Scenes from previous Circus for Arts in the Schools
Jeff Raz, Ringmaster and Artistic Director
Jeff Raz is the Ringmaster and Artistic Director of Circus for Arts in the Schools, which he founded with his wife, Sherry Sherman, 8 years ago. His career has spanned 4 decades, performing with circuses and theaters including Cirque du Soleil, The Pickle Family Circus, Lincoln Center Theater, Vaudeville Nouveau, Dell'Arte Players, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Marin and S.F. Shakespeare Festivals, TheatreWorks and Marin Theater Company. Jeff played the lead role in Cirque du Soleil's Corteo for over 500 performances in the U.S. and Japan and is currently the Bay Area casting partner for CdS. He has written 15 plays and directed many more. His most recent play, 'Road to Hades', was commissioned by Shotgun Players. This summer, Jeff created and directed 'Circus Adventure' for Bay Area Children's Theatre. He is the founder of The Clown Conservatory and has taught performing arts in many universities, high schools and conservatories around the world. Jeff continues to write, direct and perform in theaters and circuses and is currently the Artistic Director of the Medical Clown Project and a director with the global consulting firm Stand & Deliver. www.jeffraz.com
Marcie Brown performed over 600 shows with the Cirque du Soleil's "O" in Las Vegas, where she played nightly on a cello that was floating in the air. She has a Master's Degree from Manhattan School of Music in New York City and has played in many symphony orchestras such as the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and the Florida Symphony. She has worked with such legends as Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Luciano Pavarati and Andreas Bocelli. Ms. Brown performs with her improvising group, the Instep String Quartet, regularly and heads up the Alameda Cello Academy, teaching violin, cello and piano. Marcie's latest CD of original compositions, Reflections Over Brandy, hit the Top Ten Jazz CD charts in Colorado, Maine, New York, Santa Cruz and Tokyo last summer and was the number one jazz CD in St. Johns Newfoundland. It has been playing on radio stations in Canada, The Netherlands, Denmark, Poland and Australia. To find out why, you can go to www.marciebrown.com and hear a sample.
Tristan Cunningham started her performing days when she was only ten with Vermont's own country circus, Circus Smirkus. After touring for eight years, she decided to change her focus to acting and recently graduated from S.U.N.Y Purchase Acting Conservatory. In the Bay Area she has worked with California Shakespeare Theater, Eastenders Repertory Company, Shotgun Theater, Atmos Theater, New Pickle Circus, Bay Area Children's Theater and others. She is an associate artists with Atmos Theater/ Theater in the Woods, a clown with the Medical Clown Project and head clown of Circus Bella. Come see her next production in The Tenderloin Project with The Cutting Ball Theater.
Juliana Frick is a physical performer and musician based in Oakland, CA. She began her performance career with the acclaimed touring youth troupe Circus Smirkus when she was 9 years old. She currently studies mime, mask and character work at The Flying Actor Studio in San Francisco, CA. Juliana can be found playing bass on the street with a tambourine around her foot and a kazoo hanging from her neck, playing music with the lovely ladies of Circus Finelli, and performing her solo mime and clown pieces in venues all over the Bay Area. www.julianafrick.com
Jaron Aviv Hollander
Jaron Aviv Hollander, International Circus Artist and native to the Bay Area, has many titles including Clown, Acrobat, Aerialist, Actor, Director, Coach, Master Teacher and Artistic Director. Jaron has been performing professionally for 30 of his 37 years, touring the world with many companies including Cirque Du Soleil, Make*A*Circus and Flynn Creek Circus. He is also an accomplished teacher having taught theatre and circus arts all over the Bay Area at schools including Cal Shakes and Berkeley Repertory's Theatre School, Sacramento Theatre Company and Splash Circus. Jaron was a founding member of both Berkeley's Impact Theatre and Mendocino's Flynn Creek Circus and is the founding Artistic Director of the Kinetic Arts Center in Oakland CA where he continues to teach, direct and perform.
