November 02, 2018 4 min read

The circus is no longer just for clowns. The circus arts are becoming a popular alternative form of fitness that combine dance, self-expression, and strength! From silly to heart-opening, the benefits of the circus arts are both physical and mental. And with classes ranging from hula-hooping to fire dancing, handstands to cyr wheel, there are tons of circus arts out there to explore!

1. Flow Arts
I began my own journey into circus in 2012 with my introduction to the Hula Hoop. Hula-hooping has become so much more than a children’s toy! Hula Hoop Fitness classes took off in the early 2000’s, and you can find Hoop Dance Fitness classes in most major cities across the U.S.! In fact, a study from The American Council on Exercise found that you can burn 210 calories in :30 hula hoop workout!
But it goes beyond the physical workout. Hoop dance uses “prop manipulation” to let you creatively dance, make unique shapes, and completely express yourself!
Hula Hoops are just one small branch of the quickly growing “Flow Arts” phenomenon! Prop manipulation and dance can be done with staffs, rope darts, fans, poi, and so much more. As people progress with these different tools, many are inspired to try them on fire. Fire dancing is just another fun, growing piece of the flow arts puzzle!
If you are curious to find out more about this branch of the Circus Arts, try starting at for videos, tutorials, and to find classes in your area!  

2. Aerial Arts
In 2013, I fell in love with the aerial arts. Aerial dance includes silk, lyra (or aerial hoop), hammock, rope (or corde), and so much more. Aerial dance caught my heart as I learned to climb, dance, and find freedom in the air. This form of physical and mental training combines strength, grace, flexibility, and creativity.
If you are interested in the aerial arts, search for a teacher who inspires you. Aerial is intense physical work. It can be dangerous and the learning curve is high. Finding a teacher who can motivate you and help you safely build your strength is essential! As you start to unlock tricks and moves, and you find yourself flying, the feeling of accomplishment is amazing.

3. Cabaret, Heels, and Alternative Dance
Many women (and men) have already discovered the fun and freedom of alternative dance classes! Cabaret, Belly Dance, Heels, Twerk, GoGo & Hip-Hop Funk are just a few of the unconventional dance styles  that are popping up in dance studios across the nation!
These classes tend to welcome dancers of all levels, from trained dancers to those who have never had any dance training at all! The amazing thing about the “all levels” approach of these classes, is that is really allows people to embrace their confidence in a safe and supportive space!
All shapes and sizes of dancers are equal in these classes. And with so many styles to try, why not jump right in? The fun, excitement and mental challenge of trying a new form of dance will almost make you forget you are getting in a completely new workout!

This is just the beginning of the possibilities in the Circus Arts! With contortion, cyr wheel, hand balancing, aerial yoga, the world of inspiration in the circus arts seems to be never ending! Take a look around to find the Circus & Dance Classes offered in your area!

Taking Green Apple for the Ride
As someone who plays, teaches, and trains professionally in the Circus Arts, you could say that I live in leggings. If I’m not in costume, I’m in active wear.
I’m also an avid camper, lover of the outdoors, and general environment fanatic.
So you could say that I am SUPER excited about Green Apple Active! Their clothing is made entirely out of organic bamboo and recycled materials, and even their packaging is environmentally friendly!
So, in addition to being a performance artist, I also live on a performance artists’ budget. So when I saw the very reasonable prices of their clothes, I was head over heels!
This activewear is some of the comfiest I’ve ever put on. And the leggings are perfect in every way for dance and circus. They’re moisture wicking, fit snuggly but not tightly, keep their shape, and there’s no elastic band to squeeze you! But, most importantly, the pants move with me when I dance.

Green Apple checks out! 100% circus and environment friendly!

Photo Credit: Andrew Burgher |

Katelyn Carano is a professional performer, dancer, and circus artist specializing in hoop dance, fire dancing, aerial arts. She has worked internationally and throughout Southern California for the past 8 years. She also teaches hoop dance and aerial silk in Santa Barbara, CA. She has a deep love for nature and enjoys camping trips and backpacking on her off weekends.

Elizabeth Whitley
Elizabeth Whitley

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