Rachel is in love with the circus. The affair began with her discovery of fire dancing and street theater, and things got serious when she was accepted to the nine-month Professional Track Training Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts with a major in aerial hoop and a minor in aerial rope. Since graduating, she has performed in venues big and small, for avant-garde theatrical shows and big-budget holiday spectaculars, around the country and up and down the hemisphere, and was awarded Best Artistic Performance at the 2011 Aerial Acrobatic Arts Festival. She is also the founder and co-owner of Esh Circus Arts.
Rachel loves the depth of understanding that comes from teaching movement arts, and she looks forward to the interactions that come with teaching her classes. She feels constantly nourished, revitalized, challenged, and humbled by her students. Esh Circus Arts began as a way to make ends meet while she performed. What it has become, and what she hopes it will continue to grow into, is a venue for everyone, from seasoned professionals to recreational amateurs, to discover and hone their bodies' amazing potential.
Ellen Waylonis first performed on stage at the age of 5, tap dancing to Frank Sinatra's "High Hopes." Though her tap career was short lived, she loved performing, and made her way back to the stage during college as a member of an experimental dance troupe. After graduating from Northeastern University with degrees in English literature and photography, Ellen discovered partner acrobatics and aerial arts, and fell head over heels for the joy, sweat, and magic of the circus. Ellen trained at the New England Center for Circus Arts in the Professional Track Program, where she focused on partner acrobatics, aerial rope, and Spanish web, while also studying a variety of other circus disciplines.
Ellen is a founding member and frequent performer with the Boston Circus Guild, and has toured across the US with Cirque Dreams, Nimble Arts, and her own company, Off the Ground Circus. She now splits her time between performing, teaching, and keeping the circus in business as the Chief Executive and co-owner of Esh Circus Arts.
Roger is a circus performer with more than a decade of experience in juggling, acrobatics, partner balancing, fire performance, hand balancing, and the aerial arts. He has performed on stages across the country, been featured in instructional videos, and taught workshops from Boston to California to Spain. Roger is a graduate of the New England Center for Circus Arts' professional track program.
Roger is a proud founding member of the Boston Circus Guild, one half of the performing duo Off the Ground, and a touring member of the circus & fire arts troupe A Different Spin. He is endlessly excited about spreading his circus addiction to everyone - this means you!
(Co-Director of Professional and Youth Programming)
Johnny Blazes is a Boston born-and-raised performer whose work includes theater, modern dance, opera, clowning, and acrobatics, Johnny is a lifelong performer and teacher.
Johnny graduated from Oberlin College in 2007 with a degree in Dance Performance, after founding and directing OCircus!, a 95-person student circus group that brought together performers, composers, and musicians. During Johnny's tenure as Ringmaster, the group created 5 full-length shows, including a touring show that played 11 cities in the Midwest and East Coast
Johnny returned to Boston in 2007 and immediately dove into the nascent local circus community. In 2008, Johnny co-wrote and directed Mischief in the Machine, an evening-length circus theater production, in collaboration with Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band. This show served as one of the seminal moments for the founding of The Boston Circus Guild. Johnny served on the board of The Boston Circus Guild for several years, and directed and performed in a number of shows with the BCG, including Reign of Revelry, Threshold, and Vaudevillainy.
Johnny has been an elementary and middle school classroom teacher as well as a leader of workshops and weekly classes, with students ranging in age from 10 months to 75 years old. Johnny specializes in clowning, improvisation, physical theater, and act construction.
Rachael Chapin Longo is a graduate of Skidmore College where she received her BS in Theater in 2000, and New York University where she earned her MA degree in Educational Theatre in 2005. Her NYC acting credits include A NIGHT OF PAULA VOGEL at The Producers Club and ANYTHING FOR YOU for the Creative Acting Company. Rachael has worked as a producer, director and choreographer for many stage productions. Since graduating from NYU, Rachael has dedicated herself to Educational Theatre and arts administration and has worked as a professional teaching artist and education director; creating curriculum and teaching classes in acting, directing, playwriting, yoga and movement. She has collaborated on and written several original scripts for children. Her directing credits include THE WIZARD OF OZ, THE LARAMIE PROJECT, WEST SIDE STORY and THE TEMPEST. While in the NYC area, Rachael taught with The New Victory Theatre, Pelham Arts Center, Lighthouse Youth Arts Center and Ossining Arts Center. She served as the Director of Education and Operations Manager for The Play Group Theatre in White Plains, NY for several years.
