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Meet the Staff
Gary Kirkland, “Jefe”
Gary, a Seattle native, was introduced to flying trapeze while on vacation eight years ago. He founded Emerald City Trapeze seven years ago with the support and assistance of many people, above and beyond the call of sanity. Like Blanche Dubois, he has always depended upon the kindness of strangers.
He is left handed and prone to being forgetful.
Kari Kirkland, “Bruiser”
Kari was born into a family of traveling musicians. This sculpted her into a highly adaptable, fearless, yet fairly tactful human who is good with strangers, doesn’t mind sleeping in a guitar case, and is likely to quote Joni Mitchell lyrics when faced with a challenge.
A dual citizen (Canada/USA), Kari has lived and worked all over the world, and comes to the ECTA team with a strong background in management consulting, corporate communications, and human resources.
Kari makes a mean roast chicken, is an active Ironman triathlete, and loves sunshine and ice cream (not necessarily in that order).
~ Instructor: Intro to Aerial, Beginner Silks, Beginner Rope, Intermediate Rope
Jenny is an aerialist and performer who primarily works on corde-lisse, but has also performed on tissu, hammock, and is currently in the process of creating an act on aerial chains.
Raised in a small town in central New York, Jenny was a child who always loved creating motion. Jenny started taking dance classes at the age of 3 and by the age of 17, Jenny had studied ballet, jazz, tap, and her favorites – hip-hop and contemporary. She then also discovered her love for circus and aerial arts. Seeing her first aerial performance of Cirque du Soleil’s “Quidam,” Jenny was intensely captivated by the magic of aerial movement and flying above the ground.
Jenny now has debuted her rope act at Supperclub San Francisco and has performed her rope act at Zircouplet Variete in Berlin, Germany.
Rachel Strickland, “Madame Rex”
Classically trained in ballet since the age of three, Rachel is a dancer turned aerialist and an innovative variety performer. She began her study of circus arts in 2007, developing a unique style and approach to aerial choreography, and has performed and taught aerial technique around the world.
She is founder and artistic director of Madame Rex, a contemporary circus and aerial dance collaboration. Rachel’s cross training allows her to deliver a wide range of roles, from lithe and ethereal to earthy and visceral. Rich, extravagant movements and strong, multifaceted technique are her trademarks. And a touch of creepy aesthetic…Performing extensively as a soloist internationally and in several national tours, Rachel specializes in creating aerial hoop choreography and the practice of telling stories.
~ Flying Trapeze
Joe Summers hails from the great state of Minnesota. He has a background in theatrical performance, but is currently pursuing a career in flying trapeze. A clown at heart, he is more than willing to be a fool so you may feel more comfortable showing your true side.
~ Instructor: Flying Trapeze
Philadelphia native. Worked at Fly School Circus Arts. Been doing trapeze for 6 years. Grew up once…
~ Instructor: Flying Trapeze, Aerial, and Summer Camp Director
From the great northern land of Canada, Gina Davis is a classically trained musician and former competitive dancer.
She found the circus in 2010 when she enrolled in an intensive workshop offered by cirque du soleil at the Banff Centre for Performing Arts. The sparkles! The glitter! The shiny people!! She was hooked right away.
Gina has been training, teaching and performing aerial silks since 2010 and has recently began a love affair with the Flying Trapeze. For the last ten years, Gina has been working professionally with youth in many different capacities from juvenile detention centers to upscale private schools. She holds degrees in Classical Music Performance, Education, and Child Development.
With a passion for singing, dancing, flying trapeze and all things creative she is thrilled to be part of the Emerald City Trapeze Team. Her life is an eclectic mix of teaching choir, musical theatre, and circus arts, doing jazz hands in the streets, and running barefoot through the woods.
~ Instructor: Acrobalance, Beginner Aerial, Date Night
Jenny Penny is a jack of all trades; Aerialist, Acrobalancer, Fire performer, Circus entertainer, Burlesque dancer and Sideshow artist. Starting with ballet at age 3, trying many different schools of dance, she eventually fell in love with the circus. She has been performing in Seattle, across the US, and around the globe since 2004. She was a founding member, lead performer, and mama of Seattle’s own dark circus, Pure Cirkus. Over the past few years she’s been teaching acrobalancing, aerial, and fire arts. She now teaches out of Emerald City Trapeze, offering public and private lessons. Her talents have been featured at venues such as Neumo’s, the Triple Door and El Gaucho. She strives for circus beauty, but is a carnie at heart.
Meredith is a classically trained mover, shaker, and dynamite in a neat little Swarovski-encrusted package. Her formidable dance background includes a BFA in Performance and Choreography from UNC – Greensboro, and North Carolina School of the Arts. Her circus training is a decade and counting, and can be found collaborating with Madame Rex specializing in dynamic aerial hoop work and and an uncanny ability to costume from scratch. A celebrated study of character and a gifted improviser, her eagle eye and penchant for unearthing what is compelling in any piece are prized by her audience and her fellow aerialists.
