Biographies

Agathe & Adrien

The duo, “Agathe & Adrien” graduated from the Circus School of Quebec in 2018. They work at the edge of circus, dance, and theatre/performing arts. The exchange of the roles of base/flyer allows them to develop a unique artistic and circus vocabulary. As emerging artists, Agathe and Adrien started their career working for well-established circus companies in Quebec, but needing to express their social and environmental values, they co-founded Acting for Climate Montréal with Nathan Biggs-Penton, and turned towards independent circus creations including Branché, Piece of Mind, and N.Ormes. Tired of the obsolete and toxic patterns of male/female relationships present in the circus world today, they combine the codes of circus, contemporary dance, and performance art to create a rich, complex acrobatic language as part of a feminist approach to redefining standards.

 

Audrey Boccara

Audrey Boccara, a French-born multi-disciplinary artist, embarked on her dance journey in 2007 at the Paris Opera Ballet School. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Dance from Paris’ National Superior Conservatory for Music & Dance. In 2014, she brought her talents to Canada, performing nationwide and internationally. She contributed to premieres by acclaimed choreographers with Atlantic Ballet, Ballet Edmonton, and the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers. She has also presented various works as a choreographer and film director, including for Alberta Ballet. Acknowledged by the Edmonton Arts Council in 2021, she fused ballet with aerial dance, crafting mesmerizing cross-disciplinary acts like “White Swan” as The Aerial Ballerina, unveiling her unique blend of dance and circus arts.

 

Emmanuel Bossé-Messier

Emmanuel Bossé-Messier is a Montreal-based actor turned lighting designer, technical director and chief electrician. His previous work includes: Née (Chloé Chartrand), Fracture.s (eXplo) and L’Asile de la pureté (eXplo) as lighting designer and technical director. He is currently working as an assistant lighting designer for Norme.s (Agathe et Adrien) and as a chief electrician at Théâtre de Quat’sous and other venues in Montreal.

Tamara Bousquet

Tamara Bousquet is a versatile artist specializing in clown arts. She graduated from Dell’Arte International in 2007 and École Philippe Gaulier in 2009.  Since then, she has brought her unique brand of comedy and expression to esteemed institutions such as Cirque du Soleil, and Le Théâtre de la Dame-de-Cœur. In 2016, Tamara became half of a dynamic duo with Philipe Trépanier, working in renowned venues like the Cabarets GOP Variété theatre in Germany. Their portrayal of the lead characters in the production “Apartment” captivated audiences for an impressive 435 performances. Continuing their collaborative streak, Tamara and Philipe, along with the company Palazzo, created “Ladies First,” appearing onstage in Vienna and Stuttgart for more than 200 performances between 2019 and 2023. Driven by a passion for artistic autonomy, Tamara and Philipe co-founded Les Deux de Pique to serve as a platform for their creative endeavors. Their artistic vision shines through in their self-created works such as “Trattoria” and “La Famille GoldenCrust.”

 

Vince Burwash

Vince is the owner and lead designer at Keylite Design Inc., an Alberta based lighting design firm specializing in live music, theatrical performance, and corporate galas. Vince is currently the designer and lighting director for Firefly Theatre and has spent years touring with Recording artist’s Gord Bamford, James Barker Band, The Tenors, Joe Nichols and Paul Brandt. Recent credits include The Art of Banksy Exhibit, the 2022 Papal visit, Inventures 2023, ESO Symphony in the City and FIS Snowboarding Big Air. Vince lives in St Albert, Alberta with his wife Terri and enjoys spending time with his 4 adult children and extended family.

 

William Cholewka

Billy Cholewka is an American juggler based in Montréal. While studying at l'École nationale de cirque, he aims to incorporate other mediums such as visual art and original music in his work to create more immersive pieces. He is inspired by chance and fascinated with the mundane. He enjoys attention to detail in every context. Recently, he has started to work on embodying his ideal uncanny aesthetic in his juggling.

