Safety Program


“To establish specific guidelines that will help promote, encourage and foster better safety and risk management practices as related to circus arts by creating a system that recognizes circus spaces that demonstrate a continued commitment to better safety practices as based on ACE’s guidelines.”

Vision of the Circus Arts Safety Program
This program was created with the ideal of having all circus training spaces in the United States be able to demonstrate to the public that they are committed to continually improving their approach to safety, regardless of the population they serve. The program is on-going; there is no “final certification” since a commitment to safe practices is an ongoing process requiring constant vigilance.

Methodology and Approach: Creating Guidelines for Everyone
There is no such thing as “zero-risk” or “100% safety.”  There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to making a  circus arts program as safe as it can be, and we realize that every circus training space is unique and faces unique challenges with regards to risk management. A guiding philosophy behind the program is the idea that there is no such thing as “best practice,” only “better practice.”

We have broken down our guidelines into three categories: “Facilities & Operations”, “Policies & Practices” and “Curriculum & Staff”.  We have worked hard to ensure that the guidelines are specific enough to be effective while remaining pliable enough to accommodate any effective solution.

To recap…

The ACE Circus Arts Safety Program is a recognition program for circus arts training spaces or programs.  Once you have gone through the process, you will be able to say you are “recognized by the ACE Safety Program,” and you will receive a graphic to display publicly.  Recognition is based on verified compliance with ACE’s guidelines through a process of self-examination, application, communication, improvement and evaluation.  The guidelines are intended for everyone, and we hope that whether or not you pursue recognition you use the guidelines as a safety “measuring stick” and commit to constantly evaluating and improving your safety practices.


We are currently in the process of updating our application process to make it even easier for you to become recognized by the ACE Safety Program!

In the meantime, please look over our guidelines of what we will be looking for in the application.

Circus Arts Program Guidelines

Teacher Training Program Guidelines



Who developed this program?

The program was conceived and developed by a committee consisting of Adam Woolley, Jonathan Deull, Beverly Sobelman and Elsie Smith starting in 2012. Since that time the committee has done the work of reaching out to experts in all relevant fields to receive feedback on the program, as well as researching the field of certification and recognition.  The Teacher Training Program recognition went through a “Beta” phase with volunteer studios in 2013, and with the creation of ACE the program as a whole. While the committee does consist of some recognized experts in relevant fields, we do not claim any special status; this project has been conducted entirely as a volunteer effort by qualified people because we believed that the American circus sector needed a viable third-party safety recognition program.  As the program evolves we are sure some of the guidelines will change with the times, and as more and more studios go through the process we hope the program will become better and stronger.

Who does the actual processing of the applications and examines my program to see if it is compliant?

ACE has created a Safety Consultant group for this purpose; all Safety Consultants apply and are approved by the ACE Safety Committee.  The application process ensures that the Safety Consultants are dedicated to the community, extremely skilled at communication, and understand the program’s mission, in addition to being expert in their field.  Because our industry does not rest on certifications or formal trainings, reputation, community involvement, track record, professional career and  years of experience are some of the factors the committee considers when reviewing a safety consultant’s application.