Sidonie is a circus artist and coach to outside of the box athletes and aerialists. Her lifetime in creative athletics and performing arts has seen her perform across three continents and with notable organizations such as Les Sept Doigts de La Main, St. John’s Circus Fest, and Anystage Productions. She has lit up stages as a circus artist, hung from trees as a vertical dancer, performed in international festivals and curated and produced cross-continental shows. She is one of Western Canada’s most sought after aerial coaches and has a passion for coaching for longevity instead of short term outcome. She works with aerialists and non conventional athletes both online and in person to carry them through their careers safely and with efficiency. Her athletes become resilient, resourceful performers who are no longer derailed by change and instead continue to thrive regardless of circumstance. She lives in Vancouver with her Human, Cat, and 17 year old frog and is incredibly excited to be a part of the Alberta Circus Arts Festival.
Eric has been juggling for as long as he can remember. When not doing circus he likes to climb, take motorcycle trips and write about his travels in his blog, Beautiful Problems.
Paul Bezaire has a long history on all sides of the street. Volunteering as a teenager for the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival, working as a technician on the outdoor stages then revising and managing the outdoor performer program at the Fringe, long-time “Clippy”, then administrator, now Festival Director at StreetFest. Paul has also performed a bubble show for kids, a sideshow stunt show and has created a Rube Goldberg Machine show with his son.
Gerardo is a first generation Mexican Canadian whose passion for athleticism and art began by training Taekwondo competitively and being a visual artist as a kid and university student. Whilst in university, and while trying to find an escape from lectures, he found a new love in aerial arts at a local Lethbridge studio. There, he began training mainly in aerial hoop. Though he’s been involved on and off in circus balancing his academic life, He’s had the opportunity to train, compete, and work in western Canada, the US, and Mexico. To him, performing arts is the opportunity he gets to escape his reality and embody a character, an emotion, or to tell a story. Thus, it is always his wish that he can capture the audience for them to forget about their daily routines and to venture into the sadness, the drama, the silly, or the seductive with him.
Experienced and extremely versatile, artist Shelley Bareham earned a BFA in Metal Smithing at the Alberta College of Art and Design in 1993. She opened her first studio in 1994 with long-time friend and collaborator Jef Tsui and spent the next three years creating one-of-a-kind jewellery and small sculptures. In the years that followed, she continued to refine and expand her skill set while working in Bronze foundries, jewellery factories, in the apothecary arts and with other independent artists. She moved to Korea in 2000 where she taught English before returning to Calgary two years later to launch a new venture, The Painter Chick, a one-woman painting company that did everything from colour consultation and small murals, to indoor/outdoor painting. Shelley has been with the Green Fools Theatre Society since 2011, working as an administrator, art instructor, costume, mask and puppet designer and is currently working as the General Manager of the company.
Nicholas Beach is the General Manager of the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre. He is responsible for programming the arts centre’s multi-disciplinary season of 40 or more artists in 6 different series each year. The Lougheed Centre presents Canadian and international artists including theatre, dance, circus, and a large variety of music genres. In his 20 year career in the arts, he has worked in several theatres across Canada. Nick is a board member for the Canadian Association for the Performing Arts and an active member of the Prairie Regional Presenters Coalition. The Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre opened in 2014 and is located on the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus in Camrose, just south of Edmonton. The Lougheed Centre is home to a 584 seat state-of-the-art proscenium fly house and a 120 seat cabaret venue.
Kevin Bissonnette has been working in the cultural sector for 17 years. He’s been working for The 7 Fingers for the last 10 years. His position in business development has allowed him to work as much on the creation of shows as on the organization of international tours. Previously, he worked for the multimedia theatre company Lemieux Pilon 4D Art as communication manager he was also in charge of the tour logistic and assumed the role of tour manager, which allowed him to travel the world wherever the shows where presented. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Montreal and a graduate degree in cultural management from HEC Montreal.
Patrick trained straps for over a decade before retiring in 2021. He is proud of the connections and friends he has made along the way and incredibly grateful for the opportunity to perform in this community. He is currently exploring a transition into film and stunt but finds himself returning to his love of circus. Patrick lives with his wife and two kids in Calgary where he is often found being bossed around by his four year old.