 

Léda Davies

Léda Davies has been an active member of Canada’s professional theatre, dance, and circus scene for over a decade, and spent 6 years in Montreal, QC training in circus with renowned coaches from Cirque du Soleil and the National Circus School. Her aerial skills have been featured in music videos, stage productions and outdoor festivals in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton. Léda is also the co-founder of the Screaming Goats Collective, a non-profit society that creates and presents circus shows that tell stories to provoke social change. Her show Fish at the Bottom of the Sea was presented at the Alberta Circus Arts Festival in 2022, and will be presented again in Calgary in November 2024.  Léda holds an MFA in Theatre Practice from the University of Alberta, with a focus on circus and theatre and has shared her passion for movement and theatre as a sessional instructor at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.

 

Carole Demers

Carole has been a circus flyer for the majority of her life. Her Russian Bar trio, The White Crow, won several festivals including Festival du Cirque de Demain à Paris (Gold), Monte Carlo International Circus Festival (Silver Clown), International Circus Festival of Budapest (Silver trophee). Her high level of performance and artistry lead her to three different Cirque du Soleil Shows, traditional and contemporary circuses and a Hollywood movie set. She holds a Bacchelors in Education and a Masters Diploma in Creative Project Management. Carole is now the co-artistic director of the St. John’s International CircusFest and is involved with different circus companies in Quebec city.

Gabriel Drouin

Gabriel Drouin learned the art of karate at quite a young age and won the Junior WKA World Champion in Kata before joining the National Circus School in Québec. After graduating from the Québec Circus School in 2013, he worked for  Cirque Éloize. In 2014 Gabriel moved with his Cyr wheel “Lucy” to Germany where they have been living and performing ever since. In 2021 Gabriel celebrated his stage director debut with the show “Sailors” he and his best friend created and performed for the following two years in the renowned German GOP varieté theatres.

 

Edmonton Juggling Club

The Edmonton Juggling Club is where this ancient art comes alive! Started as a rag tag group of enthusiasts, we have grown into a vibrant community dedicated to spreading joy, creativity, and skill through the mesmerizing art of prop manipulation.

 

Flyin’ Bob

For over 30 years, across Canada and 16 countries around the world, Flyin’ Bob has performed as a juggler, tightwire walker, comic, and musician in every venue imaginable. The street, stage, corporations, national television shows and festivals in Europe, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Korea, Israel, Egypt, and the US have all experienced Flyin’ Bob’s unique brand of comedy and physical theatre. He also teaches Circus Skills at Schools and circus camps around the country.

 

Randall Fraser

Randall Fraser is the founding Artistic Director of The National Stiltwalkers of Canada and as been running the company since its founding in 2001. He comes from a background in theatre and festival design and production. having been a lighting and sound technician, set prop and costume designer, puppeteer, mask maker, stiltwalker and fire performer. Stiltwalking combine all his creative passions into one unique and dynamically varied career.

 

Taija Graham

Taija is a dancer, aerial artist, and circus coach at Cirquetastic, in Edmonton, Alberta. Ever since her very first attempt at six years old to create a mini tutu and makeshift tightrope, Taija has been dreaming of the big stage and running away to the circus. Fast forward 12 years and she is now a 2023 graduate of the Dance Program at Vimy Ridge Academy where she studied multiple disciplines from ballet to flamenco and everything in between. Combining her love of all things dance and aerial arts she thrives on the connection that is created when she shares her passion with the audience. Over the last couple of years she’s had the privilege of performing with Cirquetastic in family-friendly shows at various festivals and schools around Alberta. Taija enjoys being a student and soaking up all the knowledge she can. She is very excited to begin her post-secondary studies at the National Circus School of Montreal this fall!