Calvin Kai Ku
Calvin Kai Ku, physical comedian, magician, and acrobat, has performed in the prestigious WuQiao Festival of Circus in China, corporate events in the U.S. including eBay, Swissnex and Bread and Roses, as well as the San Francisco Symphony and Circus Center. Through the culmination of his many talents, he now performs his signature comedy pole act, which was recently featured in Bay Area Children's Theatre's production of 'Circus Adventure' directed by Jeff Raz. Additionally, his new passion is spreading laughter through his work with the Medical Clown Project in hospitals of San Francisco. www.CalvinKaiKu.com
Bronkar Lee, the world's only rhythmic juggling beatboxer, blends music, comedy, raw skill and contagious energy in a way that you've never before experienced. His one man "circus of sound" is just a mouth and a body full of pulsing rhythmic energy combined with charismatic audience interaction. Bronkar, a graduate of The Clown Conservatory, has honed his craft with appearances all over the United States, Canada and Europe -- touring on cruise ships, in circuses, music festivals and fair circuits. He has also been featured on television programs such as America's got Talent, Winnipeg Morning Television and Univision's Don Francisco Presents. www.circusofsound.com.
Sabrina Marie grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and began her training in sports acrobatics at age 10. Sabrina moved to San Francisco in 2007, where she trained at the Circus Center under renowned aerial coach Elena Panova. Sabrina is currently in her second year of training in Ms. Panova.s Professional Aerial Program. Her specialties are swinging trapeze and German wheel. www.youtube.com/user/sabmar1507
Slater Brooks Penney
Slater Brooks Penney is a local and international performing artist and instructor. Slater graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 1996 and continued his training at the San Francisco Circus Center (SFCC) under Master Lu Yi, Xia Ke Min, and Jeff Raz. He began professional ensemble performances with the Bantu Mystic Family Circus, Burning Man and founded an ensemble fire-dancing troupe called Pyrogeist. Fire dancing has also taken him to the Crucible's Fire Dramas, Romeo and Juliet and the Odyssey. Slater earned an Emmy award for "Specialty: Technical Achievement" in 2000 for his work as a body performer for motion capture with Tech TV. He went to the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre in 2004, which led him to the ensemble puppetry troupe Lunatique Fantastique for 5 years as well as the monkey chant and Gamelan troupe the One People Voice Company and the Bali Arts Festival in 2005. He continues to perform and teach around the Bay Area, including his work with 'Submarine' and "Le Projet Migration" with his wife Christine Germain.
The daughter of a pediatric dentist, Morgaine Rosenthal was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and began training in circus arts as a child. She went to train in the summer at Circus Smirkus while doing varsity athletics in her high school. She went to Florida State University--more for its Circus program than the Nutrition program that was her major. Finally, in 2007, she was accepted into Elena Panova's Professional Aerial Training Program at Circus Center, in San Francisco, where she trained for two years under Jeremy Sheets (rope) and Angelo Rodriguez (straps). There she met her performing partner, Ryan Webb.
Ryan Webb hails from San Jose, California, where he began studying violin at age eight and began dancing at Lincoln High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He studied musical composition at Yale University but this was not really what he wanted: he dropped out after three years to enroll in Elena Panova's program at Circus Center, where he soon began training with Morgaine on an aerial strap duet. Their act was created there by Cirque du Soliel alum Angelo Rodriguez, and was premiered in December 2008. www.morgaineandryan.com
Cassie Yuechun Weigel
Cassie joined Les Aerielles in 2007 at age seven after starting circus class at age five. Cassie performs on single and double trapeze, hoop and tissu. Beside her passion for aerial, Cassia enjoys acrobatics, trampoline and tumble track. When she is not moving, Cassie loves reading historical fiction and creative writing. Cassia wrote about her love for aerial and performing in her autobiography 'Flying High, from Orphan to Aerialist'. She has had the honor of performing for a wide range of corporate and private entities including prior performances for Circus for the Arts in the Schools and the Bay Area Children's Theatre production of "Circus Adventure".
Matt White, who performs acrobatics with a broom, is part of a local boutique circus called Sweet Can Productions. Sweet Can will have a run of shows at Dance Mission in SF from mid December through early January. www.sweetcanproductions.com