Born in Winnipeg, Daniel is a true jack-of-all-trades with formal training in hand-to-hand acrobatics, roue cyr, juggling, comedy and improvisation. His first performances came in 1994 at the age of ten which led to over fifteen years of solo shows across the world. In 2009, after studying acrobatics across North America with Jerome LeBaut, Bill Forchion, Will Howard and Nicolas Boivin-Gravel, Daniel and Kimberly created the performance “The Street Circus” which has toured the planet extensively, finding a distinct home in South Korea and Japan. Career Highlights of Daniel’s include Cirque on Ice by Poet Productions, being a headliner act for Princess Cruise Lines, the World Buskers Festival in Christchurch New Zealand, the Ansan Arts Festival and the Busan Comedy Festival in South Korea, and the Heaven Artists Performance Series in Tokyo, Japan. THROWBACK is one of Daniel’s most personal projects and he is beyond ecstatic to have the opportunity to present this performance across Canada.
Originally from Chicago, Kimberly started her athletic career as a high-level figure skater where she competed on the USA National Junior Team. After a foray into bioengineering, she decided to return to her athletic roots and join the circus! Starting with Midnight Circus, Kimberly trained relentlessly which led her to starring roles in the GOP Variete Theatres in Germany, the Cirkus Prinsessan Festival in Sweden, and the Cirque Voila USA tour. Having trained under coaches from all over the world, she brings a truly unique approach to her performances. Now, as a renowned hand-to-hand flyer, aerialist and handbalancer, she performs with Daniel in “The Street Circus” and loves to bring an accessible circus show to audiences at festivals, theatres, cruise ships and corporate events around the world. Her mission of “making modern circus fun” has led her to thousands of performances from the heat of the Mood Indigo Festival in Mumbai, India to ice rinks on some of the world’s most glamourous cruise ships. As a young audience member once asked her after a show: “Are you the girl that can do anything?”, the answer is yes. Yes she can.
Léda has been an active member of Canada’s professional theatre, dance, and circus scene for over a decade. Leda has performed across Canada and worldwide with some of Canada’s leading theatrical companies 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 strengthening the creative communities of both Eastern and Western Canada with a focus on interdisciplinary devised creation in Moh’kins’tsis (Calgary, Alberta). Leda holds an MFA in Theatre Practice from the University of Alberta, with a focus on circus and theatre and she shares her passion for movement and theatre as a sessional instructor at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.
Carole is based in Quebec and 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. Carole holds a diploma in education and is soon completing a master diploma in creative project management. Since 2018, Carole has been the artistic coordinator and programming assistant at the St. John’s International CircusFest and coordinates projects at D’Arts et de rêves.
Anahareo Doelle is the co-producer/co-founder of the St. John’s International CircusFest, now going into its 5th year . She is a graduate of the National Circus School of Montreal where she specialized in aerial hoop and silks. For the past eighteen years she has performed in various shows, including places such as Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Japan and Germany. She performed and lived in Berlin for seven years before she returned to her hometown St.John’s in 2011 with her husband and family. She is passionate about bringing more circus to the East Coast. In 2022 she was awarded the Arts NL Educator of the year award for her work with her aerial school iFLY Aerial Arts in which she is the director.
Jay is an award winning (PCAM Close Up Magic 2020, 1st place) multidisciplinary artist who is sure to leave you on the edge of your seat! Jay began her journey as a magician at the age of 12, secretly studying at home and has since performed in many different settings. From busking to solo stage shows, from adult only drag and burlesque shows to children’s parties; Jay is familiar with a wide range of audiences and performance styles. Jay’s acts, from circus stunts to sleight of hand, make use of her experiences in life and she strives to be inclusive to all who may find themselves in her audience.
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.
