Born in Murom, Russia, Elena Panova is a graduate of Moscow's Circus and Variety College, where she specialized as an aerialist. Under the guidance of the famous training tandem of Tereza Durova and Viktor Fomin, she created a groundbreaking swinging trapeze act that redefined swinging trapeze as it is performed today all over the world. Elena won a gold medal and the Ministry of Culture award at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris in 1987, and the gold medal at the 1988 All-Union Circus Artists Competition of the USSR. For over twenty years, she has performed in major circuses and variety and theater shows on four continents, including the Moscow Circus, Circus Knie, the Cirque d'Hiver-Bouglione in Paris, Circus Carré in Amsterdam, the Victorian Arts Center in Melbourne, and the Big Apple Circus. She has also been a judge several times at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris. Elena moved to the United States in 1991. She started teaching at Circus Center in 2004.
Sylphie began her training as a performer at Circus Center when she was 10. After spending a few years gaining a basic knowledge of all disciplines, she specialized in aerial hoop and contortion in Elena Panova's Professional Aerial Program. Since she finished her training, she has been performing internationally as well as locally, and teaches both aerial and ground classes.
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Sommer comes to circus with an extensive background in martial arts, gymnastics and classical flute. She now specializes in corde lisse and tissu, performing throughout the west coast with a powerfully dynamic and musical style. Sommer has been teaching at Circus Center since 2012. Having also worked as a researcher and an engineer, Sommer brings a structured, practical and analytical approach to her teaching and enjoys catering her curricula to her students’ needs.
A jack-of-all-trades performer, Jives has been teaching acrobatics and flying trapeze at Circus Center for 14 years. He specializes in meteor bowls, acrobatics, and Chinese pole.
Christine Lee has more than eight years of experience with flying trapeze and aerial acrobatics. She trained at Trapeze School of New York and worked at Club Med Turks and Caicos as a trapeze instructor and aerial performer for two years. Christine has been teaching at Circus Center and performing in San Francisco for four years.Christine created www.thecircuscafe.com, an online community for trapeze flyers and aerial artists to share and communicate. She also manages www.charitycircus.com, a blog on how circus gives back to the greater community.
For over 40 years Jim has been studying and teaching movement and poise. He has been teaching movement and circus arts since 1980. In additional to teaching at Circus Center he maintains a private practice focusing on physical skill development musculoskeletal healing through the integration of Asian manual therapies, orthopedic and osteopathic bodywork, rehabilitation exercises and teaching related workshops.
Heidi began studying aerial at the Pickle Family Circus School in San Francisco in the late 1980s. A few years later she ran away to France, where she studied at the Fratellini National Circus school in Paris and the National Circus School of Rosny-sous-Bois, France. Heidi studied swinging trapeze for 3 years under the tutelage of Zoe Maistre. Her professional career took off in 1996 with Transe Express, where she performed static trapeze on a human mobile from a crane 90 feet in the air. In 1999 she performed with them for The King of Sweden in front of the Stockholm Opera House. She toured 4 years with the French Street Theater company Jo Bithume, playing shows all over Western and Eastern Europe, and even down into South America. She has performed static trapeze, aerial silk, rope, hoop, aerial diamond, hung from a harness at 30ft, and embodied a myraid of ground characters throughout. She once played a Death Wraith writhing up her rope and into infinity. In 2001 and 2002, Heidi toured on Caravan Stage Barge’s floating theater boat in the Eastern US, playing numerous aerial characters and grappling aloft in the rigging of the barge’s 90-foot masts. Heidi has played with bands and was once Santa’s Helper. She played a Harpie intent on stealing a man’s soul, a slut intent on stealing his body, and even an errant schoolboy. Many of these characters were in the air, though many were ground characters that interacted with the audience. Since 2000, Heidi has been steadily teaching in the US at Trapeze School NY, Streb Lab for Action Machanics and the Skybox (both in Brooklyn), and at various summer programs around the Northeast. The last few years have seen her create an original aerial apparatus, and help her students create their own artistic routines.
Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, Jeremy started tumbling and dancing at age ten. Before moving to San Francisco in 1998 he was a soloist with Dance Alive National Ballet, with whom he has continued to perform as a guest artist, most notably as the Russian divertissement in The Nutcracker, and as the Swan in Carmina Burana. His dance training was a valuable asset in the development of his aerial skills, both as a performer and as an instructor. In addition to corde lisse (his aerial specialty) he also practices and teaches German wheel. He began his wheel training in 2002 at the Internationaler Rhonradturn-Verban in Valencia, Spain, and also has been under the tutelage of internationally renowned German wheel artist Wolfgang Bientzle. He has performed locally with the political circus group Circo Zero, and was an original cast member of Sweet Can Productions.
Aus is originally from Québec. He now calls San Francisco his home after living here for more than 10 years. When not at Circus Center honing his aerial straps skills he’s hard at work at Mozilla. Once a terribly out-of-shape kid, he decided to turn that around when he was 18 (and weighed almost 250 pounds). That’s when he discovered the importance of nutrition, and activities to get him moving. At 21, he was down to 155 pounds. It was just the beginning of an amazing journey in the art of human movement. He started his journey in the circus arts on static trapeze with Hélene Turcotte, followed by many advanced conditioning classes with Elena Panova, double trapeze, and aerial straps. Totally addicted to the circus arts, he learned how to catch on flying trapeze and honed his skills as a flier to start teaching in 2011. When not catching, he can be found conditioning and working on new skills on aerial straps.
Jennings was introduced to circus while attending Illinois State University, which had a small campus circus troupe. He caught the “circus bug” and, upon graduation, spent the next three years traveling and performing with various small circuses throughout the US. He had a two-year career at Club Med, teaching circus skills and flying trapeze. Jennings joined the staff of Circus Center in 1999. He teaches flying trapeze and trampoline, serves as the company's master rigger, and performs with Xiao Hong Weng a spectacular hand-to-hand balancing act that has won over audiences throughout the Bay Area.
Chloe Marvel Light Axelrod is a powerhouse performance artist whose talents have carried her around the world. She has performed for a variety of acclaimed companies in world-class productions in places such as San Francisco, Tokyo, Osaka, Atlantic City, Leipzig, and the Dominican Republic. Chloe is known for her dynamic performance style, full of high-level acrobatic and aerial skills combined with effortless grace and incredible form. Chloe began training under Master Lu Yi at the San Francisco School of Circus Arts (now Circus Center) when she was 14 years old. A stand out in the prestigious Youth Circus Training Program, she was trained in floor acrobatics, hand balancing, partner acrobatics, teeterboard, aerial straps, and acrobatic bungee. As an adult, Chloe began to train and perform as an aerial hoop artist, specializing in both solo and duo. Today, she excels in multiple aerial disciplines, including hoop, straps, cube and flying trapeze. She is revered for both her solo and partner acts in the air, as well as on the floor. Trained by the acclaimed coach, Serchmaa Byamba, in contortion, she is also recognized as an accomplished ground performer. Two years ago, Chloe developed an Acro Chair act that can be performed solo or with a her partner, Kerri Kresinski. In addition to her many years of training and performance, Chloe is also a teacher and mentor to many in the Bay Area Circus Community. Responsible for the development of several internationally recognized partner aerial acts, she offers private lessons to individuals at all levels - from the recreational beginner to the elite performer. Teaching the marvel of circus, and sharing with her students and her audience her passion of art and acrobatics, is what makes watching and working with Chloe such a delight!
An aerialist of elegance and true excellence, Veronica Blair has studied with some of the most celebrated and prominent artists in her field, including trapeze great LaNorma Fox; Pamela Hernandez, who bears the distinction of being the very first African-American aerialist to perform with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus; and the renowned “God Father of the Tissu” Gerard Fasoli, director of Ecole Supérieure des Arts du Cirque, in Belgium.Veronica started her acrobatic career at the age of 14 with Make*A*Circus, a community-based circus. In addition she trained in Chinese Acrobatics at the San Francisco School of Circus Arts (now known as Circus Center). Her first professional performance was at the age of 17, making her one of the youngest professional African-American trapeze artists in the U.S. Shortly after, Veronica was personally selected by Cedric Walker, the founder of the UniverSoul Circus, as a single trapeze artist. Under Mr. Walker’s supervision, Veronica rapidly developed as an aerialist, and was the show's resident aerialist for 5+ years. After her residency with UniverSoul, Veronica performed with world-renowned performance groups in various productions around the world, including AntiGravity, Universal Studios Japan, and AFRIKA! AFRIKA! the most successful circus show in Germany.
