"Developmental Circus Arts"


What Is "Developmental Circus Arts"?


Developmental Circus Arts (DCA) is a term coined by movement and circus arts teacher, Jackie Davis, to describe the philosophy and practice of using circus-making as a vehicle for physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development in young people.


What Are the Benefits of DCA?


While the benefits of circus arts for youth have barely begun to be investigated much less measured, anecdotal and academic evidence is growing and shows general agreement regarding positive outcomes for youth.


For example, circus skills develop bimanual coordination, balance, and postural control. Research has found a correlation between coordinative exercise and executive functions; therefore, circus skills like juggling may also foster the executive function of attention. This is noteworthy because the ability to concentrate is a predictor for academic achievement while attention deficits are linked to poor academic performance.


Meanwhile, preparing a circus provides an arena for positive social interaction and increased self-efficacy for boys and girls alike, and students in a circus program can experience increased motivation toward attending school. A youth circus shares many of the qualities of a team sport with one major difference: everybody wins the game.