~ Instructor: Aerial Arts
Avery joined Circus Juventas in Minnesota in the summer of 2005 at the age of 11. She immediately fell in love with the circus. As a former soccer player, dancer, and choral singer, Avery took to circus like a fish to water. Over the course of many years at Circus Juventas, Avery trained and performed Spanish Web, Aerial Silks, Swinging Trapeze, Duo Swinging Trapeze, Triple Trapeze, Duo Trapeze, Static Trapeze, Hand Balance, Trio Rope, Pas de Deux, Bike, Flying Trapeze, Teeterboard, and Spinning Cube.
Avery has performed for dozens of private events, including the American Cancer Society Gala and Mall of America’s New Years show, the Africa Awards in the Twin Cities, and many more. Avery was also a member of a triple trapeze team that competed in a 2010 Circus Festival in Sweden, where her team took home first place in their age category. Avery first began coaching when she was 14 years old. She is now a self-proclaimed perfectionist and toe-point fusser. Avery emphasizes technique and form in her coaching and performing, and now loves teaching as much as she loves being on stage herself.
~ Instructor: Cyr Wheel
Due to a botched Valentine’s Day date, Coleton discovered his true love at Emerald City Trapeze Arts’ Nocturnal performance. Beginning in March 2015 and having no prior gymnastics experience, he focused diligently on Cyr Wheel while getting a little taste of different aerial apparatuses and even dabbling a little in acrobalance; however, Coleton’s calling was the Cyr Wheel. He began instructing in June 2015 and continues to obsess over Cyr wheel to this day.
~ Instructor: Flying Trapeze
Nick Glomb has been working in circus for almost ten years. He’s done it all, from teaching circus arts to children at summer camps to working with both children and adults at resorts around the world. He’s been in Seattle for the past year and loves it!
~ Instructor: Flying Trapeze
Michael discovered flying trapeze when he was 14 years old and has been flying ever since. Starting at l’Atelier du Trapèze in Brussels, Belgium, he continued as a trapeze coach and artist at Orlando Circus School (Florida). Most recently, before joining the ECTA team, he flew as part of Cirque du Soleil’s Creactive project at Club Med Punta Cana. Michael has had the privilege of flying alongside the most talented flyers, including La Nouba and Zarkana artists from Cirque du Soleil. He has also toured in musical shows around the world, including the United States, Mexico, the Philippines, Taiwan and several European countries. Now in Seattle, Michael is keen on sharing his knowledge and energy, the same way he received it from others before him.
~ Instructor: Flying Trapeze
Andrea was born and raised in LA and found the circus at age 18 after trying to keep cool as a competitive figure skater. She enjoys flying on the trapeze, aerials, dancing, rock climbing, long walks on the beach and getting caught in the rain.
~ Administrator and Instructor: Flying Trapeze
Erica has been trying to defy gravity since she was about 5 years old when she climbed a fence and jumped off thinking she could fly. It may have taken two black eyes and many years to find out how to fly in a more constructive way. While living in Washington, DC, Erica discovered not only her passion for flying but also for the sense of community that circus offers. In 2014, Erica moved to Seattle and joined the staff at Emerald City Trapeze as an instructor and administrator. Here, she has discovered her love of teaching and now has the privilege on a daily basis to introduce and foster her passion for flying in others.
A Seattle native, Erica grew up playing a variety of sports including basketball, softball, volleyball, etc. As an adult, her love of heights has taken her around the world rock climbing, skydiving and bungee jumping. Erica holds a PhD in genetics and spends her non-circus time working on developing new potential medicines for rare pediatric diseases.
~ Instructor: Intro, Beginner, Int/Adv Silks, Aerial Hammock, Flexibility, Static Trapeze, Aerial Playground, Beginner Hoop
Ivanna was introduced to aerial arts while, quite literally, dancing on the steps of New York City. Having danced professionally for many years with highly athletic dance companies and being a rock climber, it seemed natural to combine the two and start dancing in the air. She has since performed and taught in numerous cities and most recently landed in Seattle to join Emerald City Trapeze Arts and their team of skilled aerialists. Ivanna is also a fully certified Pilates instructor and massage therapist and has gathered an extensive knowledge of body mechanics. She combines this with all her other training in order to teach efficiency, body awareness, strength, creativity, musicality, and most importantly trust in yourself on all apparatuses. Mainly though, she just tells you to do things and laughs a lot.
~ Instructor: Aerial Arts
Julie feels at her best when she’s hanging upside down. She’s been suspending herself ever since encountering the art of aerial silks on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. Since then, she’s made a point of spider-climbing toward the nearest high ceiling on long sashes of cloth for roughly five hours a day. Julie started Aerial Fabric 5.5 years ago at ECTA. After taking one class, she knew that she wanted to run away with the circus! Julie also loves Lyra and Flying Trapeze.
~ Instructor: Beginner Pole, Intermediate Pole, Beginner Hoop
We are proud to provide our schools with instructors and staff from all over the globe, with diverse backgrounds, talents, and teaching styles. If you’re interested in joining our team, please contact Kari at email@example.com!