Herdlyn serves as Co-Director of Circus Center's Flying Trapeze department. He began circus training in Jamaica when he was invited to try flying trapeze. For the past 8 years he has trained and performed flying trapeze, as both a flyer and catcher; static trapeze; double trapeze; tissu; and juggling. Herdlyn has taught and performed for various companies including Super Clubs and Club Med, where he was the circus director for Club Med Cancun.
As the General Manager, Katie Whitcraft is responsible for the business operations of Circus Center. She works closely with the rest of the administrative team to create a wonderful community space for circus arts training in the Bay Area. Katie grew up in Alaska, where she began her arts career as an intern for the Alaska Theatre of Youth in Anchorage. At the age of 18 she moved to New York to study theatre at New York University, attending studio training at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School. She worked on many productions while there, including assistant designing Love’s Labors Lost and Faust Off-Broadway, acting in Savage in Limbo and Macbeth, and producing a set of one-acts Off-Off-Broadway for the Tisch Talent Guild. Katie later moved to Colorado. She continued her career in management, production, and performance roles with notable theatres such as the Wheeler Opera House, Theatre Aspen (fka Aspen Theatre in the Park), and Equinox Theatre. Katie also assisted in the programming and management of the acclaimed Wolfe Theatre Academy at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center for more than five years. At the same time, she earned a Masters degree in nonprofit management from the University of Denver. In October 2010, Katie moved to San Francisco and joined Circus Center as its General Manager. She lives just down the street, and can sometimes be seen in acrobatics, handstand, and static trapeze classes.
Nikolas Strubbe is a creator and performer of physical theatre and circus. His work straddles many disciplines, including mime, clown, storytelling, and an array of circus arts. Nikolas has been a circus performer since 2006, and teaches eccentric skills to people of all ages. He graduated from the Flying Actor Studio's Physical Theatre Conservatory in 2010 and has been performing nationally and internationally ever since. Nikolas is a co-founder of San Francisco's Main Street Theatre, an alternative venue dedicated to the creation and performance of new works of physical theatre. These days, he can be seen around the Bay Area performing storytelling and carny-satire as "The Incredible Feelzo: Man of Moderate Talent." www.nikolasstrubbe.com
Catie has been a resident of San Francisco for over 8 years. She began her training at Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay over 13 years ago, where she studied dance and contortion. During her time there she trained under choreographer Debra Brown and contortionist Laurence Racine. Upon moving to San Francisco she started training with Master Lu Yi at Circus Center. She went on to train with Mongolian contortionist Serchmaa Byamba and began performing all around the United States. She's been seen performing with companies such as Quixotic Fusion, Circus Bella, Trapeze World and New Pickle Circus. Throughout her career Catie has developed a passion for not only teaching the art of contortion but also inspiring people to push the limits of their bodies.
Barry Kendall comes to the leadership of Circus Center with 15 years of experience as non-profit executive and a lifelong dedication to arts and culture. As the organization’s leader, he collaborates with the Board of Directors to set the strategic direction for the Center and marshal the resources needed to realize that vision. Barry arrives at Circus Center having successfully led three non-profit organizations, including 7 Stages Theater in Atlanta. He holds a PhD in Directing and Dramatic Criticism from Stanford University. Barry lives with his family in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. He was a member of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s Equity Advisory Committee, and a 2009 recipient of the “40 Under 40″ award from New Leaders Council.
Sarah develops grant proposals and assists with development efforts to support the unique programs that make Circus Center great. A lifelong arts enthusiast, Sarah grew up in remote northern California, then moved to the big city to earn her degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. After a long-term internship at literary nonprofit 826 Valencia, Sarah served as office administration ninja for catering company Gastronaut, taught creative writing at Sunset Elementary School, and eventually found her way to the circus. When she’s off the clock, Sarah is probably getting bendy in Stretching class, strolling around Golden Gate Park, or (most likely) talking enthusiastically about Star Trek.
Mike took his first flying trapeze class in New York in 2006, thinking it would be a once in a lifetime experience. He quickly became addicted to it and started teaching it in 2010. He had been teaching at Circus Center since 2013 and loves being a part of such a great community.