Raised in the small town of Aylmer, Québec, Éliza started her dance training at the age of 6. Through dance, she embraced a variety of art forms and discovered a passion for circus. In 2010, at the age of 12, she auditioned for the National Circus School and was accepted. After 7 years, she completed the high school program and got her Diploma of Collegial Studies in Circus Arts (DEC), specializing in Aerial Hoop and Contortion. During her time at school, Éliza focused on emphasizing the relationship between the performer and audience. Since graduating in 2017, Éliza has performed for many Canadian and international companies such as Cirque Eloize, Circus monti, compagnie Chimère and Firefly Theatre and Circus. She has also had the opportunity to present her numbers and projects for cabarets in Europe and at the Festival Montreal complêtement cirque.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Michalene graduated from Victoria School of the Performing Arts focusing on dance and dabbled in community musical theatre before finding circus arts. She has been an active member of the Alberta circus community for over a decade, performing with Firefly Theatre and Circus and coaching kids and adult classes at Firefly Circus Academy. She is currently teaching aerial arts classes at Cirquetastic in Edmonton.
Lyne Gosselin and Normand Boulé
From a national level trampolinist, acrobat, to an aerialist Lyne Gosselin is excited to showcase her acrobatic trampoline chair act at the festival. She simply loves the creativity and teamwork circus has to offer. It all started with busking across Canada with a trio trampoline show, coaching at the circus schools in Québec city and participating in a few circus festivals in Cuba and Seattle. She is now sharing her passion here in Edmonton participating in various events, galas throughout our province. Lyne has enjoyed expanding her acting skills and performance skills with Firefly Theatre for the past 17 years! She has also recently taken the challenge of sharing her passion with kids and adults in her own studio CIRQUETASTIC.
Stephanie has been a company member and performer of Firefly Theatre & Circus since 2013 and a student since 2009. She was so 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 and PANACHE. She has been involved in many corporate 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 fluent in English and French both spoken and written. She is excited to be the festival’s French representative and producer.
Hailing from Winnipeg, Samantha Halas has travelled the world to study circus arts including China, San Francisco, Mongolia and across Canada. Now based in Montreal, her latest accomplishment has been creating Deep Dish- a one woman show which she has performed in both Winnipeg (Gas Station Arts Center) and Montreal (TOHU, Mainline Theater). Samantha has performed for circuses including Street Circus’s Throwback, Haut Vol, Wonderbolt Circus, Luna Caballera, the Underground Circus, Labo Cirque, Chile’s En La Cuerda, Balancing on the Edge, has toured Canada and Europe with the Red Sky Performance’s production of Backbone and has appeared as a featured performer with The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. She teaches social circus, as well as coaching professional and semi-professional circus artists using circus as a medium for social change as well as having produced and written three narrative driven cabarets in Winnipeg as Frostbite Circus.
Mike Hirschbach has been a circus artist for 35 years. He performed from 2001-2003 with the Cirque du Soleil’s touring show “Dralion.” From 2003 – 2005 he was a Master Trainer with the Cirque’s social outreach program, Cirque du Monde. As such, he trained the trainers in the existing Cirque du Monde programs, upgrading their circus, social and teaching skills in Orlando, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, South Africa and Burkina Faso. Since 2005 his full time work has been directing the Halifax Circus school and the outreach programs of Circus Circle, working with youth in difficulty; incarcerated youth, youth with addictions, with mobility or mental health issues, and those from a background of abuse. Before performing with the Cirque du Soleil, he toured his solo theatrical-circus shows for many years. These performances were seen across Canada, the continental U.S., Europe, Asia, India, the Yukon and Alaska in venues such as the Calgary Olympic Games, the Canada Summer Games, the International Mime Festival in Montreal, the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, the Singapore River Festival and the International Clown Festival in Mumbai and Goa, India.
Liz is a theatre director, actor, circus performer based in Edmonton, Alberta. She holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Alberta. Selected directing credits include The Secret in the Wings, Iphigenia 2.0 and Bug for the University of Alberta, 13 Encounters for Fringe Theatre’s Season Spotlight Series, Featuring Loretta, Criminal Genius, An Evening with Satan, Judith, The End of Civilization and Dirt for Punctuate! Theatre, Encounters and assistant directing Venus in Fur at the Citadel Theatre, Romeo and Juliet for Shuswap Theatre, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Theatre Prospero and Scars are Healing Wrong for the Expanse Festival. Liz co-founded Punctuate! Theatre as Artistic Director, was the Associate Artistic Director with Theatre Prospero, managed and curated several theatre festivals and is currently the Creative Director of Pandoric Productions, as well as the Director of Communications, Marketing, and Social Media for the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival
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.
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 is currently drawing 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.
