Veronica Blair is an accomplished aerialist, choreographer, and circus researcher. She is the recipient of the 2021 Gerbode Foundation’s Choreographers Award, the 2020 American Circus Educators Award for Innovation, and the Community Impact at the inaugural International Circus Awards for her work on the Uncle Junior Project, a multimedia archive spotlighting People of African descent in American circus. Under the same project, Veronica curated a live exhibition titled “Entrapment to Entertainment: A Celebration of Black People in American Circus” in 2013. Her impactful work has earned her invitations to speak at the Smithsonian, San Francisco International Arts Festival, and facilitate panel discussions engaging conversations about institutional barriers, individual biases, and abuse prevention in the circus industry as part of the Circus and Changing Realities series in partnership with CircusTalk.com.
Megan Cattau found her primary movement form, the dance trapeze, at Canopy Studio in 2002 training under Susan Murphy, who remains a deep inspiration. Since then, she has performed, choreographed, directed, and taught extensively in the US and abroad, working principally under the project Flight Collaborative. Her performance and teaching homes have included Canopy Studio in Athens, GA; Circus Warehouse in NYC; and Frequent Flyers. She also founded the aerial dance program at Durham School for Ballet and the Performing Arts in Durham, NC. She has performed as a core member of Constellation Moving Company and is an apprentice with NYC-based butoh company Ren Gyo Soh. Megan is also a disturbance ecologist, and is particularly interested in art-science integration. She is currently Boise-based, working as an Assistant Professor of Human-Environment Systems. She is honored to teach and perform at ADF.
Cosmo Dudley, a native of Denver, Colorado, has been an acrobat since 2008. He has spent that time teaching and exploring circus acrobatics, including tumbling, martial arts tricking, hand-balancing, aerial straps, Chinese pole, parkour, and trampoline/trampwall. Cosmo has trained extensively across Canada, China, and Europe, learning from many great circus coaches and movement instructors.
Danielle Hendricks spent her childhood climbing fences, trees, balance beams and rooftops in Fresno, California. She earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Kinesiology and Dance from the University of Colorado at Boulder where she graduated in 1999. Danielle is a nationally certified Pilates Instructor and has been teaching Pilates for over two decades, primarily in Denver. She was lucky enough to perform, teach, and choreograph with Frequent Flyers for 20 years, as well as perform with other local dance companies. Danielle trained in the art of bungee dance with the “the mother of aerial dance/motivity,” Terry Sendgraff, and has taught bungee dance almost every year at the Aerial Dance Festival since 2005. In 2020, she relocated back to Fresno County, where she continues to teach online Pilates to clients around the country, in-person Pilates and Sculpt classes at an amazing local studio, and visits the Denver area every few months to teach in person and visit family and friends. Teaching bungee is the highlight of her year, as there is nothing better than watching sheer joy blossom in the beautiful, bouncing bodies of her students.
Summer Lacy (she/her/they/them) As she flies through the air, tumbles from breathtaking heights and glides across the stage with consummate control, Summer Lacy dares her captive audiences to imagine the impossible. Her story is a testament to imagination, perseverance, and determination. Specializing in vertical Aerial Chains, Lyra, Dance Trapeze and Invented apparatus, Summer expresses her mission statement through her art: “Stand up, stand out, and create something beautiful.” While thriving in her day job as a graphic designer, her long nights training aerial began to pay off, making her previously “impossible” dreams now inevitable. Her appearances on the primetime competition show America’s Got Talent went viral and earned her a national following overnight. Judge Howie Mandel, impressed by her aerial chains and lyra acts, was prompted to describe her as “both dangerous and very original.” Since then, Summer has been seen internationally with the Dzul Dance Company, Constellation Moving Company, and Hideaway Circus, among many others. She was a featured performer in Circus Abyssinia’s acclaimed 2018 exhibition “Ethiopian Dreams,” as well as the hit off-Broadway variety show La Soirée making her mark in the New York City theater scene. Her passion for performing is rivaled only by her love of educating the next generation of circus stars. With deep knowledge of aerial technique, creative movement and act creation, Summer unlocks the next level of physical artistry in her students with a supportive, encouraging, practical approach that makes the extraordinary achievable. Her online training, “The Prosperous Performer,” focuses on mindset, branding and marketing, as well as building, selling and performing a one-of-a-kind act that reflects the student’s personality and abilities, furthering Summer’s mission to inspire with the power of art.
Valerie Morris has been a dancer since 1980 and became an aerial dancer in 1996 with Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance. She has previously had the pleasure of performing with Movement Laboratories, Lancaster Ballet, CU Dance Department, Boulder Ballet, Wellington Circus Trust, Empress Stiltdance, Borrillo Entertainment, and AeroTerra Aerial Dance. Her secret life as a scientist keeps her busy during the day, using stable isotopes to unlock the secrets of global climate change.
Ariana Papousek is primarily a self-taught aerialist. Fusing her background of competitive gymnastics with traditional circus, Ariana has created a unique and dynamic style of movement that has gained a lot of attention. Her early years of work as a competitive/rhythmic gymnast cultivated proper technique, body awareness, and creativity. Ariana’s intention is to inspire confidence, courage, and grace while ensuring that each student feels comfortable and empowered. Ariana has graced the stage for many large events and bands such as Elephant Revival Red Rocks, Shpongle Red Rocks, String Cheese Incident, Quixotic, Envision Festival, Burning Man, Sonic Bloom, Hulaween, Arise Festival, and more.
After teaching 4th grade in Austin, TX for 5 years, Sofia Rodriguez ran away to the circus and currently lives in Colorado where she teaches aerial arts and flexibility to various skill levels and ages. As an instructor for over 6 years, single point lyra is her passion but she is adept at teaching dance trapeze, sling, and fabric. She emphasizes form and theory to build skill with not just movement mastery but with creativity and sequence development as well. Aside from working full-time as an aerial instructor, she has instructed workshops at the Colorado Aerial Arts Summit, retreats at Sweet Retreats, and travels to bring her unique workshops to studios across the nation. You can view her work on Instagram under the handle @cirquedancer.
Nancy Smith originally wanted to be an astronaut or a racecar driver and instead she became the founder & artistic director of Frequent Flyers® Productions since its inception in 1988 and the Aerial Dance Festival since 1999. She teaches Aerial Release Technique (A.R.T.) around the US. Her work with Frequent Flyers has been presented in Boston, Baltimore, California, Louisiana, Virginia, Montreal, Utah, New York, the Bahamas, throughout Colorado, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. She has received numerous awards including “Living Legend of Dance in Colorado” and “Women Who Light the Community” among others. She is Lecturer for CU Boulder’s Dance Dept. Ms. Smith also co-wrote the first book on the history / theory of Aerial Dance with Jayne Bernasconi.
Anastasia Timina first discovered aerial in 2011 as a physical outlet, but quickly fell in love with its creative possibilities. She committed to circus as a career in 2013 and has since performed in shows and taught in studios across the country. She is now the Rigging Manager, Pro-Training Program Coach, Professional Performance Company Member, and multi-apparatus Instructor for Frequent Flyers. Anastasia’s movement style is dark and dramatic, a mixture of slow hypnotic movement and fast dynamic sequences. Her emphasis is on fascinating shapes and clean lines all while upholding the illusion of defying gravity. She approaches teaching skills through the incremental progressions of a martial artist, informed by kinesthetics and anatomy. Anastasia enjoys, teaches, and performs all forms of aerial, but specializes in rope. She completed the Aerial Teacher Training Program in January of 2016 and since has been working as a coach to help others discover their potential to fly.