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Scenes from previous Circus for Arts in the Schools

2004 scenes

2009 Performers

Jeff Raz, Ringmaster and Artistic Director
For the last 30 years, Jeff Raz has performed nationally and internationally with circuses and theaters including Cirque du Soleil, The Pickle Circus, Song Circus, Lincoln Center Theater, Vaudeville Nouveau, Dell'Arte Players, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Marin and S.F. Shakespeare Festivals, TheatreWorks and Marin Theater Company. He has written 10 plays, directed many others and is the founder and director of the Clown Conservatory, a program that has trained some of the top young clowns who are currently performing around the world. (
Cast of "Wonderland",
Alice's adventures in Wonderland have never before been told like this.with clowns, acrobats, jugglers, and musicians. When Alice searches for a way back home, she will meet the caterpillar, the white rabbit, and she will have to escape from the dreaded Queen of Hearts. You may think you know this classic story, but hold on to your hats, because this world premiere created by master clown Jeff Raz of Cirque Du Soleil for the Advanced Training Program of the Clown Conservatory and produced by Active Arts will be the wildest, craziest trip to Wonderland you've ever taken! Ages 6+. for tickets or call 510-296-4433
Alec Jones-Trujillo
is in it for the laughs. He is excited to be a member of the Wonderland cast and hopes the show will entertain a great many. In addition to clowning he enjoys stand-up comedy and improv.
Calvin Kai Ku
began as a magic hobbyist and became an actor while attending the University of California, Santa Cruz. After receiving his BA in Theatre Arts, he spent a year at the Clown Conservatory of San Francisco. Now in his second year with the Clown Conservatory, he continues to discover how to use magic, acrobatics, and juggling in all of his performances.
Kelli Karsten
Kelli Karsten is a comedian, performer and playwright living in the Fillmore district of San Francisco. She studied comedic theory and performance at Bennington College and Clowning at San Francisco Circus Center. She is currently a member of the all female sketch troop Boner Patrol. She is excited to meld clowning into her comedy work and explore non-verbal communication in performance.
Jonah Katz
Originally from the apple orchards of Sonoma County, Jonah Katz has been beating out rhythms with his feet since the age of six. Since then, Jonah has studied many other disciplines, including clowning, acting, acrobatics, and juggling. Currently a member of the San Francisco Circus, come summertime Jonah will teach at the Western Clowning Workshop in China for the second year in a row.
Fae Kievman
Fae Kievman is a clown, actor, singer, songwriter, circus skills performer, performance artist, street performer and all around entertainer who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a graduate of the New College of California and is currently a second year student at the Clown Conservatory. He has performed as an actor in plays including An Attitude of Gratitude and Spinning into Butter, and at other Bay Area events such as 5th Annual Ryan's Ride, Alameda Entertainment Associates and The Packard Fund Foundation.
Mahsa Matin
Mahsa Matin plays with the art of clowning through the poetry of humor. She draws from jazzy ridiculousness, unicycles, trombones, whimsical sound effects, eccentric juggling, and acrobatic feats of child's play. She studied at The Clown Conservatory, the only full-time program of its kind in North America. Residing in San Francisco, she can be spotted advocating for the environment on her bmx bike or unicycle.
Molly Nicholas
Molly Nicholas is delighted to be performing at the Circus for Arts in the Schools Benefit. She is currently developing the role of Alice in the Clown Conservatory Advanced Program's circus version of Alice in Wonderland, opening April 18 at the Julia Morgan Center in Berkeley. Recent credits include "A Good Person of Szechuan" with Woman's Will, and "Chicken Stock" for Liebe Wetzel's Lunatique Fantastique.
Corinne Ariel Robkin
Corinne Ariel Robkin got her first taste of performing at age three when she played a Wild Thing in her preschool's production of Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are. She discovered the fine art of clowning while studying street theater in Paris and loved the way in which it was the perfect union of many of her passions: movement, magic, theater, humor, and the spirit of a child. Corinne is incredibly grateful to have spent the past two years studying at Clown Conservatory-- it has been a dream.
Circus Bella, contortion and group juggling
Circus Bella is juggling for Circus for Arts 2009 with founders Abigail Munn and David Hunt along with Jeni Johnson, Laura Ricci, Mark Wessel, Bronkar Lee, and Ember Bria. Circus Bella is an emerging open air, one ring circus featuring high level circus performance traditionally set to an original, live band: the Bella All-Stars. Munn and Hunt created the show in the winter/spring of 2008 to create visible, accessible, and high quality circus in the Bay Area. Upcoming performances include the Dry Creek Passport Weekend in Healdsburg, April 25 - 26th and Yerba Buena Gardens Festival in San Francisco on May 30th. (
Clown Conservatory, Circus Center San Francisco
The Clown Conservatory is the only year-long circus clown training program in the United States. The program includes instruction in classic clowning, circus skills, acrobatics, mime, dance, character development, business, the creation of original clown material and more. Students also explore the history and current practice of clowning and its relationship and responsibility to society. Our Advanced Program gives continuing students the opportunity to create an act of professional quality while training, performing and working with community groups. (
Shirley Clem, principal and acrobat
Shirley Clem has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher at the elementary and middle school levels, as an elementary school vice principal and principal, and as a new teacher induction coordinator/trainer. She received her bacherlor's degree in Human Development from UC Davis, and her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Mills College.

