Kyla Helgeland Alexander (she/her) grew up here in Western Washington. She has been teaching in some fashion since she was 14: piano & vocal lessons, as a preceptor for student midwives, and more recently as a functional strength coach and CPR/First Aid instructor. Her experience as a midwife and as the mother of 3 children led to a particular interest in core function and how it affects the way the rest of the body moves. This has proven useful in her circus training, and she has a particular interest in helping people build functional strength in order to move their bodies safely. Kyla loves training rope, and practices partner acro with her husband as well as dabbling in other circus arts. In addition to aerial teacher trainings & extensive personal training education, she is a Pregnancy & Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist and a Low Pressure Fitness Certified Trainer.
Peter Amelia (they/them) is a flexibility/contortion 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. Peter has worked with a number of contortion coaches from around the world and has found themselves to be most successful as both a coach and a performer in the Mongolian style of conditioning and contortion. When not at the studio and reaching their head to their butt they are at home playing with and training a menagerie of goats, birds, and reptiles! Expect to hear the catch phrase “Chins up, we are Proud, Beautiful and Happy to be here!”
Meg Austin After 13 years of gymnastics, Meg (she/her) started pole dancing in 2016 as way to continue pursuing acrobatics. She immediately fell in love with the sport and the community. Meg performs as a pole dancer, aerialist, and hand balancer in the Seattle area. She also regularly competes in pole dance competitions around the United States, with a number of placements including 1st 2018 Pole Sport Organization Northwest Championship Level 4, 1st 2019 Aerialympics Advanced Pole, 1st 2019 Pole Sport Organization Southwest Championship Professional, and 2nd 2019 Pole Sport Organization Northwest Artistic Professional. Meg is also certified as an ACE Group Fitness Instructor and Xpert certified to teach Lyra levels 1 & 2. Meg enjoys watching her students grow and become more confident in their abilities while helping them achieve their full potential.
Jenn Bruyer After 18 years of living in Seattle WA Jenn (she/her) now enjoys the ranch life in the beautiful Kootenay Boundary area of British Columbia where she lives with her partner, horses, dogs, goats, ducks, and chickens. She is a multidisciplinary performance artist, choreographer, and coach. She has entertained audiences and guided students around the world including over 30 US states, China, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, and Mexico since 2008.
Tsengelmaa Byambadorj was born and raised in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia. When she was 9 years old she was selected for the Mongolian National Circus contortion program and trained with world famous contortionist, coach Norovsambuu Begzsuren. After training and performing with the Mongolian National Circus, in 1995 she moved to Germany and continued to perform with venues all over the world including Friedtichstadtpalast Berlin, Lido de Paris, Monte Carlo Circus festival, Le Cirque de Demain, Music Hall festival, Bollywood movie festival in Bombay, Sheraton Walker Hill in Korea, Harris resort in Lake Tahoe, Wintergarten variety, Apollo variety etc… She has experience performing and creating solo, duo, trio and group contortion acts. She performed in Duo Battseren, Arabesque, Aliens, Aphrodite, Comedy, Under the water and Fantasy and had over a 20 year career in Europe and Asia. Tsengelmaa moved to United States 2006 to work with Cirque Le Maske and to perform and coach with Pendulum Ariel Arts. While she officially retired performing 2013, she has over 26 years of performing experience and 13 years of coaching experience.
Tsengelmaa teaches beginner level, intermediate level, advanced level, master level and Choreography and Act Creation. Her focus is in teaching proper warm-up, breathing, technique, and transition to tricks.
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
Charlie Faraday is an acrobat currently in the Cirque du Soleil and Marvel Universe Live casting databases. She won Best Artistic Performance at the 2012 Denver Aerial Acrobatic Arts Festival, has performed for Disney, Quixotic, Emerald City Trapeze, Cirquetacular Entertainment, Airealistic, and the Culpepper And Merriweather Circus. She has been featured on AMC’s Showville, America’s Got Talent, and ABC7 Los Angeles. Charlie has been a well-respected industry veteran for over 15 years and is the author of Vertical Apparatus Drop Theory, the first comprehensive textbook on advanced drop skills in aerial arts. She routinely tours across the United States and Canada to offer training to coaches and students on the methods she has developed in aerial acrobatics.
