About ACE

The ACE Story

The American Circus Educators Association was formed in 2014 as a branch of the 501 (c) 3 nonprofit The American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO). ACE is dedicated to supporting circus educators and is the trusted authority when it comes to all things circus education and is the primary source for professional development, networking, and information about circus education for anyone identifying as a circus teacher, educator, coach, program director, parent, or administrator.


AYCO, the parent organization of ACE, has been serving circus educators since its founding in 1998, when the main form of circus education in the USA was catered towards youth. Since then, circus gained in popularity and students now range in age from toddlers to elders and everything in between. As a result, AYCO formed ACE in order to better serve the emerging circus education community.

All of the community and networking programs for adults are housed appropriately under ACE, with a strong commitment to serving the diversity of circus educators and their organizations under that branch with programs such as the Safety Network, the Social Circus Network, the biennial American Circus Educators Conference, ACE Magazine, and our monthly ACE News email newsletter.

AYCO is dedicated to distinctly serving young people and their supporters through a variety of youth-focused programs such as our circus swag surprise membership perk, youth authored blog, a website designed to be youth-friendly, a biennial national festival and annual regional festivals.

For more information about the distinction between AYCO and ACE, visit our FAQ. To visit our AYCO website, click here.

Circus Education

Circus education has evolved over the centuries. Traditionally, skills were passed down through family lineage or bestowed through an apprenticeship model. The past 100 years have seen the development of pedagogy and training techniques offered to students through circus schools, organizations, performing companies, and individual coaches and educators.  The present day circus student can be virtually anyone- from toddlers to elders and everyone in between.  From students with a recreational focus to those hoping to go pro, circus education is inclusive of a diversity of access points. Some of the many approaches included are: youth circus, circus as a tool for social change and therapy, health and well-being for adults, professional career development, and artistic expression for all. It is our aim to support the diversity of circus educators through our professional development offerings, safety project, and community network.