Ryerson’s Recreation and Athletics Centre (RAC) may introduce a circus arts fitness class.If all goes well, students could join as early as this fall, says the RAC’s manager of recreation, Anthony Seymour.

Seymour points out that he has had only a preliminary meeting with the Toronto School of Circus Arts (TSCA) but says he was “quite impressed” with what it has to offer Ryerson.

If implemented, the program would be the first of its kind in Canada, says Lauren Gondos, the director of new business development at the TSCA.

Gondos says that while the TSCA previously ran a one-month aerial workshop at York University, Ryerson’s proposed program would be completely different.


The circus arts fitness program would utilize equipment such as hoops, straps and aerial silks. (Courtesy Toronto School of Circus Arts) 

“The program we’re offering to Ryerson would be unique because no other university in Canada offers a class in circus arts,” Gondos says.

Gondos says the TSCA hopes to provide a program through the RAC that runs once or twice a week and focuses on aerial and ground arts.


These would use equipment such as hoops, straps and aerial silks that would be brought to the RAC.

But Seymour isn’t sure if the RAC can accommodate the new classes.

“From our end, we need to evaluate if we have space for the program and if the Kerr Hall West gym can support the rigging that would be necessary to run the program,” Seymour says.

Seymour adds that the proposed circus arts program could be offered as a premium class that students pay for, a club or an instructional class.

It could also be added to the existing group fitness classes at the RAC.

Gondos and Seymour agree that the program would be successful at Ryerson’s busy downtown campus because of the university’s diverse demographic and broad selection of programs.

“I can see that the nature of our student body is the type where a course like this would go over really well,” says Seymour, nodding to Ryerson’s dance and theatre programs.

“It’s very exciting. We’ve just got a lot of people here that are adventurous and really like trying out different things.”

Calvin Tran, a second-year business student at Ryerson and former jazz and funk dance instructor, says he would be interested in the class because of Cirque du Soleil’s popularity.

“Just the level of technique that goes into Cirque du Soleil is a good driving force to get people to try it out,” Tran says.

“Any form of physical activity is beneficial for students, especially in the form of art.”

Gondos says the class will appeal to dancers and non-dancers as it can be used for strength and body conditioning. It would offer beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

“It’s a total body workout,” Gondos says. “We don’t use weights, we use the equipment we have. But it’s challenging and people will definitely see amazing results.”

The TSCA is currently waiting for the RAC to give its final feedback on the program proposal, Gondos says.


This story also appeared in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on Feb 4, 2015.

Rachel Surman was a news reporter for The Ryersonian. She graduated from the Ryerson School of Journalism in 2015.