Bob (he/him) sought out Aerial training at Versatile Arts in 2009 as a new way to exercise and has never looked back. Although initially focusing on rope and lyra, aerial straps have been his primary aerial apparatus for the last 6 years. Since joining the Versatile Arts staff in 2016 as an Aerial Straps coach and Conditioning coach Bob has relished the challenge of melding his other life as a Personal Trainer with his Aerial coach existence. This unique skill set allows him to provide students with the highest level of skills coaching, anatomy and physiology awareness, injury prevention and movement efficiency required to reach their Aerial goals. Bob is blessed to have had many exciting performance opportunities as well as to receive training from the highest level of international coaches.
Ivanna (she/her) began her aerial training in New York City in the earlier 2000’s. Having danced professionally for many years with highly athletic dance companies, and being a rock climber, it seemed natural to combine the two and start dancing in the air. She has been teaching aerial for over 10 years, specializing in fabric, dance/static trapeze, sling, lyra, and cube. She also holds certifications in Pilates and bodywork. She combines her movement techniques to teach efficiency, body awareness, strength, creativity, musicality, and most importantly trust in yourself on you apparatus.
Youth Program Coordinator, Instructor
Before discovering circus, Jen (she/her) was a soul divided- an artsy weirdo with a passion for athletics. She worked at a rock climbing gym to support herself through art school and ran marathons when she wasn’t teaching art to teenagers. Then, one day, Jen saw a circus performance at a science-fiction convention and her two worlds collided. “Omg!” she thought, “You can be artistic and athletic at the same time!” She was dazzled by the efficiency of this prospect. Serendipitously, a circus school opened in Boston shortly thereafter.
When not on the road Jenn 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, Ireland, Austria, Canada, Portugal, Costa Rica 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.
Jill Maio (she/her) has been training, performing and teaching aerial acrobatics since 2003. A former coach at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, she taught frequently in the UK and Europe and founded AirCraft Aerial Arts in Boston, running the organization from 2009 – 2018. Her teaching combines technical skill with creativity and humor, allowing students to explore new reaches of ability in a safe and friendly environment. Jill is also an award-winning writer of short fiction, and may or may not be working on a novel at the table downstairs.
Jill Marissa (she/her) is a former competitive gymnast who went on to receive a BA in Dance from Hunter College in 2004. Since moving to Seattle, she has danced and choreographed professionally for several companies including DASSdance. She fell in love with the aerial arts in 2007 and never looked back. In 2009 she co-founded ticktock, a company that bridges the gap between circus and modern dance. She has performed abroad with The Aerialistas, the Original Aerial Girl Gang. Currently she is one half of Dizzy Daze, partnering on trapeze with Lara Paxton. She specializes in rope, duo trapeze, handstands, and ground choreography.
Jody (she/her) hails from the Seattle area and brings years of experience in all aerial forms (primarily cerceau) and duo/trio work (duo hoop, duo straps, duo trapeze and trio hammock). With a background in dance, eclectic influence such as flamenco and butoh, experimental theatre and flow-based movement arts – it’s true that Jody pays heed to her years of diverse training, engagements, and partnerships (locally and world-wide). Jody is largely self-trained, but believes that you can always make progress as an athlete and an artist by 1) showing up! 2) having fun (and) 3) freeing your mind from the every-day. Notably, Jody has performed with Cirque Du Soleil at Sea with her aerial hoop duo, Duo Lumeria (2019-2020), as well as the Newcomer Show in Leipzig, Germany at the Krystallpalast Variete Theatre (2017) – landing an award with the famous Roncalli-Apollo Theatre. Jody has also placed 2nd within the Hoop Division at the Viva Fest aerial festival in Las Vegas, NV (2018). To date, Jody has been seen with local productions such as Moisture Festival, Valtesse, My Circus Valentine, Bellingham Showcase, Bellingham Circus Guild, Cirque Macabre, Zepto Space and in years past, The Cabiri (performative mythology troupe.) Currently, you can catch Jody at the Pink Door restaurant most Sundays in the infamous Pike Place Market, teaching upper-level lyra at Versatile Arts Aerial Studio (Phinney Ridge, Seattle), or virtually at www.JodyPoth.com of IG: @Jody Poth
Kelly has been pursuing her circus dreams for the last decade or so. During this time, she’s been lucky enough to perform and play on many stages, clubs, bars, and festivals in the Pacific Northwest.
In 2014, she produced her first show, Dreams of Cthulhu as part of the Seattle Fringe Festival. Soon after, she started a production company to combine her love of horror and circus… Cirque Macabre.