Rachael relocated with her family to the Boston area in the summer of 2012. Since moving she has been a professor of acting and playwriting at Phillips Academy and Merrimack College and recently directed WEST SIDE STORY with Kids Coop Theatre in Derry, NH. She also enjoys performing with Theatre KAPOW. Rachael is thrilled to be joining the team at Esh!
Leah James Abel has been performing and teaching from New York to China and Korea for over 15 years - dancing, clowning, stilting, twisting around trapezes, or parading around with someone standing on her shoulders.
Leah holds a Masters degree in Social Work from Simmons College, and is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Leah also completed her Masters in Environmental Law and Policy at Vermont Law School. She is Co-Founder, Business Manager, and Head Instructor of Circus Up, a Boston-based social circus program. Leah loves to perform and teach with the nonprofit organization Clowns Without Borders, which has sent her on several trips to Haiti, as well as to Palestine and Texas. Leah was a freelance performer and troupe company member in NYC for many years, perfecting her funny persona and aerial skills with companies such as Cirque Boom and Kirkos. She has also frolicked and toured with Imago Theatre (Portland, Oregon), a mask and puppet theater company, with their shows Frogz and Biglittlethings. Currently, Leah works for the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit at Boston Children's Hospital bringing smiles and laughter to the children, staff and families there. Leah also stilts at various events and locations, including Fenway Park, and performs aerials all around the area at corporate, community and college events with her doubles partner, Molly Baechtold.
Leah has a glorious time teaching aerials and other circus skills to kids and adults in and around the Boston area, and is so happy to be part of the Esh community. Leah loves the circus world and is happiest there.
Marlon Archer has been training various circus disciplines since 2005. Originally as a hobby, then in the professional training program at the New England Center for Circus Arts, and most recently at the National Circus School in Montreal, where he completed their three year professional program. He has a passion for all kinds of acrobatics and strength training, but specializes in Hand Balancing, Aerial Straps, and Hand to Hand.
Kenzi grew up in gymnastics, ice skating, competitive cheerleading, and with a love for art and theater. In 2014, she found the circus and started training on aerial silks at Buffalo Aerial Dance. Not long after, she fell in love with aerial hoop. Performing and training became as normal to her as breathing and she performed in public events and in modern circus productions around Buffalo. She has attended and completed the Aircat Aerial Yoga Certification course and taught aerial yoga in Louisville, KY while completing her aerial yoga certification.
Kenzie joined Esh as a student in 2018, and is excited to jump in head first to the Boston circus community. She loves that circus combines her loves of exercise and creativity. As well as being a circus enthusiast, she is a painter and mom. Kenzie has over 10 years' experience as a nanny, and a special place in her heart for toddlers. Having been so deeply impacted by circus arts as an adult, she is so excited to share it with children.
Though his parents will tell you that he learned to somersault before he could walk, Tim found his passion for circus in college. At Vassar College, Tim was a leader in the Barefoot Monkeys circus arts club, helping to grow the organization from a casual juggling club to a large touring performance troupe. After graduating with a degree in theatrical lighting design, Tim moved to Boston with the circus and fire arts troupe A Different Spin and quickly developed a strong relationship with the Boston circus community as a juggler, acrobat and fire arts performer.
In addition to touring nationally and internationally with A Different Spin, Tim works with the Boston Circus Guild as a performer, writer, vocalist, collaborator and choreographer. Recent theatrical credits include Speakeasy Circus, Midnight at the Midway, and Cirque of the Dead.
