Sarah Poole Sarah Poole is an aerial coach and teacher at the École nationale de cirque in Montréal, currently coaching aerial fabric, fixed trapeze and flexibility. Originally trained in ballet, Sarah studied modern dance at SMU in Dallas and the London Contemporary Dance School.  As a contemporary dancer, Sarah has performed as a member of Gabriel Masson Dance, the New York Baroque Dance Company (under the direction of Catherine Turocy) and the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, as well as frequently collaborating with independent choreographer Mary Suk.  She has taught ballet and modern at the Emma Willard School in Troy, NY and at many dance schools in Montréal. Her aerial journey began in Montréal when she was invited to perform in a project which mixed contemporary dance with work in aerial fabric.  She continued to train and create in aerial fabric and on dance trapeze, later frequently performing in corporate events across Canada, and in productions at the TOHU in Montréal.  She holds a certification in aerial coaching (AEC) from the École nationale de cirque.  Her aerial teaching has been profoundly influenced by her continuing work with Frédérique Debitte, both at the Aerial Dance Festival and abroad.

Tony Seepersad is an avid performance artist and teacher in the South Florida area.  He studied acro-stilts with David Clarkson and has been teaching stilt walking in the "Walking Tall" program in Miami for the past four years.  He has worked in many outreach centers throughout South Florida focusing on self-esteem building and cooperative learning through the teaching of circus arts.  In addition to his performance art, he is also a classically trained violinist working with the Florida Grand Opera productions at the Adrienne Arsht center in Miami.

Elsie Smith & Serenity Smith ForchionElsie Smith & Serenity Smith Forchion are identical twins specializing in aerial acrobatics. The twins choreograph for circus, dance & theater and offer workshops and residencies to circus schools, dance companies and performers.  They have taught and performed with many well known companies including a 4 year tour on Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco, as well as Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus, the New Pickle Circus, Pilobolus, the Actor's Gym, Circus Juventus, Umo Ensemble, Circus Smirkus, Air Dance Bernasconi, University of GA CORE Dance Company, Sea World San Antonio & Canopy Aerial Dance Studio.  In 2003 they founded NIMBLE ARTS, their Vermont based trapeze & circus school that transitioned into the New England Center for Circus Arts in 2007. The two continue to teach at NECCA and work as Artistic Director and Executive Director of the growing school.  They also have an active performing career, and have received a Special Award at the China Wuqiau Internat'l Circus Festival and the Bronze Medal at the 1st Internat'l Festival de Circo en Albacete, Spain. 

Nancy SmithNancy Smith is the founder and artistic director of Boulder, Colorado, based Frequent Flyers Productions since its inception in 1988 and the Aerial Dance Festival. Based in Boulder since 1985, she has taught low–flying trapeze and releasing technique around the US. Her work with Frequent Flyers Productions has been seen in Boston, New Orleans, Utah, San Francisco, Montreal, the Bahamas, and throughout Colorado. She has received numerous awards and honors including the 2007 Women Who Light the Community, 2005 “Cutting Edge” Award from the Colorado Dance Alliance, the Boulder County Pacesetters Award for Arts and Entertainment, a Neodata Endowment Fellowship in Dance, and the “Arts Innovation Award” from the Colorado Federation of the Arts. Along with co-author, Jayne Bernasconi, she has written the first book on Aerial Dance.

Gretchen SpiroGretchen Spiro is a dancer, yoga instructor, Gyrotonic® trainer, and dance therapist from in Boulder, CO.  With a BFA in dance from Cal Arts and an MA in Dance Therapy from Naropa, she works with the parallels between personal exploration and the process of artmaking. She discovered Contact Improvisation in 1983, and is the founder of Tumblebones CI Collective.  Her teaching is rich with metaphor, humor, and fiery enthusiasm.

Isabel Jessica von RittbergIsabel Jessica von Rittberg grew up in Wuppertal-Beyenburg, Germany, a small historical village in Western Germany. Her mother, who was born in Montana and lived in India, brought her up bilingually. From her parents she was given the gift of a dual citizenship; she spent her summers in Western Montana. The Rocky Mountains instilled in Isabel a love of nature. Isabel was introduced to dance and music formally at a young age with ballet and piano lessons. Isabel graduated with a bachelor's degree in Latin American/Iberian Studies and a French minor from the University of California, Santa Barbara. While living in South America, the urge to convey the beauty of climbing became stronger every day. Dance-climb fusion has become her medium to unite three passions—rock climbing, dance and music. Isabel von Rittberg founded AscenDance Project in 2006. Her group has given numerous performances in varied settings including climbing gyms, theatres and outdoor stages.