From a young age, Mathilde was captivated by the world of Tati and the stunts of Buster Keaton. She then became an acrobat and gradually built up a palette of artistic colours, working in different companies in France and Belgium. Work aside, she likes to travel by bike, play tarot and go skating in Barcelona.
Marsha’s career as an aerialist/acrobat began in 1977, touring throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada with various circus’ including Big John Strong, Kelly Miller, and Garden Bros. This phase of her career spanned over a decade before permanently settling in Toronto. In 1988 she founded the Harbourfront Centre circus camp, now celebrating it’s 34th year. In 1991 she co-founded Ontario’s first Circus School, The Main Space School of Circus Arts, assisting many Toronto artists to develop and further their circus careers. Marsha’s dual career path includes projects with Cirque du Monde, (a division of Cirque du Soleil’s Social Action and Responsibility) for social circus projects in the Bronx, Los Angeles, South Africa, Mongolia and most recently with CIRQINIQ in collaboration with the Katavik Regional Government in Nunavik Quebec. Other highlights of her professional performance career include appearances in the World Theatre Festival, the Hollywood Rose Bowl half-time shows and The Johnny Carson Show. Film and television credits include technical and creative consultant and stunt double roles for director/producers Norman Jewison, Tony Bill and Steven King.
Jason is always thrilled to partake in anything Firefly Theatre and Circus has to offer. For nearly two decades, he has been fortunate enough to stare various stages with this elite company of athletes and artists, all the while never having to strain more than his fingers. Of equal importance, is the thrill of being back and performing with a live audience. Merde!
After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the Université de Sherbrooke, a master’s degree in project management from the Université du Québec à Montréal and a Master of Business Administration degree from HEC, Éric went on to gain several years of experience in arts and tourism management. Organizations he has worked with include the Orford Arts Center, Conseil local de développement MRC de Memphrémagog and Intermont Group Inc. In 2008, he joined the National Circus School as Administrative Director before assuming his current position with the National Circus School in March 2016.
By day Erik is the head of engineering at Future Fields, which is an Edmonton based biotech startup, working on using fruit flies as an expression platform for recombinant protein production. By night he is an aerial straps coach at Circofit and runs an open-access website for learning straps. He started doing aerial circus ten years ago and discovered it was an ideal playground for creativity, weirdness and community, where he met Angela, his partner in life and straps.
What Caitlin Mader lacks in size, she makes up in rowdiness. She’s been doing rope around Edmonton for over 10 years; in chilly warehouses, under bridges, dark sticky-floored bars, and flowery outdoor summertime weddings (she can do the splits and cash is cash). She can make a borscht almost as good as your grandma and do more chin-ups than your boyfriend.
Julie Marshall transitioned from “obnoxious kid who liked playing dress up” to “full-fledged performer” at age twelve. Getting her start in theatre, she began training circus in her late teens and has gone non-stop ever since. She has performed everywhere from equity house theatres and cruise ships to circus tents and riverboats (and a lot of places in between). Julie received her technical training in Montreal, QC under coaches Genevieve Bassette, Irene Purscke, Sergey Volodin, and Victor Fomine. Her specialty (and continual love-hate relationship with) is aerial hoop, but has done all aerial mediums (although to be fair, not all of them well). When she’s not haphazardly pinballing around the world, Julie resides in the beautiful desert hellscape of Las Vegas.
Lisa Nelson-Fries, from Winnipeg, has been working in theatre and film for over twenty five years. In that time she’s worn every hat you can think of- from actor, to director, to costumer, to stage manager, to general manager. Last summer she left her job as general manager of the Shakespeare in the Ruins to pursue a full time career in the film industry. Even with her success in film, Lisa jumped at the opportunity to take THROWBACK on tour and put the headset on in the booth again!
Tristan began circus at a young age, where he found a perfect match for his supportive personality. Besides being able to port just about every discipline, he enjoys hiking, reading and taking motorcycle trips.