As a teacher, Tim is a firm believer that anyone can learn to juggle, so they probably should. He is excited to see people discover their own personal love for circus, and is eager to share his passion with students of all ages and abilities!
Alissa grew up in leotards and spent her childhood hand balancing on rocks and logs and anything she could find. She was the regional balance beam champion at her high school outside of Chicago, IL. Alissa went on to get her BFA in painting at the University of New Hampshire, where she also began climbing rocks and hiking the White Mountains. With a strong desire to collaborate artistically and return to a physical practice she found herself at the New England Center for Circus Arts, where she fell in love with the circus community and theatrical expression. In 2011, Alissa graduated from the Professional training program with a focus on trapeze and handbalancing. Since then she has been preforming in street shows, festivals, and theatres, and teaching across the globe. In addition to all things circus she practices modern dance, capoeira, and yoga.
In summer of 2018 Alissa returned to the USA after living in Konstanz, Germany for 3.5 years. She is excited to be a part of the exuberant circus community here in Boston!
Mary has over 12 years of experience in youth education, including pre-K yoga and elementary school theatre. She has co-authored a mathematics course and a professional book for teachers, led development of a suite of mathematics puzzle apps, and is currently co-developing a computer science curriculum.
Mary has a B.S. in mathematics, an M.A. in philosophy, cosmology, and consciousness, and a C.A.G.S. degree in mathematics education. She loves to garden, paint, and ride her dual-sport motorcycle. She has also acted in, directed, and stage managed numerous community theatre productions in Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, and Vermont including several interactive performances and a puppet show.
Mary has been studying circus at Esh Circus Arts since the beginning of 2015 and currently studies aerial straps, hand balancing, partner acrobatics, and rope. She began her study of circus in 2006 on Motivity trapeze, an improv-based form of aerial dance, and has also studied silks and contortion. She is thrilled to share her passion for education and love of circus movement with the children and families in the Youth Program at Esh!
Abbie started doing gymnastics as a toddler, and competed with her high school team in upstate NY throughout middle and high school. She then trained with her college team at Ohio State during her freshman year before leaving gymnastics at age 19. Several years later Abbie realized how much she missed the sport, and found an adult gymnastics class in the Boston area. She began coaching shortly thereafter, in Sept. 2002, and has gained experience with coaching all ages and levels, including children's after school classes, USAG Levels 5-7, PREP-Op, and high school gymnastics.
She now specializes in adult beginner gymnastics at Cambridge Community Gymnastics, where she is the Head Instructor and Executive Director. Abbie also holds a Masters in Public Health from Boston University, where she had the opportunity to compete as a part of the BU Gymnastics Club. She continues to compete in the NAIGC with the CCG Rec Team.
Elsa Hall started gymnastics at age eleven, but it wasn't until her freshman year at Ithaca College that she was introduced to circus in the form of partner acrobatics. After finishing her degree, Elsa attended the Intensive and Professional Training programs at the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA). There she studied aerial straps, hand balancing, and hand to hand. Since then she has trained in Montreal specializing in straps. Elsa has performed at various corporate events as well as shows for Aerial Experience Productions, Nimble Arts, and the Boston Circus Guild.
Having decided to become an elephant rider in Barnum & Bailey, Alexis Hedrick began her circus training with Splash Circus in Oakland, CA at age 10. Although there were no elephants, she excelled at acrobatics, aerials, juggling, and clowning. She went on to work with Master Lu Yi and the San Francisco Youth Circus, learning traditional Chinese Acrobatics and touring the Bay Area with contemporary circus shows directed by Gypsy Snider (7 Fingers) and Aloysia Gavre (Cirque du Soleil). After her alter ego finished a BA in Psychology and French at Vassar College and a fellowship in neurodevelopment, Alexis returned to circus full-time at the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne, Australia where she majored in aerial rope, cyr wheel, and comedy acrobatics.
Alexis has performed and taught across the US, Australia, and the South Pacific, and is delighted to share her knowledge and passion with the Boston circus community!
