Acrobatic Conundrum, Seattle's premier contemporary circus arts company, creates performances that amaze and inspire audiences. Founded in 2012 by Artistic Director Terry Crane, the company blends virtuosic circus skill, dance and physical theater to create work that is poetic, a little absurd, and deeply relatable. Acrobatic Conundrum has appeared nationally and internationally at such venues as New York City’s SummerStage, the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Vancouver CircusFest, TEDxRainier, and The Backstreet Festival in Alexandria, Egypt. The company is a 2015 and 2017 recipient of the City of Seattle’s CityArtist Projects Award.
Alex Allan is an aerialist and dancer from Sydney, Australia. In 2008 he completed a BA in Communications (Theatre/Media) with a focus in physical theatre creation. 6 months later Alex was accepted into the Professional Aerial Program at the San Francisco Circus Center where he specialized in Aerial Rope. Alex has performed and taught workshops in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. He currently resides in Seattle, WA. Alex combines his background of Theatre, Dance and Circus to create unique and original work. Whether in coaching or onstage, Alex utilizes directionality and momentum-based movement to create choreography that is both fluid and dynamic. Alex is also a LMP and Certified SOMA Practitioner.
A pioneer in vertical dance performance, BANDALOOP seamlessly weaves dynamic physicality, intricate choreography and the art of climbing to turn the dance floor on its side. Founded by choreographer and artistic director Amelia Rudolph, BANDALOOP’s work has been presented in theaters and museums, on skyscrapers, bridges, billboards and historical sites, in atriums and convention halls, in nature on cliffs, and on screen. BANDALOOP honors nature, community and the human spirit by bringing dance to new audiences, activating public and natural spaces, and re-imagining what dance can be.
Beth Clarke is one of a hand-full of women who perform on the slack rope. A graduate of the Ecole Nationale de Cirque, she has also studied with Masha Dimitri and Szilard Skeley, two of the world's most reknown slack rope artists. Beth's performing credits include working with les sept doigts de la main, Circus Cirkor, Cirque Elioze, The Pickle Family Circus, The Discover Channel, Disney, and many other circuses, varieties and theatrical groups throughout the world. She is one of the founders of Sweet Can, a theatrical circus based in San Francisco.
Xochitl Sosa is an Oakland based aerial performer and instructor. In her youth, she was a competitive figure skater and varsity softball player. She discovered aerial acrobatics as a camper at Camp Winnarainbow, in northern California; over time, she progressed from student to head of the camp’s aerial program.
In 2012, after helping establish Sky Candy, an aerial school in Austin, Texas, Xochitl was accepted to the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA.) In NECCA’s year-long professional program, Xochitl concentrated on dance and duo trapeze under renowned coaches Aimee Hancock, Ser enity Smith, and Elsie Smith. After graduating, she continued her training in Montreal with coaches from Cirque du Soleil and the famed National Circus School: Rachel Walker, Victor Fomine, Chloe Farah, and Itzel Virguenza.
In addition to static, single point, and duo trapeze, Xochitl has extensive experience performing on vertical apparatus such as silks and rope. Her work is inspired by a variety of forms including Latin and modern dance. She has performed nationally and internationally, with such companies as: Circovencion Mexican Circus, Vespertine Circus, and Acrobatic Conundrum.
When she is not performing, Xochitl teaches both recreational and professional students at Kinetic Arts (Oakland, CA), the San Francisco Circus Center (San Francisco, CA), and at workshops across the US and Mexico.
Caroline Wright was born with a passion for climbing and acrobatics. She spent her early teens performing and touring with the Flying Gravity Circus, and went on to complete NECCA's Professional Track Program. Specializing in Trapeze, Hoop and Silks, Caroline has performed with many companies across the country and internationally.
Felicity Hesed is a Clown and Trapeze Artist. She delights and surprises viewers with her vibrant characters, technical skill, and audience interaction. Felicity's San Francisco performance credits include The Pickle Family Circus, Cabaret Lunatique with Teatro ZinZanni, Circus Adventure with Bay Area Children's Theater, and Cabaret Metamorphosis at the Circus Center. Felicity can regularly be seen performing at the Circus Center Cabaret and the Red Hots Burlesque Cabaret. Felicity received her BA in Theatre Arts from Kalamazoo College (Michigan), completed the Clown Conservatory Program (San Francisco), and has been training Static Trapeze with Elena Panova for nearly 10 years. Felicity is currently the Director of the Youth Program at Circus Center as well as the Mother of two sweet and wild little boys.
Helen and Kate first worked together when they performed GroundedAerial's Recoil in 2016. As individual artists they perform, educate, and collaborate in the Bay Area dance community and beyond. The duo's current work, Magnificent Sister, explores melodrama of sisterhood. Magnificent Sister questions the relationship between chosen and genetic family lineages. Helen and Kate use clowning, rope and harness, and a 1954 film score conducted by Helen's great grandfather to investigate crisis and co-dependence.
Jessica Curl Rose & Andrea Keene
Andrea Keene and Jessica Curl Rose were mothering, homesteading, and minding their own business when they fell in love with the aerial rope a few years ago. Their duo rope work is a natural extension of the supportive sisterhood they have found in circus arts training. They live in Mendocino, California where they both teach and perform with Circus MeCCA.