Dr. Clem lives in Alameda with her family. She has two daughters, ages 3 and 7, a great husband and pet dog. Her hobbies are running and cardio-kickboxing. She is a former gymnast and cheerleader. She loves trying new restaurants, going to the beach, and working at Otis School!
Jan Damm
The Clown Conservatory is the only year-long Raised in Manchester, Maine, Jan began performing professional juggling shows at age 12. He attended Bard College, where he took several days off from running the school's Surrealist Circus to jot down an economics thesis. However, after studying with Avner Eisenberg and Julie Goell, Jan knew his future was on the stage. He once won 5 consecutive college debate rounds in clown makeup. Having completed improbable street performing tours of Canada and Europe, Jan currently works and trains at the San Francisco Circus Center.
Elliott Gittelsohn, contortionist
The Clown Conservatory is the only year-long Elliott Gittelsohn was born to over-educated hippies in Vermont. At the age of 12, he decided to run away to join the circus for 2 weeks during the summer. A graduate of the Clown Conservatory, he has performed with Vau de Vire Society, New Pickle Circus and is an original member of SFBoylesque. He has done promotions for Cirque du Soleil, Fiji Water, American Crew, Stop AIDS!, Google and the Craigslist Foundation. Elliott can be seen in David Arquette's short film "The Butler's In Love." Elliott is currently studying contortion with Serchmaa Byamba in the Professional Aerial Program and performing doubles contortion with Louise With-Seidelin.
Andrew & Felicity Hunzeker Hesed
Andrew and Felicity Hunzeker Hesed are a comedy duo known as the Flying Heseds. This husband and wife team use very old techniques such as clowning, magic, acrobatics, music, and juggling to create performances that entertain and connect with very contemporary audiences. To learn more about the Flying Heseds or to book them for your next event please go to or
Lincoln Middle School Juggling Club
We are a fun group of characters, who meet twice a week at lunch to juggle, throw diablos, walk on stilts, ride unicycles, and develop our skills. Led by Ms. Bliss, Ms. Green, and Ms. Broome we welcome all students who wish to join. Our other performances during the year include the School Play and the PTA Founder.s Day event.
Johannes Mager, musician
Trombonist Johannes Mager graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 1973. Johannes has also played with the Oakland Symphony, S.F. the Brass Band, Spring Opera, Port Costa Players, the Lamplighters and the avant-garde chamber group the Arch Ensemble. Under the name Ghost Opera, Johannes gave his own performances of free-form musical/theatrical improvisation.
Linie Orrick, clown
Linie Orrick grew up performing in school plays and generally clowning around. Her performance credits include Circus Center.s Student Showcase 2005, the Circus Center Tribute to Judy Finelli and the Pickle Circus production of High Water Radio. This is her fifth year performing for us.
Pi: the Physical Comedy Troupe
Pi is a physical comedy troupe devoted to exploring the world and examining life.s mysteries through a lens of wonder. Seven clowns currently comprise the ensemble Pi, which was founded at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2004. Most of the members of Pi have attended the Clown Conservatory in San Francisco and we also have affiliations with Velocity Circus, Shakespeare Santa Cruz and BoxCar Theatre Inc. All members of Pi are qualified to teach workshops for all ages in clown, juggling, and other circus skills. (
