CIRCA

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Meet Our Trainers

Meet our Circa Classes Managers!

Anna Murray 

Raised a gymnast, Anna found a deep love for physical training from a very young age. After many years of competitions and a brief love affair with contemporary dance, she found a creative home in circus, after joining Circas Youth Ensemble, Circa Zoo, in 2010. In 2011, Anna was accepted into the National Institute of Circus Arts, where she completed her Bachelor of Circus Arts, specialising in hand balancing.

After several years of performing with prestigious companies, festivals and cruise ships around the world, Anna returned home to Australia to fulfill another lifelong dream, and co-created the award-winning contemporary circus company TEOC Circus.  In 2018,  Annas performing career was cut devastatingly short when she suffered a severe spinal cord injury. However, Anna used her recovery time to begin her study of physiotherapy and hopes to specialise in injury prevention and treatment of acrobatic bodies using her unique knowledge and experience. In 2021, Anna returned home to teach Circa Zoo and channel her passion and breadth of experience into the training program that was the springboard not just for her own career, but also home of some of her most treasured memories.

 

Manelaya (Mannie) Kaydos-Nitis

Circus has always been a constant in Manelaya’s life. Whether it be the culture, the challenges, adventure or community, it has always fuelled her passion to train and perform.

At 8 years old she began learning at Aerialize in Sydney and fell in love with all things circus. Over the years she has found herself training at The Beijing International Arts school, The Flying Fruit Fly Circus and the National Institute of Circus Arts.

In and amongst her training, Mannie has enjoyed travelling all over and often finds herself packing a bag and seeing what adventure lies ahead of her.

 

 


Trainers

Rhylee Chapman

Rhylee has a passion for circus and all things aerial. She finds circus art empowering and it feeds her soul! She loves that circus is such a unique discipline and is a place where sports and art can meld together.
Since discovering circus in her youth, her love of heights and being upside down continues to grow.

Rhylee’s circus has allowed for some great opportunities both locally and overseas. Rhylee trains mostly in Lyra, tissue, handbalancing and acrobatics. When she’s not doing that she is getting sassy in pole dance.

Rhylee has a keen interest in the human body and loves being able to push her body in different ways to discover what it can do and how she can expand her skills. Rhylee continues to embrace all that the art of circus has to offer. She loves being immersed in the world of circus and wouldn’t want it any other way.


Ellie Cox

After realising gymnastics wasn’t quite for her, Ellie found her way to circus through Circa Zoo at the age of 12. She trained in the youth program for almost five years before attending the National Institute of Circus Arts, focusing on hand balancing and partner acrobatics. She also loves tumbling, group acrobatics and testing out every aerial before returning back to handstands.

In the past few years Ellie has been performing in Australia and overseas with Company 2 and teaching circus to all ages. In 2020, she completed a Bachelor of Psychological Sciences and intends to further her studies in psychology while also continuing to train circus disciplines.

 


Tami Dawson

Tami has been working as professional aerialist and acrobat since 2002, starting her career in traditional circus at 16 and continuing to have a successful career performing at prestigious corporate functions throughout Australia and Asia through her company Aerialicious.

In 2009 Tami attended the Wuqiao International Circus Festival in China, representing Australia with her aerial partner Michelle, competing with their Duo Lyra act ‘Allure’. As a coach, Tami is passionate and enthusiastic, always encouraging students to challenge themselves. Her main teaching areas are aerials (especially tissu, lyra and rope), contortion, strength and conditioning, choreography/artistic direction, and rehabilitation. Tami been coaching since 2006 well known for her eye for detail and technical knowledge.

Tami is currently studying a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at the University of Queensland, with goals of a future career in research. Her areas of interest lie in hypermobility disorders and their management within elite athletes.


Christina Goodwin

Having trained as a gymnast and a dancer as a child, Christina found circus through Circa Classes in 2012 and fell in love with the beautiful creativity, freedom and physicality of the art form. Christina joined Circa’s elite youth ensemble in 2013 and has dedicated herself to her training since. With Circa Zoo, Christina has performed onstage alongside the Circa ensemble in major Australian festivals, travelled across Queensland to bring circus to rural communities, and collaborated with other young artists for Festival 2018 as part of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games celebrations.

Specialising in handstands, tumbling, acro and trapeze, Christina is passionate about teaching, performing and directing circus and is hoping to advance into the professional space in the near future with a new local troupe, Collective Circus.


Ellen Henry

Ellen grew up in Brisbane where she was an active child participating in gymnastics, ballet and anything art related.  After moving on from gymnastics, Ellen found circus, particularly C!RCA Zoo. For 6 years she explored her creative side through the youth program, while also completing her Certificate III in Visual Arts and Contemporary Craft (Photography). 

