ATLANTA (CNN) – It might seem like fun and games, but at the Circus Arts Institute in Atlanta, it’s all about fitness. Juggling, twirling and flipping are actually a form of physical and mental training.
Carrie Heller, founder of the Circus Arts Institute said, “At the Circus Arts Institute almost anybody can come here and do a class. Even if you’re feeling like you’re out of shape and not fit.”
The Circus Arts Institute offers an opportunity to learn a new skill while trying a unique workout, but the real difference is made in what organizers call “circus therapy.”
Heller said, “For the most part, I work with children. And we have group therapy where the children work on their social and physical skills and mental and emotional.”
They learn skills like juggling and moves on the trapeze, and that gives them the confidence to overcome everyday challenges.
Hilary Riall, a teacher at the Circus Arts Institute, said, “It’s really amazing to see children who have been trying for a long time to get up to a certain strength level, or to get to a place where they’re qualified to go on a certain piece of equipment or do a certain trick and just helping them get those steps and get stronger and stronger, they don’t even realize how much they’ve grown until they’re able to do something new.”
Student McKenna Turner said, “I don’t get nervous to perform in front of people anymore. It gives me confidence, I guess.”