SANCA coaches are amazing instructors and are often also amazing performers, and sometimes this means that we have to say goodbye or “see you later” to some of our favorite instructors. We love them, and we will miss them, (and we look forward to seeing them again!), but we have to find new fantastic people who will fill those ‘staff’ tshirts.
Among the departures:
Joshua will be in the Carolinas performing;
Nick and Wendy will be with Circus Smirkus for the summer;
Erica and Carey are touring with Acrobatic Conundrum for at least part of Spring;
Arne is in Montreal;
Leslie has been in India (but has returned!);
and Marta is hitting the road on a new adventure.
Here are some of the new faces in the gym and tent:
Nikole Gramm is Seattle-based circus artist with a focus on fabric. She also occasionally performs other aerial apparatuses, partner acrobatics, and tramp wall. She found circus arts in 2010 after spending many years as a competitive gymnast and a couple years as a gymnastics coach.
She was coached by Sara Knauer at Aloft in Chicago, IL and Rachel Walker in Montreal, QC. During her time in Chicago she taught aerial at Aloft and frequently performed in El Circo Cheapo Cabaret. Since moving to Seattle, she performed in S7nners, produced by The Circus Project in Portland, frequently performs at corporate events with Animate Objects Physical Theater in Seattle, and coaches aerial classes at SANCA.
Nikole is a new aerial coach
is an aerialist joining the SANCA staff with over ten years of teaching, training and performing experience in circus arts. Her love and respect for circus started when she was 12 and attended summer camp at Circus Smirkus (Greensboro, VT). After being inspired by what circus training and performing has to offer, she was accepted to and attended three years of professional circus training in San Francisco, CA. After graduating in 2011, Eve’s been performing and teaching around the USA with companies such as Cirque Productions, Cirque Mechanics, Circus Bella and more. This summer she was invited to perform her cloud swing act at the Montreal Completement Cirque festival in Montreal, Canada.
The passion Eve felt for circus early on continues to inspire her to educate people of all ages and abilities. She encouraged her students to challenge themselves and be challenged by circus arts. As a former kid growing up in youth circus, she cares deeply about preserving circus training to the next generation and instilling the values of hard work and dedication. You can see more of what she does at www.eveontheswing.com.
Eve will be the Assistant Director for Cirrus Circus
James Finch has been involved in circus for 4 years, specializing in flying trapeze. He discovered his passion for acrobatics at the age of 10, as a competitive gymnast and extreme sports enthusiast. He also has a mustache. James is a new coach on the fly staff
Katie Herndon grew up on a farm in central Washington and quickly discovered her love for heights and hanging upside down. After years of gymnastics she competed on the Acrobatics & Tumbling team for Azusa Pacific University. From there, her love of acrobatics led her to circus and aerial arts. After graduating with her degree in business, Katie moved back to the Pacific Northwest and began teaching and performing while furthering her circus skills through flying trapeze and trampoline. In 2015 she was given the opportunity to train with The Flying Aces as part of the Netherland’s National Circus. After a five-month immersion in the world of caravans, tents, and traditional circus, she once again returned to the beautiful city of Seattle, and has found an incredible environment in the SANCA community. She is now teaching tumbling and training acrobatics, trampoline, aerial silks, rope and flying trapeze. Katie is a new circus arts coach
Shawn Kellogg has been studying movement since 2008 and has delved into yoga, martial arts, circus, dance and other disciplines. He collaboratively created and performed in several contemporary clown and theatre shows over the last three years. He has spent many hours training handstands, tumbling, and other circus arts at the San Francisco Circus Center, Twisters Gymnastics in Port Townsend, and right here at SANCA. For the last three years he has made a living as a structural integration practitioner and movement educator. He does private sessions with adults and children. In his sessions he teaches functional kinesiology and works with clients to relieve pain and create more ease everyday. Shawn is a new circus arts coach
Sadie Ledonna has been dancing and practicing movement arts from an early age. As a homeschooler through middle and high school, Sadie was able to pursue her development as an artist, and sought out training in every activity that interested her. These included but were not limited to Scottish dance, ice skating, theater, weight training, singing, modern dance, ballet, and partner dance. Her first experience with circus was at SANCA in an intro to circus class. She loved it, and was inspired to learn more! Over the last 7 years, she has studied aerial, clowning and other disciplines at The New England Center For Circus Arts, The San Francisco Circus Center, and Versatile Arts. She has also collaborated in creating and performed in various clown, theater, and vaudeville shows around the Pacific Northwest. Currently, she lives a ferry away on Vashon Island and teaches children at UMO School Of Physical Arts. She is excited to continue learning and to share her knowledge about movement!
