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Staff & Board Members

Staff and Board Member Bios

Jo Montgomery
Founder &
Special Needs
Coordinator

Chuck Johnson

Founder &
Program Director



Dwight Hutton

Executive Director

Jenna Barrett
Admin Manager
Jo Montgomery
Chuck Johnson
Dwight Hutton Jenna Barrett




Wendy Allen
Coach & Admin



Zora Blade
Coach


Marta Brown
Outreach Coordinator
& Coach




Stefanie Brendler
Admin

Coach Wendy
Coach Zora Coach Marta Stefanie Brendler

Arne Bystrom
Coach




Crystal Campbell
Coach


Carey Cramer
Coach
Coach Arne Coach Carl Crystal Campbell Coach Carey


Emma Curtiss
Coach


Duncan
Davenport

Coach

Jeff Deveaux
Development Officer


Kristie Essary
Admin & Party Coordinator
Coach Emma Coach Duncan Jeff Deveaux Coach Kristie


Andreas Fetz
Coach


Maile Gove
Coach



Tom Hanna

Coach



Nick Harden
Coach

Coach Andreas Coach Maile Coach Tom Nick Harden unicycle

Alyssa Hellrung
Coach, Director Magnificent 7 & 
Jr. Fly Team
.
Tyler Henry
Coach


Zach Holmberg
Coach


Alyssa Hellrung
Tyler Henry Zach Holmberg

Kari Jay Hunter
Professional Prep Program Staff 
& Coach




Chris Johnston
Coach




Maia LeDoux
Graphic Designer 
& Marketing 
Coordinator


Jess Lipscomb
Coach
Kari Hunter Chris Johnston Maia LeDoux Coach Jess



Nicholas Lowery
Coach & Admin


.


Jasmine Manuel
Coach & Admin



Brent Marshall
Coach

Nicholas Lowery

.

Jasmine Manuel
Coach Brent



Jim Mattingly
Coach



Isaac McDonald
Coach


Paul Peterson
School of Flight Co-Director



Sydney Petersen
Coach
Jim Mattingly

Coach Isaac

Coach Paul Sydney Petersen


Kristen Petersen
Coach



Nickolai Pirak

Coach, Prof. 
Performance 
Collective 
Coordinator



Rachel Randall
Professional Prep Program Staff 
& Coach


Chelsey Rea
Coach
Coach KP
Nickolai Pirak Rachel Randall Coach Chelsey



Jonathan Rose

Coach



Leslie Rosen
Coach


Erica Rubinstein
Coach & Director of Cirrus Circus


Emily Scherb
Coach
Jonathan Rose Leslie Rosen Coach Erica Emily Scherb

Noa Schnitzer
Coach
Sarah Siefke
Coach

Jacob Skeffington
Acro Dept Mgr


.

Noa
Sarah Siefke Jacob Skeffington .


Terri Sullivan
Director of 
Circus 1-ders



Jeff Tretheway
Coach


Ty Vennewitz
Coach

Milla Voellinger
Coach & Admin
Terri Sullivan Jeff Tretheway Coach Ty
Coach Milla


Katie Wagman

School of Flight
Co-Director


.

Orville Zharoff
Coach


Amanda Zwar
Facilities Manager
& Admin
Coach Katie .
Coach Orville Amanda Zwar


 

Staff:

Jo Montgomery, ARNP, Special Needs Coordinator

Jo on trapeze

Jo is a pediatric nurse practitioner at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (a satellite of Seattle Children’s Hospital). She has worked for Children’s since 1983 as both a staff nurse and a nurse practitioner. Like many pediatric care providers, she has noticed an alarming increase in the rates of childhood obesity, and is looking for creative and practical ways to address the problem. Jo began gymnastics training at age 7 and returned to it years later when she met Chuck and members of a local circus. SANCA represents the fusion of her strong desire to improve the health and well-being of as many children as possible with first hand knowledge of the fun of acrobatics and circus arts.
 

Charles Johnson, Director of Programs

Chuck’s Chuck jugglinglifelong interest in circus began at age 10 when his grandparents took him to a circus show in Portland. He taught himself to juggle and began gymnastics training at 13.  As an adult, Chuck helped found the Cascade Youth Circus and has been involved in youth circus, gymnastics coaching and certification on a national level and has performed acrobatics and juggling professionally. Chuck is certified in heavy construction and stunt rigging and was part of the rigging crew for “Spiderman.”
 Foremost among these many talents is Chuck’s teaching style. He has a great ability to instill confidence and provide success to even the most timid beginner. Chuck’s teaching experience includes: Director of Acrobatics at Circus Arts and Acrobatics, Inc., Roseville, CA, coaching a cheerleading program of 350 students in Roseville, CA, teaching beginning and intermediate level acrobatics, in Portland, OR and teaching competitive, recreational and fitness gymnastics to all ages in the greater Seattle area.

 

Jenna Barrett, Administrative Manager

Jenna is a grizzled old veteran of the Seattle performing arts and non-profit scene. Since 1999 she’s been involved in much of the nuts and bolts of street and community theater, from volunteering and promotion to performing and event production. A long-time civics buff with a strong sense of social justice, at the same time Jenna has been focusing her career on non-profit administration and project management, particularly for the welfare of Washington’s children and infrastructure development for emerging organizations. These two loves come together like peanut butter and jelly at SANCA! Jenna’s been training, playing and volunteering at SANCA since 2004, and is delighted to put her operations skill to work for all the great people that work and play in our gym.