Studying at the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne, Ellen developed her style by combining different forms of dance and movement, as well as developing skills in bounce juggling, loop straps and group acrobatics.  After graduation, Ellen performed in The Dummies Corp’s show Don’t Mess with the Dummies.

Ellen has experience teaching a range of circus skills to both children and adults, including handstands, tumbling and juggling.


Zoe Joiner

Zoe found her start as a gymnast and dancer at a young age, training full-time at Elite Rhythmic Gymnastics Club. After competing and performing extensively across Australia, she discovered a passion for circus training aerial, specialising in Lyra, Silks and Trapeze at Aerial Angels Cirque Central.

At 15, Zoe decided she would move to Melbourne to pursue her passion further, completing her VCE and a certificate in Circus Arts at the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA). Upon returning to the Gold Coast, she completed the professional full time aerials course at Aerial Angels and is a senior member of

the Circa Contemporary Circus’s Youth Ensemble, Circa Zoo. Most recently she has performed with The Farm in Wrecked and Circa Zoo in Return to Earth at HOTA and Leviathan at QPAC.

Zoe is currently studying a Bachelor of Creative Industries at the Queensland University of Technology to further her career within the arts sector. She is also looking forward to creating her own work with upcoming ensemble Collective Circus. Zoe will continue performing and following her passion of the arts into the future.


Abby Kelso

Abby Kelso is a circus artist and teacher based in Brisbane, specialising in hula hoops and aerials. She is passionate about empowering people and creating opportunities for everyone, and works on this by trying to make circus accessible for audiences and creating work for performers. To this end, she is the co-founder of Sparkle Society, a circus and entertainment agency.

She loves all things sparkly and fun, working as a face painter and balloon twister as well. When she’s not hanging upside down you can find her at the beach or trying to coax the neighbourhood cats into letting her pat them.

Circus has changed Abby’s life, and given her the strength and confidence to be unapologetically herself. As a result, she loves to focus her teaching practice on making physical activity accessible by introducing people to the joy and confidence-building of circus. She has a keen interest in pedagogy and supporting people to be the best they can be.


Izzy Lawton

Izzy has fell in love with performing at a young age, through her dance classes. At 11 she began to take acrobatics classes at her old dance studio, where she developed a strong passion for being upside down. After 3 years of acro classes she decided to enrol in Flipside Circus’ advanced tumbling class, falling in love with everything circus.

From then on, Izzy knew that she wanted to become a circus trainer and performer. After 3 years at Flipside she decided to take her passion further and auditioned for Circa’s youth performance ensemble, Circa Zoo, where she currently trains and performs.

Izzy specialises in tumbling, trapeze and acro. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Exercise Science, inspired by her love for circus and her general curiosity of how our bodies are capable of doing such amazing things.


Michael Maggs

Michael began training with Circa in 2009 and soon fell in love with aerials. He now specialises in tissue, trapeze and corde. As a freelance performer and collaborator, Michael has been performing on and off in Australia since his first independently run show in 2011.

Michael also has a background in electronics and has collaborated with many artists to develop interactive projection mapping systems, specialised stage lighting and props, a wearable gestural music controller, sound-activated light costumes, highly sensitive audio equipment, display interfaces for artists and more.

Michael has been inspired by so many talented circus artists and trainers over the years and loves teaching circus himself. He really enjoys helping others develop their skills and gain confidence in this fun and supportive circus community.


Riley McDonald

From Ulladulla, a small town on the south coast of rural New South Wales, Riley grew up with a creative mind and a whole lot of energy. At age 11, he was enrolled into a local circus troupe and hasn’t looked back since.

In 2017, he graduated from the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne before spending a year travelling and performing with multiple circus companies and festivals. He attended l’École Nationale de Cirque in Montreal, Canada, for a year in 2019. He is both an experienced performer and coach with a strong love for the circus arts.

 


Rhys Miller

Rhys is Acrobat, Coffee Roaster, Coffee Farmer, skateboarder, Climber and lover of grabbing life. Rhys has performed all over the globe with critically acclaimed urban circus company 360 Allstars between 2013-2018,  including seasons on Broadway, Edinburgh Fringe, Adelaide Fringe and the Commonwealth Games.

Currently Rhys is apart of Smash Parade, premiering in Brisbane in 2019 and live streamed to the motionographer awards in New York in 2020. Rhys has worked in the circus industry for the last 12 years, wowing audiences all over the world.

Never complacent, Rhys has always pushed for new skills to broaden his repertoire. Training in acrobalance, magic, clowning, acrobatics, balloon twisting and many other circus disciplines whilst always maintaining his abilities as an avid skateboarder and yoga lover.

Rhys’ career has been a smorgasbord of acrobatics and espresso, but Rhys still maintains that his favourite things are his family, his mates, his dogs, skateboarding and circus.