At age six, Sophia was presenting circus shows on the swing-set in her backyard. She graduated from Colorado College with a BA in Sociology and Drama/Dance in 2011. Following graduation, she was awarded a Watson Fellowship to travel the world teaching and exploring the positive impact of circus education on underprivileged youth and women.
Sophia is a graduate of the Aerial Dance Professional Training Program at Frequent Flyers in Boulder, CO. Sophia is one of the artistic directors of Spoke Movement Ensemble, a Boston-based contemporary circus and physical theater company. Before her move to Boston, Sophia taught with Frequent Flyers and performed with Colorado-based Iluminar Aerial.
Sophia recently graduated with an Ed.M. in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is a co-manager and co-owner of the Commonwealth Circus Center in Jamaica Plain. Sophia is delighted to be a part of the Esh Community!
Joel is a handbalancer and Cyr artist based in Boston. He performed most recently with the national tour of the Tony Award-winning Broadway show Pippin, with circus by Gypsy Snider of Les 7 Doigts De La Main. Prior to this, he performed with AIDA Cruises, where he was selected to perform on the maiden voyage of their new flagship. Some of Joel's corporate clients include Facebook, Hendrick's Gin and Acura. Joel trained circus for two years at the New England Center for Circus Arts' professional training programs, where he specialized in handbalancing, Cyr wheel and acrobatic partnering. Teaching is Joel's other great passion. Before running off to join the circus, Joel studied Education at Brandeis University, earning his Teacher's Licence. He has taught at such institutions as Circus Smirkus, Esh Circus Arts and The Actors Gymnasium. Joel loves to teach, and is always happy to meet new students.
Lolli Hoops has been on the leading front of the Hoop Dance scene since 2003. She is a founding member of The Boston Hoop Troop and an international hoop performer and teacher. Lolli has performed recently in Las Vegas, and in England. She teaches regularly at large hoop conferences including SWHOOP (England), Return to Roots (PA), and Hoop Convergence (NC).
Lolli has been teaching hoop dance to adults and kids since 2005. She merges her extensive performance and movement arts background with her academic background as an Occupational Therapist to break moves down into simple, attainable steps. She helps participants understand their personal movement patterns, and how to use these successfully to execute moves with style and grace. Lolli is known for her high-energy, fun classes -- come play!
Alex Jackson is an avowed bandanna enthusiast from Boston, Massachusetts. After earning degrees in Biology and Theater from UMass Amherst, his passion for rock climbing and being in the air led him to Esh Circus Arts, where he trained a variety of aerial disciplines for 4 years before attending the Professional Training program at the New England Center for Circus Arts. His first love is aerial rope, but he decided it just wasn't painful enough and has focused his time at NECCA on straps and hand balancing. Alex regularly sneaks out of Brattleboro to perform with the members of Boston Circus Guild and teach at Esh Circus Arts.
As a kid Jacqueline could often be found dancing, climbing trees, or adventuring. As she got older, she started training in taekwondo and went on to compete in college. As graduation approached, she knew she was looking for a new hobby and luckily stumbled upon circus. Jacqueline immediately found herself head over heels - and heels over head!
Over the course of her circus journey, Jacqueline has primarily spent her time on partner acrobatics, aerial silks, and aerial rope, though she delights in dabbling in all things circus. With a background in engineering, Jacqueline likes to view circus through the principles of physics and creative problem solving, with a sharp eye towards safety. She is not only interested in the biomechanics of the body, but also enjoys analyzing the rigging above that makes aerials possible and safe. Jacqueline is passionate about teaching and making circus accessible to all!
Sophie Kaufman grew up in Brattleboro, Vermont where she discovered the New England Center for Circus Arts at a young age. She spent much of her childhood in the air, and enjoyed performing with NECCA each summer. Upon moving to Boston to attend Suffolk University, she continued her training at Esh Circus Arts, and began her journey as an instructor there.
Sophie completed a degree in Environmental Studies at Suffolk University in 2017. When she is not training, she enjoys biking, reading, and sending letters to friends and family.