She is inspired by the mission and success at SANCA and will gladly bounce on the trampoline for a good cause.

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Wendy Allen A Unicycle Built for Two

Wendy Allen came to the circus world via competitive gymnastics. Her interest was sparked while teaching tumbling to an after-school circus in California. In 2010 she set out to find more circus! She landed in Seattle at SANCA and soon became part of the staff.  When Wendy is not teaching, she is training and performing. She performs an acrobatic duo unicycle act with her partner in circus and life, Nick Harden.

Zora Blade

Coach Zora

Zora has been with SANCA since the beginning.  She was enrolled in one of the first classes ever offered and has since then continued to hang out at SANCA whenever possible.  She now teaches all ages from two up to adult.  Zora was also a member of the SANCA Youth Performance Company for three years and has performed with Circus Smirkus on the east coast.  She has also attended the National Circus School of Montreal for a year. When not teaching or performing, Zora trains handstands and hand to hand.

 

Stefanie Brendler

Stefanie has been taking classes and volunteering at SANCA since 2011 and
is excited to now help make the magic of circus happen from SANCA's front
office.  Stefanie brings a bike-load of skills to SANCA from previous
adventures in non-profit-land, including social justice and anti-violence
work.  For Stefanie, who still occasionally facilitates self-defense
workshops, self-expression and self-care go hand-in-hand.  Stefanie
moonlights in a band (or two) and has been enmeshed in Seattle's music and
performance arts community since 2004 as a community & event organizer,
music educator, and performer.

 

Marta Brown, Outreach Coordinator 

Marta discovered circus at Oberlin College after a long career in competitive gymnastics, ballet, and modern dance. Taking short breaks to work on a degree in International Relations, she flipped, tumbled and flew through her four years of undergrad. After graduation she moved to Seattle to teach and train at SANCA. Since then she has taught tumbling in Thailand, performed Russian Bar in San Francisco and taught all ages and abilities at SANCA. Marta currently performs Hand to Hand and Cyr wheel around Seattle and also coordinates the Outreach Program at SANCA.

 

Arne Bystrom

Arne is one of the premier jugglers in the Pacific Northwest. Arne performed in productions in Quebec City, Chile, toured New England with Circus Smirkus, and performed for a variety of clients in the Seattle area. A graduate of l'Ecole de Cirque in Quebec, Arne also coaches at the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts in Seattle, Wa.www.arnebystrom.net

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Carl BystromCarl Bystrom performing in staff show

Carl learned how to juggle in his youth but it was not until he was performing sleight of hand and wanted to expand his acts that he returned to juggling. Carl discovered SANCA in his pursuit of juggling and dragged along his son, Arne. Carl teaches juggling, sleight of hand and general circus when he's not writing or working in the technology industry.

 

Crystal Campbell

Crystal began training in circus when she was thirteen years old with the Cascade Youth Circus, a small after school program in Maple Valley, WA.  She performed many disciplines with them for 5 years and is well versed in aerial hoop, corde lisse, spanish web, static trapeze, tightwire, juggling, handstands and acrobatics. Crystal also began her coaching career there, coaching the circus as well as the pre-competitive

gymnastics program. After graduating from college with a degree in Business Management, she was accepted into the Professional Training Program at Circus Maniacs in Bristol, England. There she trained in a number of disciplines with internationally known coaches and specialized in aerial acrobatics. Upon returning to the United States, Crystal started the Youth Performance Company at SANCA. Crystal ran the Youth Performance Company from 2006 to 2010.  Crystal recently returned from Denver were her husband Clint, so he can pursue his Masters in Engineering. There she started her own 

circus program the Academy of Circus Elements but for family and Clint’s job reasons returned to Seattle. Crystal recently helped produce the 2013 AYCO Festival here at SANCA. 

 

Carey Cramer

Carey discovered circus in 2008 at the infamous Oberlin College, and after spending one summer at SANCA, was completely hooked. One year later, she had transferred schools and started her new life in Seattle, working and training at SANCA, and finishing her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. The move paid off, and Carey was accepted to the professional program at the National Circus School of Montreal in 2011, with a specialization in aerial rope. Although originally from Ohio, Carey also considers Seattle her home, and has returned from Montreal to continue developing as a teacher and artist.

 

Emma Curtiss

Emma loves teaching circus and performing. She is a member of Acrobatic Conundrum and IMPulse.

 

Duncan Davenport

Duncan is a Tucson, Arizona native who got his start roping with the Tucson Arizona Boy's Choir. After leaving the choir, he continued working on his roping with an ex-vaudevillian by the name of Forrest Hobbes, eventually finding a job at a western stunt show where he honed his roping skills for a few years. Duncan moved to Seattle in 2011 to find his fortune in the technology world, though performing still held a special place in his heart. When he heard about SANCA he immediately send an email to Jo asking if he could teach Trick Roping, and as of August 2012 he's been a coach, loving every minute of it.


