photo of ellen waylonis on rope

Ellen Waylonis


Ellen 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 dancer and physical comic. 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, Spanish web, and aerial partnering, while also studying a variety of other circus disciplines. While finishing the program at NECCA, Ellen helped to launch Esh Circus Arts in 2010. She now splits her time between performing, teaching, and keeping the circus in business at Esh.

Ellen is a founding member and frequent performer with the Boston Circus Guild, and has toured nationally with the BCG, Cirque Productions, and Nimble Arts. In 2021 she received a LAB Grant from the Boston Foundation as a member of Circus 617, a contemporary circus troupe she co-founded with a small group of Boston-based artists. Ellen is also a co-founder of Esh’s sibling circus school, Commonwealth Circus Center.

As a circus educator, Ellen is passionate about building a culture of inclusion and consent. In 2022, after more than a decade of fostering consent-based spaces in circus, she began training as an Intimacy Director with IDC. As a circus educator, her teaching draws from her diverse background in weight lifting, dance, acrobatics, physical theater, and functional anatomy. She believes circus can be revolutionary, and that it is most definitely for everyone.