Sophie credits circus with her ability to express herself openly and creatively, and believes that it is the best way in which to meet incredible and diverse people.
After leaving her hometown of Kona, Hawaii, Sara discovered circus while completing her Bachelors degree in Fine Arts at the University of Oregon. Her passion for hula hooping led her to study acrobatics and contortion in China at Beijing International Arts School. Though her training as a contortionist led her to sustain a significant injury, the setback changed the way Sara approached her training for the better and has inspired her focus on injury prevention for herself and her students.
Since leaving Beijing, Sara has been performing her one woman show and making variety, cabaret, and TV appearances in more than 10 countries in Europe and Asia. She has sought out new information on safer ways to approach physical training, and has pursued yoga and meditation teaching certification to help balance the intensity of the traditional Chinese approach to training circus arts.
Today Sara is happily living in her home country after years on tour. She is a proud member of the Boston Circus Guild, and excited to share her knowledge as a teacher at Esh. When not happily hooping, dancing, and stretching you can find Sara with a giant mug of coffee and a book, painting with her hero Bob Ross, or on a trail in the wilderness.
Michael has dedicated the past fifteen years to training, performing, and coaching circus across the globe. As an artist, Michael specialized in aerial straps and had the pleasure of performing for productions such as Britney Spear's Circus Tour, Soap the Show, and Cirque Eloize. Michael's technical style focused on combining dynamic strength with flexibility and fluidity. Since retiring from performing, Michael has been fortunate to coach for Pippin the Musical, Celebrity Cruises, Orchid the Show, and most recently Cirque du Soleil's Luzia. Michael strives to pass his knowledge and love of circus along to his students in a safe, high energy, and fun learning environment!!
After an early start with physical theater training, T joined the circus community as a freshman in college. After college, he attended the New England Center for Circus Arts' Professional Training Program for 2 years, specializing in Aerial Hoop and Double Bar Trapeze, and minoring in Duo Aerial Rope and Handbalancing. During his second year as a student, T was hired to lead the Aerial Hoop program at NECCA and to teach trapeze and fabric classes. T has since taught all over the country, and spends his summers as the Head Aerial Coach at Circus Smirkus summer camp. When he isn't circusing, he can be found teaching ZUMBA, or sewing everything from modern quilts to couture costumes.
Inspired by a street performance festival he attended in his youth, Michael Lewin has continually strived to perform for an audience in any capacity he could. He grew up performing in theater, dance, music, and even briefly as a shout leader. In 2008 he became the hand drummer for the belly dance troupe Oriental Dansi. Shortly after that he discovered the explosive art of fire performance and promptly added it to his repertoire and joined the Utah Fire Conclave. By the year 2012 Michael had discovered Cyr wheel, purchased his own, and just 3 months later performed his first Cyr wheel act for Voodoo Productions. The same year he uprooted from his home town and settled in the Boston area. Since his move, he has continued to study and train Cyr wheel and Cyr wheel coaching under Esh's own Kate Law, as well as her brother Ethan Law; NECCA's Zebediah Galipeau, and graduating student Steve Brine. Michael has also received coaching from Sam Tribble of Spinovation. In March of 2015, Michael attended the USA Wheel Gymnastics Federation's Big Wheel Weekend and completed the Cyr wheel coaching program.
Eileen Little has been climbing on things ever since she can remember, but she first touched a trapeze when she was working toward her MFA in Acting from the National Theater Conservatory. Eileen is co-artistic director and co-founder of Fight or Flight, an aerial theater company based in NYC. She teaches aerial workshops and classes across the US, and in conjunction with Fight or Flight tailors aerial programs to school curricula for education and outreach. She is a graduate of the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, VT. Eileen performs regularly in the Boston area and is a member of Girls on Trapeze, whose latest show "Herself Rising" is touring across the U.S.