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Jeff Deveaux, Development Officer

Jeff is SANCA’s Development Officer, responsible for all aspects of fundraising and donor relationships. He has worked as a grant writer and fundraiser for ten years at nonprofit organizations including Circus Contraption, Richard Hugo House, Open Arms Perinatal Services, and Voices Education Project. He has been SANCA’s Development Officer since 2009. Prior to entering the nonprofit sector as a fundraiser, he worked as a technical editor and writer for more than eight years at Microsoft. Jeff has also been involved in circus arts and acrobatics for more than 20 years. At SANCA, he was a volunteer and an instructor from 2004 through 2012 for aerial rope, trapeze, flying trapeze, slack rope, and partner acrobatics classes. He enjoys volunteering for arts organizations and is a currently a Board Member for Café Nordo, a performing and culinary arts nonprofit. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Colorado, and a Diploma in Circus Arts from CircoArts in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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Kristie Essary

Kristie is fairly new to the Circus and loves being surrounded each day with all the fun and creativity of SANCA! She was a competitive gymnast for many years and has performed with her Gymnastics team in the National Gymnaestrada at Disneyland and in the 11th World Gymnaestrada in Sweden.Kristie has long been interested in teaching others, beginning to coach gymnastics when she was still in high school.  She pursued her love of education and received a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education with a visual arts endorsement from the University of Alaska Southeast. She  continued to

work and Volunteer at her old gymnastics school in Juneau, Alaska until moving to the Seattle area in 2010. Kristie has taught art at public schools, community centers and private studios where she worked with students of all ages and abilities. Kristie enjoys learning new things, outdoor activities, music, soccer, fine arts and encouraging the talents of others.

 

Andreas Fetz

Andreas Fetz

Andreas began dabbling in circus arts began at a very young age with juggling balls, twirling devil sticks and whirling diabolos. Growing up in Montana, he didn't have any opportunities for circus training and didn't even know it was a possibility--so he threw himself into soccer, tae kwon do and other athletics. After discovering SANCA, he was able to fulfill his childhood curiosity of the circus and has been in love with the place ever since. He has studied aerials, acrobatics, and tumbling, but now focuses on handbalancing, ever searching for more ways to express the noble handstand. A yoga teacher and certified personal trainer, he found the transition to teaching at SANCA was a natural one for him and finally, after hanging around the gym long enough, they let him.

 

Maile Gove

Maile moved to Seattle in 2009 to study linguistics at Seattle Pacific University. A dedicated learner, she quickly found a love for teaching, and spent three years coaching Garfield High School's gymnastics team and teaching private violin lessons.
After graduating, Maile got a job teaching parent/child and preschool gymnastics at The Little Gym, where her interest in language development and her love of teaching met.
A gymnast for 12 years, Maile stumbled into SANCA looking for a place to train, and found a supportive, tight-knit community and a challenge around every corner. She is excited to be joining SANCA staff, coaching some of SANCA's youngest students.

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Tom Hanna

Tom spent eight years on the Seattle Waterfront selling souvenirs. One day in early summer, a top-hatted street magician set up his table outside the shop and walked in looking for a bottle of water. After several discussions about street performance, Tom signed on as magicians apprentice and started learning a variety of strange tricks including human blockhead (hammering large nails into the nose), strong-man tricks (ripping phone books and apples in half), escape artistry with handcuffs and straight-jacket, sleight of hand & juggling. As is the nature of magicians, Tom's mentor pulled a grand vanishing act at the end of the summer. Tom continued practicing his set of strange skills and eventually found himself getting gigs with burlesque troupes around Seattle. Finding the flavor of burlesque performance not particularly to his liking, Tom stepped out of the spot-light and continued his life as a mild-mannered retail worker with a few bizarre talents to pull out at parties. One dark and rainy day in December, Tom was riding a bus to work and feeling

particularly down about a few turns of events when he looked up and, lo and behold, there was an advertising billboard that simply said "COME FLY WITH US! SANCA school of flight." Tom's curiosity was instantly piqued. Finally, a chance to step from side-show to big-top had arrived. Tom signed up for an Intro to Aerial class and a Juggling class and was instantly in love with circus arts. Session after session passed and Tom continued to sign up for more and more classes in a variety of different disciplines including Aerial, Tumbling, Hand Balancing, Juggling and Sleight of Hand until he was at SANCA almost every day. To pay for all his classes, Tom joined the work-study program. The common joke around the school was that Tom practically lived at SANCA. In the summer of 2012, Tom was finally ready to make a full-time commitment to circus and quit his waterfront job for good to become a coach and office assistant at SANCA. Tom's hobbies include playing the accordion and toy-piano, learning to walk on stilts, clowning around and juggling knives.

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Alyssa Hellrung Alyssa Hellrung

Alyssa has been hooked on circus since she tried flying trapeze for the first time at the ages of 16. Since then she has coached at Club Med Sandpiper and in upstate New York at Long Lake Camp for the Arts where she was the Circus Program Director for five years. Alyssa performs solo, duo, and triple trapeze all over Seattle in shows such as Moisture Festival, Circus of Dreams, and in various SANCA productions. Alyssa gas a PhD in Women Studies and teaches Gender and Sports at the University of Washington in her 'spare time'. She is often accompanied by her daughter, Avery, who was born in April of 2012 and can't wait to be old enough to take circus classes.

