The instructors at Cirque de Vol Studios have a wide array of skills and accomplishments. Together we work to provide a safe community atmosphere in which to explore new and exciting forms of self expression, movement and fitness. Please take a moment to learn more about our circus family.
Watch this short video clip form NBC-17 to learn a bit more about our Circus Programs!
Owner/Self-Actualizer /Movement Artist
Sara Phoenix created Cirque de Vol Studios to combine her life passions. Her intention is to create an aspiring community that fosters human growth through creative movement and circus arts.
She practices and performs hoop, aerial and fire dance in addition to yoga and improvisational dance. She finds deep worth in practicing and sharing the meditative and healing joy that can be found in these art forms.
With her love of community and group-work, Sara Phoenix is the founder of Phoenix Rising Productions and initiated the formation of The Eclectic Circus Collective. She is also the Regional Director of the Triangle Vegetable Circus. Sara Phoenix has a bent for social justice and is most passionate about inspiring change through self work and the nurturing of supportive communities. She loves children, laughter, and you!
Her goal is to work on the revitalization of Raleigh’s warehouse district while providing Raleigh’s circus, creative movement, and healing arts communities with a home to practice, teach, share and play in. With the help of her sister, affectionately nicknamed “Sharebear”, Cirque de Vol Studios is quickly becoming a reality for downtown Raleigh.
She believes that everyone has the power and potential to create a life they can truly love.
Owner / aka Sharebear
Sheryl helped create Cirque de Vol Studios to assist her sister Sara in bringing her dreams to life. She believes in pursuing what makes the heart happy and is very excited about what Cirque de Vol can do for our community.
A certified personal trainer and avid runner, she believes in the power of these amazing and unique forms of fitness.
Katie Bouterse and Kaci Torres
AcroEntertainment combines balance, acrobatics, and juggling with creative body movement. Founded in 2007, what started as a whimsical collaboration project between Kaci Torres and Katie Magee, began to attract attention. Sharing an enthusiasm for street performing and a desire for play and physical activity, AcroEntertainment evolved. With their roots in partner yoga, gymnastics, and circus fundamentals, Katie and Kaci explore oppositional forces in balance and expressive body position. Join them on Wednesday evenings to explore the creative world of partner balancing yoga.
Alicia’s love and passion for dance and music started at a very young age. Alicia’s father, who is originally from Cali, Colombia, introduced her to the rhythms of salsa, cumbia, and merengue very early on. Alicia was first introduced to the technical world of dance, beginning in ballet and jazz, at the age of nine and later picked up tap the following year. By sixth grade, she joined the non-profit Performing Arts Ensemble in Red Bank, New Jersey, dancing the Nutcracker every Christmas and their traditional Disney shows every spring through her senior year of high school.
Alicia’s love and appreciation of diversity and other cultures is very important and frequently influences her style of choreography. She was competitive in the Monmouth Falcons African step team and in the Satrangi School of Fusion Bollywood dance team her sophomore through senior years of high school. After graduating, she attended Philadelphia University and earned a Bachelors of Science majoring in fashion design and received her Masters of Textiles at North Carolina State University to continue her education in textile apparel technology management. After graduating from NC State, Alicia returned to dance through the Zumba Fitness program in 2009 and is now teaching in Raleigh and Durham with licenses to teach regular Zumba, Zumba for children (Zumbatomic), and Zumba for senior citizens and the handicapped (Zumba Gold). Alicia is grateful for the opportunity to dance. She finds joy by incorporating her love and passion for the performing arts while inspiring and motivating her students to live healthy lifestyles. For more information you can visit http://aliciabetancourt.
Annaelise started gymnastics at age three and has competed most of her life. She formally trained at Gymstrada, alongside former teammate Gabrielle Douglas, two time Gold Medalist. Gymnastics has shown to remain a constant foundation throughout Annaelise’s career as a movement artist. She currently trains, performs and teaches a variety of movement art forms: Pole, PoleAria, Lyra, hand balancing, aerial tissue, & contortion. Annaelise is very active in the competitive pole dance community. She is most proud of the extraordinary artists that she has had the opportunity to train with and immensely enjoys witnessing their artistry firsthand. At Cirque De Vol, she brings to the energy pool an ability to inspire her students to dig deeply into their personal practice. Unleashing an inner fire that burns bright with inspirational momentum.
