Testimonials

My 3 daughters began taking beginners classes at SDCC May 2014 at ages 10, 8 & 8 for fun after enjoying a birthday party at the SDCC. Having had no prior instruction in ballet, gymnastics nor dance they started w/ Kelsey’s Youth Circus class twice a week, then added her Youth Duo Trapeze class once a week. Within 9 months they were invited to join the Youth Intensive Program (coached by Kelsey & Isaac) and were in 2 mini performances within a year…. now 17 months later they were honored to perform with “the big girls” at the La Jolla Art Festival thanks to coaching from Isaac, Kelsey, Julia). Due to the positive encouragement coaching style of Jean-Luc my girls admire & respect all of their amazingly talented & kind Coaches. As a bonus my girls are all making straight A’s because they must finish homework, studying for tests, & reading before Circus Lessons which is more motivation I could have ever hoped for. These girls refuse to miss a Circus Class & strive to be on time. The SDCC is a family owned business & have made our little family a part of their giant family & for that I am truly grateful.
-Jessica Mantione Pitzer


I love San Diego circus center! Jean-luc’s coaching is amazing! I took his handstand class, hand to hand and had a private lesson with him. I was given such skilled feedback and have left the area with some training methods and tools to improve my practice. The space is clean and beautiful and has an overall good feeling. Thank you San Diego circus center!
-Christine Moonbeam


Much graditude also goes out to San Diego Circus Center for the handstand classes with Jean-Luc Martin that I won’t soon forget. This vacation has me stuck in this wave of motivation and I love it, can’t wait for my next visit
-Nikki Funwin


Had a great week of training handstands and hand to hand with Jean-Luc! Leaving with a lot more awareness and I’m filled with inspiration to train and come back for more. Thank you SDCC!
-Aaron Lind


Just had my 8 year old daughters birthday party here and cannot say enough about how fantastic it was! Jean Luc was so easy to coordinate everything with. We had a short performance at the start of the party and the kids and the adults were blown away. Then two instructors kept 15 girls completely occupied and having fun for an hour while the parents watched. They worked on trapeze and silks and it was so cool to watch! It was calm, under control and the girls were having a blast the whole time. All of my friends wanted to know where I found this place! Thank you Jean Luc and San Diego Circus Center for making such an amazing experience for my daughter and her friends. This is a birthday we won’t soon forget!
-Jennifer F.


Truthfully, I feel like I hit the lottery “accidentally” finding the SDCC and Jean-Luc. Our family enjoys the classes and atmosphere so much, we drive 3 hours (round trip) nearly every day to attend. At first, we attended just to do something “fun” and athletic as a family. Our one time excursion was so inspiring that every single one of my 4 children could not wait to return. The good news? I wanted to be a part of it too! There are classes for everyone, and the teachers are “the real deal.” If you have children who compete in anything that has to do with physicality, the training here will help their sport. My competitive gymnast son has improved his events SIGNIFICANTLY because of the way cirque trains their mind and body while making it fun. Its not just my son who’s benefited, my couch potato teenage girls who could’ve cared less about anything physical ask everyday, “Are you taking us to ‘Circus’?” Of course, I would never be interested in driving the long distance if there wasn’t something for me AND for my 7 year old; the good news? THERE IS (there are so many classes for adults). You can learn trapeze, handstands, Lyra, Aerial silks and MORE. This is the one place I can honestly say, you’ll have as much fun learning the skills yourself, as watching the smiles on your children’s faces.
-Natalie Redding


Had a blast trying the Silks Class today. The staff there is very welcoming and kind. I immediately felt like I belonged. My Instructors name was Keksey, not only did she make a newbie like me feel great but she was very good at always giving compliments. She made it a point to use our names at all times, and that’s the sign of a good Instructor. The 3 other people in the class were way ahead of my skill wise but I never felt like I didn’t fit in. Kelsey worked well with all the levels and was very good at explaining how to work the silk. Heck at my age, 59, she never once made me feel like I couldn’t do the beginning skills. It was hard but fun!! I will go back again!! Maybe by 60 I can finally run away and join the Circus!!
-Tina B.