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Tyler Henry

Tyler Henry

Tyler started doing recreational and competitive gymnastics when he was 8 years old, back when Chuck was coaching in Maple Valley.
Throughout high school and college he performed both in and out of the country, and began transitioning into circus and acrobatics during that time. Tyler has been coaching now for 14 years. He loves working with kids and adults alike, and focuses in the area of special needs and working with the deaf. He is currently working on his Masters in Counseling Psychology and is very interested in the intersection of circus and therapy.
When he isn't coaching or studying y

ou'll likely find him hanging out with his dog Kekoa.(Read more about his best friend here in their SANCA Blog post )

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Zach Holmberg

Zach has loved circus from the time his Grandpa first introduced him to Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey at a very young age. He has successfully carved out a niche that is uniquely and only his, as far as the family goes, and it is safe to say that no one else is remotely tempted to try flying trapeze (catching is his favorite), trampoline, clowning, double trapeze, or anything else of that nature. He is deeply grateful to Chuck and Jo, Mick, Paul and Katie, and the rest of his SANCA family who have been so kind, supportive and inspirational.

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Kari Jay Hunter 

Kari has been part of the SANCA team since we opened our doors in 2004. Read more about her on our Alumni & Emeritus page! 

 

Chris Johnston

Chris hails originally from Canada and spent his youth training and competing as a power tumbler (http://youtu.be/BP_ZOfNWzWw). He competed internationally on the Canadian National Team, and upon retiring, found his way to Club Med, circus and Flying Trapeze.

 

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EJ Landsman Liz Landsman

Liz, Coach Izzie to her students, like so many others, discovered circus at Oberlin College, by way of OCircus!, the resident student circus troupe.  By her graduation, she had performed in and helped to design and produce more than six OCircus! productions.  After graduating she moved to Seattle to work at SANCA, where she now mostly teaches children under seven (who delight and amuse her to no end).  In addition to instructing young children in circus arts, she is also an artist and freelance illustrator, and has worked on novellas, comic books, education publications, and a multitude of flyers, event posters, and tee-shirts.

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Maia LeDoux , Graphic Designer/Marketing Coordinator

Maia discovered SANCA by chance when she returned to the work force after having her second daughter. She was never very athletic, having been plagued with knee problems, so she doesn’t have a personal background in circus, but what she does have is a long history of working for small and interesting employers doing administrative and graphic design work. Maia has both a BFA (MCAD) and MFA (University of Massachusetts Amherst) in cross-disciplines: printmaking, design, sculpture primarily. At SANCA she is the Graphic Designer and Marketing Coordinator as well as working in the office. She says, “SANCA is such an amazing place to work; I can’t believe I was lucky enough to find it!”

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Jess Lipscomb

Jess discovered circus through her college circus club, ICircus, at Ithaca College. She fell in love and knew she wanted to make circus a permanent part of her life. In 2008 she spent her summer teaching circus at Camp Island Lake in the Poconos. After graduating from college she wanted to be involved in circus, but didn’t know how. She found her way by picking up internships with the American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO). She was the web development and communications intern, and then the social media intern. This led to her position as programming director of the 2012 AYCO Educators Conference and 2013 AYCO Festival Programming Director both hosted by SANCA. The SANCA connection persuaded her to return to train in the January Intensives, which then convinced her to return to SANCA to teach summer camp. Jess has spent the last year touring, volunteering, teaching, and training at various youth circuses across America. She’s happy to settle down and call SANCA home.


Nicholas Lowery Coach Nicholas

Nicholas began his sideways stumble into the world of circus at Oberlin College, where he learned to contact juggle and began performing in the student run OCircus! troupe. When he completed his degree in mathematics in 2009, he found his way to SANCA, and couldn't believe his luck. Soon afterwards, he took his first Chinese pole class and quickly fell in love with this austere and difficult apparatus. He made his pole performing debut in SANCA's 2011 staff show, and continues to train for future shows while teaching pole, general circus, and flying trapeze at SANCA. In his spare time, he enjoys eating, sleeping, and making music.

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Jasmine Manuel 

Jasmine as leopard on tightwire

Jasmine first discovered circus through the documentary 'Fire Within'. After watching many hours of Cirque du Soleil on DVD, she prayed to find a way to do these things herself. Internet research lead her to SANCA. After taking classes, Jasmine was asked to be a part of the Youth Performance Company. Now graduated, she studies Visual Communication Design and French at Seattle Pacific University. Jasmine continues to work in SANCA's office and gym while pursuing tightwire. In June of 2012, Jasmine made a solo 'pilgrimage' to Ardeche, France where she participated in the 2012 Convention de Fil presented by La Cascade* and Les Colporteurs**. "This trip will forever remain an influential and inspirational part of my career, and I hope to return in the future. I had the opportunity to meet wire walkers of all skill levels and experience. A huge 'thank you' to those who supported me."

*La Cascade, maison des arts du clown & du cirque http://www.lacascadeclownetcirque.fr/** Les Colporteurs  http://www.lescolporteurs.com

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Brent Marshall

Brent is a part of our Fly Team. He is a devoted athlete, from soccer to flying trapeze. When he's not mixing drinks at El Gaucho you can find him in our tent with his canine pal Pikey.