Tracey Shababo brings years of experience in education and the performing arts to her role as Circus Center Program Manager. Originally from Austin, Texas, Tracey moved to NYC to attend the Tisch School for the Performing Arts at NYU. Trained in Costume Design and Art History, she spent the next decade working for top performing arts companies, museums and educational institutions. Highlights from Tracey's resume include 6 years at the New York City Ballet, work on two major-network TV shows, multiple Broadway, off-Broadway and regional plays and musicals, and semesters teaching courses at NYU and SVA.
Moved to New York from Buenos Aires in 2001. Performed in Off-Broadway plays such as: Mac Wellman's 'Cellophane,' Len Jenkin's 'Like I Say,' and A.R. Gurney's 'Mrs. Farnsworth.' Was a founding member of The Hive, an Off-Broadway theater company that produced successful runs of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'The Imaginary Invalid.'
Fernando was also a teacher at HB Studio, an acting school founded by Herbert Berghof and Uta Hagen. It was there that he developed the course 'English for Actors', which he taught for ten years.
His solo show 'just don't touch me, amigo' premiered at The NY Fringe Festival in 2009 and was restaged seven times after that: four times in New York, once in Buenos Aires, and twice in Mexico City (in 2016 and 2017).
His work as a graphic designer started in 2007 and continues until today. He is back in San Francisco and working at Circus Center after living for three years in Mexico City and Buenos Aires.
Born 19 Jan, 1947. Yes, I am incredibly old. Started juggling in the middle 1970's. I learned from a pamphlet and didn't know any other jugglers for several years. Then I discovered other jugglers. Better than that, I discovered new juggling tricks, props other than balls, and different juggling forms. I have attended many juggling conventions, IJA conventions and local conventions such as Lodi, when there was a Lodi juggling convention. I took up club swinging which I learned from convention workshops but mostly I taught myself from the book 'Club Swinging.' I moved to New Zealand in 1984. While there I was a professional juggler and street performer from about 1991 - 1996. During that time I appeared on New Zealand national television. I was in commercials and appeared on N.Z. 'Sale of the Century.' I also taught juggling professionally. I continued to work on club swinging and took up ball spinning. I returned to the U.S. in 1996 and began my association with the Circus Center. I ran Sunday night juggling from about 2000 until about 2012. I am known in the juggling community as a club swinger though my juggling and ball spinning are not bad. I have appeared a few times in the International Jugglers Assoc magazine 'Jugglers World' as a performer and presenting a couple of tricks.
Sabrina Wenske is a San Francisco-based theatre actor and deviser, primarily in clown. She is proud to have been in many devised ensemble works, including "Bend the Rules, Eat the Head" which won best of the 2015 SF Fringe Festival, her clown scenes in Circus Center's "Guilty as Sin," "How to Ripen" with Addie Ulrey for 2014 FuryFactory Festival, "Portrait of the Young Artist as a Young Artist" with Ragged Wing for FoolsFury Factory Parts 2013, and "O Best Beloved" which won best of the 2013 SF Fringe Festival.
Sabrina graduated with honors in History from UC Berkeley, and then attended Dell’Arte International in 2012. In the Bay Area, she has worked with Bay Area Children’s Theater, FaultLine theater, and Ragged Wing Ensemble. Sabrina teaches theatre and circus with SF Shakes, Circus of Smiles, Living Dream Arts, Acrosports, and Circus Center.
With the Naked Empire Bouffon Company, Sabrina is currently developing her own Bouffon piece “My Fellow ‘Mericans" with Cara Sue McClendon, directed by Nathaniel Justiniano, and set for premiere in 2016. As program director for Naked Empire, she is delighted to keep putting together monthly curated cabarets with others who are bouffon-minded, every third Saturday of the month at Pianofight.
Sabrina teaches Circus Skills Jam with Oscar Velarde, an LA-born martial artist, stunt clown, and diabolo artist.
Photo Credit: Kellen Freeman.
Felicity Hesed is a Performer, Director, and Teacher. After receiving her BA in Theater from Kalamazoo College, she moved to Chicago to pursue Acting. While in Chicago, she discovered Circus and started training. Felicity began to combine Theater and Circus to create unique clown acts as well as full-length circus/theater shows including The Tempest: A Magical Circus. Felicity also worked as a full-time Theater teacher at middle-school Frances Xavier Warde and received her MA in Teaching from DePaul University. In 2007, Felicity moved to San Francisco to attend the Clown Conservatory at Circus Center. In addition, Felicity continued her Aerial training with Helene Turcotte and Elena Panova. Felicity's local performance credits include: Clown Cabaret, The Pickle Family Circus, Cabaret Lunatique with Teatro ZinZanni, Circus Adventure with Bay Area Children's Theater, and Cabaret Metamorphosis at the Circus Center. Felicity has also directed a number of local circus and theater shows including: Emil of Lonneberga and Lyle the Crocodile with Bay Area Children's Theater, numerous Clown Cabarets, and The Monkey King: A Circus Adventure, Swing into Spring, and Acrobat Sublime at Circus Center. Felicity is also the Mother of two sweet and wild little boys.