Prescott Circus Theatre
Prescott Circus Theatre is an exciting and innovative after school and summer performing arts education program for youth at 7 Oakland public schools. The program was founded by Oakland teacher Aileen Moffitt in 1985. Participants work closely with professional artists to develop circus skills such as juggling, acrobatics, improvisation, balancing, unicycling, stilting, hip hop dance, hambone body percussion, and clowning. Students benefit through hands-on experiences that develop creative expression, stage presence, teamwork, focus, commitment, cultural awareness, and confidence. For more information, please call (510) 482-1674 or visit us online at "Pass It On", this year's culminating show, will be presented in May and July. Check our website for details.
Professional Aerial Program, Circus Center San Francisco
The Professional Aerial Program at Circus Center has been designed by Elena Panova for the training of aerial arts students who wish to pursue a professional circus career. The Program covers a variety of aerial specialties, including swinging trapeze, aerial perch, cloud swing, rope, and aerial hoop. (
Morgaine Rosenthal, aerialist
Morgaine Rosenthal is in her second year in the professional aerial program at the San Francisco Circus Center. She specializes in aerial straps and corde lisse. In her free time, she enjoys long walks on the beach and over-splits.
Tom Rust, principal and tap dancer
Tom Rust is the principal at Paden School. He enjoys all aspects of the principalship, but finds extra delight in Paden School's Morning Ceremony. You can find Tom singing and dancing at Morning Ceremony every morning at Paden.
Ryan Webb, aerialist
Ryan Webb is currently a student in the Professional Aerial Program at Circus Center in San Francisco. He studies aerial straps with Master Lu Yi and Angelo Rodriguez.
Cassia YueChun Weigel, aerialist
Cassia YueChun Weigel joined the aerial troupe Les Aerielles, directed by Janene Davis in 2007. Her performance credits include the DeYoung Museum, the Mendocino Halloween Street Fair, You Tube Live, Lawrence Hall of Science, Children's Hospital and the premier performance of Toys. She is a third grader at St. Philip Neri in Alameda.
Louise With-Seidelin, contortionist
Louise With-Seidelin was born and grew up in Denmark, has always been active and gained most of her flexibility by doing yoga. Louise completed a nine-month scholarship at one of the best dance studios in the LA area .Jimmy de Force dance studio. in 2007. In September 2008 she was accepted in the professional contortion program at SF Circus Center which is directed by the world renown Mongolian contortionist Serchmaa Byamba and Russian swinging trapeze artist Elena Panova.
Zaccho Youth Company
"Hoop Jive", Performed by Ariana Cisneros, Sam McCann-Kingston, Madeline Oppett-Perez, Azraa Muhammed, Kishria Caldwell and KiMani Evans.

Artistic Director: Joanna Haigood Company Manager: Lizzy Spicuzza

Zaccho Youth Company (ZYC) presents dances that integrate aerial flight and suspension as a way of expanding the dancers spatial and dynamic range. Under the direction of Joanna Haigood, the company members collaborate in the creative process by contributing important conceptual and choreographic material. Since its inception in 2002, ZYC has performed at various venues and festivals throughout the Bay Area. Zaccho Youth Company is part of a larger Youth Performing Arts program conducted by Zaccho Dance Theatre in Bayview Hunters Point. 415-822-6744.