For all the Vancouverites who could never muster up the courage to run away and join the circus, a one-of-a-kind school on the North Shore may be offering the next best thing.

The Vancouver Circus School, which opened in 2004, is a full acrobatic training school teaching circus enthusiasts of all ages a range of athletic, high-flying classes. They offer courses in everything from juggling to trampoline to trapeze swinging.

The school is owned by the father and son team of Aaron and Travis Johnson, a family with deep roots in acrobatics.

Father Aaron used to be the head trampoline coach for the Cirque de Soleil show Mystere, and Travis has been training on trampolines for the past decade.

While those in charge of the school have come from advanced professional backgrounds, people from all walks of life have sought out their services to not only learn circus training, but to improve their fitness as well.

“Our youngest student is two years old, our oldest is 70,” said Travis Johnson. “People really like the non-competitive angle of our school. If you’re not the best on a team, you’re not the best, but here we don’t look at things like that.”

Currently, the Vancouver Circus School operates out of the Harry Gerome Community Centre in North Vancouver. As of June, the school is scheduled to open a new space in the River Market at Westminster Quay.

Along with the school’s instructional initiatives, they also offer professional entertainment services. This branch of the company, known as The Inner Ring, specializes in corporate functions, birthday parties and private events.

“We did the Sochi House during the Olympics,” said Colleen Powell, the company’s marketing manager. “We did some aerial hoops for them. But, we’ve also done events for companies like McDonald’s.”

For student Corey Atwell, the strict safety requirements the school adheres to was a big selling feature in getting him to sign up for classes.

“Everything is rigged very safely,” he said. “I wanted to make sure I learned what I was doing properly.”

Atwell, who takes the school’s aerial silk class — a course where students learn to perform acrobatics while suspended by fabric — also admits that the extreme nature of the class was too much to pass up.

“It’s fascinating,” he said. “It makes people’s jaws drop, and I wanted to do that.”

All classes revolve around a standard 10-week session and cost $130. For further information on the school’s programs, visit