Are those Circus Center alums in those Luzia ads?

Luzia and Back Pocket Acrobat Maya Kesselman shares her Circus Center story

Just who are those colorful hummingbirds we're seeing all over town in Cirque du Soleil's Luzia posters? They're Circus Center alums Maya Kesselman, Marta Henderson, Devin Henderson, and Dominic Cruz, and their troupe, Back Pocket! They've been on tour with Luzia since last May, where you can see them performing an electrifying hoop diving act on a speeding treadmill.

Maya started training in Circus Center's youth program at age 10, along with future troupe members Marta, Devin, and Dom. She's since graduated from L'Ecole Superieure des Arts du Cirque in Brussels, Belgium, toured (and won a gold medal at the 34th Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain) with Trio Anneaux, and formed Back Pocket (follow them here!). Needless to say, we're impressed, and absolutely thrilled to see her and the rest of Back Pocket back in town.

Maya graciously took time out of her busy training and performance schedule to share why she thinks circus is worth supporting, and how performing as a youth at Circus Center built her love of circus into a career:

"What inspired you to train with such dedication when you were young?
It was the challenge. I really liked that it was something you had to be disciplined about. Circus was not something that came easily to me...this wasn't just about strength, it was performance and adrenaline and working in a team. And performing is amazing, I love performing.
The best part is the people I get to work with. Obviously, I'm still working with them! Circus has a really good community backing it up. The community is the reason why I stuck with it all these years.

Why should someone donate to support performances at Circus Center?
Let's say I'm a circus artist, and I practice 5 days a week, and can do a back flip or whatever - I'm practicing the technique of circus, but that is not the only thing it's about.

Circus is about sharing what you do with an audience, and having that kind of connection with an audience, and being onstage and connecting with the people you're performing with. It's not the same as just practicing offstage. It gives you a whole different feeling...It opens our community's eyes to what circus is.

Together we can give Circus Center's dedicated students, young and adult, the chance to discover and share their love of performance like Maya, Marta, Dom, and Devin did.

Show your circus love. Donate here today:

You can support us while you shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday! Shop through Amazon Smile and Amazon will donate to Circus Center, just click the link:

SHOW LOVE with Circus Center this Winter!

Show Love: donate to support Circus Center’s community productions!

Circus Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has been spreading the joy of circus through performance, training, and outreach since 1984. This year, we ask you to join our mission and support our season of free/low-cost/pay-what-you-can performances.

Giving is easy! Just click here:


In 2016, we produced 4 high-quality free/low-cost/PWYC shows (not including the Cabaret!) They featured our spectacularly talented youth, adult recreational students, Clown Conservatory students, and instructors displaying all the circus arts we teach here, including hoop, aerial straps, clowning, juggling, diabolo, hand-balancing, rope, Chinese Pole, flying on San Francisco’s only permanent flying trapeze, and more.


Donations make it possible for Circus Center to continue to offer multiple free/low cost/PWYC shows by and for our community every year. They cover things like:

$25 - Rental of one lighting cable (a show can use anywhere from 20-25 cables)

$50 - Base costume pieces for one performer (a show usually has 20-30 costumes)

$100 - Follow-spot rental (we use 2 per show so you can be seen!)

$200 - Extra speakers (we rent 2-4 per show so you can hear!)

$500 - Makeup for a full cast (So they can be beautiful! Or spooky, or funny...whatever the show requires.)

$1000 - A basic set piece

Not to mention essential items like compensation for talented directors and creative staff to develop shows, design and printing costs for our beautiful posters, flyers, and programs, increased building cleaning and utility costs, food for performers...


In 2017, we have at least 4 more full-length community shows planned:

March: Clown Conservatory’s full-length clown show
May: The San Francisco Youth Circus’ annual Spring production
September: The Adult Recreational Student Show in the Theater (more on that soon!)
December: The beloved annual Winter Showcase

All community shows will continue to be low-cost, free, or Pay What You Can, so everyone can experience the joy of circus.


You know that nothing compares to the magic of live circus performance, up close and personal. By producing a regular season of student performances, Circus Center gives our students a spotlight that honors the dedication and love they pour into training, and gives valuable experience for those pursuing professional circus dreams.

But most importantly, performances let us share the wonder of live circus with our beloved community - YOU!


Circus performance is important, now more than ever. Performance is an essential part of sharing everything that circus means to us.

With your continued support, we can invest in our student performers and the artists that develop new circus works every day here at Circus Center, and share the delight and majesty of circus performance with our beloved circus community.

Thank you - and see you at the show!

Click here to give:

Can I donate offline (check or cash)?
Definitely! All donations made this winter will go to support our community productions. Simply mail or drop off your donation at 755 Frederick St, SF, CA 94117

I’m having trouble with donating on Generosity, help!
Check with the Generosity help desk here, or email Sarah directly:

Is this tax-deductible?
You betcha! Circus Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and all donations are fully tax-deductible.

How do I find out if my employer does gift matching?
Employer gift matching is a super easy way to double the impact of your donation! Check here to see if your employer has a program:
We are always ready to help in any way we can!

Can I get a receipt?
In addition to your receipt from Generosity, we send all our donors a donation receipt and thank you letter after the campaign closes. Thank you so much for your support!

What is your tax ID?

Where can I learn more about Circus Center?
Check our website: or email the Student Services Team:

I have a question, concern, or comment.
Let Sarah know at

This winter, help us Show Love - donate to support affordable, accessible circus by and for our community.

Recent Mention for Circus Center in the Press

Bay Area for Sale recently featured us in an article: San Francisco's Circus Center Gives Everyone a Chance to Fly the Trapeze. See what they have to offer for San Francisco, CA Real Estate

Winter 2017 Session Enrollment Starts Nov 1

We are excited to announce the opening of Winter 2017 Session Enrollment! Classes will open for Full Session Enrollment on Thursday, November 17 at 10:00 am.

Here's the Session Schedule (also available here):

Weekly Schedule - Acro_copy
Weekly Schedule - Aerial_copy1

Winter Session runs from Tuesday, January 3 through Sunday, March 26, 2017. Monday classes meet 11 times and classes on all other days of the week meet 12 times. Full Session pricing is as follows:

  General Advanced Premium
11 Weeks (Mon) $198 $308 $330
12 Weeks (Tu-Sun) $216 $336 $360

Class space is limited! To ensure that students receive only the best instruction, we keep classes small and intimate. Session enrollment guarantees your place in class for all weeks. For each enrollment you purchase, you are eligible for one make-up class that you can use for any reason at any point during the term.

Drop-in enrollment for Winter Session opens November 28, 2016, and can be purchased as a single class, a 5-class pack or a 10-class pack. Please remember that space is not guaranteed in every week should you choose drop-in enrollment.

A few notes for you:
  • If you need a prerequisite, make sure to get this ON YOUR ACCOUNT prior to Thursday! If you don't have a prereq, we can't hold a spot for you.
  • If you call/email/come in prior to 10:00 am on Thursday, we will not be able to take your request. If you email prior to 10:00 am, that email will go to the bottom of our list after we address the people who register after 10:00 am. It's only fair!
  • Make sure you have an up-to-date payment method on your account. If the payment doesn't go through, we will notify you, but we may not be able to hold the spot for you.
  • Session enrollment is FINAL SALE. No changing classes, no sharing with another person, and there is ONE MAKE-UP per session. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis and ONLY with a documented medical issue.
  • The Student Services Team will be very busy with session enrollments on Thursday, so they will be unable to handle most other requests. Thank you in advance for your understanding.
On Thursday, November 17 at 10:00 am,
Call 415-759-8123 or send an e-mail to to enroll!