Starting a new hobby or routine can feel overwhelming, to say the very least. The financial commitment, the fear of failure, PLUS the idea of being the “new person” at a gym are enough to deter a lot of us. It’s a lot easier to settle in on the couch for a good Netflix binge than to take the leap and start something new. At the same time, we all have that wild voice inside...that crazy, unhinged, free spirit deep in our subconscious that is yearning for more. Maybe you’ve been perusing Instagram for a while admiring videos of Aerialists and Acrobats thinking “Hmmm...that looks fun”.
Want to train with the circus? We welcome you with open arms!
The circus community stands out for being accepting and diverse. People start their circus journey from a variety of backgrounds, developing their own voices and strengths in the process. You don’t have to come from an athletic background to get started.
That being said...get ready to be whipped into shape!
Most circus skills require a lot of practice, coordination, body awareness and control, strength, and flexibility. You can start developing these skills from anywhere, and it’s our job as teachers to personalize classes and advice to fit your needs. We are willing to work with you wherever you’re at to help you progress and find joy in the process.
And you will! BUT...you have to put in the work.
Like most things in life that make you truly happy, circus skills do not come easily. Even if you climbed confidently on your first day in aerial silks class, chances are you practiced those skills in previous activities. And some people just have a raw, natural talent, and that’s amazing! But it’s not enough just to land a difficult trick. Can your body truly support you doing that trick for long periods of time, under stress and in any setting?
At ACA, we want you to answer “yes” to that question - and that is why we build conditioning exercises into all of our classes. While you definitely don’t need a certain “body type” to do these skills safely and confidently, you DO need to be working at your best for your body. That means you may be learning fewer tricks in each class, but working consistently on the strength, flexibility, technique, stamina, and mental breakdown of each one. That takes time and patience, but it’s a more sustainable way to practice.
We hear this question all the time - how can you condition on your own time, and what should you focus on? What should your typical practice look like?
I’m a firm believer in good old-fashioned drills. When I started hoop dancing, I spent many practice sessions just drilling waist hooping and practicing isolations in the mirror. It doesn’t feel graceful at first, but gradually you will develop muscle memory and clean technique, and the repetition helps you fully understand the trick - and not just the first day you learn it. Your mind may get it, but your body needs time and practice to catch up!
A good overall fitness plan for total body strengthening should focus on a few exercises or muscle groups per day for at least 30 minutes, 3-4 days a week. Here are some areas that I like to group together:
Chest, shoulders, and tricep strength/endurance
Core and glute strength/endurance
Legs, ankles, feet, and hip flexors - strength/endurance
Back and bicep strength/endurance
Shoulder and back mobility
Hip and leg mobility
Listen to your body when planning your workouts. Remember that in a set of exercises, increasing reps of the exercise will work your endurance, while fewer reps of a more challenging exercise will increase your strength. When stretching, find a “comfortable edge” and try to stay there for at least 30 seconds to a minute for best results.
Make sure to warm up before you condition and cool down afterwards - your body needs time to build up and wind down from all the work you are doing!
In our studio classes, we will give you several exercises and conditioning tips to work on. We also have a great video on our social media pages with details for an at-home workout. Be sure to check out our Stretch & Flex and Aerial Strength and Conditioning classes (all levels!) for deeper work on strengthening and mobility. We will continue to post exercises and ideas, but we encourage you to use all the fitness resources available out there to design a routine that works best for you!
Join the students and performers of Arkansas Circus Arts for a unique Cirque twist on the classic Holiday tale, The Nutcracker! Acrobats, Aerialists, Stilt Walkers and other local performers will take you on a journey through Clara's dream world on Christmas Eve. ONE NIGHT and ONE SHOW ONLY Saturday, December 22nd at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.
What are Flow Arts?
Great question! Flow or flow state is defined as "being in the zone", the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. We can find "flow" in anything we enjoy doing, whether it's movement based, artistic, musical, or resting. It's the moment in which you forget about everything else happening in the world and find yourself totally present. That's powerful stuff huh?!
Flow Arts typically involve manipulating props in different patterns, planes and geometrical sequences to create an awe-inspiring performance and a playful practice. What props/disciplines fall under the Flow Arts category? Another great question! Flow Arts can include Hula Hooping, Juggling, Contact Staff, Dragon Staff, Fire Fans, Devil Sticks (aka Flower Sticks), Poi, S-Staves (aka Bugeng), Contact juggling, Levi Wand, and various other props.
Did we mention Flow Arts can be great exercise, fun, confidence-boosting, and good for your brain?!
ACA, Southern Lights Flow Retreat, and the Central Arkansas Flow community will be partnering to offer weekly Flow Arts classes for adults starting in June! Classes will take place at the Arkansas Circus Arts studio on Tuesdays from 6:30-7:30pm. Each week class will focus on a different skill (juggling, hula hooping, poi, etc.) and have a different instructor. After class, there will be a flow jam from 7:30-9:30pm. What's a Flow jam you say?! A third great question! It's where we seek to find flow state with a prop(s), among other individuals, typically with music. In other words, it's play time, practice time and community time! If you attend the class at 6:30pm, the jam is FREE! Just want to jam? It's $5. You can view the studio class schedule and sign up for classes by clicking here!
