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Below you will find an evolving bibliography of research and academic works dedicated to proving what circus educators already know:

Circus learning engages diverse populations and promotes social-emotional, physical, cognitive, and spiritual health and wellness at or above the level
of typical programs/activities.
A graphic showing some of the titles of the papers listed in the bibliography on the page.

Agans, J. P., Davis, J. L., Vazou, S., & Jarus, T. (2019). Self-determination through circus arts: Exploring youth development in a novel activity context. Journal of Youth Development, 14(3), 110–129.

Baumgold, Jessica, M.S. (2017) Exploring the Experiences of Adults Participating in Community Circus Classes: The Synergistic Relationship Between Circus and Occupational Therapy. Utica College, 2017, 63; 10277149


Bolton, Reginald. (1999). Circus as education. Australian Drama Studies, 35, 9–18.


Bolton, Reginald. (2004). Why circus works: How the values and structures of circus make it a significant developmental experience for young people. PhD Thesis. Retrieved from:


Barnett, A. L., Dawes, H., & Wilmut, K. (2013). Constraints and facilitators to participation in physical activity in teenagers with developmental co-ordination disorder: An exploratory interview study. Child: Care, Health and Development, 39(3), 393–403. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2012.01376.x

Cossin, Marion (July 28, 2021) Taking the circus to school: How kids benefit from learning trapeze, juggling and unicycle in gym class.


Cadwell, Stephen J. (2018.) Falling together: an examination of trust-building in youth and social circus training. Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, Vol. 9, No. 1, 19–35.


Carr, Michelle (no date) Circus skills—An alternative to team sports and conventional physical education for reluctant exercisers. Robert Townson Public School, Raby. Sponsored by Coca-Cola/Amatil. Retrieved from:


Donohue, B., Gavrilova, Y., Galante, M., Burnstein, B., Aubertin, P., Gavrilova, E., Funk, A., Light, A., & Benning, S. D. (2018, October 11). Empirical Development of a Screening Method for Mental, Social, and Physical Wellness in Amateur and Professional Circus Artists. Psychology of

Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publication.


Fernandez, Y., Ziviana, J., Cuskelly, M., Colquhoun, R. (2018) Participation in community leisure programs: Experiences and perspectives of children with developmental difficulties and their parents. Leisure Sciences, Volume 40, No 3, 110-130.


Filho, Edson; Bertollo , Maurizio; Robazza , Claudio; Comani, Silvia. (2015) The juggling paradigm: a novel social neuroscience approach to identify neuropsychophysiological markers of team mental models. Frontiers in Psychology, Volume 6 | Article 799. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00799.


Fournier, C.,  Drouin, M.A.,  Marcoux, J., Garel, P., Bochud, E., Théberge, J., Aubertin, P., Favreau, G., Fleet, G. (2014). Cirque du monde as a health intervention: Perceptions of medical students and social circus experts. Canadian Family Physician • Le Médecin de famille canadien, Vol 60, 548-553.


Gilmore, R., Ziviani, J., Sakzewski, L., Shields, N., & Boyd, R. (2010). A balancing act: Children’s experience of modified constraint-induced movement therapy. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 13(2), 88–94. doi:10.3109/17518420903386161


Grote, K., Warner, S. (2013) Circus performance program, p41-43. Behavioral health protocols and treatment plans for recreational therapy, second edition. Idyll Arbor, Inc., 2013.


Heller, Carrie. (2010) Circus Arts Therapy training manual (untitled).


Heller, C., & Taglialatela, L. A. (2018). Circus Arts Therapy® fitness and play therapy program shows positive clinical results. International Journal of Play Therapy, 27(2), 69–77.


Kriellaars, Dean J.; Cairney, John; Bortoleto, Marco A.C.; Kiez, Tia K.M.; Dudley, Dean; Aubertin, Patrice. (2019) The Impact of Circus Arts Instruction in Physical Education on the Physical Literacy of Children in Grades 4 and 5. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 38, 162-170. Human Kinetics, Inc.


Lacy, Paoli. (1999) The Clown Therapy Handbook.


Maglio J., McKinstry C. (2008) Occupational therapy and circus: Potential partners in enhancing the health and well-being of today's youth. Australian occupational therapy journal. Dec;55(4):287-90. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1630.2007.00713.x


Scholz, J.; Klein, M.; Behrens, T.; Johansen-Berg, H. (2009) Training induces changes in white-matter architecture. Nature Neuroscience, 12(11), 1367-1368. Nature Publishing Group. (Subject: juggling)


(No author: “staff”) (2009) Learning to juggle grows brain networks for good. New Scientist, 02624079, Vol. 204, Issue 2730. (Subject: juggling)


Rivard, J.; Bourgeault, G.; Mercier, C. (2010) Cirque du Monde in Mexico City: breathing new life into action for young people in difficult situations. Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Malden, MA.  ISSJ 199rUNESCO2010

Sabourin, Tyler. (2020). "Expressive Arts, Social Circus, and Community Music Therapy: A Literature Review" Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 318.


