School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts 


SANCA is the leading circus arts and education institution for youth in the United States. Founded in 2004 with five students, SANCA now serves more than 54,200 people annually with highly innovative circus programs and performances. In addition to classes and outreach, SANCA hosts Circus Artist Residencies, offers workshops conducted by international performers, and provides rental space to other performing arts and nonprofit organizations. Learn more about SANCA in this short video.

Mission Statement
SANCA’s mission is to improve the mental and physical health of children of all ages and abilities by engaging them in the joyous creativity of acrobatics and circus arts. Our innovative circus arts programs offer rewarding experiences that are physically challenging, socially enriching, and encourage creativity in a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment.
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School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts
674 S Orcas Street 
(206) 652-4433 

Carl Bystrom 
Interim Executive Director 


School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts Programs

“No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you will always find your place here.”
– Naomi, Every Body’s Circus Student

SANCA offers year-round circus arts classes and summer camps. Many of the youth who need SANCA the most cannot afford to pay. SANCA's Youth Scholarship Program supports students with financial challenges, and no student is denied enrollment due to lack of funds. Since 2004 2,376 students have received tuition assistance totaling $661,155.
SANCA’s Every Body's Circus Program serves youth with disabilities. Circus arts enable learning across a diverse range of abilities and offer opportunities for students to challenge themselves and develop their own skills at their own rate. SANCA works with youth whose disabilities range from Sensory Processing Disorders and Autism, to cerebral palsy, hemiparesis, spina bifida, blindness, and deafness.

In the Circus Outreach Program, SANCA partners with other schools and community organizations on a pro bono/sliding-scale basis to empower youth and reach populations that are at risk or underserved. Circus arts promote a fit and healthy lifestyle, help build self-confidence, and foster positive social relationships. Students and teachers report:
    • Increased confidence, health, and physical ability.
    • Improved academics and interpersonal relationships.
    SANCA’s Youth Performance Program is a year-round, after-school program for youth, ages 5 to 18, which provides performance training in traditional and modern circus arts. The students produce their own show annually, and perform throughout the year at events across the region such as Moisture Festival and Seattle Center’s Winterfest.

    Recent Successes and Current Challenges

    SANCA is recognized nationally as a model of of circus arts education. 2014 was SANCA’s tenth anniversary year. Successes include:
    • Providing $156,761 in scholarship aid to 518 students.
    • Partnering with 27 Seattle-area schools to serve 902 youth with circus arts classes – including homeless, low-income, and at-risk youth.
    • Sending the Cirrus Circus youth performance troupe to perform at the London International Youth Circus Festival in England, at NoFit State in Cardiff, Wales, and at Island Circus in Sylt, Germany.
    • Hosting Circus Artist Residencies for The Acrobatic Conundrum and IMPulse Circus. Both groups created new works that led to new opportunities for the troupes, including appearances at festivals in the U.S. and Canada, and a West Coast tour for Conundrum.
    • A 13% increase in earned income and 27% increase in contributed income.
    SANCA’s principal challenge is to ensure that we have the financial resources to keep our programs affordable for families and to offer and grow our programs for disadvantaged children who have fewer options to participate in healthy, creative arts activities.

    SANCA focuses on providing access to classes and national caliber coaching in a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment for students. SANCA’s low student-to-instructor ratio ensures that all students receive the time and individual instruction necessary to succeed in building skill and confidence. SANCA is also committed to providing professional circus artists with the time, space, and support they need create new work.

    During 2015 we plan to:
    • Provide at least $160,000 in scholarship support to youth.
    • Expand Every Body's Circus for youth with disabilities to reach more students.
    • Expand nontraditional class hours (daytime and weekend hours) to provide more access.
    • Increase partnership opportunities with local schools and community organizations.
    • Support more aspiring professional artists.


    The School of Acrobatic & New Circus Arts (SANCA) offers skill and performance training in circus arts with a focus on improving the mental and physical health of children.

    Proven Success
    Founded in 2004 with an enrollment of 5 students, SANCA has grown to the largest circus school in the country, serving 18,366 people in 2010. Even during the recession they experienced exceptional growth from 640 students in weekly classes in 2009 to current enrollment of 811.

    Accessibility and Cultural Competency
    Dedicated to serving students from all ethnic and economic backgrounds, no one is turned away regardless of ability to pay. 20% of current enrollment currently receives tuition assistance. Circus arts are also especially beneficial to youth with special needs, from ADHD or Sensory Processing Disorder to Autism or physical disabilities. SANCA has been approved by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) as a provider of therapeutic services for clients covered under provisions of the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).

    SANCA’s Circus Outreach Program partners with local schools and organizations that serve low-income and at-risk youth. One of the Outreach partners is First Place School, a school for youth struggling with homelessness. The year-long collaboration with First Place provides opportunities for youth to learn about and develop their own performances. In 2010, during SANCA’s professional Circus Artist Residency, the First Place youth worked with the resident artists for a one-month period to develop a showcase performance. In 2011 the Outreach Program and First Place partnered with the Seattle Opera. The youth devised a circus-based version of “The Magic Flute.” SANCA also partners with Treehouse by providing students who come from Treehouse a 50% tuition waver that is matched by Treehouse for the other 50%.

    Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

    Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

    9/10/2012 $5,000.00support general operating expenses.


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