If you want real results then seek out this center! Jean Luc is a vast resource of how to navigate the circus world today while maintaining the authentic values of training, form, dedication, and fun! Have not had a chance to train at the new location but know you can change locations no problem as long as you keep Jean Luc! Just try it!
-Linda C.


My daughter started at San Diego Circus Center almost 2 years ago and we love it! She was a fairly shy kid when she started and it has been a joy to watch her confidence grow as she continues to excel at circus. The instructors are kind and patient, and everybody has been so encouraging. The coaches focus on doing your best as well as being a supportive and kind person to others. Training at SDCC is definitely her favorite part of the week and I am so grateful to these wonderful people for all of the things she has learned here, both artistic and life lessons that she will always have with her- even if she doesn’t run away to join the circus.
-Kristi S.


We’ve had our daughter talking classes here for the better part of a year and love it. The quality of instruction is outstanding the faculty is clean and feels very safe. I can see the growth in her balance, strength and dedication to getting more skilled. We have also had opportunity to see their showcases both at their studio and at outside venues and that is a true testament to what is happening at SDCC. The skills and talent that is coming out of the kids who train here is truly remarkable. What a great place all around.
-Joe M.


I love it here!!! Super friendly, experienced and dedicated teachers that provide a warm and comfortable learning environment.
-Baron F.


These folks are AMAZING.
My youngest has been taking classes there for a little over a month in their kinder circus class, and I’m always impressed by how friendly and professional the staff are – not to mention how very talented! Kelsey Saake, the kinder circus instructor, has the patience of a saint, and watching her work with these tiny kiddos on everything from basic tumbling to aerial silks and chandelier is a joy.
And if you ever get a chance to watch these folks perform – DO. They are SO TALENTED. The energy they bring to each performance, their upbeat attitude, their love for their art: it shows, and it’s a genuine pleasure to watch them at work.
I definitely recommend them to anyone considering taking cirque-style classes, and especially to anyone with little ones who want something a little different.
-Sara M.


Whether you’re a professional looking to polish your craft or a beginner looking for a new form of exercise, there is a class for you. San Diego Circus Center is truly the best place to train in San Diego!
-Stacy Burchfield


My daughter did a week camp and loved it!
-Mia B.


I’ve been taking classes at SDCC for a year. I love the offerings! I’ve sampled many classes and teachers and everyone of them is excellent. I find the instruction to be very high quality and the atmosphere supportive. Jean-Luc is truly an expert when it comes to handstands and partner acrobatics. I recommend SDCC to anyone who wants to work hard and have fun, but especially to those who want to take their acrobatics practice to the next level.
-Kathryn J.


Jean-Luc is an amazingly gifted teacher who truly cares about the training and well being of his students. The classes offered at San Diego Circus Center are challenging, and so much fun you wont even realize you are working out because you’ll be having too much fun being upsidown. You will learn not just skills, but technique, precision, focus, and injury prevention. Handstand, Aerial, and Flexibility classes are offered in every level from straight beginner to Professional as well as monthly workshops from top-class Cirque performers and instructors. There is something for everyone here:)
-Avi Brener


My daughter has taken classes at several difference Circus schools and hands down, this has been the best experience for both Eli as a student and myself as a parent. This has been the first facility that actually provides a professional, child oriented atmosphere that strives to instill in each an every one of their students that anything is possible! Eli has grown so much under the guidance of Jean-Luc and his sincere love for what he does is evident in my child’s evolution from a kid that loved climbing trees, to now dreaming of being in Cirque de Soleil one day.

I recommend the San Diego Circus Center to anyone curious about any of the wonderful classes provided from silk, to tight wire, the Russion bar, flexibility, dance, tumbling, the hoop, trapeze, or handstands … or if you are looking to take your skills to that next level, this is the place to go!
-Ines V


Under the training of Jean-Luc and his studio, my performance quality has tremendously improved. The level of professionalism is unbeatable. You cannot find better serious training in these arts anywhere else in San Diego. Jean-Luc has the unique ability to recognize a students potential even when they can’t. If you want to become a serious student of circus arts, choose San Diego circus center.
-Taylor R.