Andrea Ventura, CLYL
Andrea began studying laughter two years ago, after serendipitously falling into a laughing fit in a time of stress. She was struck by the similar reactions elicited by joy and despair, and delved into research on the topic. She found that in studies of neuroscience, spirituality and social psychology, laughter was widely recognized as a therapeutic technique. Intrigued, she began to incorporate laughter into her daily meditation practice. Andrea is CLYL certified by Laughter Yoga International.
Zumba, Musical Theatre
Blaire Callaghan is a lover of the arts in all its forms. Her specific gifting is in music. She is a former school music teacher, but took a break to homeschool her two special gifts – Bryn and Luke. She is the founder of Raleigh Area Children’s Theatre where she introduces children to the magical world of musical theatre. She has performed here in Raleigh with North Carolina Theatre, Theatre in the Park, and Raleigh Little Theatre. She is also a passionate lover of Zumba because of the impact it has had on her life. Zumba was her therapy during one of life’s most difficult seasons. She has also witnessed Zumba help her students with weight loss, stress, finding community, and loving life. You only have one life. Leave a mark!
Bonnye has a degree in Poultry Science from NC State and has been working as an enzyme research scientist for the last 5 years. After taking an intro workshop for silks with Liz Roberts at Kings, she was hooked and determined to be a curtain aerialist! Bonnye teaches the children’s silks at Cirque de Vol, and performs at various events and venues with her fellow Silksters. She is very into fitness and strength training. When she isn’t killing chickens, getting stuck in knots, or practicing her splits, you can find her downtown training as a Krav Maga instructor or getting lost in the mountains.
Carlie first got on a trapeze when she was 11 years old, and she hasn’t gotten off since! Growing up she did every type of performing art she could think of, from Circus to Dance, Acting, Singing and even playing the French Horn. Part way through college she ran off to the circus for a year to train at the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne, Australia before coming home to finish her degree in Film Production and Anthropology at American University. She has taught aerial acrobatics to kids of all ages at summer camps and helped to teach acting classes for years at Raleigh Little Theater. Carlie has recently returned from a long trip backpacking around Europe and is now extremely excited to be working at Cirque De Vol and be able to share her love of circus with everyone there!
aka Caroleeena- international hoop, fire and poi dance
Caroleeena is an internationally known performer and hoopdance instructor from Raleigh, NC. She has been teaching hoopdance since 2005. Caroleeena performs hoopdance professionally, spins poi and other tools and is an accomplished dancer in many styles. Her numerous tutorials and videos on YouTube are eagerly awaited by hoopers both new and experienced.
In 2008, she helped co-create Hoop Convergence, the first international conference of hoopers, now an annual event near Raleigh/Durham, NC. She has taught at Spin Matsuri in Tokyo, Japan and currently teaches online at Hooping University. Caroleeena moderates several online hooping communities and has twice won Hoopie Awards from Hooping.org — in 2007 for her work mentoring hoop students around the globe and again in 2009 for Tutorial of the Year.
She also uses hooping to facilitate many service projects. These include teaching hooping to the blind at the Gov Morehead School for the Blind, creating hoops for children and caregivers in the pediatric AIDS unit at Duke Hospital, and creating a weekly hoop jam at Pullen Park that has been actively teaching people to hoop since 2007. As a teacher she is articulate, detailed, encouraging, and fun. As a performer she will knock your socks off!
Check out this great article in The News & Observer on Carolyn Mabry, the Hoop Queen of Raleigh!- http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/29/3067711/north-carolinas-hoop-queen-reigns.html
Trapeze, Silks, Aerial Boot Camp.
Gabriella has a naturally curious mind that has her always learning something new. She is addicted to the notion of trying new things and challenging her body in new ways. She has always been an athlete and active, from being a competitive swimmer as a child to a kiteboarder currently. She took her first silks private in Hollywood on a trip to California. It was difficult but exciting. When she returned she heard of a new silks class starting up in Chapel Hill, she signed up right away. That was 5 years ago and started a love for silks, which she still does to this day. It was far more interesting and challenging than her usual gym routine. When Henry V on trapeze came to Raleigh they did a low-flying trapeze workshop. Gabriella signed up to see what it was all about. She loved it so much she signed up for a series of privates with Eileen Little for the two weeks her troupe was in town. She took trapeze lessons every time the opportunity to do so came up. A trapeze teacher locally suggested she go get certified to teach and that is what she did. A trip to New England Center for Circus Arts in Vermont started her on her path to teaching. She loves the idea of helping others find just how much they are capable of! She brings with her her perspective of being in her 30′s when she started doing circus arts. You don’t have to be kid to enjoy this exciting way of moving! It is never to late to try something new.