 

Stephanie Gruson

Stephanie has been a company member and performer of Firefly Theatre & Circus since 2013 and a student since 2009. She was excited to join the Firefly team as Director of Operations and Special Events in 2021. She has a true passion for Aerial and Circus Arts. She has performed in many productions put on by Firefly such as KOLABO, PANACHE and the Great, Great Spiegel Spectacular. She has appeared at many galas and charitable events including the Canada 150 Celebration at Roger’s Place, performing along with Canadian artist Sarah McLachlan. Stephanie is a Franco-Albertan. She is proud to be the festival’s French representative and producer.

 

Jade Hilles

Jade Hilles started practicing balancing acts 10 years ago. She comes from a small circus school in San Diego, where she discovered her passion for training and circus at a young age. She had the opportunity to perform on stage through various contracts before joining the National Circus School in Montreal in 2021.

 

Graeme Janzen

Born in Calgary, Graeme Janzen has been doing theatrical lighting, rigging and performer flying for 10 years. Over the years, he has flown performers for Calgary Opera’s production of Everest, 9 years of the Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show while working for Chicago based Vertigo and most recently Alberta Ballet’s production of PHI. In 2018, he started Gaslamp FX INC which specializes in aerial rigging hardware and fall protection sales after seeing a need within the Alberta community for quality rigging hardware suppliers. 

 

Sabine Jean

After graduating from the National Circus School of Montreal in 2006, Sabine Jean embarked on an international professional career as a circus artist, working in Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Abu Dhabi, and more. She draws on the expertise gained through these experiences through her position as La TOHU’s Circus Arts Support Coordinator. Her position allows her, among other things, to support artists in creation residencies, which suits her perfectly since she has an infinite love for the creative process. Since her artistic soul is still very much alive, she continues to work on her own artistic projects and on others that appeal to her. Sabine was recently elected to the Board of Directors of En Piste, and looks forward to advocating for circus artists across Canada in this position.

 

Kasha Konaka

Kasha Konaka is an interdisciplinary circus artist specializing in contortion. She has an extensive history performing in cabarets, festivals and productions, captivating audiences as she seamlessly blends flexibility and strength with artistic expression. Shy in person, she has found movement to be the perfect conduit to express her feelings, tell stories, and create connections between people. Kasha loves the weird and otherworldly, yet beautiful and expressive nature of contortion. She brings a unique perspective to the circus arts and has produced and directed her own works, created unique props/apparatus, and continues to push the boundaries of what she can create. 

 

Nicole Malbeuf
Nicole is a Canadian circus artist specializing in Hair Suspension and Aerial Arts. Nicole’s diverse background in competitive gymnastics, musical theatre, fine arts and fashion design defines her aerial work. She is recognized for her musical sensitivity, dance quality, story-telling ability and her textured and colourful aesthetic. She operates in Ontario under her company name Trellis Arts. She is currently developing her full-length show A Hen Called Freedom and touring with her workshop, Intro to Hair Suspension: A Holistic Course. 

 

Jason Melnychuk

Jason is a Calgary-based circus artist, specializing in Juggling, Balance Tricks, and Comedy.

He credits his unique performance style to simultaneous immersion in the worlds of traditional theatre, street performance, and corporate entertainment while studying at the University of Calgary School of Creative and Performing Arts from 2014-2018.

Jason has worked for a diverse range of clients including but not limited to: Cirque du Soleil, TD Bank, The Calgary Stampede, K days, CN Rail, and Shell. Since 2013 he has performed more than 1000 streets shows across Western Canada and in Adelaide Australia. Jason is proud to have worked on such diverse projects such as the raw and contemporary film and theatre adaptation TEN, the absurd If You Don’t Find This Funny, You’re Wrong, and now his most ambitious piece to date Catching Feelings, planned to be the most romantic juggling show ever created, which is set to premiere at The Edmonton Fringe International Festival in August 2024.

 

Gillian Moon

Gillian grew up in Barrhead, Alberta but has spent a number of years roaming the country in search of opportunities to sing, dance and fly.  She has toured extensively, performing from coast to coast and across France and the US.  High energy physicality characterizes her performance style – she is curious, playful and always willing to try new things. Her love of expression through movement has led her to train and perform in everything from musical theatre and dance to partner acrobatics, aerial silks, lyra, adagio, stilt dance and her new favourite apparatus, the pocket lyra!