 

Jim Mattingly

A black belt, composer, and fire spinner, Jim joined the SANCA staff in the fall of 2012 and coaches trampoline, general circus, and parties. When he's not at SANCA practicing flip twists he teaches preschool, plays drums in a metal band, and naps with his cat Theo.

 

Isaac McDonald

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Anna Partridge


Kristen Petersen

 

 

 

 

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Sydney Petersen

 

Paul Peterson

Paul has been involved with flying trapeze and circus arts full time for the last

15 years. He got his first taste in 1998 at Club Med in the Dominican Republic, and was immediately and surprisingly hooked. Paul has had the good fortune to work around the world, and is very happy to now find himself working at SANCA. He enjoys sharing his passion for trapeze and helping others discover the limitless possibilities of the circus.

 

 

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Nickolai Pirak

Born and raised in Seattle, Nickolai was inspired to learn how to juggle after attending a juggling convention by chance. He fell in love with the art form and moved to Germany to pursue circus arts with a focus on juggling, object manipulation, and performance. Nickolai travels widely to perform and teach. His work has been featured with a diverse range of shows and clients including Microsoft, Seattle Art Museum and Sculpture Park, The Seattle Mayor's Office,

Queensryche, Circus of Dreams, The Moisture Festival, and Seattle Opera. When he isn’t coaching or performing, he enjoys illustration, movies, and lots of coffee. You can find more information about him at nickolaipirak.com.

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Rachel Randall  Rachel Randall

Rachel discovered circus when she joined Professor Bud’s Mini Circus, a youth performance company in Yakima when she was about 10.  She did many other things like competitive gymnastics, ice skating, & dancing professionally before coming back to the

circus world in 2007 when she began teaching at SANCA.  She enjoys teaching Unicycle, Flying Trapeze, & general circus classes that get to do EVERYTHING! When Rachel is not honing her circus skills, she still dances & choreographs professionally.  Her choreography is said be “dynamic” and “diverse” with “an element of wit” by mentors and critics.  Rachel holds a Professional Diploma in Dance Studies from Laban in London, & a BA in dance & anthropology from the University of Washington where she received a full tuition academic scholarship & the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography.  She has performed with several companies including The National Theater of Ghana Dance Ensemble, Khambatta Dance Company, DASS Dance, The Seattle Opera, & her own RandAll Dance.

 

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Chelsey ReaChelsey on Lyre

Classically trained in gymnastics, ballet and hand-to-hand.  Chelsey was given an opportunity to perform Hand-to-Hand at age of 10.  After leaving gymnastics and pursuing other avenues of sport and movement she signed her first contract at 16, as a high diver.  Soon after discovering flying trapeze and circus arts as a young adult, Chelsey spent the better part of 10 years traveling Europe, Canada and the US performing and fulfilling her childhood dream of flying trapeze professionally on tour with the Tuniziani family.  Today, Chelsey brings over 20 years of experience to her students.  Inspiring them to be inquisitive with spatial awareness, unlocking boundaries as they gain strength and build skills in the air as well as on the ground. Her technique stems from her main impulse, to have fun.

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Jonathan Rose


From komonews.com: click here to take you to the web article and video

Jonathan Rose

King County Metro employs hundreds of bus drivers who sit quietly behind the wheel all day, but only one of those drivers moonlights as a daredevil acrobat at night.  Jonathan Rose said he's just living in the moment and happens to have two jobs that are perfect for him. By day, Rose drives the number 355 from Shoreline to Seattle. By night, he moonlights as a performer, dazzling crowds while hanging from ropes as an acrobat. Bus riders who see Rose daily have no idea that under his Metro uniform are six-pack abs, bulging biceps and other muscles most men only wish they could achieve.

"Yeah they might not even recognize me," he said. "Yeah, I think people would be pretty surprised. I'm a bit on the introverted side. I'm just kind of quiet and mild mannered, but then of course on stage I have a job to do depending on the character and the act, I rise to the occasion." He's worked for Metro for six years and said he stumbled into his offbeat night job.
"I had been doing some traveling in Mexico and actually, spontaneously, ran away with the circus," he said. For two years, he helped take down and put up tents and performed small parts in the show. "Being in the circus in Mexico was a great adventure," Rose said. "It was a lot of work. We travelled a lot and there's a lot that goes into maintaining the circus."
After his stint in the circus, which also included caring for a hippopotamus and an elephant, Rose returned to Seattle and started building his aerial skill set. "I'd love to actually be able to do a backwards flip where I let go of the rope and catch on again," he said. Rose said he wants his next big adventure to take him to Europe, where he'd like to perform in a longer-running show.

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Leslie Rosen

LeslieLeslie Rosen brings a lifetime of dance training and professional circus skills to fire performance to create a unique fusion that is powerful and beautiful. She was honored with the opportunity to perform for the cast of Cirque du Soleil and was accepted into the Cirque performer database in Aug 2011. She has created many large-scale fire performances for everyone from Bumbershoot to Burningman.
Leslie can be seen solo as well as with her fire troupe, Pyrosutra. She works and performs with the professional collective at the nationally acclaimed circus arts center, The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts, in Seattle, WA. A proud native of the great state of Maine, Leslie currently makes her home in Seattle; that is, until the circus comes to town.

