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The Team

Meet the Owners

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SEAN H
He/Him

An Engineer and Project Manager by day, aerialist by night, Sean found circus arts while at university and it was love at first fly.

 

Since his Vancouver start in 2012, Sean has trained, taught and performed in Calgary under TADA and broadened his circus exposure from aerial silks and trapeze to hand to hand partnering before a year away in Cambridge. After another transplant to the San Francisco Bay Area, he taught and trained at Aerial Artique and San Francisco's Circus Center. Known for dynamic drops, energetic pathways, and an overall exuberance, Sean brings an analytical mind to breaking down and building up tricks and a playful spirit to creating aerial artistry. Let’s fly!

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Emrah O
He/Him

M-ra thinks he has been in an existential crisis since he was 4. He was always active (maybe too active his mom says) but weirdly, he bloomed a bit late and started his acrobatic career at the age of 37. To fill the gap, he chased master handbalancers around the world and apprenticed under them since 2018.

He has an academic career in applied math (mathematical and software engineering) and he liked teaching all his life. In order to get into teaching acrobatics he completed the Circus Instructor Program at the National Circus School in Montreal (ENC) He continued to the Circus Trainer program after and he is a student-trainer with ENC. He also holds NCCP - Trained Gymnastic Federation - Artistic Coach certification. He is an Emergency First Response Instructor and an OWSI with PADI. He is a fully certified teacher (LVL III) with the movement flow system.

And meet the team!

Our talented coaches are a mix of dedicated Circus-since-forevers, Professional Performers, Gymnasts and Students-come-coaches, including 3 graduates from the École Nationale de Cirque, Montreal's National Circus School. They all share one thing in common, a true joy for sharing their passions. Victorias Circus Community is growing and we are proud to be one of the hubs. Have a read about our team below or better yet, come say hi!... See you in class!

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Rose M

Kids Program Director & Head Coach

Rose is a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts. Originally from Vancouver, Rose trained and performed with CircusWest before moving to Victoria to study Musical Theatre. Having grown up in the circus, Rose is passionate about the impact that programs like ours can have on young people's confidence and creativity. Rose's practice as a coach is focussed on fortifying student's bodily awareness and protecting their impulses and intuition as they develop as athletes and performers. Rose teaches students of all ages and is always inspired by the way Circus can bring joy and empowerment at any stage of life. Rose is so grateful to be sharing a love of circus with such a varied community of hardworking students.

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Alicia S
she/her

Lead Administrator & Acro Yoga

Alicia is like the swiss army knife of administration. She has a long (somewhat boring) background in data management and graphic design. Since 2014 she’s been running a successful online gift shop, living that work from home life way before it was cool. When Alicia isn’t elbow-deep in spreadsheets, she’s probably balancing upside down on someone else’s feet - Acro style! Alicia is an certified Acro Yoga instructor, and long-time Victoria Acro Community organizer, she’s fully immersed in all things partner acrobatics. You can catch her coaching Acro Foundations. On top of all that she dabbles in weight lifting, calisthenics, guitar, video games, and indoor gardening.

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alia S
she/her

Aerial Rope, Aerial Trapeze

Alia is a dancer, acrobat and aerialist, specialising in dance trapeze. She graduated from the School of Contemporary Dancers in Winnipeg and then discovered circus in Vancouver in 2008. She’s worked as a freelance circus artist in Vancouver and Montreal for a few years before moving to Las Vegas to work on KA by Cirque du Soleil. After 8 years with Cirque du Soleil, Alia has moved back home to Victoria and is excited to share her knowledge and experience with this growing circus community.

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Jenna L
she/her

Aerial Hoop, Trapeze, Partner Acro, Handstands, Flexibility and more!

Jenna’s introduction to circus started with pole fitness classes in 2013. After spending a few months taking pole classes she slowly started to try other circus disciplines including; aerial hoop, handstands, flexibility, partner acrobatics, and dance trapeze. Jenna has a background in competitive gymnastics that has complimented her circus training. You can join her for Hoop and Trapeze and sometimes Handstands!

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Kaelyn O
she/her

Gigs Manager, Aerial Trapeze, Silks, Hoop, Hammock; Flexibility & more! 

Kaelyn grew up right here on the west coast. After being introduced to acrobatics through competitive gymnastics, she went on to train trapeze at the l’Ecole Nationale de Cirque in Montreal. She quickly fell in love with the circus arts which led her to 10 years of touring and performing internationally. She has worked with many different circus companies during her career, including Les 7 doigts de la main, Cirque Eloize, Palazzo Variete in Germany and Cirque du Soleil. Now back on the west coast Kaelyn is enjoying teaching and studying massage therapy. Specializing in aerials she loves blending fluidity and creativity into dynamic acrobatic movements.