I just experienced a FANTASTIC handstand class at San Diego Circus Center- I touched more stacked moments then ever before, a cloud of epiphanies in my head and body, I noted the points on the continuum in which I see progress and also potential. Loved it! I left my one hour beginner class feeling successful and motivated to carry it all in my body back home to the East Coast. Wish I could bottle the knowledge up and bring it with me!
-Audrey Jean Bromberg Hyvonen


I had the pleasure of photographing the Holiday Show “Grinch That Stole Circus” at the San Diego Circus Center last month. It was an amazing show and rich in amazing photographic opportunities because the performances were spectacular including aerial silks and hoops, gymnastic, tightrope and much much more. This was a student show but it looked and felt professional in every way. I’m a huge Cirque du Soleil fan and I wouldn’t be surprised to see these performers on a Las Vegas stage some day. The show included students of every age, from very young to adults and it was obvious that their finely tuned skill levels reflected the skill of the instructors at this Circus Center. To anyone who has a dream of being a circus performer, this is the place to learn.
-Glenn Asakawa


San Diego Circus Center is a great place for for all levels, whether your a first timer, or wanting to take your act to the professional level. Owner Jean-Luc Martin is a talented motivating teacher who cares about each and everyone of his students!
-Nicole Moses


I’ve been taking private handstand classes from Jean-Luc for several months now. He is an amazing teacher and very professional and organized. I never thought I would be able to do the things that I am doing now! It has made me so much stronger and this has transferred to my yoga practice. I look forward to my class every week, he is very patient and has incredible exercises that never get boring. I would recommend a “handstand class” with Jean-Luc to anyone. It is an overall fun, challenging workout that will build strength, body awareness to compliment all areas of your life!
-Donna Ciri


Just saw San Diego Circus Center’s original production of Threshold. Blown away. Such great talent – performers, story line, choreography, music, lights, props. All of it was so good.
This center is cranking out some serious talent!
-Kirsten B.


Jean-Luc has a successful performing career under his belt and is proving to be an excellent coach. I’ve watched his students, including myself, greatly improve in rather short periods of time!

My name is Gia-rose, prior to meeting Jean-Luc I had been attempting to successfully achieve a hand stand for 18 months. I had instruction and determination but no handstand. After literally ten minutes with Jean-Luc my hand standing potential went from none existent to a reality. He explained to me how a handstand works, why it works and began to guide me through the basic techniques needed to build a solid foundation. As I began to grasp and apply the techniques he taught me, he expanded my awareness to other building blocks of the handstand furthering my advancement. If I’ve ever been unclear about what he is teaching me, he takes the time to explain so that I may grasp his instruction. In this way I have never felt overwhelmed, only an immense sense of achievement. After a few months of training with Jean-Luc I’ve experienced a transformation from hit or miss to deliberate proficiency. I have even spoken with him about other performance goals of mine and because of his career and connections he has the ability to facilitate training opportunities, equally as important, due to his sincere desire to help others achieve their goals of success, he follows through with that assistance. Jean-Luc is a great coach and I highly recommend him, but don’t take my word for it, just take his class it speaks for itself!
-Gia-rose Strada


THE BEST!! I’m hooked on the handstand classes. There’s nothing better than inverting to get out of your head! Recently took a trapeze workshop and loved it! I can’t wait to get up in the air again.
-Pamela Dirkes


I have always admired the acrobats in Cirque de Soleil shows who perform on the Aerial Silks and I decided to try it for myself at San Diego Circus Center.
This is way harder than it looks. It was a great overall experience. I look forward to trying new adventurous classes offered here.
-Ben A.


I thought I knew how to do a handstand after many years of practicing yoga and building the strength to do arm balances and other yoga postures that have you balancing on your hands….BUT, after only 10 minutes with Jean-Luc I realized that I had been overcompensating with shoulders and neck and hadn’t really tapped into the core stability that is present within all of us.

In re-learning how to balance and continuing to work with Jean-Luc on a weekly basis, I have gained a much greater awareness of my body, my breath and my “bad habits”. I also have a back injury and hand-standing with Jean-Luc is actually making my back feel so much better because I have to engage the muscles that support the spine in a healthy way.