 

Janelle Dinosaur Peters

Janelle Peters, (they/them) is a queer circus artist, choreographer, director, and circus coach. Specializing in contortion and aerial hoop, Janelle draws upon their background in martial arts, and dance to create work with the goal of leaving audiences feeling seen, and whole. In addition to performing and teaching independently and at festivals all over the northern hemisphere (so far), Janelle is a founding member, choreographer, performer, and first director with Oakland, California-based company, Hypothetical Circus. Alongside their artistic and coaching work, Janelle creates materials and facilitates conversations about mental health, wellbeing, and systemic change in circus. This work stems from the question, “What if circus were KNOWN for valuing the wholeness and humanity of everyone involved?”. Janelle offers individual, trauma-informed, social-justice-oriented psychotherapy from a queer lens in their small private practice in Colorado, USA.  Across all elements of their work, Janelle pushes back on assumptions, encourages nuance, and prioritizes connection.

 

Aytahn Ross

Aytahn Ross has been seen live by over 1 million people in 13 countries around the world. He is a juggler who can be described as a comic gentleman known for his elegant silliness, irreverent humour, and eclectic manipulation skills. Ross grew up in a cold lonely place called Winnipeg where he learned to juggle to entertain himself. After almost 25 years as a full-time performing artist, Ross has had repeat invitations to Just for Laughs, produced and sold-out shows at the National Arts Centre of Canada, performed solo for the Governor General and once John Cleese from Monty Python said ‘Hello’ to him! In the last 10 years he’s been based in Edmonton Alberta, where he has continued to work in the festival and event industry at all levels. His work with Firefly Theatre & Circus includes Metropolis, Hotel Circo, and Superstition, as well as many special events.

 

Melanie Smith-Doderai

Melanie Doderai ignites audiences with her magnetic stage presence and boundless energy. Melanie began her journey into the world of violin at the age of three. As she honed her craft, Melanie discovered her unique voice through the electric violin, seamlessly blending classical technique with modern innovation.  From symphony halls to festival stages, Melanie continues to push the boundaries of what is possible with the violin.  In 2018, Melanie combined her passion for violin and aerial arts into a unique and innovative artform known as aerial violin. To date, Melanie performs her electric violin across Canada using aerial silks, aerial hoop, aerial cube, lollipop lyra and a flying harness. Melanie is proud to have the title of being Canada’s first aerial silk violinist and was featured on Canada’s Got Talent. You can find out more about her at www.silkandstrings.ca 

 

Chloe St-Jean-Richard

Born between two Cirque du Soleil tours, Chloé has circus in her blood. She performed for the first time in 2001 as a professional circus artist at the age of 9, alongside her father and her aunt. During her 24 years of experience, she has trained under many renowned coaches in dance, gymnastics, Silks and German wheel. She continues her artistic and academic journey with a DEC in Theater Exploration at the Cégep de St-Hyacinthe. She attended the prestigious École nationale du Cirque de Montréal and obtained her diploma. In 2010, she began autonomous training at La Caserne, where she focused on silks. From there, she toured with numerous companies, notably in the United States, and co-founded and co-directed a contemporary circus troupe in Texas for 2 years.  In 2017, she radically changed career and became a welder. After a one-year break, she returned to the circus world in search of new ideas and inspiration. She created her own apparatus, the tissangle, to deconstruct the traditional aesthetic of silks and play with shapes, heights and dimensions. 