Gena has always been a free spirit, loving the adventure of moving to different cities and interacting with different people. Through her journey she was introduced to Aerial Hoop and Trapeze while living in Asheville,Nc in 2009. During her years of traveling Gena has trained at Kinetic Arts in Oakland,CA; Orlando Aerial Arts and at Trapeze Federation, a flying trapeze school, with Efe Ilkay in Orlando, FL.
Gena spends most of her time teaching Pilates and Aerial Hoop in Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh. Her classes are motivational, challenging and leave each student feeling accomplished.
Hoop dance and Flow wand
A mad scientist by day and performer by night, Memory is entranced by all things cirque. She holds a Ph.D in Microbiology and Immunology from Stanford. Memory discovered her love for the circus arts when chronic pain and injuries prevented her from continuing her yoga practice. She practices and teaches the flow arts for exercise and moving meditation. Memory soon realized that being a lab rat wasn’t as fun as being a circus rat and she is now committed to using circus arts to show science is fun, nutrition is important, and exercise heals the body and mind.
Memory does science and circus presentations at school assemblies, after school programs, workshops, and birthday parties. She is also heavily involved in creating a Triangle chapter of The Vegetable Circus, a nonprofit dedicated to using circus arts to promote nutrition, exercise, and healthy mind-body balance. Outside of education, Memory enjoys performing for both adults and children. Flow and connection with music are the foundations of her practice, and her infectious joy is evident regardless of whether she is dancing alone or with a hoop or flow wand. She firmly believes that anyone can dance and anyone can feel flow. In addition to teaching flow arts, she enjoys performing as a member of The Flowjo Family Circus, circusSPARK, and The Eclectic Circus Collective.When not teaching or performing, Memory enjoys spending time with her partner Jon Gerler (DJ FM) and their cat and dog. Together they play chase and make music.
Aerialist, Acrobat, Hoop and Fire dance, Stiltwalker
Liz is a performer and instructor currently living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She has been mesmerized by fire, glitter and all things fantastical since childhood. After being taken to the circus for the first time at age 2, she knew she had fallen in love. She felt both alive and at home under the big top. Her love and fascination for all things Cirque lead her to her eventual introduction, more than two decades later, to flow, fire and aerial arts.
Liz has combined her previous dance, gymnastic and athletic training with a Circus-style flair while dancing through the air with aerial silks, hanging from the trapeze or lyra, dancing with fire, hooping, fire eating, juggling, balancing on the shoulders, feet and hands of others, stilt walking and otherwise clowning around.
Liz enjoys performing in a variety of venues for children and adults and loves teaching the skills she’s acquired and the tricks she knows. Liz currently teaches aerial dance, aerial conditioning and fire safety.
A passionate performer and teacher, Liz is also focused on creating a healthy and sustainable life style. Liz has a four-season vegetable garden and recently began raising chickens. She is a strong advocate for both environmental and women’s health issues and believes that every body that moves is beautiful.
Hoop and Fire dance
The Pickle Mamas
Offering a safe and therapeutic environment for transformation, the Pickle Mamas host heart centered hooping and yoga classes. With joy and love, Angela, Grayson, and Meghan integrate their studies of Reiki, Body Talk, and Meditation into their classes, workshops, and treatments.
Meghan Natifa Griffith
Meghan is here to inspire others to shine in their own unique ways and to help each person discover the “Amazing Grace” that is within. Through Reiki, Yoga, Hooping, Fire-dancing, and Meditation she helps people to connect more deeply with their hearts, spirits & bodies, and remember who they truly are, Grace embodied.
Grayson’s vision is founded in the desire to create environments and experiences for healing and growth. Inspired by her lessons from Yoga, Design, Hooping, Performance, and Meditation, she invites others to awaken their own creative essence.
