The Vancouver Circus School has been mentioned to me time and time again over the years. Whether by parents who had kids enrolled, or adults wanting to explore a long held dream (and get some exercise at the same time), I have always been intrigued. Time restraints kept me from pursuing more information about the Vancouver Circus School, but the universe stepped in and opened the door.
A few months ago, I met up with Laura Furtado from Sexy and Wealthy in Heels. She was splitting her time between Toronto and Vancouver. Why? Her boyfriend, Travis Johnson, lives in downtown Vancouver and runs the Vancouver Circus School. We talked a bit about what the school was and how he came to run it – it was started by his father and himself – and the idea to feature him in an 8Q seemed like the right choice.
So here it is, a little behind-the-scenes interview with Travis Johnson on his journey to this moment. I think the next step to assuage my curiosity is to pop in one day and see the facility, or better yet, try one of their beginners adult classes. Let’s face it – who as a kid didn’t dream of performing in a circus. I think the Aerial Silks are calling me. And for those interested, there are two locations. One is in North Vancouver and the other in New Westminster.
8Q Spotlight Travis Johnson
What is your current career(s) – paid and unpaid (unpaid would be a passion you are working on that doesn’t yet pay)?
Currently I am the owner and operator the Vancouver Circus School, and our professional division the Inner ring circus, we have a staff of over 35 and teach approx. 750 students each week in either our north vancouver location, or our new Westminster location. I am also a founding board member of ASCA the Asian social circus association, connecting different social circus programs all over Asia, we have programs in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nepal, Myanmar, Vietnam, and a few others (this is a volunteer position). I am also a member of the New Westminster BIA, (volunteer). Recently I decided to further my father passion and become a learning facilitator for Gymnastics BC, teaching trampoline foundation courses for new trampoline coaches for the province.
Can you share an interesting thing (or two) about your journey to reach this moment?
Building a circus school for an orphanage in Thailand, with my father. I will always fondly remember this as the last circus school that we built together. My father / business partner sadly passed away in 2012. So, this was one of the hardest business and personal challenges that I have had to date. I am also the son of the very first Canadian national trampoline champion, my mother is (former Canadian National Trampoline Champion) Valerie Johnson.
What 3 things would you like people to know about you to give them a sense of who you really are?
- I like to build a community around people that are passionate about realizing personal development through artistic creation and physical activity.
- I have a ton of support through my staff, friends, family and the circus community.
- I had a career ending motorcycle accident 13 years ago which spiked the development of the circus school The accident coincided with my father coming back from Vegas as the acrobatic coach of Mystere (Cirque du Soleil’s show)
Highest moment so far?
I don’t think I have just one. I’ve be so lucky to have a ton of wonderful experiences in my business. But, my highest moment if I had to pick, was signing the incorporation documents with my dad.
What are you working on right now? In the next 6 months?
I am currently working on our certification program for aerial arts for gymnastics BC – to certify gymnastic coaches to be able to teach aerials in their facilities.
Who and/or what inspires you?
My parents, their athletes, and seeing the impact my parents made on their lives. Seeing children’s self-esteem increase through learning new skills.
How do you personally define success?
I personally define success as being able to do what you love and then making that your life’s work. Along with ensuring that your passion can sustain your life’s goals.
How do you give back?
I try to give back by working on social circus programs, for marginalized / at risk youth, through my work with ASCA. I also help finance scholarships for students that are trying to make circus a career and come from backgrounds with financial challenges.
- Twitter – @VanCircusSchool
- Facebook – www.facebook.com/VanCircusSchool
- Video of my father -https://vimeo.com/127062038
- Dragons Den – https://vimeo.com/124558169
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