Caroline Wright took to the air before she could walk on the ground, climbing curtains, furniture and anything else she could crawl to.She spent her early teens performing with Flying Gravity Circus, a touring youth troupe dedicated to helping communities start their own circus programs.
A graduate of the Professional Track Program at New England Center for Circus Arts, she coached there for many years. Her teaching experience also includes SHOW Circus Studio, Circus Smirkus Camp and AYCO. She continued her training at the San Francisco Circus Center and L'ecole Leotard in Montreal, CA.
Specializing in Static Trapeze, Hoop and Tissu, Caroline performed with many different companies across the country and internationally, including The Big Aerial Show, Aerial Experience, AcroArts and Nimble Arts.
Caroline's passion for movement lead her to become a Certified Hanna Somatic Educator. In both her private practice and as a circus instructor, she uses her knowledge of the neuromuscular system to help others embody themselves more fully and achieve what they are capable of.
Tim Rubel is a San Francisco-based dance artist and dance educator. He is also Circus Center’s Assistant Registrar. He received his M.F.A. in Dance/Experimental Choreography from the University of California, Riverside. He has taught dance at several colleges and other institutions including San Francisco State University, Mt. San Jacinto College and Alonzo King LINES Dance Center, and the Beijing Dance Festival in China. His professional dance credits include work with Fusionworks Dance Company in Providence, RI, with Windhover Dance Company in Massachusetts, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and most recently with the David Herrera Performance Company in San Francisco to name a few. He is the Artistic Director of Tim Rubel Human Shakes, a project-based dance company in San Francisco. His choreography has been presented on both U.S. coasts and in 2013 he became the first ever Artist-in-Residence at the Harvey Milk Center for the Arts
Robin began her circus life in 1997 when she performed a double trapeze act for the first time with fellow Circus Center faculty member Jennings McCown. As a competitive athlete she appreciated the strength training benefits of aerial arts and began incorporating them into her training regimen. From 1998 to 2009, she carried a set of silks with her around the globe as she competed in two World Championships for long distance triathlon, seven Ironman Triathlons and four Boston Marathons. She trained with Anti-Gravity, Trapeze School of New York, fellow performers at Walt Disney World, former members of Cirque du Soleil and at the New England Center for Circus Arts. Believing that athletes are artists whose medium is the human body, she founded Artisan Athletics, a coaching and performance company with over a dozen partner locations on the East and West coasts. She continues to perform for special events and theatrical productions in the Bay Area.
Ross Travis is a professional Actor/Creator, Bouffon, Clown and Circus Performer. A proud company member with Circus Bella, San Francisco’s premiere one ring circus, Ross specializes in Chinese pole, an apparatus he studied for five years with Master Teacher Lu Yi at the San Francisco Circus Center. In 2014 Ross performed his Chinese pole act with Sweet Can Circus in their sold out holiday show Mittens and Mistletoe. In October and November of 2013 Ross had a six-week contract to perform aerial pole and acrobatics in Craniatrium with Firefly Theatre and Circus, an ensemble-based circus and theatre company based in Edmonton, Canada. He rejoined Firefly for two weeks in March of 2015 to take part in a developmental workshop for their next show premiering in 2016. Ross has done coporate events with Velocity Circus and Le Cirque Boheme. Ross has a performance company called Antic in a Drain which just finished its first international tour of The Greatest Monkey Show On Earth; a primate circus extravaganza with a twist. The show received four stars from Global News at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival and the inaugural Artistic Risk Award at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. Ross is a graduate of the Professional Training Program at Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, as well as the Professional Acrobatic Program at the San Francisco Circus Center. He teaches Chinese pole, Handstands and Acrobatics at the San Francisco Circus Center
Deanna Audrey Hammond originally taught stilting and stilt-creature
choreography to fellow performers and community volunteers as the
stilt troupe director for the All Souls Procession in Tucson, AZ. In
her capacity as a primary troupe member of Flam Chen pyrotechnic
theater company, she taught aerial Tissu (Silks) classes as a founding
instructor at the Tucson School of Circus and Performing Arts (TSCPA).