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Rebecca T
she/her

Aerial Silks, Hammock, Kids Classes, Parties and more!

Rebecca distinctly remembers the first time she tried aerial silks, and she has been hooked ever since! As a teenager she joined a circus performance team in her hometown of Toronto and found incredible joy in creating shows and performances with the team. Since moving to Victoria for school and joining Island Circus Space Rebecca has had the opportunity to try out many new circus disciplines as well as expand on her experience. Her love for circus continues to grow! Rebecca is very passionate about circus believes it is a great way to build confidence, creativity, and body awareness. Her favourite part of coaching is seeing students grow more confident with themselves and the skills they can do.

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Tom D
he/him

Aerial Hammock

Tom started training with Island Circus Space in September 2018 and fell in love with aerial hammock. He loves the challenge that it brings and finds it to be a fantastic workout (and a blast at the same time!). While not getting into circus arts until his adult years, Tom has competed in swimming and volleyball, and took part in gymnastics, skiing, and snowboarding in his younger years. He has an undergraduate degree in Greek and Roman studies and is a Provincial employee by day. He also volunteers with and supports local theatre in Victoria. Tom is excited to share his joy for aerial hammock with others!

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Coral C
she/her

Co-Founder. Handstands, Partner Acro, and more!

Coral Crawford was born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It was there that she was first exposed to gymnastics and the upside-down life, and since then she has never looked back.

Training and competing as a competitive gymnast and dancer allowed her excel in the physical arts, but it wasn’t until she moved to Vancouver, BC that she discovered circus, an art form that allowed her to combine all of her passions into one. While in Vancouver Coral trained and performed with The Underground Circus where she trained in aerials, hand balancing and partner acrobatics.

Aside from receiving her bachelor’s in Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Saskatchewan, Coral is also a NCCP certified gymnastics and trampoline coach, and certified AcroYoga teacher. When not training circus you can usually find Coral exploring the BC coast, dabbling with guitar, working as an Orthoptist, or eating sushi and handstanding with friends.

Lisa Eckert

LISA E
she/her

Co-Founder. Aerial Hoop, Trapeze, Partner Acro, Handstands, Flexibility and more!

Lisa was born in Victoria, Canada. Growing up you would say she was a bit of an attention seeker; she performed ABBA concerts in her living room and elaborately choreographed dance and gymnastic routines with her friends.

A culmination of these talents were reached when she graduated The National Circus School of Montreal in 2010 as a partner acrobatic flyer on trampoline. After she then went on to gain 2 ½ years of touring experience with Cirque Eloize where she discovered Cyr Wheel. Following Eloize she has worked with Les 7 Doigts de la Main, Les Productions Haut-Vol, and most recently Australian based company, Circa Contemporary Circus. Lisa has performed in over 15 countries, two international circus festivals, and a 6-month run of Wunderkammer in Berlin’s Chämeleon Theatre.

Lisa loves to geek out with music research, going for a good libation with friends and simply pressing next episode on Netflix.

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Sarah Jane A
she/her

Aerial Yoga

Sarah Jane Achtem grew up dancing on the island.  She has trained extensively for almost two decades in numerous different dance styles in Canada and the US.  Sarah Jane furthered her movement training in Vancouver while studying at iNdustry Dance Training Program. It was here that she had her first taste of aerial arts during circus training and instantly found a new love.  Since returning to Victoria, Sarah Jane has increased her aerial expertise by training in aerial yoga, hoop, and silks, along with teaching ballet, contemporary, and street jazz.  She completed her Level 1 Lyra and Aerial Yoga Fitness training through PFIC and her 20 hour Elevate Aerial Yoga Teacher Training in 2019 and is also the only certified Pop Pilates instructor on the island.  Sarah Jane is thrilled to join the Island Circus Space family where she can share her passion for aerial arts and fitness.

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Angela R
she/her

Aerial Silks, Aerial Hoop & Trapeze, Aerial Hammock, and more!

Angela has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering but in her spare time, she can be found hanging from the ceiling at Island Circus Space dancing in the aerial silks. You'll find her coaching Silks, Aerial Hoop & Trapeze, Kids classes and birthday or bachelorette parties! Angela has been taking circus classes at Island Circus Space since February 2018 and she still regularly takes as many circus classes as possible in her spare time!