Jennifer Fagen ArcherJennifer Fagan Archer is a choreographer, educator, dancer and aspiring arts anthropologist originally from Miami, Florida. Jen earned a BS in Anthropology and History and an AA in Nutrition and Fitness from Florida State University.  She has studied over 20 different forms of dance and has been educating artists for twenty-three years.  Jen studied and performed acrobatics for ten years and is certified in Mat and Standing Pilates. She has been commissioned in the US and abroad to create and collaborate on over 100 works and she is the founder and director of Ascential Dance, based in Broomfield, Colo. In 2005, Jen was honored to be trained by David Clarkson and Wise Fool to teach beginning stilt-walking. She served as David Clarkson’s assistant for the 2008 ADF and she is excited about joining the ADF 2009 faculty.

Jayne BernasconiJayne Bernasconi is the founder and artistic director of Air Dance Bernasconi, Inc., a non-profit dance company based in Baltimore since 2000 . Her award winning choreography has been seen throughout the United States and abroad. She trained in NYC with Hanya Holm, Murray Louis and Alwin Nikolais among others and danced for several post modern choreographers including David Gordon, Bill T. Jones and Stephen Petronio. From 1995-1999 she was a member of Frequent Flyers Productions in Boulder, Colorado. She has participated, taught and performed - off and on - at the Aerial Dance Festival since its inception in 1999. From 1991 - 1995 she was the artistic director of Forces of Ability, a mixed ability dance company in Vermont and Colorado (co-founded with contact improvisation inventor, Steve Paxton). She holds an M.A. in Dance Education from Teachers College at Columbia University and recently co-authored the book “Aerial Dance” with Nancy Smith tracing the roots of aerial dance through its lineage in the modern dance genre. Jayne is currently on faculty at Towson University and Gerstrung where she teaches aerial dance, composition, modern dance and yoga. She also teaches dance to children with autism, down syndrome and other special needs through the Community Dance Division at Towson.

Valerie ClaymoreValerie Claymore has 13 years experience dancing in the air.  She has recently returned from a 4 year stay in Wellington, New Zealand where she was the director of AeroTerra Aerial Dance Ltd in Wellington, New Zealand.  She incorporated AeroTerra in 2006 to help disseminate aerial dance down-under and was a board member and faculty for the Wellington Circus Trust and a company member of Empress Stiltdance. She has experience with rope and harness, low-flying trapeze, bungee, aerial fabric, stilts, hoop, static trapeze, spanish web, high swinging trapeze, and will play on anything that you can safely hang from the ceiling.  She is very happy to be rejoined with her home company Frequent Flyers Productions under the direction of Nancy Smith.

Ryan Gaunt originally from North Carolina, has been dedicated to climbing as a sport for over ten years. However, Ryan has always had a passion for outdoor adventures. His college years taught him to obsess over rock climbing. After graduating from Brevard College in May 2001, he has been completely and unequivocally a climber. Summer and fall seasonal work as a climbing instructor in North Carolina allowed for travels to warmer drier winter climates. Aside from Thailand and Mexico, these travels were mostly to the deserts of the Southwest. For two consecutive seasons Ryan worked in Tuolumne, for Yosemite NP Search and Rescue. Having a strong passion for climbing and love for music, Ryan has been extremely devoted to participating in the development of dance-climb fusion. Ryan has developed an extremely dynamic dance style on the wall as well as on the bar structure.

Danielle HendricksDanielle Hendricks has been performing and choreographing with Frequent Flyers Productions for seven years. As a teacher for the company, she will never tire of hearing the excited shrieks of laughter as her students fly or bounce through the air and spin or flip until they are dizzy. In addition to flying, spinning, and bouncing with Frequent Flyers, Danielle dances with 3rd Law Dance/Theatre, cracks the whip at Pilates Aligned, Inc., and enjoys doing anything that does not require sitting still for any length of time.  If you have ever dreamed of bouncing on the moon, slam-dunking a basketball, or leaping like a gazelle, then bungee class is definitely for you!

Steve HomsherSteve Homsher is an avid CI teacher and performer, and dances with Tumblebones Contact Improvisation Collective. Steve has a background in martial arts, gymnastics, mime, ballet, and performed aerial dance with Frequent Flyers. Steve is also a professional visual artist and carpenter.  Steve teaches CI with clarity, precision, and a passion for cultivating efficient strength and effortless release. He has a particular interest in supporting dancers with personal feedback/coaching.

J. Darden LongeneckerJ. Darden Longenecker (Frequent Flyers’ Performer/ Teacher/ Choreographer/ Rehearsal Director) Darden joined Frequent Flyers in 2000 and she has been training, teaching, and performing with Frequent Flyers Productions ever since. When she's not swinging around in the air, she spends her time wrangling cats at C P + B as an Integrated Producer.  She prefers pickles to ice cream and she loves walking around the lake with Joe, her partner, and Byshop, the world's greatest dog.

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