2019 Workshop Week Instructors

Anna Thomas-Henry is a multi-disciplinary performer who has performed and toured in circus, dance, and musical theater all across the country. These days her specialties are aerial fabric and aerial net. Her innovative work on fabric has awarded her first place at the 2015 U.S. Aerial Championships as well as placement as a finalist in the 2015 Aerial Acrobatic Arts Festival in Denver. Anna frequently collaborates as an entertainer with special events companies and performs her own work with The Acrobatic Conundrum.When she’s not touring to perform and teach workshops you can find Anna in her current home of NYC.

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Courtnee Fallon Rex got their aerial start taking classes with Circus Contraption co-founder Lara Paxton in 2001, supplementing their training at SANCA and Toronto School of Circus Arts before settling in as a seasonal intro/A1 coach at VA. As an independent performing aerialist, Courtnee became known throughout the Seattle area as an intense performer and aerial storyteller, making simple skills compelling with the Little Red Studio, Seattle Erotic Art festival, the Pink Door, and of course, as a doubles partner of the bosslady herself, Bev of Versatile Arts (fun fact: There’s a picture of Bev and Courtnee performing together at SEAF in the VA office!). Occasionally, Courtnee returns to VA to offer their special brand of graceful dork enthusiasm, specializing in ushering utter newbies into the world of aerial arts teaching ABC classes, and working with established students to create what is often their initial aerial performances.Photo: Sandra Buskirk

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Ben Wendel and Rachel Nehmer met as biology students at Haverford College. After a successful stint as lab partners, the couple decided to test out their chemistry on a trapeze! Duo Madrona created their duet at Seattle’s School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA), and made their debut at the 2006 Moisture Festival. In the years following they have logged thousands of performances across the US and Europe. Highlights include the 29th Festival du Cirque de Demain, Circus Flora, Tigerpalast Variete, Palazzo, Circus Monti, Circus Syzygy, Flynn Creek Circus and an appearance on French television with Patrick Sebastien’s “Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde”. Ben and Rachel have been regular performers at Teatro Zinzanni for the past decade, bringing to life a wide variety of memorable characters in addition to closing the show with their romantic trapeze act. In real life, the duo is based in Seattle and are proud parents of two children, Dylan and June.Photo: Michael Doucett.

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IMG_3055Gunnar Field 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.

You can find him most days with his army of bendy students.

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When not on the road Jenn Bruyer resides in the magical wonderland that is the Pacific Northwest in her beautiful tiny off grid home with her two weenie dogs. Jenn has been immersed in aerial arts since 2008. She is driven by her focus on fabric (silks) and sling (hammock) and her first love trapeze [of all sorts]. She also enjoys exploring cord lisse, cloud swing, lyra, net, rope & harness and anything else someone puts in front of her. She has coached, choreographed and performed around the world including over 30 US states, China, Italy, Germany, Austria, Canada and Mexico.As an Aerial Coach, she seeks to provide the highest quality progressive instruction to aerialists of all abilities from novice to professional performer. Her mission as a human is to cultivate a warm, non-judgmental learning environment that fosters community, to build physical and emotional strength within the individuals who participate in this environment and methodically construct a vehicle by which to create art.

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Karen de Luna has been dancing for over three decades and started her aerial career on the flying trapeze. In 2011 she took her first silks class, after training in swinging trapeze and handstands. In the aerial arts she finds that her love of being upside down and swinging help calm her monkey mind. She has performed in Europe and North America and choreographed dances and aerial acts on a variety of apparatuses for stage and screen. Karen coaches lyra, trapeze, and flexibility and loves to help students progress in their personal aerial and flexibility endeavors.

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Kim Zmolek 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/

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When Lauren Kehl took her first aerial lesson 2008, she never dreamed that it would turn into a career. 10 years later, she finds herself the Program Coordinator and Youth Program Director at Versatile Arts. Along the way, she spent a year at NECCA in their Intensive Program, and has become a NASM certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Pilates Instructor and is constantly looking for interesting was to further educate herself. Lauren is passionate about teaching people how to connect to their bodies and move, using circus and aerial as a means to that end. She loves teaching recreational adults how to begin to put the pieces of aerial training toghether and is excited to empower her youth and teen students to move and create fearlessly. She also works with people returning to training after injury and childbirth. Her apparatus of choice are trapeze, single point sling, and double loops which she began working with as her solo piece while at NECCA. You can also finding her chasing handstands and struggling on the straps.