Operations Assistant, Instructor
Kim (she/her) stepped off the ground in 2012 and has never looked back. With a background in Pilates, she brings her knowledge of body mechanics and movement pathways to her teaching, helping students to find success in their aerial endeavors. Her classes emphasize theory and technique, grounding students in proper mechanics while also teaching artistry and creative choreography. She offers keys to unlocking what can feel impossible and provides students with tools to build consistency and reliability in their aerial skills. Specializing in silks, rope, and sling, Kim is a sought after instructor having worked for VA, Apex Aerial Arts, Arcadia and the Bellingham Circus Guild.
Program Coordinator, Instructor
When Lauren took her first aerial lesson 2008, she never dreamed that it would turn into a career. 13 years later, she finds herself the Program Coordinator and former 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 together 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.
Leah’s (she/her) passion for dance and choreography began in her childhood home, where her living room was her rehearsal (and performance) space and where her parents were her willing audience. While the living room, and parents, admittedly made for a pretty good set up, Leah eventually saw the need to explore dance outside of her immediate confines; she proceeded to spend the next five years training ballet in Oregon Ballet Theater’s pre-professional program. This comprehensive foundation in ballet ended up being extremely useful when, a few years after deciding that a life in ballet wasn’t quite the right fit, she discovered Aerial Straps. Straps provided the combination of physical rigor, requisite discipline, and creative demand that Leah had always craved. It was truly love at first sight and has now been an all-consuming fixation for the past decade. Straps has taken Leah to circus schools up and down the West Coast to train and to coach; to Montreal, where she received her most formative training with Cirque du Soleil straps specialist Chloé Farah; to local stages with companies such as the Acrobatic Conundrum; and to national and international contracts as far away as Macau, China. Leah is currently based in Seattle, Washington, where her bread and butter is coaching straps, training, choreographing, and collaborating with other artists.
Meredith (she/her) is a classically trained mover, shaker, and dynamite in a neat little Swarovski-encrusted package specializing in aerial hoop, rope, and aerial frame. She holds a BFA in Performance and Choreography from UNC – Greensboro and North Carolina School of the Arts, and has been coaching for a decade and counting. A celebrated study of character and a gifted improviser, her eagle eye and penchant for unearthing what is compelling in any piece are prized by her audience and her fellow aerialists alike. Her specialty is dynamic aerial hoop work and performance coaching, and she can be found collaborating and performing regularly in and around Seattle.
Nancy Neyhart (she/her/they) began training in 2004, with early training in corde lisse, circus trapeze, rings, tissu and lyra. After years of studying various apparatus, Nancy’s first love remains her true love – the lyra. She has taught at the Circus Arts Institute in Atlanta under the guidance of Carrie Heller, author of “Aerial Circus Training and Safety Manual”, and here at Versatile Arts. Nancy enjoys teaching all students especially those brand new to the aerial arts (or to lyra).
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!
PJ Perry has been performing aerial since 2008. She only found the corde-lisse as her primary apparatus in 2013. She added Spanish web to her repertoire in 2014. Her performance focus is to utilize momentum and capitalize on the innate simplicity of the rope itself instead of complicated wraps and multiple-step drops, and she treats the rope as a flexible pole more often than a tangle. PJ is also currently expanding her horizons into the world of handbalancing and group choreography. Her performance history, local and international, includes time with the Dream Science Circus, the Aerialistas, the Bellingham Circus Guild, Moisture Festival, the Vancouver Circus Festival, the Denver Aerial and Acrobatic Arts Festival.
As an instructor and coach, PJ has been teaching movement since 2001 and integrates her background as a master Pilates instructor with her experience teaching collegiate kinesiology and related subjects in both the university and trade school environs. She holds a Master’s degree in Kinesiology, multiple Pilates certifications, a massage therapy license, and a level 2 Neurokinetic Therapy certificate. PJ first and foremost wishes to meet each student exactly where they are at in the learning process so that safety, proper biomechanics, skill acquisition, and creative exploration can be achieved along with a healthy dose of FUN! More info at www.pjaerial.com
Terry Crane has been practicing vertical rope since 2001, and performing and teaching rope for over 10 years. He has taught workshops at the Fratellini Academy, FLIC Scuola in Torino, and all across the United States in various circus schools and studios. He is a respected leader in dynamic rope technique and convoluted knotwork on this apparatus. A growing number of his students have gone on to be accepted at the National Circus School of Montréal, where he also graduated in 2006. He regularly performs his own fiercely unique style of rope at Teatro Zinzanni Seattle and with his circus company, Acrobatic Conundrum.
Vincenza is a full-time dinosaur, part time student, and general circus weirdo. When she’s not stomping through prehistoric forests, she can be found creating art onstage and off. She was born into the world of ballet and ballroom dance but defected to the circus at the age of 19. A few years later she found her apparatus of choice, the pole; both flying and stationary. When she is not teaching or training on it, she can be found climbing, dancing, acrobalance-ing, and generally trying to learn any circus art she can get her hands on. Her favorite thing about teaching is helping people become more connected and confident in their bodies and watching them take those skills with them outside of the studio.