Maite Miramontes

Maite has been involved with circus for over seven years initially starting as a Circa student after finishing up her competitive career in gymnastics. She is a qualified Primary school teacher and also has 10 years of experience teaching gymnastics.

Maite specialises teaching and performing in tumbling and acrobatics, but also enjoys handstands and aerials. Maite has performed for Vulcana Women’s Circus, Wilde Applause, Aerialicious as well as various cabarets and festivals including Mullumbimby Circus Festival, Wonderland Festival and Anywhere Theatre Festival.


Alex Mizzen

Alex Mizzen is an independent artist who has worked within circus and dance around the globe. She is a maker of work, director of others, performer and facilitator of numerous self-designed creative programs. Alex’s work is both personal and provocative and pushes the form of circus.

As a co-creator/performer she has worked with leading Australia & International companies including: The 7Fingers, Circa Contemporary Circus, Legs on the Wall, Company 2 and La Soirée. 2018 saw the creation of Alex’s first full-length solo work, Invisible Things which has received both Green Room and Matilda Award Nominations for Best Circus, ArtsHubs’ Best Show for Brisbane 2018, numerous 5-star reviews & Directors Pick at the Anywhere Festival 2018. In conjunction with this, Alex has directed the last two shows from the Circa Zoo Youth Ensemble, Fred, Bobby & Me & Antithesis (Co-directed with Jamee Campbell), whilst concurrently working as both director and dramaturge within the independent sector. Her latest works include Hysteria, with Chelsea McGuffin & Co. for the NEON Green program at Backbone Youth Arts and Disturbo a brand-new collaboration with Bare Legs Circus for the Anywhere Festival 2021.

As a passionate advocate for youth, Alex has worked as an Associate Artist for the Flying Fruit Fly Circus. Working as a director/choreographer she has contributed to many projects including two national tours of the Green Room award winning show Junk. Alex’s current practice researches narrative inquiry through performance and explores innovative show models. As the current recipient of the Individual Fund from Arts Queensland, Alex is underway creating her new solo work;(un)becoming.


Mayu Muto

Mayu is a freelance artist creating and working independently as well as with Casus Circus, Polytoxic, GUSH, Vulcana Circus, Wilde Applause Entertainment and Aerialicious Entertainment. She is a graduate of QUT Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Movement studies minoring in Fine Arts dance, and she is a qualified Pilates instructor.  

Her creative outlet before circus was dance and her training institutions include Royal Antwerp dance school in Belgium and Frankfurt University in Germany. She incorporates her knowledge from exercise science and dance in teaching circus (main area of interest is aerials)  and she is passionate about encouraging people to explore their own styles.  


Lulu O’Brien

Having been involved and in love with circus from a very early age, Lulu has experienced first-hand the different ways that circus can positively impact individuals and communities. Lulu began classes at Flipside Circus when she was three years old and continued through the program until graduating from the Performance Troupe at the end of 2016. Throughout her time in circus, she has had roles in the performance, promotion, production and directing of shows, as well as training students as young as 18 months through to adulthood. 

What Lulu values most from her circus journey has been what it has taught her about self-confidence, trust and inclusivity. These three elements are the core values that influence her own teaching philosophy.


Jacob Ramis

Jacob Ramis is a Brisbane-based circus artist and musician with a keen interest in juggling, tumbling, and creating. Since finding circus at a young age, Jacob has performed with the Circa Zoo youth ensemble and the Flipside Circus Performance Troupe for audiences around Australia. He has been involved in a wide variety of shows ranging from small, intimate performances to large-scale outdoor works.

Jacob’s musical involvement has continued to grow over the last few years, writing and performing original music for the Circa Zoo shows A Little Wonder and Tempus.

Jacob has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from the Queensland Conservatorium, and is currently studying Mathematics and Languages at UQ.


Eve Timmins

Eve discovered circus in 2015 when she joined Circa Zoo Ensemble. This gave her the opportunity to perform for audiences around Queensland in a number of shows including A Little Wonder, Tempus, Bloom, Fred Bobby & me, Circus of the Senses, and Antithesis.

Eve has developed a particular interest in the areas of tissu, acro, straps and handstands. In addition to her C!RCA training, a highlight for Eve was travelling to Albury in 2019 to attend the National Training Project at the Flying Fruit Fly Circus.

Eve is currently studying a Bachelor of Speech Pathology at the University of Queensland.


Alex Weckes-Huck

Alex began training his circus skills at the age of 11 years old, and spent much of his childhood performing with Flipside Circus’ youth troupe up and down the country.

After concluding his time with Flipside in 2013, Alex spent 2 years training at the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne, where he specialised in hand to hand, banquine and trapeze.

Alex continues to perform and tour as an independent artists, and with Company 2 in venues and festivals across Australia and Europe. Alex teaches hand to hand, trapeze, tumbling and ground acrobatics