2017 workshop weekend bios
Megan Gendell has performed circus professionally since 2007, starting out with the Brooklyn ensemble LAVA and currently performing solo handbalancing and duo trapeze nationally and internationally, including at the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival and the Golden Karl international circus festival in Riga, Latvia. She is a 2012 graduate of NECCA’s Professional-Track Training Program, and in 2014 she co-created an evening-length ensemble circus-theater show, Tinder & Ash, in Montreal through a TOHU residency.
Megan has taught handbalancing, trapeze, acrobatics, act creation, and more to youth and adults since 2008, including at NECCA in Vermont (where she coached the Intensive professional training program) and currently at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. She has given workshops and master classes at festivals and circus schools across the country. www.megangendell.com
Alex moved from Sydney Australia to San Francisco in 2009 to attend the Circus Center’s Professional Aerial program where he specialized in Corde Lisse and Swinging Trapeze. Since the completion of his training Alex has performed and taught workshops across the U.S.A., Canada, Mexico, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand and England.
With his comprehensive background of dance, circus and theatre creation, Alex has created a unique style of movement and presence on the rope. Whether coaching or onstage, Alex utilizes directionality and momentum-based movement to create choreography that is both fluid and dynamic.
Dream Frohe is an aerialist with a passion for thoughtful and dynamic movement-in essence, joyfully hoisting herself into improbable positions for the sake of honest expression. Using her background as a gymnast, in addition to a life long interest in dance and other art forms, she brings strong technique and a fresh style into her work as a performer, instructor and choreographer. She has been teaching and performing aerial dance for over 10 years and is a founding member of the Bellingham Circus Guild, where she currently teaches and trains.
It all started when Ezra’s dad taught him how to juggle; after that there was no stopping him. As a youth he was performing street shows at local Seattle Festivals. After refining his skills at The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts and Versatile Arts, he went on to perform with Circus Smirkus in New England. Ezra Graduated form l’École Nationale de Cirque in 2015 with a degree in aerial rope and hat juggling. Inspired by his love of juggling Ezra has combine his hat manipulation with his work on aerial rope to create an unique and original performance.
Jenn has been exploring aerial arts since 2008 via silks, sling, cord lisse, trapeze, lyra and rope & harness. She has coached, choreographed and performed across the US from New York to Alaska and was most recently based out of Seattle, WA where she was a staff coach at Versatile Arts [2010-2017].
As a certified personal trainer, Jenn is as passionate about optimal training and progression as she is about creative exploration. Her constantly evolving movement style has been described as mesmerizing, intricate and truly authentic.
Learn more about her at heelhang.com or follow her on instagram at /heelhang
Jill Marissa is a performance artist who infuses her style of highly athletic dance and aerial acrobatics with quirky character and a vulnerable, potent stage presence. In 2000 she moved to New York City to hone craft as a choreographer, earning a BA in Dance from Hunter College in 2004. Since moving to Seattle in 2006, she has danced for several companies including DASSdance and Manifold Motion, has been commissioned to choreograph work for Emerald City Trapeze Arts, Versatile Arts, and Walrus Dance Theater, and has been awarded residencies at FRED Wildlife Refuge and CHAC (Capitol Hill Arts Center). In 2009 she co-founded ticktock with collaborators Elizabeth Rose and Bridget Gunning, a performance company fusing deconstructed circus with contemporary dance. With ticktock, she helped direct 2 evening-length works and several vignettes to sold-out performances in Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans Fringe Festival, and New York City. She continues to perform internationally with The Aerialistas, including prestigious engagements with Madrid’s Teatro Circo Price and Germany’s Friedrichsbau Variete. Currently she is one half of Dizzy Daze, partnering on trapeze with Lara Paxton.
Kim Z began her aerial training at Versatile Arts in 2012 and fell head-over-heels in love with aerial arts. Having devoted her life and career to movement, Kim teaches aerial at VA as well as Pilates at Vitality Pilates. She embraces being challenged physically and mentally by each new skill, and and loves the reward of making a movement pathway more precise.
She is known for dynamic aerial beats and drops and for spinning REALLY fast! She performs on Rope, Fabric, Spanish Web, Slings & Swings and is half of aerial duo TSA (Top Shelf Aerial), collaborating with partner Rebekah Bastian. While she remains the last person not on social media, you can follow her aerial endeavors at http://aerialbandits.com/kim/
Lara Paxton is a cross-disciplinary performance artist whose pieces incorporate circus with elements of character, craft, costuming, puppetry, music, and dance. In 1998 she founded Circus Contraption and served as artistic director for its 11-year lifespan. In 2005, she founded The Aerialistas, Seattle’s “aerial girl-gang,” who went on to perform multiple engagements in Spain and Germany. Lara also performs nationally and internationally with her solo works, in particular her signature mermaid on aerial anchor, and her Granny on aerial walker.
As a teacher, Lara is irreverent, demanding, and generous with knowledge. She uses humor to create an atmosphere of creative exploration and high standards for originality. She loves to tease out the strengths of emerging performers and seek a vision of the best work they can create. She believes that whatever students’ performance goals are they deserve direct, substantial feedback and to be treated with the gravity of a fellow artist and powerful creative force.
Lauren’s plays and circus acts have been seen internationally. She is also a freelance dramaturg, an artistic collaborator, and a teaching artist and professor. She served on the Circus Dramaturgy panel hosted by Circus Now at the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival, and she offers a workshop on Making Circus That Matters around the country, most recently at the New England Center for Circus Arts/Brattleboro, Circus Now’s CirQ Through/Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival, the Southern Fried Circus Festival/Dallas, and Versatile Arts/Seattle. She holds an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama, is an alumna of NECCA’s Pro-Track program, and is passionate about the art of crafting live performance.
For more info on Lauren, there’s this: www.laurenfeldman.com
Gunnar has been coaching contortion and handstands for many years. He started his passion for contortion as a teenager after stopping gymnastics, he’s studied circus in Mongolia , China as well as around the US. Gunnar takes his passion for the art of contortion and shares it with students all over the world.
Lauren began her aerial training in 2008 at Versatile Arts. After segueing into instructing there, she decided to attend the Intensive Program at NECCA in order to take her training to the next level. Since her return to Seattle she has focused most of her attention on teaching and is a NASM personal trainer, as well. She teaches most levels and apparatus, focusing on static trapeze and sling at higher levels, but always with a strong focus on technique and efficiency of movement. She’s also the VA Program Coordinator and Youth Program Director.
Tamara “The Trapeze Lady” began her Aerial journey in 1989 with Robert Davidson’s unique brand of Aerial Dance. She has taken classes and workshops at the San Francisco Circus Center and began performing in 1993. She’s produced and performed in myriad shows and events including The Fallen Women Follies, The Columbia City Cabaret and Burlesque and Cabaret Behind The Pink Door and was the original “in house” Aerialist at the Pink Door. Her Aerial and Burlesque career has taken her to Italy, Spain, Netherlands Thailand and Canada as well as many events and festivals in the U.S. She continues to learn and grow with the marvelous and ever expanding teacher training at Versatile Arts where she has been teaching and creating work since it opened in 2007.