Sarah Poole is the Director of Higher Education at the École de cirque de Québec. For the last fifteen years, she has had the opportunity to develop her teaching practice in the circus milieu in a wide range of contexts. She taught aerial disciplines for fourteen of those years at the National Circus School in Montréal after completing its one-year intensive Coach Training program in 2008. As a specialist coach, she has worked on many original productions for Cirque du Soleil (MESSI10, KURIOS, CRYSTAL, SAND) and for Cirque Éloize (SEUL ENSEMBLE). She has regularly taught aerial technique and creative research workshops in Europe (European Aerial Dance Festival, Les Rencontres de la Danse Aérienne), in the United States, and throughout Canada. She has also worked as a consultant in educational programming at En Piste. She is currently completing her research in circus pedagogy for her MA studies at Concordia University, and holds a Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership from McGill University. Originally a New Yorker, Sarah has lived in Québec since 2003.
After years of working in the fitness industry, Angela craved a new way to move her body and explore exercise, which led her to the world of circus. Starting out training silks, Angela quickly fell in love with flying through the air and creating art using her body in new ways, which snowballed into training lyra, pole, trapeze, lollipop, and straps. Her love of playing and writing music has also given Angela many opportunities to perform movement pieces to her own songs. For Angela, aerial circus is the ultimate playground for passionate creation, self-expression… and splits for claps.
Committed to performance from his beginnings, Francis obtained his black belt in Tae Kwon Do when he was 13. He continued to evolve in the world of martial arts until the day he took his first circus class. Since that moment, he has devoted his life to the practice and teaching of circus arts. He graduated from the National Circus School of Montréal’s 1 year intensive Coach Training program in 2011. While he principally teaches acrobatics and juggling, his years of martial arts practice and his depth of experience in other circus disciplines, dance and acting enable him to teach a variety of disciplines, adapting to the needs of each student. He joined the teaching staff at the École de Cirque de Québec in 2019, with the desire to further the development of circus arts and its community. He continues to teach acrobatics and juggling at the ÉCQ in the college and high school programs.
Tim Roberts is currently the Chief Executive of the Quebec City Circus School and president of EnPiste. He has been involved in circus arts since he learned to juggle 3 balls at age 15. That opened the door to a stint as Boss Clown for Ringling Bros., then a period as a street performer in Europe and co-founder of a juggling theatre company in France (L’Institut de Jonglage). He has been involved in circus arts education since 1993; from starting the professional development department at le Centre national des arts du cirque (CNAC, in France) to running the HE programme at the National Centre for Circus Arts, in London (UK) from 2000 to 2016. During that time he was also president of the European Federation of Professional Circus Schools (FEDEC) for eight years. He might open a bakery if all this circus stuff doesn’t work out.
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, irreverant humour, and ecclectic manipulation skills. Ross grew up in a cold lonely place called Winnipeg where he learned to juggle to entertain himself. After returning to his place of birth, Montreal, in the 1990s, he made a name for himself in the circus community because of his staunch refusal to wear face make-up or tights. You’re welcome. 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.
Alex’s first passion was horseback riding, and she endeavored to bring the same power and grace to circus. When not onstage she likes to draw, take photos, and travel. She is also able to remember everyone she’s ever met.
Kate Ryan is a world-renowned circus artist, entertainer and entrepreneur, specializing in Circus Hula Hoop, Face Balancing, and Grand Multi Fire Hoop. In addition to performing, Kate produces, directs and tours numerous shows and artists across the country for her company, The Little Bed Ball Company. Her client resume includes representation of Cirque du Soleil (Theatre Mama), Party like Gatsby Speakeasy EU, Cartoon Network: resident artist and Adelaide Fringe Inc. Her work as an artist, entrepreneur and humanitarian has been performed in ten different countries across the globe. In 2021, her digital adaptation to the circus arts industry and her work as a Director, Producer, Editor, and Artist was recognized by the Montreal Independent Film Festival and won “Audience Choice: Feature Film” at the Circus International Film Festival. Kate is also the Canadian Director of social circus NGO, Spark Circus and, the first Canadian Ambassador to Hoopologie, the world’s most revolutionary hula hoop company.
Nicole Schafenacker is a writer, performer and artist-researcher with euro-settler ancestry originally from amiskwaciwâskahikan/Edmonton. Her work explores body memory, liminal spaces at the threshold of change, intimate geographies, and hopeful acts/relationships between humans and place. She often works with devised practices and in collaboration with dancers, musicians and visual artists to create interdisciplinary work. She is the author of two plays, Fish at the Bottom of the Sea and 13 Encounters and a co-editor of the climate fiction anthology, Our Entangled Future. Currently she is the artist in residence with Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (Yukon Chapter) and a member of the FUTURES/forward cohort at the International Centre of Art for Social Change. She has shown work across Turtle Island/Canada + the US and in Norway.