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Nikki L
she/her

Partner Acro

Nikki moved back to the island after living in Calgary for 4 years where she taught acroyoga and Zumba. After years of yoga, hiking, kayaking and competitive running she was introduced to partner acrobatics. She quickly fell in love with with flying and handstands which lead to multiple festivals, workshops and classes. She loves focusing on body alignment and finding ways to make skills accessible for people. When she is not upside down, on her yoga mat or outside exploring you can find her cooking, reading or drawing.

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Sylvia L
she/her

Aerial Silks, Aerial Hoop, Aerial Hammock & more

Sylvia Louis is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning circus aerialist, pole artist and instructor, as well as proud mommy to a beautiful little girl. As a child, Sylvia trained in gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics and later fell in love with aerial arts the very first time she climbed on a trapeze. She graduated from the prestigious National Circus School in Montreal (a 3 year, full-time program), with specializations in aerial silks and trapeze. Sylvia has performed around the world with renowned companies including Cirque du Soleil, Les Gens d’R, Palazzo Variete, Cirkus Prinsessan, Art Teatro and more. She has performed and choreographed various solo, duo and group acts on aerial silks, aerial hoop, pole, flying pole, trapeze, bungees, adagio, aerial sphere, aerial rope, aerial hammock, floor acrobatics and aerial dance in a harness. She is an elite level international aerial silks champion, national pole sport champion, BC pole champion and was an aerial performer for the opening & closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She also represented Canada at the Elite level in 2 Pole World Championships, 2 World Cups and 2 Pan American Championships. She finished in 5th place at the Pan American Championships and 6th place at the last World Cup in Brazil. Along with performing in various live shows, film and TV, Sylvia is a certified and experienced instructor.

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mariana L
she/her

Kids Classes, Parties, Flexibility, Hoop & Trapeze & more

Mariana was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and since she was a little kid she loved to dance and perform. Started in ballet school when 8 years old, and joined the National Circus school as a young adult. She had the chance to travel to USA on the Ringling Bros Circus when working as an aerialist (silks, hoops and ropes) and also joined Cirque du Soleil for specific training as a flyer on Varekai’s triple trapeze act.

When back to Brazil afterwards, Mariana started teaching Circus arts and now keeps spreading the joy on Canadian lands, joining the ICS team in January 2022.

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Blair F
he/him

Acro Yoga

Blair's movement, performance and circus background started as a teenager with playwriting, improv, acting stage combat, clowning, dancing, and also juggling. Later in life, he picked up single and multi-ball contact juggling, contact staff and fire performance, and contact dance improvisation. All three became important tools for self expression from about 2009 on.

In 2017, he began to practice acrobatics and Acroyoga. He quickly came to lead, teaching many newcomers the basics. His first formal Acroyoga International training was in 2017. Blair has focused his training on mobility / injury recovery, handstands, icarian, and standing acrobatics. He attended various workshops, courses, and conventions in Canada and in Asia - Vancouver, Hong Kong, Chiang Mai, and Shenzhen. 

 

In summer 2019, he attended a month-long Partner Acrobatics teacher training / certification in Spain. He perfected the basics and improved his understanding of how to coach adult acrobatic learners, and returned for a second teacher training session in 2020. Here in Victoria, Blair is a member of the acro community, fire performance crew, and a certified weirdo nerd. 

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Pupe L
she/they

Acro Yoga

Unleashing the power of movement to transform lives, Pupe is on a mission to spread joy, strength, and connection through her passion for acro. With roots in Argentina and a journey through Latin America, India and Europe, she has sharpened her skills under the guidance of diverse teachers, infusing her teachings with a unique blend of styles.

With certifications from Acroyoga International and Partner Acrobatics, Pupe brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her classes.

Pupe also has +500 hours as a registered yoga teacher with a trauma-informed perspective.

Currently she is completing the Circus Instructor Program at the prestigious National Circus School in Montreal (ENC).

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Josh N
he/him

Handstands

Josh began his handstand journey as a young gymnast, where he showed off by walking around (inverted) with no sense of strength, balance or grace. Over time – and it has taken a long time—he has been learning from those in the gymnastics and circus worlds how to develop those attributes through hand balancing. Now Josh is a certified and insured personal trainer, certified Movement Flow instructor, and has graduated from Montreal’s Ecole Nacional de Cirque's Instructor Program, involving 70+ hours of interning under more experienced hand balancers from around the world. Josh’s teaching style is both supportive and challenging. He creates a safe and inclusive environment for his students, where they can feel comfortable pushing their limits and trying new things. He also emphasizes proper technique and alignment, ensuring that his students not only achieve their handstand goals but also do so safely and with good form. Whether you're a seasoned acrobat or a complete beginner, Josh’s classes are sure to challenge and inspire you. In his spare time, Josh works as a legislative advisor, using his law degree to help the province rewrite environmental laws. He loves the island: rock climbing, highlining, back-country skiing and surfing.