 

Camille Swift

Camille Swift is a Chicago-based circus artist, specializing in static trapeze, dance trapeze, and aerial sling, with extensive training in traditional arts (ballet, piano, oil painting) and a few less conventional ones (breakdancing, Japanese swordsmanship). Her passion is creating acts that are highly skilled yet imaginative, expressive and visually striking. She speaks fluent French and has traveled to Paris and Montreal to train and develop her acts. Camille is also a visual artist, focusing in figurative oil painting, book arts, and collage. She has performed in AirOtic with Les Farfadais, CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil at Club Med Opio-en-Provence as well as performed multiple times at the Seattle Moisture Festival and various shows and cabarets across the Midwest. When not performing or creating, she works as a professional aerial coach, training her students in dynamic form and technique, helping them develop a professional standard of creative and acrobatic movement, and the more general but still critical skill of body maintenance to keep a professional aerialist in peak form.

 

Véronique Thibeault

Véronique Thibeault has always been fascinated by movement. She grew up dancing and studied contemporary dance and geography at university before she migrated to circus. She toured the world with her triple trapeze number, alongside her 2 partners. She then began to extend her passion to all aerial disciplines and has been working as a coach at the National Circus School in Montreal since 2004! She coaches in all programs, including teacher  training and she is part of the show creation team every year. She is also a certified yoga teacher. Véronique has collaborated as a coach/choreographer/acrobatic designer with different circus companies (Cirque du Soleil, Éloize, 7 Fingers) as well as many independent artists to create unique and mesmerizing acts. Her students have won prizes in the biggest circus festivals and continue to inspire the audiences around the globe.

 

Philippe Trépanier

Philippe Trépanier is a graduate from the National Circus School in Montreal (2003).  He was an acrobat in the show Cavalia (2005 to 2007). and is co-creator and performer of the solo show CLIP! directed by Yves Dagenais. He has performed CLIP! more than 250 times around the world since 2010. Phillipe played the main character in the show Life, by the 7 Doigts de la Main (2012), and a clown in Zarkana with Cirque du Soleil (2011-2012). He is co-creator and founder of L’Impro-Cirque (2008). His clown character is the main character in Karussell, produced by GOP Variety-theater in Germany, for more than 400 performances (2014-2017). He co-founded the company Les Deux de Pique in 2016 with Tamara Bousquet. They become the main characters of the show Apartment, produced by GOP Variety-theater in Germany, for more than 500 performances (2017-2018). Les Deux de Pique created Trattoria (2018-2022) and The GoldenCrust Family Circus & Comedy (2020-2024). They also perform at special events around the world and love to make people laugh.

 

Anouk Vallée-Charest

Anouk Vallée-Charest was born in Montréal, Canada. She studied dance and gymnastics before entering the world of the circus. She trained at the National Circus School of Montreal, specialising in the aerial disciplines, mainly aerial silk and aerial hoop. After obtaining her Circus Arts Diploma in 2003, she began to travel the world to present her art and teach circus. Anouk has performed for many Circus companies (Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Éloize, Cirque Fantastic Concept, etc.), cruise ships, casinos, equestrian-circus shows, festivals, special events and galas in many countries such as Canada, United-States, Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Japan, Belgium, England, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Russia and many others. In 2010, she was the artistic director and stage manager for a gala at Place Des Arts in Montreal. She continues creative collaborations with many circus companies and theatrical shows. Anouk constantly creates new acts and expands her repertoire. Since 2002, she has taught circus class in Montreal and all over the world. When Anouk is onstage, she strives to amaze you, by her merger of strength, quality of movement, precision, grace and poetry.

 

Ryunosuke Yamazumi

Ryunosuke, an extraordinary Japanese circus artist who is specialized in big ball juggling, Chinese pole and antipodism. After graduating from Quebec Circus School as the first Japanese man, he has been performing his sensational acts for galas, circus companies including Cirque du Soleil and a variety of festivals all over the world. He won the First Prize in Extreme Talents 2009 in Quebec, Second Place in the TV show Zoink’d in Canada and the Jury’s Special Prize at Izhevsk International Circus Festival in Russia. Ryunosuke adapts his show for any type of event and continues to leave his audience of all ages roaring.