She taught all-level aerial silks classes at The Schoolhouse in San
Francisco as part of her artist residency there in 2011. She was a
regular instructor of beginner, intermediate and advanced aerial Tissu
classes at Aspen Aerials in downtown San Francisco for 9 months. She
also has experience teaching the art of poi (fire spinning) to
individuals and small groups for special projects. She has been
teaching adult level 1 and 2 aerial Tissu classes as a substitute
teacher at Circus Center since spring 2015, and has been teaching
regular level 1 and 2 Tissu classes and private lessons there for the
entirety of the summer session 2015. She has also been the full-time
lead aerial instructor of Circus Center's summer camp for the summer
of 2015. In this role, Deanna has also had the opportunity to assist
instructing children ages 7-14 in basic trapeze, tightwire, rolling
globe, rolla bola, stilting, poi, plate spinning, unicycle, and other
beginner-level circus arts. Deanna has been teaching all-level adult
Aerial Silks classes regularly out of Sunset Youth Services' (SYS)
youth center since 2011, where she continues to offer classes.
Jeremy Vik came to Circus Center in 2004 and graduated from the Clown Conservatory (directed by Jeff Raz) in 2005. Realizing that clowning is the hardest thing on Earth, he returned to acting and spent 5 years performing around the Bay in mostly Shakespeare and Musical Theatre. Then in 2010, he returned to Circus Center and completed the Professional Acrobatics Program, specializing in Handstands. Jeremy has performed for the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Shotgun Players, Goldenthread Productions, Marin Shakespeare Company, 42nd St. Moon, Virago Theatre Company, and many more. In addition to acting, Jeremy performs chair balancing and juggling all over the Bay. He has performed with Circus Bella, Sweet Can Productions, the Clown Cabaret, and more. Jeremy has a BFA in Performance from Southern Oregon University and is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association.
Ellen first discovered her love of flying trapeze at the age of 13, but has been training all over the US since 2007- starting with Circus Center, followed by Club Med, TSNY Chicago, and Embrace Adrenaline trapeze club in Minnesota. She started teaching flying trapeze at Circus Center in 2015.
Smith began as a clown with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and went on to become that circus’s Goodwill Ambassador. He later was Dean of the Ringling Clown College for ten years, and also served as director for the 123rd edition of “The Greatest Show on Earth.” He is a five-time Emmy Award winner for his work in children’s television, and a 1993 inductee into the Clown Hall of Fame. Smith has worked as a director and creative consultant for numerous clients, including Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, McDonald’s, Verizon Wireless, Walt Disney World, Chuck Jones Film Productions, The Reduced Shakespeare Co., Princess Cruise Lines, NBC-TV, CBS-TV, and many Off-Broadway theatre, cabaret, theme park, and film projects.
Sara Moore brings to the leadership of the Conservatory over three decades of experience as a performer, writer, director, and teacher. Her substantial body of creative work covers the full spectrum of clowning and spans multiple media, including the big top, film, Off-Broadway theaters, casinos, and outdoor venues.
Moore has created, directed, and performed material for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Krofft Puppets, Royal Caribbean International, Tropicana Hotels and Resorts, The New Pickle Circus, Six Flags Show Productions, and Merv Griffin’s Resorts Casino and Hotels, among others. She also wrote, directed, and co-produced the independent feature film “Homo Heights” starring Quentin Crisp, which is widely considered a cult classic today. Her recent solo show, Show Ho, has earned critical and popular acclaim through several sold-out runs.
Amy Olson is a performance artist, circus arts instructor and licensed massage therapist based in San Fransisco, CA. Amy strives to make a connection to her audience through her love of movement and artistic expression. She is a graduate of New England Center for Circus Art's professional performance program with a major in Tissu and minor in Single Point Trapeze. She has performed and taught Circus Arts since 2010 to adults and children. Amy's explorations in performance and healing arts provide her with a deeply felt sense that assists her students to unlock physical abilities that are wanting to be expressed. It is a continuing mission for Amy to create a legacy of excellence and inspiration through her craft.