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Kevin T

Aerial Rope & Open Training Facilitator

Born and raised in the Lower Mainland, Kevin is a true west coast boy.

Ex-national competitor in platform diving and swimming and trained in contemporary and jazz dance, you can find him pushing weights at the gym, catching surf in Jordan River, or trying out a new recipe at home with self-foraged mushrooms. He's loved circus since his formative years but took the plunge into practitioner status early 2019 with Cyr Wheel. If he's not taking a class or facilitating an open training at ICS, he's working his day job as a Recreation Therapist with VIHA - his passion is making all activities accessible for all people. He'll be a graduate of the Ecole National Du Cirque's Teacher program come the end of 2021. His apparatus' are: Cyr Wheel, "Tippy" Lyra, and Aerial Rope

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Beth W
she/her

Flexibility & Open Training Facilitator

Beth grew upon on Vancouver Island as a competitive swimmer, recreational gymnast, rock climber and kick boxer. After 10 years focusing on university and law school, she found her way back to hobbies and movement by taking lyra classes at the Calgary Circus Studio in 2017. Although lyra will always be her first love, she also enjoys silks, hammock, and flexibility training. Beth is a criminal lawyer by trade, and lives with a cat named Steven.

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Adgam S
she/her

Flexibility

Since Adi was a child she has always enjoyed the freedom that flexibility gives to her body. Although Adi was born with a naturally flexible body she had to work to become a contortionist!  She began training when she was 21, and through her experience she knows you can always improve your flexibility, you just need to actually do the work! This is why she teaches. She wants others to know that they can improve too, that it is possible, and that she can guide them through it, it is just a matter of discipline.

Adi is a graduate of Montreal The National Circus School's ( ENC ) Coaching Program.  She has a technical degree in performing arts at the University of Guadalajara.

She has had extensive contortion training with Oyuna-Erdene Senge, Cirque du Soleil contortionist since 2004, and flexibility and strength training with Juan Luis Gonzales, a former coach with Cirque du Soleil. She has also practiced the modalities of gymnastics, acrobatics, and yoga, furthering her understanding of the body arts.

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Luca C
he/him

Kids Classes Assistant 

Luca is a high school student, an energetic circus person, and a clown about town. He’s been juggling and doing aerial for the past four years, and he loves to perform and to create silly tricks. Luca has fun assisting with kids classes at ICS. He also teaches young athletes to go fast on skis. His hobbies include climbing trees, making art, and thinking too much.

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madi G
she/her

Kids Classes, Flexibility & more

Madi was born into the circus, starting at the age of 3 with The Circus Center and Center of Gravity Circus in Toronto, Ontario. Her passion for performance came from 14 years as a competitive baton twirler and multidisciplinary training on aerials including trapeze, silks, and hoop. She has numerous years performing in festivals and shows, alongside coaching both circus and baton twirling for 10 years. Graduating from Camosun College in Victoria, BC with a diploma in Exercise and Wellness, Madeline applies her well-rounded knowledge of the human body & wellness to her coaching, giving her a new perspective to circus and performance.

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addie J
He/Him

Open Training Facilitator

Addie joined Island Circus Space in 2018 after flat-out refusing to do any form of exercise for two years straight. He has tried out almost all of the classes offered at ICS at least once, but especially loves hula hoop, trapeze, lyra, aerial silks, and handstands. Since 2018, he has become significantly more buff than he ever thought imaginable! During the day, he chips away at the long path in front of him that leads (hopefully) toward professordom. 

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Alliszon z
she/her, they/them

Open Training Facilitator

Alliszon Zaichkowski was born in British Columbia but their passion for the French Horn (turned career) caused relocations to Alberta (completing a Masters of Music) and Ottawa, which led to joining the Canadian Armed Forces Band Branch. After spending 8 years in Ottawa with the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force, Alliszon was posted to the Royal Canadian
Navy in Victoria, BC which coincided almost perfectly with the opening of Island Circus Space! Their passion for circus arts was immediate, beginning with handstands and flexibility classes until ICS got all of their rigging set up and began to offer aerial classes. Starting with lyra and trapeze in 2018, Alliszon focused on lyra for the first 2 years, performing an act as an aerial
mermaid on the lyra in early 2020, which included a tune being played on the conch shell, which immediately led to winning the annual Conch Shell blowing Contest in Key West, Florida in 2020. Since then, Alliszon has focused on trapeze, aerial hammock, and has also discovered a love for aerial yoga. In 2021, they auditioned for Canada’s Got Talent! honking their conch to the musical stylings of Queen. Alliszon hopes to continue to combine their musical and circus skills in the future.

