglow Aerial Arts
Trapeze, silks, corde lisse, juggling, hula hooping, lyra and conditionioning—you name it, this studio offers it. Their Kids Circus & Aerial class is designed for children ages 7-10 and addresses flexibility, strength and stability training. It also introduces your little aerial artists to all of the cool equipment the circus arts has in store for them as they progress. Some classes even promise to introduce juggling poi spinning or hula. This class is a 7-week course that runs from Sept. 20-Nov. 1.

Location: 3808 N Williams, Portland
Phone: 509-991-8877

Have you ever taken a circus arts class? If so, what’s your favorite? Share in the comments below.

—Annette Benedetti