Below you will find an evolving bibliography of research and academic works dedicated to proving what we already know:
Circus learning engages diverse populations and promotes social-emotional, physical, cognitive, and spiritual health and wellness at or above the level of other programs/activities.
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. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2019.662
Arrigo, Sarah. (2014, Oct 22). Circus as adaptation. Circus Now: Theory in The Making. Retrieved from: http://circusnow.org/circus-as-adaptation
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 https://pqdtopen.proquest.com/doc/1899559312.html?FMT=AI&pubnum=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: http://www.regbolton.org/why-circus-works-reg-bolton
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
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. https://doi.org/10.1080/19443927.2017.1384755
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. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/aca0000199
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. https://dio.org/10.1080/01490400.2017.1408509
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. https://doi.org/10.1037/pla0000068
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. https://doi.org/10.1123/jtpe.2018-0269
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. https://digitalcommons.lesley.edu/expressive_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: https://www.circusstarsasd.com
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: http://www.americancircuseducators.org/sel/.
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. https://doi.org/10.1093/cdj/bsx015 Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/cdj/article/53/4/600/3788531?fbclid=IwAR2bG0cR93GCUXgrfkWT76Ex3-9EZDGZWZyysBCMWtvS2KQTeFyC2Kjr60I
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.
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. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1825046
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, https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnw093 Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/57/2/e1/2631952
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: https://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/health_and_academics/pdf/pa-pe_paper.pdf
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. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2017.1380302
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. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2014.12.005