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tyson R
he/him

Open Training Facilitator

Tyson thought it would be fun to take one handstand class a week in March, 2019, and by April was in five different classes. Now averaging twelve hours a week at Island Circus Space, he still can't decide on less than four disciplines to focus on. Tyson has no athletic background.  He didn't even realize for a few months that circus was exercise, which he had always viewed as repetitive and boring. Now he aims to encourage others with a similar view to try Circus too ! 

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ruth D
she/her

Open Training Facilitator

Ruth has been dancing for most of her life -- first on the ground, and now in the air. She tried aerials for the first time in 2018 and fell instantly in love, and she's been at ICS ever since! In between working on her PhD and baking up a storm, she can be found twisting herself up into graceful shapes and spinning really really fast. Ruth has tried most aerial disciplines but her favourites are hammock and aerial straps.

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deb K
she/her

Open Training Facilitator

Originally from Kansas, but having lived in a variety of places, Deb settled on Vancouver Island in 2014. She participates enthusiastically in traditional West Coast pursuits, such as skiing, hiking, SUP, surfing (badly), and being alarmist about relatively mild weather. Deb is also a recovered ultrarunner. Her relationship with the circus arts began in 2019, in a spontaneous aerial silks class. What Deb initially thought of as a mechanism to confront a deep-rooted fear of heights quickly evolved to embracing time in the air. She started taking trapeze classes at Island Circus Space three months later, and the rest is history. As an art school dropout and a former competitive athlete and dancer, Deb gravitated towards the blend of strength and artistic expression that an aerial practice provides. Deb loves the circus community and performing for audiences of all sizes. While she can mostly be found on her trapeze, Deb also enjoys doubles trapeze, silks, and hammock. 

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Bronwyn M
she/they

Open Training Facilitator

Now a full-time jeweler, Bronwyn also has an extensive history in theatre and performance art, graduating from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2014.

She began training aerials when she lived in Glasgow, Scotland, and hopped around until she found her home with Island Circus, where she has been training consistently for the past 3 years. 

Aerial training has now granted her the opportunity to bring creative performances into the local electronic music/rave scene in British Columbia, of which she is a passionate community member.

She is looking forward to hosting open training sessions so that others can also have the opportunity to practice and develop their creative skills!

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Tiffany h
she/her

Open Training Facilitator

Tiffany was born and raised in a small East Kootenay town and grew up dancing (in the studio and in her kitchen). She always dreamed of 'dancing in the sky', and that dream finally came true when ICS opened their doors in Victoria! Since then she has dabbled in a few different apparatuses but silks is her favourite. She continues to take dance classes and perform for various dance schools/festivals/companies/music videos around town including Raino Dance, Broken Rhythms, Impulse Theatre, Atomic Vaudeville, Victoria School of Contemporary Dance, and Third Canvas Dance, etc.  To pay the bills, Tiffany works as a Public Servant and is also working on eventually finishing her MA in Community Development. When she's not frolicking in a studio, her other hobbies include gardening, playing with her dog, baking banana bread, camping/hiking, and doing yoga.

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Adrian m
he/him

Open Training Facilitator

Adrian grew upon in the BC Kootenay's and has always had a love for outdoors and fitness.
Growing up he was constantly at the ski hill, swimming, or mountain biking and as an adult picked up a bad bouldering habit along with a penchant for being upside down and learning new calisthetics skills.  
Recently introduced (and fell in love with) to circus during the pandemic, Adrian's primary apparatus is lyra but has dabbled in most of the disciplines including juggling, poi, handstands and acro.

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jassy b
she/her

Operations & Admin

Jassy, originally from the UK joined ICS in 2019 and has loved being a part of the growth and expansion of circus magic on the island. Jassy used to take care of almost everything behind the scenes but works on the bigger projects and team management these days. Jassy came to ICS shortly after moving to Victoria for the love of practicing circus arts, she takes classes for fun and enjoys the feeling of strength and capability they give her. Also a yoga teacher, Jassy is passionate about movement and encouraging and inspiring others to enjoy it! You may chat to Jassy if you email the Space

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