The Key to a Pain-Free Spine

Injury Prevention for the Low Back


Are you at risk for low back injury? This highly interactive, two-hour workshop will lead through a battery of low-back, circus-specific strength and flexibility tests to determine your injury risk during participation in circus activities. You will receive either a pass/ fail score on each part of the test, and will be instructed in specific exercises for the components that you did not pass. At the end of the workshop, you will have a comprehensive injury-prevention plan of exercises, mobility drills, and stretches that are specific to YOU and your body! You will also be instructed in an optimal warm up and cool down routine that will both optimize your athletic performance AND prevent future injuries! All levels welcome! Ages 16 and up!

Saturday, April 22nd | 3 pm - 5 pm | $65  SIGN UP
Sunday, April 23rd | 3 pm - 5 pm | $65   SIGN UP

about jen crane

Dr. Jennifer Crane is a physical therapist, athletic trainer, board certified orthopedic specialist, and published author. She has been a sports medicine professional for eight years, and has worked with a wide variety of athletes and performing artists throughout that time. Most recently, she worked as a physiotherapist living in China with the Chinese Olympic Teams in preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

While in China, she worked with multiple sports teams: diving, weight-lifting, fencing, gymnastics, synchronized swimming, and track and field. Of the athletes she worked with, 18 of them went on to get an Olympic gold medal in Rio.

Now happily back in San Francisco, Jen’s practice is based at Circus Center, where she specializes in injury prevention and treatment of circus artists. She works closely with performing artists of all specialties and all levels, from the brand new aerial student to professional acrobats, aerialists, hand-balancers, and contortionists.

When she’s not working with circus artists, she can usually be found standing on her hands, swinging on flying trapeze, or spinning on a single point trapeze.

Kyle Driggs nose balancing a cane and an umbrella | Circus Center | Workshops


This contemporary juggling workshop is designed with a series of exercises and methods developed by Kyle Driggs to better understand the body's movement in relation to juggling. By bridging the gap between our bodies and the objects we are juggling, we can open new doors into finding a flow and ease in working with them. A pioneer and master at his craft, Kyle has geared this workshop to be open to any level skill of juggler, as well as a myriad of juggling objects.

All levels welcome. Ages 14 and up!

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
1 PM - 3 pm

All sales are final.

Kyle Driggs | Juggling Workshop | Circus Center | San Francisco

About Kyle Driggs

For the past three years, Kyle Driggs has been exploring the spectrums and ideology of contemporary circus. Specializing in a unique fusion of juggling, movement, object manipulation, and theatrical persona, he strives to converge modern aesthetics with a high technical skill. Upon graduating from Ecole Nationale de Cirque de Montreal, Kyle rapidly began to receive international acclaim for his talent. His experience ranges from smaller, cross-genre experimental productions to collaborations with larger, world-class circus companies. Kyle recently finished performing with Cirque Du Soleil’s “Paramour” on Broadway in New York City. Along with his performance experience, Kyle has also refined and created numerous workshops to share his knowledge with others. In his down time, he enjoys sewing, painting, photography and creating electronic music.


with Elizabeth Blanchard

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
2pm - 3:30pm

Learn the beautiful art of aerial straps! A cross between gymnastics rings and aerial silks, this aerial apparatus will challenge you and push your strength to new heights. This workshop will include basic static poses, as well as spins and balances requiring a combination of strength and or flexibility to master. An intro to the coveted roll-ups will also be covered! So move up to the next level with a true professional who is a master in her field! Minimum age is 12 years old.

*It is recommended that students have the following skills- At least one full range pull-up for upper body strength and five hanging straight leg raises for minimum core strength.

All Sales are final.



about elizabeth blanchard


Elizabeth Blanchard | Circus Center | San Francisco

Elizabeth Blanchard is a Kinesiologist and aerialist; a cast member of EmCirque performance group, Oscillations dance company and a member of the Music of Ghosts Aerialist group. An educational background focusing on biomechanics with emphasis on developing personal movement, Elizabeth focuses on proper body alignment for optimal sport performance and injury prevention. Dedicated and passionate about the aerial arts she is eager to share her knowledge and training with others. Her goal is to teach and instill proper technique, confidence, motivation and love for all things movement and aerial related in everyone she works with.