Jean-Luc has an incredible knowledge of the body after working with so many bodies for so many years. I was amazed at how he can pick up on even the slightest detail in your form and correct it. I think anyone (and I mean ANYONE) would not only benefit from Jean-Luc’s instruction and the Hand-stand work shop but also have an amazingly fun and enlightening experience. His calm, sweet and knowledgeable approach keeps you coming back for more!!
-Jessica Walden


I feel compelled to express the overwhelming gratitude I have for having met and started my training in handstands with Jean Luc! I have been practicing yoga for about 6-7 years and have had right wrist pain almost the entire time. I have sought out the help of Acupuncturists, massage therapists, chiropractors and experts in the field of yoga and although I have received instruction from many wonderfully talented yoga teachers regarding proper hand placement and various tips on different techniques to alleviate the pain it had yet to improve much and was actually worsening up until I started training with Jean Luc. Although the massage techniques like those suggested by Joel B. Richey, PT and owner of La Jolla Physical Therapy Center Inc and acupuncture with Andreia Saboya at Lua Cheia Acupuncture in Ocean Beach have been greatly therapeutic in treating the tendonitis, the major difference was made when I began to practice using the handstand instruction and arm balancing techniques that Jean Luc teaches his students.

My wrist pain began to subside almost immediately and my handstand practice has greatly improved. I have especially notice an increase in my strength from the daily home practice that he prescribes his students.

My progress seemed to double once I began doing my handstand homework, and all without pain! I immediately began to use the same principles in all of my arm balances in yoga and have noticed a huge difference! I am so relieved to finally be rid of the almost unbearable wrist pain and so thankful to Jean Luc for his invaluable instruction!
-Christie Lane


The simplest way to describe Jean-Luc Martin is “Masterful and Amazing Handstand Wizard”.While I have been working on my handstands for quite a while, I (and my friends who takes classes as well) have never handstanded better. Not only did he demonstrate and describe the exact ways to do things, his hands-on coaching was amazing and incredibly helpful. He also is not afraid to bring you to your limits, but maintains patience, friendliness, and good humor while seeming psychic about how far you can actually go.
-Yoshi Endo, 15 years old


Our family first trained with Jean-Luc in 2011, when we were scouting out circus schools along the West Coast. We saw such potential in working with him that we have now moved to San Diego to train for one year. In the time we’ve worked together over the past few months, Jean-Luc has only solidified our confidence in his ability to teach effectively and help us meet our goals.

Jean-Luc is wonderful at incorporating everyone’s varied abilities into training, identifying and addressing areas for improvement. He conveys instructions and observations clearly, and offers concise critique of technique when necessary. After many years of experience, Jean-Luc knows what he’s talking about, and so is able to advise others in a way that makes sense. Jean-Luc is always aware of safety, and if an injury should occur, he works through the treatment with the student while maintaining as much functionality as possible. This is extremely beneficial to training, and a general sense of physical well-being. Every day we train, we learn a little more about our bodies and the cool things we can do with them.
-The Nolander Family


I visited San Diego Circus Center by recommendation as a facility with an excellent handstand teacher, Jean-Luc. The hospitality and time that Jean-Luc has given me made the visit worthwhile. If anyone in the area is looking for an excellent handstand teacher or would like to learn other circus arts, visit San Diego Circus Center. I will continue to visit each time I am in San Diego.

All my training sessions with Jean Luc thus far have been very beneficial. Sessions with him are highly interactive as he takes the time to explain why he has me do a certain skill/which muscles to engage and gladly welcomes any questions I may have. He displays a lot of patience and interest into the questions I ask him and has always answered everything thoroughly and completely hence reflecting his expertise in the area of handstands/hand2hand. Whether it’s to tuck more, not bend my elbows, engage my core more, etc., Jean Luc always gives me feedback on each skill I do so that I have knowledge of what I need to focus on the next time around.
-Nigel Keane


Jean Luc takes safety very seriously – something that is VERY important in acrobatics seeing that there is a lot of danger that can be attributed to acrobatics. Jean Luc provides a safe environment to perform acrobatic skills. With or without a safety harness attached to me, from the very first time I started training with him, I have never felt unsafe to execute a skill in his presence. When practicing without a safety belt, I trust that he not only is confident that I can do something without the belt, but that if something does go wrong, he’ll be there to make my fall less impactful. My initial trust in him was based just on how attentive he was on whoever he is training his focus was always on his athlete. As my skill level increased, Jean Luc would always remind me of the proper way protect myself from getting hurt.

