Alex Allan, from Sydney, Australia, is an internationally recognized aerial rope artist and coach. After completing a Bachelor of Communications (Theatre/Media) at CSU, Australia, he was accepted into San Francisco Circus Center’s Professional Aerial Program. Since graduating, Alex has had the pleasure of working with companies such as Teatro Zin Zanni, Cirque Dreams, Acrobatic Conundrum, Zaccho Dance Theatre and Bad Mar Mar Dance Company as well as travelling the world teaching his rope technique. As a coach, Alex places a strong emphasis on mastering technique and efficient movement pathways. With his knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology, Alex is able to work with his students to develop a deep understanding of integrated, full-bodied movement with the goal of performing skills with grace and ease. Influenced by his diverse educational background, Alex thrives on the creation of new, unique forms of physical performance. Believing that the body has the power to convey that which words cannot, his work commonly explores themes of human existence in the modern world.
Jayne Bernasconi (dancer/choreographer/author/yogini) has been both a participant and teacher at ADF since it’s 1999 inception. Her award-winning choreography has been seen throughout the United States and abroad for over 35 years. She trained and danced with several leading NYC post-modern choreographers including Alwin Nikolais, David Gordon, Stephen Petronio, Pooh Kaye, Steve Paxton and Bill T. Jones. She was the founder and artistic director of Forces of Ability, a movement project including people of all abilities founded in Vermont in 1992 with Steve Paxton and Boulder, Colorado (1995-1999). Ms. Bernasconi is the founder and artistic director of Air Dance Bernasconi, an aerial dance company based in Baltimore, Maryland since 2000. Before that, she danced with Frequent Flyers Productions based in Boulder, CO from 1995 – 1999 where she trained and worked with aerial pioneers Nancy Smith, Terry Sendgraff and Robert Davidson. She invented and introduced the first Aerial Yoga class for the 2003 Aerial Dance Festival and since then has enjoyed watching it blossom and evolve around the globe. Jayne co-authored the book/DVD “Aerial Dance” with Nancy Smith and is an adjunct professor of aerial dance and yoga at Towson University (since 1999). Currently, she is the owner of Yoga On York, (www.yogaonyork.net) where she teaches both aerial and traditional yoga.
Megan Cattau met her first love, the low-flying trapeze, at Canopy Studio in Athens, GA in 2002. Since then, she has choreographed, performed, and taught extensively in the US and abroad, working principally under the aerial dance project Flight Collaborative, of which she is a co-founder and co-director. Megan is interested in how aerial dance choreography and visual art can be used to tell stories that are content-rich and emotionally compelling. At Canopy Studio, Megan trained primarily under Susan Murphy, who remains a deep inspiration. Megan was a member of the Repertory Company, served as the business manager and then assistant director, was part of the core teaching staff, and helped to develop Canopy’s teacher training. In 2008, Megan founded the aerial dance program at Durham School for Ballet and the Performing Arts (formerly Legacy Studios) in Durham, NC. She moved to NYC in 2010 and became an aerial dance instructor at Circus Warehouse as well as a core member of Constellation Moving Company. Megan’s first exposure to Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance was in 2005 when she was awarded the Glenn P. Davis emerging aerial choreographer’s scholarship to attend the Aerial Dance Festival, which was a formative experience for her aerial work. Since moving to Boulder, Megan has been thrilled to re-engage with the Frequent Flyers community as a teacher, the Student Company Director, and member of the Professional Company, and she is delighted to teach at ADF this year! Megan is also a forest ecologist, working in the tropical peat-swamp forests of Indonesia as well as the subalpine forests of the Rocky Mountains, and her mind is always on the trees.
Danielle Garrison has worked as a multi-faceted artist for Aerial Dance Chicago, the Joffrey Ballet, and Frequent Flyers® and has performed and taught at the Frequent Flyers® Aerial Dance Festival, Santa Barbara Floor to Air Festival, Aerial Ever After in the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece, the San Francisco Aerial Dance Festival under the Paloma Project, performed for Les Rencontres de Danse Aérienne in France. Danielle is the second MFA Candidate with an emphasis in aerial dance and somatics at the University of Colorado Boulder. As a 2017-2018 Fulbright France Grantee and Resident Artist at La Grainerie in Toulouse, Danielle has worked on her multi-disciplinary project MAPS (Multicultural Aerial Performance Stories), which explores the topic of grief within the juxtaposition of live, embodied performance and media.
Molly Graves is a Tennessee native who currently resides in Brattleboro, VT, where she coaches on faculty with the ProTrack Professional Training Program at the New England Center for Circus
Arts (NECCA). Molly has performed as a guest artist with Acrobatic Conundrum; at Circus Now’s 2015 International Contemporary Circus Exposure in NY; and at the International Aerial Acrobatic Arts
Festival in Denver, CO, where she was awarded “Best Technical Performance” for her aerial rope act in 2014. Additionally, she counts herself lucky to be a member of the inspiring & empowering company Girls on Trapeze. Molly completed NECCA’s Pro-Track Program in 2011-12 with a focus on
aerial rope & static trapeze, and she has trained with professional coaches from Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Elozie, École Nationale de Cirque, Ringling Brothers and Drapés Aériens. Her teaching credits include the International Rope Meeting at La Central del Circ in Barcelona, Spain; Carolina Aerial & Dance Exchange in Charlotte, NC; the Atlanta Aerial Arts Festival; Circus Juventas in St. Paul, MN; Canopy Studio in Athens, GA; Vault Festival of Aerial Arts in Houston, TX; and collaborations with Susan Murphy at The Marsh Studio in Darien, GA.