Segura, Elena Márquez; Vidal, Laia Turmo; Parrilla Bel, Luis; Waern, Annika. (2019). Circus, Play and Technology Probes: Training Body Awareness and Control with Children. 1223-1236. 10.1145/3322276.3322377.


Seymour, K., Wise, P. (2017) Circus training for autistic children: difference, creativity, and community. New theatre quarterly, 33(1), 78-90. DOI: 10.1017/S0266464X16000658


Seymour, K., (2012, July) How circus training can enhance the well-being of autistic children and their families. Retrieved from:


Smith, C., Roy, L., Peck, S., & Macleod, C. (2017). Evaluation of program quality and social and emotional learning in American Youth Circus Organization social circus programs. Retrieved January 2018 from American Youth Circus Organization website:


Spiegel, J.B.; Parent, S.N.; Taylor, S.; Yassi, A. (2014) “Report on the Questionnaire Survey Conducted among Social Circus Participants at the ‘Rassemblement’ Event, Quebec, May, 2014: An Art for Social Change Project” University of British Columbia, Vancouver, November, 2014.


Speigel, J.B.. (2016) Social Circus: The Cultural Politics of Embodying “Social Transformation.” TDR: The Drama Review, 60:4 (T232). New York University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Speigel, J.B.; Parent, S.N. (2017) Re-approaching community development through the arts: a ‘critical mixed methods’ study of social circus in Quebec. Community Development Journal, Volume 53, Issue 4, October 2018, Pages 600–617. Retrieved from:


Speigel, J.B.; Choukroun, B.O. (2019) The art of collectivity: Social circus and the cultural politics of a post-neoliberal vision. McGill Queen’s University Press, Canada.

Available here:


Welburn, Ken. (2015.) Juggling-Exposure Therapy: An Innovation in Trauma Treatment. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 16:39–50. Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. ISSN: 1529-9732 print/1529-9740 online. DOI: 10.1080/15299732.2014.949019.


Zaccarini, John-Paul. (2014) Circoanalysis: Circus, therapy, and psycho-analysis. DANS – FORSKNING OCH UTVECKLING/DANCE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT. Board for Artistic Development, Research and Education at the University of Dance and Circus. ISSN 1652-3776 2013:2.


Zhao, Mengxian; Chen, Shihui. (2018.) Clinical Study: The Effects of Structured Physical Activity Program on Social Interaction and Communication for Children with Autism. BioMed Research International Volume 2018, Article ID 1825046, 13 pages. Hindawi.





Bernard, Miriam; Rickett, Michelle. (2017) The cultural value of older people’s experiences of theater-making: A review. The Gerontologist, Volume 57, Issue 2, 1 April 2017, Pages e1–e26, Retrieved from:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010) The association between school based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from:


Ennis, G.M., Tonkin, J. (2018) ‘It’s like exercise for your soul’: How participation in youth arts activities contributes to young people’s wellbeing. Journal of Youth Studies, VOL. 21, NO. 3, 340–359.


Howard, D.K.; Peniston, L.C. (no date) The Role of Recreation in Preventing Youth With

Behavioral and Cognitive Disabilities From Coming Into Contact With the Juvenile Justice System

and Preventing Recidivism. (unpublished?)


Hoza, Betsy; Martin, Caroline P. ; Pirog, Anna; Shoulberg, Erin K. (2016) Using Physical Activity to Manage ADHD Symptoms: The State of the Evidence. Curr Psychiatry Rep, 18:113. Springer Science+Business Media, New York. DOI 10.1007/s11920-016-0749-3


Lenstra, Noah. (2017) Movement-based programs in U.S. and Canadian public libraries: Evidence of impacts from an exploratory survey. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 2017, 12.4.


Magnusen, C.; Barnett, L.  (2013.) The Playful Advantage: How playfulness

enhances coping with stress. Leisure Sciences, 35: 129–144. Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. ISSN: 0149-0400 print / 1521-0588 online. DOI: 10.1080/01490400.2013.761905


Verret, Claudia; Guay, Marie-Claude; Berthiaume, Claude; Gardiner, Phillip; Béliveau, Louise. (2010.) A physical activity program improves behavior and cognitive functions in children with ADHD: An exploratory study. Journal of Attention Disorders, 16: 71. DOI: 10.1177/1087054710379735


Ziereis, Susanne; Jansen, Petra. (2015.) Effects of physical activity on executive function and motor performance in children with ADHD. Research in Developmental Disabilities 38  (2015)  181–191. Elsevier Ltd.

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