I personally believe that Jean Luc tries to connect with people beyond just teaching them handstands. That is to say, from my personal experience, I believe he cares about how I view myself during my trainings sessions with him. Being a perfectionist at heart and an individual who has high expectations, he constantly reminds me not to get frustrated at myself when I execute a skill anything less than perfectly. Reminding me that it takes time and practice, helps puts everything back into perspective for me and helps me deal with my acrobatic skill “failures” in a positive manner. Beyond caring for my mental state, he cares for my physical well being as well – especially when doing tricks that place a lot of pressure on my wrists or when I come down from a stunt held up high – he always asks if I’m okay.

To add to my belief that Jean Luc cares about his athletes, I believe that if he didn’t care, he wouldn’t have a spot on his online questionnaire asking them of their reason behind taking handstand/hand2hand classes from him. This, to me, shows that he wants to utilize his knowledge and expertise not to make money, but to help others achieve their goals. When asking many of Jean Luc’s students why they are taking classes from him, most will respond by saying that they have always wanted to be able to hold a handstand. Though this is true for me as well, Jean Luc is personally doing so much more for me – at the not so young age of 27, he is helping me achieve my childhood dream of being a performing acrobat. Something that I thought would be impossible to achieve is slowly, but surely, becoming a reality – all thanks to him!

I’m thankful to have Jean Luc as a coach – he is knowledgeable in what he does, makes safety a priority, takes time to thoroughly explain things, takes the time to get to know his athletes, is easy to get along with, makes trainings sessions fun and even goes above and beyond to talk to his own coach about what he can do to help you excel even further. One thing I must mention is that he encourages you to pursue your dreams – sometimes, in this world we are all too consumed with how society defines “life” (have a job, raise family, etc) that we suppress our innermost dreams and desires. I know that Jean Luc has encouraged me, and several others, to think about our passion, dreams and desires in life and to chase after them, thus giving us the opportunity to make life even more meaningful!
-Melissa A. Kwan, MPH, CPH
-Health Management and Policy
-Graduate School of Public Health
-San Diego State University


Just wanted to thank you Jean-Luc for working with Eli. What a huge difference we already see, we cannot stop telling everyone about you and what a great teacher you are! Cannot wait to see Eli’s growth under your guidance … you are truly amazing and the results in your students show the love that you have for what you do! Eli practices for hours every day because you inspire that in her and for that we both thank you.
-Ines Vollmer


Jean-luc is an amazing teacher and the sdcc is a wonderful resource for anyone looking to take their practice to the next level.
–Michelle May

I’ve been studying for several months with Jean-Luc and I highly recommend him. Jean-Luc is a very patient and knowledgeable teacher that has many years of experience in the circus arts. Jean-Luc has made my handstands much better and saved me years of trial and error.
-Joe Mayo


I started working with Jean-Luc some months ago, and it’s really been a wonderful experience. Since I first started taking the class, it’s been unlike any others. He teaches in a way that he guides you through the motions, he really tells you where you need to work and he trains you step by step. Unlike many other teachers, he focuses on making sure that both your body and your mind are ready to do a trick. He pushes you to work harder, and yet remains patient all the way through. It’s an incredibly fun class and he makes it a perfect balance of enjoyability and education, as well as professionalism and care. He is a great teacher.
-N. Kaufhold


The Handstand Class with Jean-Luc was an amazing experience – definitely worth the drive from LA! Jean-Luc is a fantastic instructor. He is able to detect functional limitations, and explain the synergy of strength and flexibility in a way that makes useful sense. He is also very aware of each individuals body composition, and provides great feedback that supports the persons given goal. And he’s super nice man to boot!