Cover Photo Performer: Meghan McFadden Cover Photo Credit: Jamie Seed Photography
Photo credit: Jamie Seed Photography , John Shute, Andrew Dolan
Arkansas Circus Arts is thrilled to announce that we are moving our downtown Little Rock studio to 10503 Maumelle Blvd. on March 16th, 2018!
We are so excited for this expansion and can't wait to share it with you! Join us March 16th for our GRAND RE-OPENING from 5:00-9:00pm and enjoy performances, food, music, prizes, and HUGE deals on classes and memberships (available in-store only).
Our new studio will feature more space for Aerial Arts classes and ground circus classes including a separate studio area for Pole Dance classes. Our lobby and waiting area will be bigger along with locker and cubby space for students. Not to mention, we'll have a kids room for kids to play in or do homework in between classes or while waiting for parents to finish class! Childcare will be available during certain peak class times.
Classes officially start in our new location on Monday, March 19th!
We will be closed March 10th-15th for moving.
What can current and potential students expect from this move? Well, as part of our studio expansion, we plan to provide more class offerings for all ages with more class days/times offered! Be on the look out for our summer camp date announcements coming soon! Our new location has tons of parking and is conveniently located off the Maumelle exit from 430 (not far from the freeway).
Words can't contain how excited we are for this new adventure! We hope you'll join us and can't wait to fly with you!
Calling all goblins and ghouls! You don't want to miss our next production on October 21st, 2017!
Carnival Bizarre: A Halloween Masquerade, will take place at the gorgeous Argenta Community Theatre. Join us for a haunted evening with members of your local Circus troupe. Come experience terrifyingly awesome stunts, acts and high flying performers. Aerialists, Stilt Walkers, Jugglers and Drag queens will lead you on a mysterious journey through a world of the haunted circus. You won't want to miss this intimate experience in a beautiful downtown cabaret theatre.
Costumes encouraged! Wear your favorite costume and enter the costume contest. Drinks and food will be available in the lobby at the bar. Get there early to enjoy local vendors, art, and food. Limited seating is available on a first come, first serve basis. We recommend buying your tickets online in advance at this link: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3057013
*VIP TICKETS- a small amount of VIP tickets are available and include VIP balcony seating, food, and adult beverages. Get them while you can!
Ticket & Show information
THIS IS AN 18+ AGES SHOW
-Pre-sale tickets: $20
-Day of show: $25
- VIP EXPERIENCE TICKETS: $40 (includes food, Adult beverages, and VIP balcony seating)
Doors Open: 6:00pm
Show Time: 7:30pm
On Tuesday, March 28th, Arkansas Circus Arts professional performance troupe was honored to entertain children and families of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The event was hosted by ToysRUS for a campaign to raise money for the hospital. ACA provided clowns, jugglers, stilt walkers, hula hoopers, acrobats and 4-legged Stilt animals for the circus-themed party.
When Deadlift Dolls asked if they could come and interview one of our female Aerial instructors, we immediately suggested Rachael Mercer. Rachael is an Aerial Arts instructor and professional level performer with ACA and has a heart of gold. We love this empowering feature and thank Deadlift Dolls for raising awareness about strong women in the community!
Our next large theater production is right around the corner! We're busy rehearsing, preparing and putting together a show to resemble your wildest Holiday dreams. The Lucy Lockett Cabe Theater at Wildwood Park for the Arts will be our backdrop as we travel through a magical world of performers and amazing acts.
One of the special things about The Holiday Cirque Spectacular, is that all the performers and cast are local to Central Arkansas. We aren't flying in performers from New York or another large city. It makes it a special process knowing that everyone is from the community we are giving back to.
Tickets are now available online!
Arkansas Circus Arts is so excited to announce our newest and biggest production, The Holiday Cirque Spectacular! There will be two shows only at Wildwood Park for the Arts on December 3rd & 4th.
This show will be indoors, in Wildwood's Lucy Lockett Cabe Theater that seats nearly 500. Our story is set in a magical world of winter, Holidays and Yuletide traditions. Local circus and variety performers from Arkansas Circus Arts will take you on a journey through this world as they dazzle you with daring skills and beautiful costuming.
This show was envisioned by ACA co-owner, Camille Rule. Growing up, Camille danced in the Nutcracker every year and always found the Holiday season to be a special time of connecting with family and friends. With the help of the ACA team and professional performers, this heart warming story will come to life on stage! "The costumes are over the top and so is the choreography", says Camille, "We are really pushing ourselves to create a fabulous wonderland that brings a message of peace and joy to the audience."
As with all ACA shows, there will be local libations, nibbles, and live music before the show and at intermission. This is an all ages show and event! Tickets can be purchased online or at the door: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2706874 However, we recommend purchasing your tickets online before the show to ensure you get a seat!
One of the most special things about this show, is that all the talent is local. We aren't flying performers in from out of state and all the proceeds go back to small businesses and local entrepreneurs. All Arkansas talent, food, and theatrics!