Lindsay has been climbing things since childhood, and was a competitive gymnast and springboard diver for many years before falling in love with flying trapeze. She has been training at Circus Center since 2013 and remains both an active student and instructor.
Eli spends most of his time moving, talking, or making. When not at Circus Center he moonlights as a neo-burlesque seven foot cabaret artist. Eli hails from a drizzly island off the coast of Washington State, much of his adult life has been spent adventuring his way throughout Central America and Europe. He developed an early love for juggling and flexibility and has continued to pursue that love for uncommon movement into a professional setting. Eli is a fitness and yoga instructor, spreading his love of mental and physical connection through mindfulness in the bay area.
Growing up in a theatre family in a small town, Sarah is no stranger to the stage. Being a musical theatre and ballet performer since she was a young child, instructing children at her family's performing arts school, and acting in theatrical haunts for 10 years, Sarah now uses her theatrical skills, dance technique, and love of all things horror as a burlesque performer in the Bay Area. You can see her saucy alter ego or her neo-burlesque troupe "Hex and the City" perform in miscellaneous clubs, bars, and events around San Francisco. She is very excited to join the Student Services Team and to be a part of a community that strives to keep the performing arts alive in the age of Netflix and holographic concerts.
Julie Lockfeld, is a circus mom and now that the kids are grow she is here for herself. Julie has been active in the San Francisco theatre community for all of her adult life as an actor, director and teacher. She is also educated in classical homeopathic medicine and lives in the neighborhood.
Kris Carrison brings nearly three decades of experience in gymnastics and circus/performance arts. Kris is an active, professional member of USA Gymnastics; Instructor Certified, Safety and Risk Management Certified, and USOC SafeSport Certified. He recently retired from 15 years with Cirque Du Soleil, where he invented acrobatic material, created solo acts and performed over 5,000 shows with Saltimbanco, Quidam and The Beatles, LOVE. Kris holds a degree in English Literature from Stanford University where he was a member of the '92 NCAA Gymnastics National Championship Team. He lives with his Labradoodle Sage in the Dolores Heights neighborhood of San Francisco.
Kris loves surfing, long distance backpacking, playing the piano and reading classics. Kris aims to provide quality coaching and guidance that empowers artists, gymnasts and circus performers to safely pursue their dreams and realize their greatest potential.
Lin started in the acrobatic arts when he was 8 years old in Fujian Acrobatics Troupe in China. With the troupe, he performed in circuses all over the world; Europe, the Middle East, Mediterranean region, Africa and Asia. In the past 20 years, he learned many traditional Chinese acrobatic arts, such as Chinese Pole, chair-balancing, hoop diving, Chinese Lion Dance, partner hand-balancing, hand-juggling, foot-juggling and Ultimate Wheel. His juggling performance was awarded a prize for Silver Lion at the fourth China National Acrobatic Competition in 1995. He also holds the former world record for juggling 12 rings.
Michelle Cooper is a California native and has lived in San Francisco for over ten years. She loves stretching and shortly after beginning classes here at Circus Center, she was accepted into the Contortion program and began teaching the beginner and intermediate level flexibility classes. As an instructor, she tailors her teaching style to the needs of the students and believes that anyone can become more flexible using safe and dynamic techniques She focuses on proper alignment, paired with isometric stretching techniques and assisted stretches to quickly improve flexibility.
Michelle is a lover of animals and the environment! Outside of Circus Center, she can be found volunteering for multiple animal rescue nonprofits in the Bay Area.
Growing up in Sarasota Florida Ash's love for circus began at an early age and evolved into a reality when she moved to San Luis Obispo, California in 2007. It started with circles, specifically hoops. First a big hula-hoop, then several little hoops, then aerial hoop, LED hoop, fire hoop, all the hoops! It was her love for performing with her hoops that either convinced or tricked her (depending on how you look at it) into quit her job and pursue her passion for circus arts full time. After that door was opened, Ash was able to follow her heart to her her one true love: contortion. Ash began training at Circus Center through Catie Brier's Contortion Intensive. It only took 2 summers for her to threw caution to the wind and officially to move to San Francisco. As part of the Circus Center community you can find her teaching contortion and flexibility, and working as the party and event coordinator. When not training contortion, hooping, or dancing you can find Ash, well... actually let's be honest, she's still probably somewhere dancing. Either dancing at a music festival, dancing on stage, or dancing at home with her doggy.