Always gracing the stage with elegance and strength, Nicole Schroeder is a professional aerialist based out of Calgary, Alberta, who has trained extensively to bring her inspiring aerial performances to life. She creates stunning compilations using her robust skill set and has been entertaining audiences across Western Canada for more than half a decade. When not in the air, upside down or trying to fold herself in half, Nicole spends her time sharing her enthusiasm for aerial arts through coaching others. She also tries to involve herself in as much creative work as possible and is always on the lookout for the next pair of socks to add to her already very large collection.
Melanie holds a B.A, B.Ed and M.Ed. Melanie is an active member of the Alberta Registered Music Teachers Association and holds an Advanced Specialist Certification from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada. Melanie’s passion for aerial arts began in 2006. Since then, she has completed a wide array of teacher certification programs and instructs at various dance studios in Edmonton. In 2018, Melanie combined her passion for music and aerial arts into a unique and innovative art form that is both inspiring and visually compelling. Audiences can expect to be compelled by Melanie’s playing while suspended in the air using aerial fabric, an aerial hoop, a lollipop lyra or a two-point hip harness. Melanie is proud to have the title of being Canada’s first aerial silk violinist and was recently featured on Canada’s Got Talent. You can find out more about her at www.silkandstrings.ca
Born in Canberra in 1985, Idris attended The Association of Modern Education school and St Francis Xavier College. Discovering theatre early, Idris filled his childhood with the Arts and theatre classes before undertaking full time productions at the Lieder Theatre in Goulburn. Idris went on to study acting at Wollongong University where he honed his comedic skills and discovered a passion for clowning and continued his study of circus at Circo Arts in New Zealand in 2006. Idris continued his professional development, training as a clown and juggler at the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne, completing his Bachelor of Circus Arts in 2009. Some career highlights include starring in a Vegemite TV commercial, performing for the Crown Prince of Brunei, and he holds several world records including longest two-man cartwheel. When not touring and performing Idris coaches emerging performers, particularly youth classes in Canberra. Currently Idris is a head trainer at Canberra’s Warehouse Circus and is thrilled to be presenting THROWBACK for a second time!
Holly is an artist, producer, artistic director for Femmes du Feu Creations, osteopath (DOMP), entrepreneur and mother of two. Originally from Winnipeg, Holly moved to Toronto in 1995 to study at Toronto Dance Theater. Holly now works primarily in the circus sector and has trained in circus across Canada and the USA. Holly has taught, performed and toured with many dance and circus companies across Canada and the USA, including LookUp Theatre, Circus Orange, and many more. Holly is an active advocate for the circus sector and serves on the En Piste pan-Canadian circus development committee, the Welland Downtown BIA, the Welland Arts & Culture Advisory Committee, and initiated the new Welland Creatives Network. Holly relocated to Welland after 25 years in Toronto, with her family in July, 2019 to open a new circus and multi-arts center called The Bank Art House, that will serve the local and international arts community and hopes to see you there!
Samara Von Rad
Samara Von Rad is an Aerialist, Stunt Performer, Actor, and Musician. She has been a student of Firefly Theatre and Circus since she first discovered her love of all things circus in 2009, and became a coach in 2015. Since then Samara has had the exciting opportunities to perform with Firefly in some incredible shows including Kolabo and Inferno. Samara released her first EP Fantasy in 2018, and her music can be found on all streaming platforms.
Ashley Weckesser is an Edmonton, AB-based composer and interdisciplinary artist working in the fields of music and sound, visual art and theater. Ashley’s primary goal in her works is emotional storytelling that ignites passion. Music cannot effectively impact listeners without having a story and without having emotion. Ashley has taken a new interest in musical compositions that are designed to explore the impact of music on the conscious and subconscious emotional reactions of both the performers and listeners. Her goals are to design music in both the film and video game industries, as well as live performances (taking multiple forms), that turn the active listener into a participant; creating their own personal story and subsequently emoting on a transcendent level.