Sadie is a new aerial coach
Alyssa Luna saw her first glimpse into the circus world in 2007, when she joined circus club in college. After college Alyssa moved back to Seattle and discovered her new found love was just around the corner. She began to indulge herself with silks, Lyra and finally found flying trapeze. She specializes in flying trapeze, Lyra and duo trapeze. Her love and dedication for all things circus led her to teaching kids through day camp programs as well as summer camps throughout the south, east coast and a bit of Midwest. Her love for circus and what it can teach today’s youth still continues since she found her way to SANCA. Alyssa is an Outreach Coach
Missy Nagin first found circus when she moved to Seattle in 2013. She took her first flying trapeze class and was hooked. She started flying regularly and wanted to stronger. She began taking aerial classes inside to build more strength control. As a nurse in real life she spends her time caring for patients with cancer and circus provides a great outlet. As a nurse, already connected with Camp Korey, she had the opportunity to volunteer as an outreach coach. After this experience Missy wanted to get more involved. As an Outreach Coach Missy gets to combine her love for circus in combination for helping children grow both emotionally and physically.
Amber Parker came to SANCA as a student in 2014, mostly on a whim and looking to try something new. After her first class, however, she was hooked and her life was forever changed by the circus. She began with aerial fundamentals, and has since branched out to contortion and Cyr Wheel, and most currently, to studying circus arts academically and professionally.
Amber’s background is in women’s health, which she has been specializing in since 2004 through various lenses- birth work, health education, public health research, counseling, and social work with high risk populations. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Antioch University in 2014, and is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Creative Arts Therapy, with a specialization in Drama Therapy. In her Master’s work Amber is developing methods of using Circus Arts as a therapeutic medium, combining circus skills training with mental health counseling. Now, as a Every Body’s Circus Coach, Amber is excited to combine her background in Women’s Health with her passion for Circus Arts to help SANCA further achieve their mission to improve the mental and physical health of our community. Amber is an Outreach Coach and SANCA Blog contributor
She was raised in Boise, Idaho. Having graduated two one-year conservatory programs in San Francisco: The Clown Conservatory (during the Jeff Raz years) and Flying Actor’s Physical Theater program, she then proceeded to co-found Main Street Theater. This alternative event space in San Francisco’s Excelsior district, dedicated to Physical Theatre and the Variety Arts is where she created, performed, and produced for five years. She has been a juggler for Myth Busters and the San Francisco Opera. She is one half of the musical duo Carl and Beatrice. She co-created and toured Genie and Audrey’s Dream Show!!! (an award-winning two woman circus/clown show). She has performed for the San Francisco Accordion Club. Twice. She has coached youth circus programs at San Francisco’s Circus Center, Prescott Circus Theater in Oakland, NuevaSummer, and Circus Moves. She has performed as a hospital clown for both ClownZero and The Medical Clown Project. She is: Audrey Spinazola.
Audrey is our new Youth Performer Companies Director.
Amanda Thornton found the circus arts while studying theater and writing. She gravitated immediately to aerial fabric and committed her free time to strength and flexibility using this amazing apparatus. Amanda has tried to broaden her horizons as a circus performer and practice everything from juggling to stilt walking and fire spinning, but aerial is where her true passion lies. After finding a home on fabric she began to experiment with the other apparatus such as trapeze, hoop, and rope and learned that it isn’t just about specializing in one thing for her. She also is a dedicated acro-yogi and loves sharing her knowledge on partner work, which she also took to the skies with her partner on the aerial fabric. To her the circus is a community for learning about all sorts of crazy things, whether that’s flying in the sky, standing on your hands, or object manipulation. Amanda moved to Seattle and began working for Teatro ZinZanni, which is what lead her to SANCA. She is thrilled to play in this beautiful space and work with a community of well-rounded and thriving circus artists.
Amanda is a new aerial coach
Faye Visintainer found her way to the world of circus through performing with Oberlin College’s O!Circus. Though she began as a dancer, she eventually picked up poi “just to try it” and never looked back. She took a brief break from twirling things around her head to teach English as a second language in Japan, where her circus skills came in more handy than she initially thought. After her return to America she found herself at SANCA’s doorstep and promptly fell in love. Now she is thrilled to be a part of the Outreach program, and in her off time, delights in learning as much about juggling and flying trapeze as she possibly can.
Faye coaches outreach groups and is our party and event coordinator.