Ring Masters Professional Development Program

The Vancouver Circus School’s Ring Masters is an artist development program that focuses on technical proficiency and artistry. The Ring Masters are guided by our professional performance team, following a studied approach within a supportive and creative environment. Our past Ring Masters have gone on to perform for a myriad of companies all around the globe, as the program can lead to pursuing a thrilling career in the circus arts.

Ring Masters is an artist development program because of its core beliefs that passion and play can translate into a valuable and stable career.

While it is not expected that all Ring Masters pursue the path towards becoming a professional circus artist, it is expected that Ring Masters learn to value their talent and the means to cultivate it. Ring Masters are expected to apply dedication, discipline, and exploration as a process of cultivating talent, and are equally expected to display measurable results as the outcome of their efforts.

Although non-competitive at heart, the Ring Masters program is also one that is growing quickly and ever evolving. Its most sustained feature is its provision of boundless support to its students in achieving any ambitions that they may have for themselves as aspiring circus performers. Indeed, our coaches are entirely committed to helping the Ring Masters students discover their inner artist and achieve their personal best.


education model

The Vancouver Circus School’s Ring Masters program adopts the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model, which ensures that all Ring Masters are fostering the motivation for lifelong physical development and remain active for life.

Through athletic and artistic performance, participants pursue and demonstrate excellence and experience the joy of achievement. Along with these opportunities come certain responsibilities for participants to play fair and participate in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration. VCS training should help to develop in participants the qualities of citizenship, ethical conduct, sportsmanship and skill.

Term 1: September – October

The initiation phase is the beginning of the annual journey into physical and mental development. During this phase artists are rebuilding their body from time away from structured activity. This phase is a slow integration into the more formalized physical development. Key elements in this phase are building endurance, speed, power, and flexibility. The Initiation phase prepares artists with the necessary tool to progress into later stages with a safe and well-prepared body, ready to increase demands.

Term 2: November – February

Once the artist has properly progressed through the initiation phase, Skill collection can begin. During the acquisition phase artists are ready to train at a higher level. The body has been conditioned in a way that has prepared them for gaining fundamental movement patterns, test limits with new skills and movements. Key elements in this phase are power, flexibility, endurance, speed, choreography, and artistic expression. This is the longest phase of training and priorities of the key ingredients shift as this phase develops.

Term 3: March - April

Consolation phase is the period when the movement patterns that have been acquired become ready for connection. This phase is designed to put all the “pieces together” into acts, more complex routines and create new pieces utilizing all the movement patterns learned in the previous phases. Key elements of this phase are artistic expression, choreography, flexibility, power, and endurance.

Term 4: May - June

Fine tuning is the focus here, now that artists have been fully prepared for the polishing phase. Focus during this phase is designed less on building new skills and more on making their existing practice shine. Key elements for this phase are choreography, artistic expression, mental skills, flexibility, and power Ring Masters is divided into 3 distinct groupings, Junior, Intermediates and Senior programs. We support the individual development of each student in Ring Masters and work towards a holistic approach to training based on their age of development.

Ring Masters is divided into 3 distinct groups – Junior, Intermediate and Senior programs. We support the individual development of each student in Ring Masters and work towards a holistic approach to training based on their age of development.

Ring Masters Junior Program (ages 8 – 12)

“Learning to train” with a direct focus on instructor led training. During the learn to train stage, students are learning general fundamental movement patterns with the emphasis on play. During this stage it’s important that students are exposed to a multitude of different apparatus and educational methods, while in a supportive and inclusive environment.

Ring Masters Intermediate Program (ages 13 – 18)

“Training to train” stage and will be gravitating towards a specific set of disciplines. While still important to train all areas primary focus becomes more apparent. Student will be moving towards student led – coach supported training model.

Ring Masters Senior Program (ages 19+)

“Training to perform” stage of development. Primary emphasis is on artist and act development and stage 3 of learning outcomes.

We understand that each student is different and has unique goals for the program. This year’s program will give students the flexibility to choose their training days and ability tailor their training to suit their specific needs. We have increased the number of available days of training and opened more self-directed training for our students.

More experienced Ring masters can also meet with the coaching team to build personalized training plans for themselves. Seniors only.

Each training day will have its unique learning outcomes and focus on key movement patterns.

