2016 Featured Artists
Flyaway Productions
Flyaway Productions, directed by Jo Kreiter, performs off-the-ground dances that expose the range and power of female physicality. They experiment with height, speed and gravity, dancing on steel objects that are both architectural and fabricated. They dance at the intersection of social justice and acrobatic spectacle. They offer performance as a medium for social commentary and choose projects that advance female empowerment in the public realm. At its core, their work explores the female body– its tumultuous expressions of strength and fragility.
Born out of the collision of cultural influences found only in the San Francisco Bay Area, Capacitor’s performances explore the patterns and relationships inherent in nature and the cosmos. Through dance, interactive video, cirque nouveau, live music, and large-scale movement sculptures, Jodi Lomask and her company Capacitor humanize abstract scientific concepts, transcending cultural barriers and widening the scope of basic human experience for audiences of all ages.
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.
Karl Gillick
Karl Gillick, a former tree canopy biologist and rock climbing guide, began producing his own aerial dance work in 1998. The creativity and dexterity required to traverse delicately among the crowns of ancient trees inspired him to share his tactile sense of movement and love of nature with an audience. With his penchant for large, interactive, site-specific work and inclusive, collaborative processes, Karl rethinks commonplace environments to enrich audience/performer shared experiences. As a master rigger, accomplished visual designer, artistic director and performer, Karl’s bold, emotional imagery engages with art as primary research into the human condition.
Zaccho Dance Theatre
Zaccho Dance Theatre is best known for its site specific performances that investigate dance as it relates to place. Using innovative aerial techniques to create a dynamic and more dimensional performance space, the company has made large scale works for many extraordinary landmarks, including Popes’ Palace in France, the San Francisco International Airport, Fort Point National Monument, and Port Authority Grain Terminal in Brooklyn. Under the direction of Joanna Haigood, Zaccho has been making history since 1980.
Syn Circus
Alayna Stroud studied at Interlochen Arts Academy, University of Michigan, Mills College, and received her BFA from North Carolina School of the Arts. She began her aerial dance career in the bay area with Terry Sendgraff/ Motivity. She co-founded Bow & Sparrow, a collaborative project with Kate Law. Alayna was in the creation cast of the Cirque du Soleil production Iris, in Los Angeles. She spent time as the creative director of Supperclub LA as well as Supperclub SF where she developed Syn Circus as the Supperclub's resident multi disciplinary company. Producing well crafted club or theater friendly entertainment, it has now taken on a life of its own. She teaches sensual movement, pole dancing, aerial dance, performs with Jo Kreiter’s FlyAway Productions and occasionally Project Bandaloop.

Featherpistol is a Performance Artist based in San Francisco. Her signature style, entitled “Kung Fu Pole Art” has been in the making since 2003. With it, she blends 10 years of intense Hung Gar Tiger Crane Kung Fu training with arobatics, sensual dance, and grace to create a unique style as yet unseen in the pole world. Although Pole Art is her passion, Feather has worked successfully as an aerialist, runway model, living statue, bodypaint model and a sound healer for events and parties all over the globe. Whatever the job, years of studying science and art history in college, followed by years of teaching pole dance and personal fitness has given her artistry a fluid, expressive quality that is one of a kind. Feather has performed her “Acrobatic Pole Performance Art” at private parties, Vegas nightclubs, special events, casino showrooms, birthdays, bachelorettes, fundraisers, festivals and theater productions.
Upswing Aerial Dance Company
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.
Nehara Kalev & Glenn Easley
Nehara Kalev is a performing artist dedicated to exploring states of being through interdisciplinary performance. Combining experimental dance-theatre, improvisation, and aerial imagery, she has created and performed works with major support from private foundations, artistic residencies, and public institutions. Recent engagements include a Bogliasco Fellowship to develop new choreography in Italy, a solo premiere at White Wave Dance Festival in New York City, and a full-length commissioned production at San Francisco's deYoung Museum. Supported by The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Scripps Foundation, The Center For Cultural Innovation’s ARC Grant, and Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Nehara collaborated to create a multisite-specific work for the de Young Museum in 2012. As co-founder and co-director of Catch Me Bird, she transformed the passage of time into performances chronicling of the evolving reality of a marital partnership. Catch Me Bird’s works have been presented by Center for the Arts, Escondido, The Ford Amphitheatre, REDCAT, The Alex Theatre’s Celebrate Dance, LA County’s 50th Annual Celebration at the Chandler Pavilion, California Institute of The Arts, New York's Solar One Festival and The White Wave Festival. Educational programs include Segerstrom Center For The Arts, Skirball Family Performances, UCLA Dance-Theater Intensive, and The Heart Project serving at-risk youth. Catch Me Bird won the Horton award for Outstanding Achievement In Performance for IRON, and has been nominated for three additional Horton Awards. CMB is a three-time recipient of the Artist-In-Residence grant from the city of Los Angeles' Department of Cultural Affairs. CMB has also received support from The Durfee Foundation, The Flourish Foundation, and Cirque Du Soleil. CMB has been part of APAP’s Emerging Leaders Institute in New York, Pentacle’s Help Desk/LA. Nehara holds a Master of Fine Arts from UCLA, and has been a guest artist at universities including CalArts, UCLA, Cal State LA, and The University of Winchester, U.K. She has performed featured roles with Diavolo Dance Theater throughout the US, toured with David Rousseve/Reality, performed with Airealistic. She has worked with The Los Angeles Opera and the legendary Rachel Rosenthal Company. She values the process of collaboration as a springboard for human growth.
Paloma Project
Reflecting the intimate relationship between a dancer and her environment, The Paloma Project develops site-specific, multidisciplinary choreography that enmeshes ancient traditions with avant-garde sensibilities. Using flight and movement as metaphors for the human condition, director Ninette Paloma draws local and international artists together to explore the interconnectedness of floor to air dancing.