Originally from Crystal Beach, FL, Tori began her training in competitive gymnastics, acting, and dance throughout school before she discovered her true passion for aerial arts while attending the University of Central Florida. She went on to train extensively and later coach at the Orlando Circus School, specializing in aerial hoop, silks, and duo trapeze, and began performing professionally in 2012. After touring internationally with the concert series 'Life in Color', she relocated in 2015 to join the incredible Boston circus community and has been here ever since! She has gone on to train at The Irish Aerial Creation Centre in Limerick, Ireland and is a graduate of Esh Circus Art's own Professional Preparatory Program. In addition to being a member of the Boston Circus Guild, she has also performed with companies such as Juventas New Music Ensemble, The Space Coast Ballet Company, and ToUch Performance Arts.
Tracy McAskill began studying contortion at the age of 16. She credits her introduction to contortion to her extensive dance background. Taking her first ballet class at the age of 6, she quickly excelled and began competing in dance competitions in her early teens. This competitive environment inspired Tracy to begin her own personal conditioning regime, where stretching gradually turned into contortion. Tracy began seriously training as a contortionist in 2008. She takes a very methodical and safety-conscious approach to her training and specializes in extreme back flexibility and oversplits.
Erin discovered circus through throwing her kids in the air with Somerville's Open Air Circus program, and once she started she couldn't get enough! While partner acrobatics is her main focus, she has also studied every other discipline she could since joining the Esh community in 2015. Erin began teaching youth circus in 2017. She's delighted to be putting her theatre degree and years of experience volunteering with kids to good use by sharing her love of all things circus!
Theresa Racicot is in love with physical fitness. Theresa discovered strength training and circus arts in 2000, and has been pursuing education and training in these modalities ever since. Her passion to share fitness and a healthy lifestyle lead her to become a certified fitness professional with certifications in personal training, Pilates, yoga and TRX, as well as become a movement and mobility specialist and nutritional coach.
Theresa's passion for circus and aerial arts and the quest to learn more as an educator and performer lead Theresa to attending workshops and trainings for aerials and flying trapeze. Much of her training has been at the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA), where she has not only developed herself as an aerial and circus coach, but also as a performer.
Reba Rosenberg is a former professional ballerina who grew up doing competitive gymnastics and youth circus in addition to her intensive ballet training at schools such as Burklyn Ballet Theatre and the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. She went on to dance with several companies including the American Repertory Ballet, Festival Ballet of Rhode Island, and the former Boston Dance Company, and was a Guest Artist with choreographers and companies performing in New York City and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
Reba also has extensive experience teaching ballet to students of all ages at numerous schools and programs including the Princeton Ballet School, Providence Ballet, and Burklyn Ballet Theatre, where she also served as a Pointe Teacher, Rehearsal Coach, and Program Director.
Reba received a B.A. in Psychology from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University. After retiring from her ballet career she became a Psychology Professor, Researcher, and Lab Director. Missing training and performing after a lifetime in the studio and on stage, Reba was then thrilled to return to her roots by rediscovering partner acrobatics and related disciplines over the past several years. She loves finding creative ways to incorporate her dance training into circus arts, and to share her passion for dance, circus, teaching, and performance with the Esh community. Reba is honored to be joining the fabulous Esh staff and looks forward to working with and learning from the inspiring Esh students!
Ayten was born and raised in Southern California, where she got her first taste of ballet and gymnastics at age six. As a former athlete in volleyball, soccer, and lacrosse, she began studying aerial silks in 2013 in the hopes of finding a physical outlet that joined the artistry of dance with functional strength, flexibility, endurance, and a holistic mind-body practice. Ayten began her journey as a aerial instructor in 2015 at Jill Franklin's Aerial Physique in Los Angeles, California, where she was first introduced to the hypnotic vibrancy of the aerial arts and circus community as both a teacher and a student.
Outside of aerial silks, Ayten paints, plants, practices power vinyasa yoga, and independently studies holistic health, Ayurveda, and astrology. She completed her undergraduate studies in neuroscience and psychology at Duke University in North Carolina, and has worked in both clinical and cellular research for neuropharmacology and non-communicable disease for nearly 10 years. She will complete her MS in Food Policy, Nutrition Studies, and Dietetics at Tufts University Friedman School in 2019.