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Liza Rose has been dubbed “The Grande Dame of New Orleans Circus”; but as we all know, Liza’s career began far outside the Crescent City. Seattle highlights include being a member of the Aerialistas (the Original Aerial Girl Gang), collaborating with cellist Zoe Keating, and choreographing and performing with highly acclaimed contemporary circus company The Acrobatic Conundrum. Since moving to New Orleans in 2013, she’s been featured alongside Jessica Lange on American Horror Story: Freakshow, PopSmartNOLA.com named her show “In Wonderland” Best Specialty Show in New Orleans (2015), she was a finalist in the 2016 US Aerial Championships, she was featured in the legendary Flim Flam Revue at Lucky Pierre’s on Bourbon Street, and she is a regular in Bella Blue’s infamous speakeasy burlesque show, Whiskey and Rhinestones.Liza is also the founder of Fly Circus Space, New Orleans’ only professional circus training facility, and she currently produces 2 monthly shows, The Fly Movement Salon, a contemporary circus open mic where anything goes; and Hello Gorgeous, a glammed-up, post-modern cabaret show featuring circus, drag, live music, and dance. She works to grow the national community through her involvement with the American Youth Circus Organization and the American Circus Educators. Keep up with her at www.lizaroseaerial.com or visit www.flycircus.space.

Photo: Cristian Buitron

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Peter Topping (they/them) is a flexibility coach at Versatile Arts. They specialize in performing Single Point Trapeze and Contortion. They love teaching people who can’t touch their toes all the way to people whose toes touch their head. As Gunnar Field’s apprentice they have had the opportunity to train under and learn to teach from a most talented coach. When not at the studio and reaching their head to their butt they are at home playing with and training a menagerie of goats dogs bird and reptiles even a tarantula made its way in there!

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PJ Perry has been a multi-disciplinary aerialist since 2008, specializing in corde lisse since2013. She loves the simplicity of this apparatus and thrives on chasing momentum. She currently lives in Bellingham, Washington, and coaches rope and handstands at Versatile Arts in Seattle. Her background is in biomechanics and kinesiology. When she is not in the air, she teaches collegiate courses in kinesiology and coaches movement re-education sessions to older adults as a master Pilates instructor.PJ has performed with the Aerialistas, Bellingham Circus Guild, the Dream Science Circus, Moisture Festival, Apogee Aerial Dance Festival, Southern Fried Circus Festival, Vashon Open Air Festival, Denver Aerial Arts Festival, Vancouver Circus Festival and in Stuttgart, Germany, at the Friedrichsbau Variete. She recently returned from performing at the Western Australian Circus Festival where her duo and solo work was featured, in addition to her coaching rope at the Lunar Circus Summer school.

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T Lawrence-Simon is excited to make a triumphant return to Versatile Arts, his Seattle home. He lived and worked here in 2014 and will always call VA his West Coast home. T is known for his high level aerial coaching all over the world. After graduating from college for theater, specializing in physical theater and performance art, T attended professional circus school for 2 years, and has been teaching ever since. His specialties are bar apparatuses and silks, and is known for creative ridiculous transitions between skills. T is currently teaching in Somerville, MA at Esh Circus Arts and is a member of the Boston Circus Guild. When not teaching, he is also half of Tori and T Duo Trapeze. www.HoopArtistTeacherTraining.com

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Tamara the Trapeze Lady started her aerial experience as a dancer with famed Seattle choreographer/dancer/inventor Robert Davidson. Her subsequent exploration took her around the country for classes and workshops at the SF Circus Center with lots of famous and talented people. She began teaching aerial dance in 1995 at her own studio in Pioneer Square and has performed around the U.S. and Canada as well as Spain, Portugal, and Thailand. Tamara has been teaching circus style aerial at Versatile Arts for the last year, while continuing her own never-ending journey of skill building with the amazing array of talented instructors that Beverly has sponsored at V.A.

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Part stardust, part showgirl, Tanya Brno has been honing her lifetime body of artistic work from a young age. After pursuing classical piano and opera, she discovered ballet, which consumed many years of her developmental period. Spending summers at prestigious and highly competitive schools such as San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet (New York City), she blew into town at the age of 16 to study on scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and knew she’d found her home. Since then, she has had many adventures, played in a band, earned a degree from the University of Washington, and become one of the most sought-after aerial performers in town. Now in her 9th year of aerial work, she loves the circus arts more than ever. It is the perfect medium to combine her amassed classical training with the elegance, joy, and freedom she imbues into her art.

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Terry Crane surrendered to restless urges that led him to walk calmly away with the circus at the tender age of 20. With a degree in dance from Oberlin College, his circus journey led him to the San Francisco Circus Center, the Montreal National Circus School, and the Beijing International Acrobatics School. A veteran of the big top and the stage, he has performed in countless countries for various companies, including Teatro Zinzanni, les 7 Doigts de la Main, and Circus Monti. Terry is delighted to share his love of rope technique, circus creation, and collaboration via workshops across the globe. As a director, Terry is on a relentless quest to tell true fictions, contradict human isolation, and portray paradox.

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