Each day students will take 2 classes, totaling 3-5 training hours.
Classes will be held between 12 - 9. Class times will vary from day to day.

Monday: Injury Prevention and Contortion
Tuesday: Hand Balancing and Acrobatics
Wednesday: Contortion and Specialty Workshops
Thursday: Acrobatics and Active Flexibility
Friday: Semi-Privates and Hand Balancing/Conditioning

Note: Most days will also have open gym time scheduled.


Dates: June 4 – 30, 2017
Applications and video submissions due by February 3
Acceptances will go out February 17th.
Ages 16 and up
Cost: $2400
Limited space. Students must be accepted in order to attend.


March 3: Deadline for $500 non-refundable deposit
April 14: Deadline for remaining balance


Is this program suitable for beginners?

Short answer, no. This program is designed for students who have had previous flexibility or contortion training. That said, everyone is encouraged to apply!

Why don't you have a minimum skill level?

Everyone's body is different. Some skills that are considered standard contortion skills might be hard for certain people because of body type/proportions, training experience, etc. I don't want to discourage people to apply because of body type. We do hope that everyone who applies is able to go in and out of a chest stand relatively easily though.

Do I need to find my own housing, or will housing be provided?

You are responsible for finding your own housing. There are resources on this website, or you can ask the circus community as there are usually people looking to sublet their rooms during the month of June.

Is there an age limit?

Technically no. The program is designed more for students 16-30, but you will not be turned away solely based on age if you are over that. (Every past intensive has had at least 2 people over 30)



JUNE 4 - 30, 2017

Unlike anything offered in the US, this four-week intensive not only increases students' flexibility and knowledge in Mongolian contortion, but develops and creates well-rounded performers. The first three weeks will focus on perfecting technique, developing personalized tools, and learning new skills to add to students' repertoires, as well as weekly workshops. These speciality workshops will deal with nutrition, character development, resumes, and helping students navigate the professional circus world upon completion. The final week will focus primarily on developing an act for each individual student which will then be presented in a final showcase on the last day of the intensive. Any budding contortionists looking to enhance their technique while gaining knowledge of this business would significantly benefit from this intensive.

If you have any questions, you can contact our instructor Catie Brier at



Catie Brier | Senior Faculty | Circus Center

Catie has been a resident of San Francisco for over 11 years. She began her training at Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay over 17 years ago, where she studied dance and contortion. During her time there she trained under choreographer Debra Brown and contortionist Laurence Racine. Upon moving to San Francisco she started training with Master Lu Yi at Circus Center. She went on to train with Mongolian contortionist Serchmaa Byamba and began performing all around the United States. She’s been seen performing with companies such as Quixotic Fusion, Circus Bella, Trapeze World and New Pickle Circus. Throughout her career Catie has developed a passion for not only teaching the art of contortion but also inspiring people to push the limits of their bodies. Over the last few years Catie has developed a thriving and entirely unique contortion program at Circus Center. This will be her 4th year directing the Contortion Intensive since establishing it in 2013.



"It may sound cliche but Catie's Contortion Intensive changed my entire life. Before the Intensive, I was never quite sure how to train in order to make progress both safely and timely. That's not to say that progress always comes quickly in contortion, but with Catie's experience, knowledge, and hands-on guidance I was far more successful than I ever was on my own. 

The Intensive was incredibly well organized with just enough training to keep me focused and making progress but also keep me injury free. In addition to the alternating training and recovery time, there were many other great classes, like dance and acrobatics, that built onto and improved my contortion practice and performance.

All of the classes in the Contortion Intensive were small and specific to my training needs, which allowed me to set my own goals based on my ability, and made me feel like I could accomplish them. Not only did this makes for an excellent training experience, but it also incorporated me into a surprisingly supportive, loving, and motivating circus community. It was like I discovered the family I never had, but always dreamed of!"

- 2015 Contortion Intensive graduate. 

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