Ayten has experienced first-hand the empowerment, expressiveness, creativity and community generated in the circus arts community, and derives immeasurable joy from welcoming new-comers from all walks of life into that world.
After dancing and tumbling throughout her childhood, Sarah fell in love with the magic of circus after seeing a Circus Smirkus big top tour show. The next year she ran away to their circus summer camp, and ever since she has returned to Smirkus camp every summer in some capacity or another! For the majority of her time at Smirkus, Sarah was the Program Director, a role in which she spent her days alternating between running the camp and running around playing circus games.
Sarah is constantly inspired watching kids learn circus, and loves having the opportunity to support their creativity, dedication, and play as a teacher. Outside of her work in circus, she enjoys creating, both with her hands and on the computer as a designer.
Elizabeth grew up doing competitive gymnastics and was bitten by the circus bug when she was introduced to flying trapeze and partner trapeze at age 10 - her feet haven't hit the ground since! She has trained with Circus Smirkus, Tito Gaona's Flying Fantasy Circus, Colorado Academy, Nimble Arts, and Aerial Revolution. Elizabeth has trained, performed, and taught a wide range of aerial, ground-based, balancing, and object manipulation skills - she absolutely loves learning new things and discovering new ways to use circus-style movement. She is most comfortable with her feet OFF the ground!
Elizabeth has been teaching circus for more than 10 years. She began coaching with Tito Gaona's Flying Fantasy Circus summer camp and flying trapeze academy in the Boston area, then moved to California in 2008 for school. In California, Elizabeth taught and performed a variety of aerial and acrobatic disciplines for Aerial Revolution, and helped to found, develop, and run an aerial silks program at UC San Diego. In addition, Elizabeth has been a guest workshop instructor around the country. Elizabeth's favorite part of circus is teaching: she loves working with people to help them stretch their limits, overcome fears, achieve their goals, discover new things about themselves, and share in the magic of circus.
Outside of circus, Elizabeth holds a PhD in oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and is a full-time research scientist, working at the intersection of paleontology, marine biology, and climate change at Harvard University. Elizabeth likes to think she won the dream job lottery - she's both a paleontologist and a marine biologist, and she ran away with the circus!
Elise "Teddy" Sipos
Elise Thea Sipos, known to her circus friends as "Teddy," grew up in the southern bayous of Louisiana. To minimize the damage, her parents put this whirling dervish into dance class at the young age of five. Over the years she has studied modern dance, creative expression through improvised movement, the ancient art of Bharata Natyam, ballet, jazz, flamenco, and various styles of African dance.
In 2007, Elise graduated from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Biology. After college, Elise moved to Chicago and was fortunate to work with Aerial Dance Chicago for three seasons; a company which infuses the aerial acrobatic arts with ground dance choreography. Elise primarily studied aerial fabric and trapeze, although she learned choreography in bungee and rope and harness.
In 2011, Teddy moved to Vermont to participate in the Professional Track Training Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA). There she learned more about the technical aspect of aerial movement and found a new thirst for expanding her circus vocabulary. Her focus for the program was in an invented apparatus, which she calls a Halo, and in acrobatic dance, while strengthening her knowledge in fabric, lyra, and contortion. Teddy completed a residency at NECCA, which produced a duo trapeze act with her trapeze partner, Gwynne Flanagan, and the formation of their group, Forever Marzipan. Presently, Elise is following her passion and enjoying success as a professional aerialist with Girls on Trapeze, Nimble Arts, and Cirque Imagination. In 2018 she left full time work as the Assistant Director of Aerial Horizon in San Antonio, Texas, and is excited to bring her passion for movement to the community at Esh Circus Arts!