In addition to circus arts, Charlie and husband Celestino own and operate the live variety entertainment production company Darker Marker Productions, and spice company The Sweatshop Pepper Farm.
On the ground, Charlie is a staff member at Des Moines Danzarts Studio, where she teaches Strength And Flexibility, which uses the training methodologies she has developed for circus students to help dancers improve their skills in an efficient, body aware way. She also teaches all levels of Hip Hop where she enjoys introducing students to different hip hop subgenres, and often makes custom music for her classes with her musician husband.
She is also a very silly clown.
Dream Frohe is an aerialist with a passion for thoughtful and dynamic movement. Renowned for her fresh style, flowing choreography and precise technical skill, she brings a strong foundation and unique movement quality to her work as a performer, instructor and choreographer. Using her background as a gymnast, and wealth of experience in aerial dance other art forms, she offers a focus on unusual movement pathways as well as building a solid base of strength and technique. She has been teaching and performing aerial arts at home and abroad, for more than 10 years and is a founding member of the Bellingham Circus Guild, where she currently teaches and trains.
Leah Jones (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.
Lauren Kehl is an aerial coach, Pilates instructor, and personal trainer based in Seattle, WA who has been coaching for over 10 years. Starting her aerial journey as a recreational adult at age 28, Lauren has a particular gift for working with adult beginners and students who struggle, and strives to teach in a way that is accessible and inclusive.Lauren attended the Intensive year at NECCA in 2011 before deciding to pursue coaching full time. Since then, she has helped to expand and develop the curriculum at Versatile Arts, her home studio, and is one half of the teacher training team there. She has led workshops at AYCOfest, the American Circus Educators conference, and NECCA’s workshop weekend. You can learn more about Lauren at laurenkehl.com.
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 https://www.inversiondiversion.com/.
Jen Ryan 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.
Since that time, Jen has moved from east coast to west coast and up to the PNW, with some international stints in between. She seizes every opportunity to train wherever she goes, picking up new styles, approaches, and theories. Jen tries to impress upon her students that circus is the place where you can have it all- strength, beauty, creativity, discipline, and all the weirdness you can imagine.
Sable Stewart (they/them) is in love with movement. With thirteen years of coaching experience, they focus on strong skill progressions and body mechanical technique in training, and expressive musicality in performance. They have a deep understanding of anatomy and physiology as applied to aerial movement, and have taught hundreds of recreational and professional level students how to practice aerials safely. Their own experience with disabling hypermobile-type Ehlers Danlos and its detrimental effect on their performance career has led them to focus on body mechanics and somatic awareness as primary to safe movement technique. They seek to create a learning environment that centers and nurtures students’ sense of agency in their learning and in their bodies, helps them understand the “whys” of the skills they’re learning, and provides them with tools to be expressive artists creating work with personal meaning and impact.
Valentina Zackrone is a life long performer, choreographer, award-winning educator and coach. Most recently she won a gold medal at 2020 Крылья/ Wings International Aerial Festival for her innovative tension chains act. She holds a master’s degree in teaching/ education and 4 coaching certifications, including coaching for breakthrough (a methodology for achieving results you never thought possible). She performed on stages big and small all over the world, from Bernard Shaw theater in London, UK and White Nights festival in St. Petersburg, Russia to Emerald City Trapeze Arts in Seattle and at sea aboard Windstar Cruises. She specializes in aerial chains, rope and hammock and enjoys infusing her aerial style with a touch of ballroom flare.
Kim Zmolek (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. For more about Kim’s work, please see www.armbreakeraerial.com.