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Erica RubinsteinErica

Erica started her circus career at Oberlin College with the student run club OCircus! while studying neuroscience and dance. She is the director of the Youth Performances Companies at SANCA working directly with Cirrus Circus and Magnificent 7. She also performs hand to hand as part of the duo Retro Verso. While lifting people is her specialty she loves learning new skills in everything circus from aerial to juggling. Excited about any opportunity to connect people, resources and opportunities she was the onsite coordinator for the 2012 American Youth Circus Organization's Educators Conference hosted by SANCA. Now she is the events director for Circus Now, a national organization that aims to promote and advance contemporary circus in the United States. 

Emily Scherb

Emily has been involved in circus since she was a kid. She has performed and coached aerial skills and flying trapeze around the country, and is now happy to call SANCA home. Emily has combined her love of movement with science and is now a physical therapist and owner of Pure Motion Physical Therapy. She uses her medical knowledge to educate and care for circus performers of all levels and is interested in helping performers understand how their bodies work.

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Noa Schnitzer

Noa’s background is movement. She studied gymnastics as a young girl, and in 2008 found her calling while attending Sandciel, a school for dance and circus arts in Israel.
She found a unique voice through movement and trapeze in the disciplines of modern and classical dance, tumbling, aerial acrobatics, miming, clowning, contact improvisation, and object manipulation. After two years in Sandciel, she moved to Olympia WA so that she could attend The Evergreen State College where she pursued one of her long time interests, sustainable agriculture. During college, Noa joined the local aerial group, Tall House Arts Consortium, whose members’ dedication, passion, and creativity remain a strong source of inspiration.  
After graduating with a BA in sustainable agriculture and performing arts, Noa was approached by Orit Nevo, the director of ON Contemporary Circus Creations, Israel, and Guy Carrera, the director of Archaos, France to perform trapeze in their circus arts production “Somewhere and Nowhere”, a tale of immigration. The show premiered in Marseille, France in 2013 and will premier in Israel and South America in 2014.
Noa’s extensive traveling provides her the opportunity to call multiple places home. However, the circus is where her heart is. Noa is pursuing her Pilates teacher certificate in Seattle and is excited to teach, and nurture her student’s aerial acumen.


Sarah Siefke

Sarah Sarah Siefkefirst became entranced with the circus after joining the Flying High Circus at Florida State University. With a mixed background of various sports and performance arts, she took to the circus quickly and over the next 5 years performed and coached many acts including mexican cloud swing, acro, teeterboard and flying trapeze. A few highlights of her time with the FSU Circus include opening a show for 10,000 fans of Stephen Colbert, and summering in Georgia teaching the circus arts to terminally ill children and their families all the while completing her bachelor's and master's degree programs. The latter of which brought her to Seattle as a working business professional who now moonlights at SANCA as a flying trapeze instructor. She’s proof that the old adage is true, you can shake the sawdust off of your shoes but never out of your heart.

T Lawrence-SimonT-Lawrence Simon

T is off to work with Circus Smirkus for the summer of 2014. We hope to see him again in the fall if other adventures don't draw him away!

T Lawrence-Simon is a Philadelphia native, Boston-raised, Vermont-lived, world-frolicking recent transplant to Seattle. T has always been an artist in some form or another. After excelling in the theater world, T officially joined the circus world learning aerials while pursuing his theater degree in college. After graduating college, he attended the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) professional program. T specialized first in aerial hoop and rope, then took on the unique double-bar trapeze, and handbalancing for his graduating acts. T taught at NECCA for 2 years redeveloping the aerial hoop curriculum, and teaching various high level aerial classes. In teaching, T's focus is on a strong technique foundation mixed with a creative willingness to ask "what if?", backed by precise character work. T was recently voted on Facebook as the Best Aerial Hoop Teacher in the country. He has been called “the master of aerial bad-assery”, but when on the ground, T can be found designing and sewing professional costumes, or teaching ZUMBA.

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Jacob Skeffington

 A small circus program in place of physical education class sparked his interest at the age of twelve. This “Hilltop Circus”, so called because of the quaint location of the grade school it was part of, got him hooked. So hooked, that Jacob, a group of friends from the program and their teacher decide to start their own youth circus, the Flying Gravity Circus. Jacob and his friends spent the next few years traveling around New England and Canada performing, conducting workshops, and helping schools to develop their own circus programs. During these years, Jacob was accepted to Circus Smirkus, a high caliber international youth circus. The exposure Smirkus provided to Jacob was the introduction of high level acrobatics with coaches from the Russian State and Mongolian State Circuses. After his time on Smirkus, Jacob was accepted to North America’s most prestigious professional circus school, the National Circus School of Montréal, where he was fortunate enough to work with the great Alexandre Arnoutov, from one of Russia’s greatest circus families. After three years at the National Circus School in Montreal. Jacob went to perform with Cirque du Soleil’s touring show Kooza. While on tour with Kooza, Jacob was introduced to his current hand to hand partner, Faith. Jacob took a break from performing to coach gymnastics and put together a new acrobatic act with Faith. Jacob and Faith have trained and performed in China, and in Brazil. Jacob is now hoping to share these diverse experiences with SANCA.