Mandy Hackman is an aerialist, dancer, and movement artist with a passion for rigorous movement, embodied presence, and creating honest, visceral performances. As an aerialist, Mandy has flown over audiences from the DCPA in CO to the Enchanted Forest in TX to the Kennedy Center in DC. She is an instructor and performing member of Frequent Flyers Productions, and a graduate of their intensive Professional Training Program. She has also danced with Control Group Productions (CO), Sinecdoche Dance (NY), SAWTOOTH Dancers (NY), visual/performance artist Mike Kelley (CA), and Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company (NY), among others. She has been an aerial instructor for Upsidown Productions of NYC and a guest instructor nationally and internationally for organizations such as Helium Productions of NY, Chattanooga Aerials of TN, and Darpana Academy of Ahmedabad, India. As a Certified Personal Trainer and constant student of the body, she brings a curiosity and wonder at the capacity of the human body to every area of her teaching and creation. Mandy has created full-length movement and aerial works of her own and as a founding member of Double Blind Productions, which received a Community Supported Arts Fellowship to create the new, evening length circus Escape Velocity in June 2018. As part of Live Performance Group Shapeshifter and as the Founder of climbing-dance company Tree Project, she has toured nationally and received artist residencies in Detroit through PlaySpace and The Brick Theater in NYC. Mandy holds a degree with an emphasis in dance composition from Sarah Lawrence College, and was privileged to study under Sara Rudner and perform works by eminent choreographers such as Donna Uchizono, Jon Kinzel, Keeley Garfield, and others. She brings an artist’s eye and a passion for deep movement investigation with an interwoven, multidisciplinary approach to her work as an aerial artist.
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 teaches at Pilates Aligned in Denver, CO. She encountered Frequent Flyers in 1997 and began Low Flying trapeze classes with Nancy Smith in 1998. Danielle trained in the art of bungee dance with the “the grandmother of aerial dance/motivity,” Terry Sendgraff, and has been teaching bungee dance at the Aerial Dance Festival since 2005. She is also fortunate to have studied and performed with David Dorfman Dance, Gabriel Masson, Boulder Ballet, Evolving Doors Dance, Hannah Kahn Dance, and many more gifted artists/teachers. Ms. Hendricks currently dances/performs with 3rd Law Dance Theater (since 2005), and performs regularly in the historic Denver May D&F tower at The Clocktower Cabaret in “L’estrange Menagerie: A Circus,” and other burlesque revues. She’s been dancing, choreographing, and teaching with Frequent Flyers since 2002 and is looking forward to many more years!
Valerie Morris has been a dancer since 1980 and discovered aerial dance in 1996 with Frequent Flyers. She has had the honor of supporting Frequent Flyers as the Education Program Manager for 3 years, and now serves on the Board of Directors, along with her roles as teacher, choreographer, performer, and life-long student. Her secret life as a scientist keeps her busy during the day, using stable isotopes in ice cores to unlock the secrets of global climate change.
Susan Murphy holds a Master’s degree in modern dance from Mills College in Oakland, CA and is a Certified Movement Analyst from the Laban Institute for Movement Studies in New York City. She taught modern dance and aerial dance at the U. of GA from 1999-2002. In 2002, Susan and her husband Don Carson, envisioned and built Canopy Studio, a community aerial arts center in Athens, GA. Susan served as Executive Director of Canopy until she moved to the Georgia coast in 2009, where she and Don have built The Marsh Studio, a state-of-the-art aerial dance center where she is now holding weekend aerial retreats and performances. She has performed at Lincoln Center and the Skirball Center of the Performing Arts in New York City, Frequent Flyers’ Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder, Colorado and the New England Center of Circus Arts.
Elsie Smith has performed with many well known companies including Cirque du Soleil, and received a Special Award at the China Wuqiau International Circus Festival in 2007 and the Bronze Medal at the 1st International Festival de Circo en Albacete, Spain in 2008. She is the co-founder and Artistic Director of the New England Center for Circus Arts and runs a performing company, Nimble Arts, with her aerial partner and twin sister, Serenity Smith Forchion. She is a certified trampoline and german wheel teacher, and co-created the NA Aerial Teacher Certification Program, and consults in aerial safety matters with the American Youth Circus Organization/American Circus Educators Organization. In 2016 she and her sister won the American Circus Educator’s Award for Excellence in Education and the Walter Cerf Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts from the Vermont Arts Council.
Nancy Smith originally wanted to be an astronaut or a racecar driver and instead became the founder and 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 with over 30 years aerial teaching experience. She has created over 100 original works / evening-length choreography. Her work with Frequent Flyers has been seen in Boston, California, Louisiana, Virginia, Montreal, the Bahamas, Washington, D.C. and throughout Colorado. Nancy has received numerous awards including “Living Legend of Dance in Colorado,” “Women Who Light the Community”, “Cutting Edge” Award, the “Pacesetters Award” for Arts and Entertainment, a Neodata Endowment Fellowship in Dance, and the “Arts Innovation Award.” She also is an instructor at Univ. of Colorado’s Dance Dept. spreading the gospel of Aerial Dance. Along with co-author, Jayne Bernasconi, she wrote the first book on the history / theory of Aerial Dance.
Yuki Tsuji has been a multi-disciplined teacher for the last 14 years in yoga, acrobatics, AcroYoga, Thai massage, skydiving and bodyflight. Her main handstand teacher is Jean-Luc Martion of San Diego Circus Center. She is also a licensed massage therapist and practices Thai Massage in Boulder, CO when she’s not teaching locally or traveling to teach. Her passion is helping her students to achieve physical and emotional balance and wellness, offering them opportunities to connect with their bodies and others, mindfully and playfully. Her other passion is being in the mountains. She can be often found rock climbing, skiing, trail running and mountain biking. Website: yogayuki.com Facebook: Yuki Tsuji Yogayuki