Sam has been studying theatre from a young age, and received her BA in Theatre Performance with a music minor from Appalachian State University in 2010. She has moved back to her hometown of Raleigh after being Company Manager at Creede Repertory Theatre and a Teaching Artist at The Denver Center Academy, both in Colorado. Her most recent appearance as an actress in NC was her trapeze debut in Henry V (on trapeze) in 2011 at Burning Coal Theatre. She learned trapeze from Eileen Little, co-artistic Director of Fight or Flight Theatre Company and certified New England Center for Circus Arts trapeze teacher. She has been teaching ages 6-36 professionally in both NC and CO in the areas of acting, trapeze, and Shakespeare.
Bellydance. Sword and Veil dance.
Sara has been teaching bellydance regularly since 2004. Sara strives to make this elegant art form accessible and fun and to help committed students develop their own unique artistic voices. She believes that bellydance is for everyone–every age, every body, every gender. She sees the dance as a powerful vehicle for heartfelt self-expression.
She has studied at length with Nandana, Hannan Sultan, Mira Betz and Bozenka and is a graduate of Donna Mejia’s Pedagogy Intensive. She has been a featured instructor at Triboriginal 2009 and the Asheville Bellydance Festival 2011, and has taught workshops all throughout North Carolina. A local expert in bellydance history and culture, she has given lectures at Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill on the culture of the dance.
Sharon’s passion for public speaking motivated her to find a way to help others with their challenges in life, which led her to JourneyDance. She cherishes the practice for its ability to share emotional release and its celebration of life. She trained with Toni Bergins, the founder of JourneyDance, at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health to become a JourneyDance Apprentice in 2012.
Her love of dancing and inspiring others to move freely without criticism or judgment shines through in her Community Movement classes.
Toni is a Raleigh native with a lifetime of dance and yoga experience, and a newer passion for massage and bodywork. She completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training at Kripalu in Western Massachusetts at age 19. Toni studied contemporary dance technique, improvisation, and process-oriented choreography as a dance major at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She taught yoga professionally from age 19-23 at her university, and later in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When teaching yoga classes, Toni found that she was often drawn to teaching students massage techniques – the communication skills and sensitivity necessary for bodywork were more interesting to her than the solo yoga practice. After a stint with Americorps, Toni decided to formally study bodywork with the goal of teaching group classes. She is currently in massage therapy school at the Body Therapy Institute in Siler City, and will graduate in October of this year. Professional massage therapy is a wonderful thing – which most people cannot afford. Being in school confirms her passion for making the healing effects of receiving and giving skilled touch more accessible to everyone, regardless of income.The teaching and practicing of embodied spiritual practices is truly an art form. Toni strives to create a container for experiential learning – about our bodies and ourselves – that is grounded, graceful, challenging, and lighthearted. Ultimately, her goal is to give students the tools to become their own teachers – able to sense when their body/mind is out of balance, and know how to come back to center.
Trapeze, Actor, Theatre
A recent graduate of East Carolina University (2009: BFA Prof. Acting/BFA Musical Theatre), Whitney Madren is an East Coast based actress and freelance aerialist who strives to bring a theatrical perspective to circus arts and the discipline of circus arts to the world of theatre. She was last seen at Burning Coal Theatre in the collaborative production of Henry V: On Trapeze with Fight or Flight Aerial Theatre Company. Whitney’s background in dance, gymnastics, and movement led her to find a professional niche in physical theatre and eventually landed her in NYC where she studied aerial dance with Fight or Flight and Heliummm Aerial Dance Company at the Ruby Streak Trapeze Studio. In 2012, she received her teaching training in trapeze and aerial fabric at the New England Center for Circus Arts. Gymnastic/Acrobatic/Aerial performances have been featured in regional productions of The Tempest (Ariel), Henry V:On Trapeze; musicals such as Chicago, The Producers, The Pajama Game, Footloose and the Off-Broadway production of Midsummer Night’s Dream at the American Theatre of Actors.
Yoga. Hoop and Fire Dance.
Zach started yoga in September of 2009 and has been dedicated to the practice since his first class. He has studied exclusively in Anusara yoga and continues to benefit from the heart oriented practice and physical benefits of the Universal Principles of Alignment. Zach has traveled the country to study with some of the most recognized teachers in the world, and every day he gives them thanks for the teachings they offer. Zach’s classes are physically challenging, emotionally healing and relate to everyday life.