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.”

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What is the Safety Program?

The ACE Safety Program is a low cost consultation process with an industry expert to help your program or school better manage the inherent risks associated with circus arts.

After your consultation process is complete and you’ve made any necessary adjustments to your practices, your facility, program or teacher training will become a member of the Circus Arts Safety Network!

Click here to watch a short introductory video about the Safety Program.

What are the possible fees?

Fees include: application fee, site visit fee, your time and energy to gather materials, and any expense for housing and travel for your consultant. The average organization spends between $1000 – $2000 on the program in full. 

Fill out this intake form to receive your cost estimate.

What am I paying for?

70% of your fees go directly towards your safety consultant for their time, expertise, and engagement. 30% goes towards the administration, upkeep, and management of the Network.

Are there any discounts if I’m already a member of AYCO / ACE?

Yes! Gold members receive a 25% discount on site visits and free yearly renewals. Silver members receive a 10% discount on site visits.

What are the “guidelines”?

The Safety Program Guidelines are a public resource that describe in detail what ACE considers to be best practice for the management of risk in circus arts spaces and programs. The guidelines are reviewed bi-annually by the whole community at the ACE Educators Conference, and adjusted accordingly by the Safety Committee.

Click here to view the Guidelines for Circus Arts Safety Programs

Do you have to have all policies established when you apply?

No! You simply provide anything you have, note what you are working on and what needs to be done in the future, and your consultant will assist you in producing everything you need to join the Circus Arts Safety Network.

What is the provisional membership?

Our provisional memberships allows organizations that haven’t opened yet to be accepted into the Circus Arts Safety Network as long as they have everything other than the facility up and running and meet the guidelines for the materials. With this membership, we require a site visit within the first 6 months of opening to ensure to ensure that their facility and operations meet the guidelines and that they are following through with their proposed policies and practices.

What is the renewal process like?

In order to stay current in the Network you will commit to: notifying your consultant if anything major changes in your space or operations, and having a once per year consultation phone call check up. That’s all!

What are people saying about the program?

“The ACE Safety Program is a huge asset to the national circus community. Getting circus studios around the country all on the same page in terms of safety-specific industry standards and best practices is a huge and important task, and this program tackles it kindly and successfully. I strongly encourage all studio owners to go through the process!”

-Carly Schuna, Madison Circus Space

“I appreciate the high standards that ACE holds for circus arts. As the circus community continues to grow, it’s important to have rules and regulations in place that promote safe practices of this art form. I’m proud to have the Aerial Physique Teacher Training course recognized by ACE!”

-Jill Franklin, Aerial Physique Founder

“I feel like participating in the safety program made me focus on a lot of different aspects of safety that I hadn’t thought about and helped me to shape the safety policies of my program in a real way. Having to put it all in writing was a really great way to form solid policies. I also feel that the existence of the safety program is so important for our industry. Being a self reporting and monitoring industry is a great way to show that safety is our top priority. It is also really comforting to parents and participants to know that we are thinking about these things. It gives them confidence in us and me confidence to say, yes we are working in a safe way because of my background and experience and because I’ve gotten to talk through it with other circus professionals.”

-Katherine Tesch, Owner, Circus Academy of Tucson

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 are the consultants?

The ACE Safety Consultants are dedicated to the community, extremely skilled at communication, and understand your program’s mission, in addition to being experts in their fields. 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 considered when hiring safety consultants. To learn more about the safety consultants, click here.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Email the program manager at

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