Kameko Shibata, a yogini Ayurvedic practitioner by day, is a fierce aerial performer by night. She brings her passion for human strength and grace into captivating performances that invite you to become radically present.
Kameko specializes in dynamic aerial rope, inspired by the simple and stark nature of the apparatus. Inspired by the natural world, live musical collaborations, social justice story telling, site specific work, invented apparatuses, and warm beverages of all kind she uses performance as a invitation to engage with our environment directly, explore our creative potential and test our physical capacity.
Kameko is an independent international artist and honored to collaborate with: Zaccho Dance Theatre, Karl Gillick Productions, Vaude De Virve Society, Quixotic Fusion, We Players, Metamorphosis Ballet, Fractal Tribe, Circus Mecca, Kinetic Arts and New Old Time Chautauqua. She dangled from the bay in the 2016 Aerial Arts Festival, danced off roofs, and from bridges, performed in huge venues in Las Vegas, in social justice soup kitchens, in small pueblo schools in Mexico and more festivals than worth counting.
A lifelong mover she combines a kinetic fascination with her background in yoga, functional anatomy, massage, gymnastics, acrobatics, capoeira, and dance to create art that is remembers we are animals : wild, raw and subtle.
Sierra grew up talking too loud and taking up as much space as possible in Santa Rosa, California. After wading in the worlds of dance and theater, she found circus to be a place that embraced her poignant skills as a physical theater artist, aerialist, and clown. An avid collaborator, Sierra is co-founder of Levity Aerial Troupe and Skytopia Aerial Arts where she shares her love of aerial art with kids and adults. Specializing in silks and trapeze, Sierra takes characters up into the air. Audiences have called her “an electrifying beam of positivity and happiness in this cynical world”. Sierra earned a BFA degree in theater performance and a certificate in nonprofit management from Southern Oregon University. She’s currently talking loudly and dancing about in Sonoma County.
In 2006, UpSwing Aerial Dance Company was formalized from a pick up company to full-fledged company under the direction of Artistic Director, Cherie Carson bringing her unique style, blend of movement, while encouraging improvisation and collaboration with her dancers. Our mission is to perform dynamic, original choreography by Cherie Carson both in the air and on the ground. Our focus is to explore our unique and rare blend of creativity, point of views, aerial and floor technique, in relationship to gravity, time and space.
Upswing has showcased its repertoire at the New York Aerial Dance Fest (2011), the YELP East Bay Summer Splash (2011); Open Air Fest on Vashon Island on Puget Sound west of Seattle (2012, ’13); Festival of Aerial Arts in Houston TX (2014); workshopped aerial dance on ropes in San Antonio & Austin, TX (2015-2016); and 2016, Cherie Carson was guest artist/teacher at the Santa Barbara Floor to Air Festival celebrating the contemporary and boundary-pushing genre of aerial dance. UpSwing Company is composed of 7 dancers, 1 rigger and 1 director.
Veronica Blair has emerged as one of the top Black aerialists in the country, and has taken her high-flying talents all around the world.
Blair, a Bay Area native, began her career at the age of 14 at the former San Francisco School of Circus Arts, now known as the Circus Center San Francisco. Shortly after making her debut at 17, she was noticed by Cedric Walker, the founder of the Universoul Circus. Walker named Blair as a solo trapeze artist, and she was Universoul’s Resident Aerialist for over five years.
Blair has performed in “Afrika! Afrika!,” Germany’s largest circus event, and also worked for Universal Studios Japan. She still works with the Circus Center, and has put on shows featuring other Black aerialists and circus performers for themed events, such as a tribute to recording artist Prince that took place in 2014.
Black circus performers are rarely recognized, and Blair has taken on the task of filming a documentary that puts a new light on those who work in the industry. Blair’s The Uncle Junior Project came about after the death of little-known Black circus animal trainer of the same name. In an attempt to uphold Junior’s legacy and that of the Black circus, Blair has the ambitious aim of bringing those unknown entertainers to the forefront.
Zaccho Youth Company
Zaccho Youth Company (ZYC) is a pre-professional aerial dance company founded by Artistic Director Joanna Haigood. It consists of 13 members, ages 9 through 19. ZYC presents work that is content driven and integrates aerial flight and suspension as a way of expanding the dancers‚ spatial and dynamic range. Under the direction of choreographer Joanna Haigood, the company members collaborate in the creative process by contributing important conceptual and choreographic material. Since its inception in 2002, ZYC has performed throughout the Bay Area to unanimous acclaim venues and festivals include, Circus for the Arts in the School Benefit, Vision Series Dance Festival, The Luggage Store Gallery’s In the Streets Festival, the Black Choreographers Festival, Global Youth Media and Arts Festival, Sky Dancers Festival, ODC Youth Festival, Project Artaud Theater, Dance Palace in Point Reyes, the Discovery Museum, ODC Theater, Dance Mission, The Kofman Auditorium SOMArts, Zeum Theater, Montalvo Arts Center, Fort Mason’s Cowell Theater, Canopy Aerial Studios in Atlanta, GA, CounterPULSE, and the Bolinas Community Center. Zaccho Youth Company is part of Zaccho Dance Theatre’s award winning Youth Performing Arts Program, held at the organization’s studio in Bayview Hunters Point, where it has been based for the past 26 years.