I’m an NASM CPT, and a new HKC – Jean-Luc …you are an inspiration! (and I’m almost 50!)
–Irma Delgado


Thursday’s hand stand class was a really rewarding experience. I had no idea how to do a hand stand when I started, and when I left I felt I had a handle on the concept as well as improved posture, and a internal concept of having my body lengthen w/ strength and conection to the rest of my body. This class is so unique, and I am thrilled with the thought of the possibility of the ability to do a handstand, and associated excercises w/o a “back of my mind” fear that the whole thing would be out of control. Jean Luc is a incredibly experienced teacher who is willing to break complex, advanced movements into the most basic/simplistic and understandable components and offer strategies to ensure success.
Looking forward to the next one!
-Dan Nattrass


Great structure, fantastic teaching and feedback. I’m still a ways away from a perfect handstand, but I have a better idea of what one feels like now.
-Anonymous


In the RKC kettlebell community, one of the current trends is doing handstands. I was planning on teaching myself, when I saw the opportunity to learn with Jean-Luc. I didn’t know who he was, but I was excited to learn from an expert. After the first class, I am ecstatic to say that he is more than I expected. Going into the class, I was nervous about my old injuries. At this age, everybody has physical baggage. To my pleasant surprise, this was the first issue that Jean-Luc addressed. He recognized that we weren’t limber little kids. Even better, he was able to quickly spot issues and give correctives. It’s like he could see into our bodies.

As with kettlebells, there are many different ways of doing handstands. If I learned on my own, who knows what I would’ve ended up with. With Jean-Luc, I know I’m working with somebody who has seen the vast landscape of handstands, and he knows the best way for us to learn. After one class, I feel like I could learn on my own, but why would I? I’m not just learning handstands. I’m learning a system. As an RKC, this is all very familiar.
–George Lin


I loved this class. I have never done a handstand before. Jean-Luc got me right up and for a brief moment I was on my own. This coming from a fifty-four year old man. I can hardly wait for the next class. Thanks for hosting this.
–Jim Perry


Jean Luc, I am sending you a message from France to thank you again. I came to your class one month ago with Gloria ( from Mendocino Center for circus Art ( MECCA ) and so you gave me your precious time and we worked on the handstand. I always think about your advice, you are a great teacher, thank you again!
–Camille Bendahan


— Workshop Testimonials–

“Jean-Luc’s handstand workshop was amazingly inspirational. I’ve taken other workshops before, but it really makes a difference when you are being taught by a true professional. His ability to read each person’s body and immediately identify what his/her strengths and weaknesses are is truly outstanding. Can’t wait to attend another!”
Heidi Busk


I was very happy with Jean Luc’s handstand workshop. The confidence I had from my first attempt at kicking up to my last was amazingly different. In just a couple hours I felt so much more awareness of what I needed to do and was actually holding a handstand…briefly. Jean Luc’s encouragement, easy-going nature & specific instruction was extremely helpful in making the class a success for me. I am definitely interested in taking more workshops. Thank you very much.
David Abookire,
RMT, Sports/Injury Specialist


Jean-luc’s handstand class showed me the things I needed to practice and strengthen. Class was fun with lots of one on one help, which is just what I needed to get my handstand goals headed in the right direction. I look forward to seeing him the next time he is in town.
Randy S


This training session helped so much! I really appreciated the honest, constructive critique and the conditioning exercises. Jean-Luc pushed me out of my comfort zone into new areas of my handstand capabilities. I can already see an improvement in my handstands! Thanks Jean-Luc! Looking forward to the next workshop!
Elizabeth


After being a gymnast for 8 years, and coaching gymnastics, I received some of the most unique, original, and helpful information during my session that I have ever received! Jean Luc took person interest and care in my ability to progress and ensured that everyone at the session walked out feeling accomplished.
anonymous


Jean-Luc’s teaching ability and down to earth attitude makes the training environment open and relax, and ecourages you to explore beyond your perceived limits. Great tips and support post workshop.
anonymous


The workshop was very interesting and empowering, and I thought it was wonderful that Jean-Luc was encouraging to people from all backgrounds and fitness levels
anonymous


Jean-Luc has a gift for addressing technique issues and creating a great handstand .
anonymous


Can’t wait for Jean-Luc to come back! Very helpful!
anonymous