The Center Ring Circus School Center is a premier circus arts education facility in the mid-Atlantic region. The Center provides unique classes to students of all ages and abilities to improve their physical fitness, body awareness, self-esteem, focus, and discipline. This private facility not only provides its students with learning opportunities, but also performance opportunities on site and in the surrounding community.
Students are taught incrementally in a noncompetitive, caring, safe, and playful environment with an emphasis on achieving personal goals through consistent effort.
Class prices are competitive with those of gymnastics and martial arts schools in the region, but the services provided will be unique.
It is the belief of the founder that learning is best done during play and that a relaxed state of mind is critical for complex physical tasks to be acquired without stress or frustration.
Teaching these skills in this way also improves the chances of creating life-long interest. The self-confidence a student feels upon the capture of a skill that few others possess impacts every aspect of a student's life: from social to educational to professional. Parents of our young students are welcome to observe classes from safe distances, and they are always encouraged to participate in classes themselves.
The physical benefits are obvious. You can see the muscle development, the increased flexibility, and the faster hand-eye coordination. You can test the improved reflexes and balance and body awareness. You can watch a circus student accidentally trip off a curb and roll out of it rather than break an arm.
The mental benefits, though less visible, are no less exciting, and they stem from the challenging nature of this field. These skills are difficult. They're supposed to be difficult. If they were easy, everyone would do them. It is the difficult that makes them wonderful. To become one of the rare few to conquer an extraordinary skill is a delight of the soul, and with each incremental victory, circus students know their success has come through their own dedicated efforts.
This enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem affects the pursuit of other goals in their lives: studying second-grade arithmetic, learning another language in high school, working toward a Master's Degree while holding down a fulltime job. Circus students realize that if something is above their reach, it doesn’t mean they can’t have it, only that they must continue to grow.
They also fall down. A lot. Literally and figuratively. And from these falls they learn that initial failures do not equal defeat. They gain the courage to try new things, and to do so in front of other people. Teddy Roosevelt said "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." The Center Ring Circus School will empower its students to dare mighty things.
The owner and operator, Gregory May, has already built a large circus clientele by teaching sold-out circus skills summer camps and workshops through the Howard County Recreation and Parks system in 2006 and through the City of Greenbelt from 2007 until the present. Many of his students already travel across county lines to continue their circus education.
Gregory May is a former Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey clown. Since leaving the circus he has performed at the White House, the Kennedy Center, on the Late Show with David Letterman, and at festivals around the globe. He has taught circus skills and built children’s circuses up and down the East Coast, at the National High School Theater Festival, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. By combining his love of circus, performing, teaching, and play, Gregory May has created unique learning systems for each of the circus skill sets on which the Center will focus—object manipulation, balance, tumbling, and aerials.