 

Terri Sullivan

Terri already had a strong background in gymnastics and improv comedy when she met members of the New Vaudeville group, The New Old Time Chautauqua. Doing shows with them and performers like The Flying Karamazov Brothers as acrobat and choreographer inspired her to revisit her gymnastics roots and to expand into the area of circus performing. After taking adult gymnastics classes in Seattle, and training in flying trapeze and acrobatics at The San Francisco School of Circus Arts, she began coaching at The Seattle Gymnastics Academy where she founded the Summer Circus Camp program. When SANCA opened she was asked to bring her special combination of gymnastics, circus skills, and performing to their students. Terri, over the past 20+ years, has also operated her own businesses including the popular El Diablo Coffee Co.  Having sold it in 2012, she now manages the Title Nine store in Green Lake in addition to directing the Amazing Circus 1-ders at SANCA.

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Vivian Tam

We will miss Vivian at SANCA but know that taking the bus from the Issaquah-region is... painful.  You can find out more about her at www.vivian-tam.com.

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Jeff Tretheway

Come Fly with Jeff! You'll find him catching or pulling lines with the Flying Trapeze Team in the tent. He has an extensive background in gymnastics and has been flying since " insert the year here"  Fun facts about Jeff; he is a retired computer genius with his own zip line. He and his brother produced a "this is your life" style circus show for their parent 50 wedding anniversary here at SANCA and managed to keep it a complete surprise right up to the big reveal.

 

Ty Vennewitz

Ty grew up and up in Washington state. He discovered dance in higher education and graduated from Western Washington University at the top of his class.  He has danced in the Portland Opera, the A-Wol Dance Collective and in a dental commercial as a ballet dancing molar. Ty’s obsession with circus lured him across the continent to the National Circus School in Montreal, where he put on the world’s smallest mask, a red nose, and seriously studied clowning.  He also performs juggling, roué cyr and duo trampoline with his clown partner Olivia Weinstein.

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Milla Voellinger

Milla was first inspired by the magnificence of the circus at the age of 12 when she attended a performance of the Florida State University Flying High Circus. With sequins and spandex on the mind, Milla decided then that performing with the circus was all she ever wanted to do. While attending FSU, she performed with the collegiate circus in acts including Double Trapeze, Rolla Adagio, High Casting, Roman Rings, and other various acts. She also taught circus skills to younger students and guests of summer camps with the FSU Circus. In the summer of 2010, Milla decided she needed a change of scenery and traveled from her birthplace of Florida across the country to Seattle. Now she works out in the tent with the Sanca School of Flight program where she is able to spread her wings and try to defy gravity one swing at a time.

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Katie Wagman

When she was 5, Katie tried to convince her parents to sell her to the circus. It may come as no surprise that they declined, but Katie's dream of running away with the circus never died. Twenty years later, she started traveling the world learning and teaching flying trapeze. She has met and worked with many talented and creative, kind and generous people and she has learned innumerable life lessons through the magic of circus. For the past 5 years, Katie has taught and performed flying trapeze and circus arts at resorts, schools, camps, and arts festivals. Her new home is SANCA, where she hopes to bring the happiness that she has found through flying trapeze to as many people as possible.

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Naami Wagner

Coach Naami (Rhythms with Salami) hails from the Washington D.C. area. She was a state champion pole-vaulter until... she tried the flying trapeze. Taking a leap and following a passion, she had to run away with the circus. She found SANCA and plunged in with (7) classes her first session. She has been accepted at the New England Center for Circus Arts Intensive Program beginning this fall.

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Orville Zharoff

Orville grew up up on Kodiak Island, and worked in commercial fishing in Bristol Bay; the only thing that comes close to being as challenging to the Alaskan fishing life has been circus arts.  Through years of practice Orville has achieved skills in tumbling, juggling, and partner movements.  Polishing those skills and teaching circus arts have been a fun way of applying his nearly limitless energy. Orville’s experiences include cheerleading, Dance Drill Teams, performing and choreographing with Swing Dance and Ballroom Dance troupes, and teaching partner dances and partner movements for over 14 years.  His current passion is practicing Acro.

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Amanda Zwar, Facilities Manager

Amanda Zwar is SANCA's Gal Friday! This third-generation West Seattle native has always been drawn to the performing arts. While some middle school girls were learning how to apply sparkle nail polish, Amanda was already learning how to wire a three-phase electric power switch with the union theater crews.  She scored some early training at Chief Sealth High School, with a focus on theater tech and stage management. She was then recruited out of her high school  theater lighting and sound internship to work crew on rock n' roll tours. She's been on the road with Queensrÿche, Blue Öyster Cult and the Insane Clown Posse, to drop a few names. Now she has her own band of insane clowns here at the circus school! Wielding the patience of a saint, a college degree in film & video, and a bullwhip (she organizes the monthly bullwhip get together at SANCA—you may have heard them breaking the sound barrier), she leads the charge to keep our building and theater in top form.

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Board button


Jaxon Ravens,Jaxon Ravens Board President

Jaxon Ravens is currently the Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party. He previously served as the Executive Director of the Washington State Democratic Party and President of the National Association of State Democratic Executive Directors. He also serves as a member of the Washington State Arts Commission, and has served on the boards of Seattle Works, the World Affairs Council, the Seattle Art Museum Asian Arts Council, and Circus Contraption. He has volunteered extensively with the Red Cross and the United Way, and is a proud graduate of Leadership Tomorrow. In 2011 he was a recipient of the Governor's 2011 Volunteer Service Award. He has a Bachelor’s degree in politics and economics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MBA in International Management from Thunderbird in Glendale, AZ. Jaxon spent most of the 1990s living and traveling overseas and is a proud supporter of the arts. SANCA Board member since January 2010.