Jacob returned to New England after a year and a half in Seattle, Washington as the Acrobatic Department Manager at the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts. He has been a circus artist, specializing in hand to hand acrobatics, and circus teacher for over ten years. His coaching specialties are hand to hand, group acrobatics, and handstands. His training comes from the Flying Gravity Circus (original troupe), Circus Smirkus, and Ecole national de cirque (the National Circus School) in Montreal. Jacob took part in the creation and North American tour of the Cirque du Soleil show Kooza.
Karen Sokolow discovered her excitement for the circus during her freshman year at Vassar College when the extracurricular circus arts club offered an opportunity to learn partner acrobatics and fire spinning. She quickly became a leading member of the club and began teaching partner acrobatics to incoming members and, after graduating, at local and national festivals.
Karen has always been passionate about education, and has been teaching people of all ages for more than 10 years. She tutors children and teens in everything from math to english to AP Bio, has worked with kids of all ages (and languages) in daycare centers, and has spent countless summers teaching english and American culture courses to young professionals in China. Currently, Karen is a high school math teacher at Chapel Hill Chauncy Hall school in Waltham whose students claim dramatically, "You're kind of a like a superhero---you teach math during the day, but by night... you circus!"
When Kellyn was younger her parents tried to get her into playing sports, but no matter what they tried she would always complain that she was "too sweaty." One day while watching Kellyn play softball her mom noticed her leaping around the bases and decided to try putting her into dance classes instead. Kellyn has been addicted to the stage ever since. She spent the next 10 years dancing competitively, and then went to Northeastern University where she majored in theatrical performance. In 2012 she discovered circus and aerial arts. Kellyn has been studying circus ever since. Kellyn is passionate about teaching and truly believes that circus is for everyone. She is excited to be part of the Esh Circus Arts team where she can continue to share this passion with everyone.
Chase has been climbing on things practically since birth, including trees, buildings, and the catwalks of the various theaters where he acted and did tech throughout school. Discovering circus in college was a game-changer, and Chase dove into partner acrobatics, aerials, and fire arts.
Chase trained acrobatics and aerials at Emerald City Trapeze and the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts in Seattle until he moved to Boston in 2013. He began training at Esh shortly after and is a graduate of Esh's Professional Preparatory Program, where he specialized in partner acrobatics and aerial silks. Chase is a member of the Boston Circus Guild and performs as one half of Duo Volante.
Over the years Chase has taught rock climbing, aerial silks, natural sciences, partner acrobatics, and theater. When he's not at the circus, he teaches robots to understand human speech.
Xiaoshu "X" Dai
X has been an Eshling ever since she discovered the wonderful world of circus in 2012. Circus showed her the fun yet theoretical aspects of fitness. Among all disciplines, she fell in love with the tensile strength and elasticity of silks and rope. The process to create an aerial sequence has always been more like solving a scientific riddle than simply putting together a series of physical movements. Her ultimate goals are to train to have a healthier body, and to perform to tell great stories.
When she is not all tangled up upside down in the air, she is a lab rat and would like to have a go at this whole curing cancer thing.
Chels was born and raised in Michigan and has been living in Somerville since 2014. She joined Esh in January of 2015 as a Cyr Wheel student and has since added aerial hoop and silks to her list of circus addictions. Chels has also been hula hooping on and off since 2011. She is a student in Esh's Professional Preparatory Program and is excited to become more involved as a TA!
Lizzy began her circus journey in in 2004 in middle school at the Colorado Academy Circus Summer Camp program in Denver, CO. Throughout high school and college she was a competitive gymnast and diver and also coached both sports outside of her competition season. Upon graduating in 2014, she rediscovered her passion for circus arts and has been at Esh ever since!
She is a student in Esh's Professional Preparatory Program as of September of 2017, and specializes in Silks, Cyr Wheel, and Tumbling. She also has passions for hula hooping and juggling, and if she is not performing in a show, you'll probably catch a glimpse of her behind the scenes helping with rigging and technical needs. She is excited to share her love of circus with anyone nearby, and one of her favorite parts about performing is experimenting with new makeup looks!
When you don't see her in the studio hanging upside down, you'll likely find her underwater scuba diving for lobsters or out on the slopes chasing powder!