General training model will include the following:

Aerial Silk
Aerial Hoop
Static Trapeze
Juggling and Props
Character Theatrics
Stilt walking
Balance Props

the Ring Masters philosophy is that performance is a part of practice.

The emphasis on performance is designed to make students accountable for their training and be able to demonstrate the results of their effort. Rather than once per year, the Ring Masters program will make performance a regular part of a student’s practice to encourage the development of self-esteem and confidence.

The Ring Masters program is designed around the long-term athlete development model, where physical literacy is paramount. Students will engage in an overall physical development program that is designed to further their fundamental movement patterns to be successful in any area of physical movement. Training will be organized in a way that each day has general circus disciplines, but certain days will have specific learning objectives.

days and times

Monday / Wednesday / Friday – 4:00pm to 7:00pm
Saturday – 10:00am to 2:00pm

Monday / Wednesday / Friday – 4:00pm to 7:45pm
Saturday – 10:00am to 2:00pm

Monday / Wednesday / Friday – 4:45pm to 8:45pm
Saturday – 10:00am to 2:00pm

program fees

The Ring Masters Program is designed as a year-long program, students are expected to complete the full 10-month year and participate in performances

Monthly Program Fees 2023-2024

4 Days 650.00
3 Days 525.00
2 Days 400.00
Non-refundable deposit
Applied to june
Costume fee 100.00
Insurance 40.00


Ring Masters students have access to these benefits for belonging to the program:

  • Personalized Training consultations for Senior Ring Masters
  • Free Attendance to all VCS workshops
  • Priority performance on festival and community events
  • Unlimited Open Training


  • Registration in the Ring Master Program requires a credit card provided or post-dated cheques covering tuition costs for the entire ten month term.
  • Cheques returned as NSF are subject to a $50.00
  • Program withdrawals must be approved by the Vancouver Circus Schools, and formally requested in writing.
  • In the case of a program withdrawal any and all fees for the program paid up until the date of the written request for withdrawal being approved are due including early program withdrawal fee of one month.
  • Missed training does not result in pro-rated fees or refunds, it must be made up informally on the students own time. If 4 consecutive weeks of training are missed due to a medical reason a credit to the students account can be issued upon presentation of a doctor’s note for missed training
  • Model release forms must be submitted with registration


  • Students are expected to communicate in all areas relevant to their training including: Absences, aches, pains, injuries, fatigue, any personal challenges regarding the content of the training, and relevant conflicts that interfere with their ability to apply themselves.
  • Students at all times should represent the values of the Vancouver Circus School; this includes not promoting illegal, unethical, or any other conduct unbecoming of a Ring Masters student.
  • Ring Masters are expected to use age appropriate language, attitude, and be mindful of their surroundings and other

safety and courtesy

  • Ring Masters students must complete a full warm-up prior to all training.
  • If a student must miss a choreography session it is up to that student to catch up on their own time prior to next
  • Ring Masters are not to coach other Ring Masters or VCS students without expressed permission from VCS

efforts and attitude

  • Ring Masters apply mindful effort in areas of strengths and weaknesses
  • Prior communications regarding personal challenges will be viewed as a growth opportunity and mindful effort will be consistent.
  • Ring Masters demonstrate consistent effort and a willingness to learn.
  • Is courteous and respectful to everyone with whom he/she comes in contact with.
  • Respects other’s ideas and aspirations.
  • Uses good judgment and does not behave inappropriately.
  • Is a role model to all students at VCS and conducts themselves in a professional manner.
  • Shows mutual peer respect by attending all rehearsals/training, arriving on time, and remaining for the duration of the training.
  • Is respectful towards their instructors and all VCS staff.
  • Dresses appropriately for classes, rehearsals, and while attending functions connected with Ring Masters and the school.
  • Shows respect for the program, directors, coaches and peers.

general conduct and expectations

  • Senior, Intermediate and Junior Ring Masters are required to perform in the year end show, as well as annual VCS productions / events
  • Ring Masters are to take care of their training space, and put back away equipment after usage.
  • Disruptive behavior of any kind (i.e. talking in choreography sessions, rehearsals, classes, etc.) will be taken seriously and will be dealt with at the discretion of VCS management and coaches.
  • Students must arrive at each station ready to train.
  • Drugs and alcohol (use and possession of) are strictly prohibited at all times.

interested in joining our
Ring Masters program?