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Becky Kaufman, Becky KaufmanBoard Vice President

Becky Kaufman has worked as a theatrical tailor since the mid 1980’s, and has been fortunate to work on Broadway, popular films, and for many regional theatres around the country including several in Seattle. Her former company, Period Corsets, costumed the well-known Seattle and San Francisco circus attraction, “Teatro ZinZanni.” Kaufman brings her entrepreneurial experience and a love of theatre to the SANCA board. She is also a proud parent of a high wire enthusiast who has trained with SANCA since they first opened their doors in 2004. SANCA board member since November 2006.

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Gaye McNutt, Board TreasurerGaye McNutt

Gaye McNutt, JD,  co-owns Cadency Winery with her husband Benjamin Smith. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Texas, School of Law. She held a position as a Senior Corporate Attorney at Microsoft from 1995 to 2003, when she retired from law to focus on the winery. Her daughter Cara has taken classes at SANCA and enjoys aerial silks. SANCA board member since May 2012.

 

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Carl Bystrom, Board Secretary

Carl Bystrom

Carl Bystrom has worked as a software engineering manager at Microsoft and Amazon for the last sixteen years. He has contributed to a diversity of projects including: The Internet Gaming Zone, eBooks, Windows, the Amazon Website Platform, and Microsoft Surface. He holds a BA in Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington.  Aside from circus arts, Carl's interests include writing, running, swing dancing, visual art, and music. He first came to SANCA in 2005 as a student with his teenage son. Since then Carl has become a volunteer at SANCA, teaching juggling, sleight-of-hand, and Intro to Circus classes. He has even built his own 7-foot-high tight wire in his backyard. Carl is looking forward to contributing to SANCA’s future growth and service in the community. SANCA board member since January 2013.

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Nur Bernhardt

Nur Berhardt

Nur Bernhardt is a passionate snowboarder who supports his habit by working as an Energy Trader at The Energy Authority. His position puts him at the cutting edge of our region’s energy industry. Before he immersed himself in the world of energy and finance he spent eight years working in the ski industry. One of his proudest accomplishments is that his yearly total of snowboarding days equaled most people’s lifetime total. In between snowboard seasons, Nur worked on a Bachelor’s of Arts and Social Science at Washington State University, graduating in Spring 2008. He has always been a proud supporter and curator of the arts. He has organized and managed events since he was 17. He has produced events for universities, nonprofits, and ski resorts. SANCA Board Member since September 2011.

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Fred Dias
Fred Dias is a Certified Public Accountant for Grant Thornton LLP as a Senior Tax Accountant and holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Seattle University. Fred has a lifelong interest in the circus arts dating back to his youth in Brazil when he participated in several circus camps. His favorite classes were plate spinning, walking on stilts, and tight rope. He even has a scar from a particularly impressive time spinning plates! SANCA board Member since November 2013.

Blair FeehanBlair Feehan

Blair Feehan currently works at On the Boards, a contemporary performance theater, as their Director of Patron Relations. With a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Whitman College and a certificate of nonprofit management from the University of Washington, Blair worked professionally in theatre as a stage manager and lighting designer before turning her focus to arts administration. An avid volunteer in the Seattle arts scene, Blair served as marketing director of Circus Open Mic, Seattle’s first and only free monthly circus, and currently volunteers at a number of other theatres around the Puget Sound. Blair has studied static trapeze at SANCA, and has most recently been bitten by the urge to fly, picking up flying trapeze classes at SANCA whenever she can. When not flying through the air with the (not-so-) greatest of ease, Blair can be found cooking, advocating for the arts, or playing the drums in a rock band. SANCA board member since September 2011.

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Janet Olson Jan Olson

Jan Olson is a Key Account Manager with the Revere Group, a packaging supplier for the chocolate and gourmet foods industry. Prior to this she has worked in accounting and had a 20-year career in commercial banking. Life changed in so many good ways when she adopted Leeza, now 14, from Russia in 1996. Leeza became a student at SANCA five years ago and is still taking classes. In addition to supporting Leeza’s many sports, music, and school activities and taking leadership roles in the Billings Middle School Parent Association and St. John United Lutheran Church, Jan likes to read, write, cook, and garden. SANCA board member since January 2009.

 

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Todd PetersenTodd Petersen

Todd Petersen is a digital imaging production artist with his wife in their small design firm Friedman Petersen Design. Todd has worn many hats in the mines of the Internet gold rush since it really got going in the early 1990's—from producer, project manager, imaging manager and talent scout. Todd was born and raised in Bozeman, Montana and received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy from the University of Oregon. Todd's interest in theater and performance started early, but really piqued when his twins started circus when SANCA first opened 8 years ago. Now his daughter Sydney is very much enjoying her time in the SANCA Youth Performance Company, and his son continues to keep balls and clubs in the air with juggling classes. SANCA board member since June 2011.

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