For over 25 years, Ms. Paloma’s feet have been dangling over the edges of dusty stages the world over; from an early immersion into physical theatre with Chicago youth company Brechita, to high-flying expeditions as a teenage girl walking the tightwire for a Midwestern circus. Juxtaposing contemporary dance and theatre training at Columbia College Chicago with old world Circus Arts technique under Sylvia Hernandez-Distasi of The Actor's Gymnasium, her two worlds finally collided, and a blended perspective began to surface.

In 2006, she founded the Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance in Santa Barbara, California and began an aerial and contemporary dance conservatory in her uniquely developed style of floor to air® dance.

Directorial and Choreography credits include 2011 Vesna, 2012 Indah, 2013 The Violet Hour, 2014 Belline, 2015 Petite Fleche, and 2016 Elemental You, six evening-length works that have debuted in Santa Barbara, New York, and Chicago. Excerpts were included in a two-week residency project at the Mesa Arts Center in Arizona, and Les Rencontres de Danse Aerienne in La Baule, France. Ms. Paloma is the founder of California's first International Aerial Dance Festival, and is a freelance dance writer for the Santa Barbara Independent.
Calvin Kai Ku
As a performer of many talents, Calvin has entertained audiences in all varieties of stages from International Festivals to large production shows, and even private events. He consistently impresses people all over the world with his charismatic, comedic presence. Using both magic and circus, Calvin Kai Ku creates unique and memorable performances.
Danielle Sandia Sexton
Danielle Sandia Sexton is a San Francisco based aerial artist and instructor. An alumnus of the Circus Center’s Professional Aerial Program, Sandia uses her conservatory training as a foundation for exploring acrobatic and aerial techniques in immersive theater and traditional vaudeville performance, and as a platform for social commentary. Sandia choreographs solo performance as well as collaborates with Bay Area innovators of aerial dance, walking the line between stuntwoman, fine artist, and circus performer. She has performed for Zaccho Dance Theatre, Vau De Vire Society, Flyaway Productions, Treat Social Club, Cielo Vertical Arts, Capacitor Dance, Extra Action Marching Band as well as in festivals and supper clubs locally and internationally.
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.
Grounded Aerial
Grounded Aerial is a visceral, innovative combination of modern dance and uniquely rigged aerial elements. We create mind-and-body-bending choreography and vibrant interactive characters for both theatrical performances and corporate events/advertising.

By utilizing the dimensions of each space, we craft pieces specifically for each venue never to be duplicated for any other event. Our technically trained dancers come from such backgrounds as Stomp, De La Guarda, Momix, Blueman Group, Cirque du Soleil, and Pilobolus.
Veronica Blair
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.
Xochitl Sosa
Xochitl Sosa has always been driven by her passions. Since a young age she has been drawn to physical activity and movement. In 1999 Xochitl discovered her true passion in aerials at a colorful summer camp called Camp Winnarainbow. Xochitl spent her childhood immersed with dance, performance and circus arts eventually heading the aerials program at Camp Winnarainbow.

In 2012 after helping establish Sky Candy; an aerial school in Austin,TX, Xochitl attended NECCA’s Pro track program concentrating on Dance trapeze and Duo Trapeze under the instruction of renowned Coaches Aimee Hancock, and Serenity and Elsie Smith. After graduating from NECCA Xochitl continued her training in Montreal Canada where she worked under coaches from Cirque du Soleil and the National Circus School. Xochitl has performed internationally showcasing her unique style on dance trapeze. She is currently based out of Oakland, CA. she works regularly most recently touring with Acrobatic Conundrum