Anne Ryan moved to Ann Arbor as a child and though she has traveled far from it, she's never wanted to leave. This is entirely due to the talented, artistic, and enthusiastic people she’s had the pleasure of collaborating with over the years. She’s been involved with many creative endeavors, but her heart will always belong to the stage. She was mistress of ceremonies and a founding cast member of The Tickled Fancy Burlesque Collective and enjoys to hosting performances of all types at The Aviary.
Her aerial training in 2009 and it is no exaggeration to say that it changed her life. Aerial arts taught her a new respect for her body’s abilities and a completely different understanding of her own boundaries. Now she wants to share her enthusiasm for the discipline by providing a safe space for others to learn, practice, and grow.
Erin Garber-Pearson is a visual artist and circus performer from Tucson, AZ. Her work incorporates solo and duo aerial fabric, aerial loops, rope, partner acrobatics, fire performing, stilt dancing and a number of sideshow acts with large sculptural props and video to create contemporary circus performance and installations.
Erin received her Masters in Sculpture and Multimedia from the University of Arizona in 2011. She has worked with various physical theater groups such as Infiammati Fire Circus (Minneapolis), The Dead Man’s Carnival (Milwaukee), and Flam Chen (Tucson). She currently resides in Toledo, OH with her partner, performer Erik Bang!!! where she is owner of Bird's Eye View Circus.
Violet is a contemporary circus performer and instructor. Trained as a high level gymnast in childhood, and a competitive diver in college, she claims to be more comfortable on hands than feet. Violet teaches consent-based and body positive movement classes on static trapeze, hand balancing, and contortion to youth and adults. She is a member of the American Circus Educators (ACE) / American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO) and is Director of Youth Circus Camp. Follow Violet Defiant on Instagram: @violetdefiantcircus
Lis Chere Thomas
Lis is a Detroit-based performance artist with a creative interpretation of the laws of physics and an above-average appreciation of physical pain. Trained in ballet and modern dance, Lis began her aerial studies in in Brooklyn, NY and continued in Vancouver, BC before moving to Michigan in 2013. Lis performs on aerial fabric, dance trapeze, and lyra and has had the pleasure of coaching at the Aviary, Birds Eye View Circus (Toledo), Agora Arts (Ferndale), and Equilibrium Circus (Colorado). She dabbles in straps. Her approach to aerial training is comprised of equal parts technique/conditioning and creative exploration/discovery. She loves momentum, multimedia collaborations, and unusual aerial apparatuses.
Lis also enjoys growing food, building stuff, and redefining accepted notions of ‘fun.’ She has a few academic degrees in disciplines unrelated to circus. When she is not at the Aviary, you can find her in her studio at 333 Midland or neck-deep in home improvement projects.
Lis has also worked with: the Madagascar Institute, League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots, Great Northern Way Aerial Society, Firebelly, and Neil E. Dee’s Danger Thrill Show, among others.
Anny fell in love with movement at a young age tap dancing, and cartwheeling her way through childhood, and performing in theatre throughout high school and college. She discovered aerial and circus arts in her early 20s, and it was love at first fly. Anny began her teaching career at the Detroit Academy of Kinesthetic Arts, and later founded her own company, PT Arts Academy. Anny enjoys sharing skills and learning new ways of teaching everything from the ground to the air.
Kay has been a dog groomer for 11 years and began her circus journey in 2014. After her first aerial silks class at The Ann Arbor Aviary, she quickly fell in love with aerial arts and the circus community. With a background in colorguard, she finds fascination in body movement and object manipulation. Her aerial and ground focuses include, but are not limited to Silks, Hammock, Lyra, Hula Hoop and Hand Balancing. Kay believes that circus can be not only fun, but rewarding, and allows us to challenge our minds and bodies in ways we thought we could not. In 2017, she made the decision to pursue her love of circus on a full-time basis. You can find her learning, teaching, performing and sometimes subbing for other instructors at The Aviary.
Amy has been fascinated with pole dance and other forms of movement since middle school, but it wasn't until college that she was able to truly pursue dancing, creating, and performing. A few short years after earning a Modern Dance minor along with her B.S. degree at Purdue University in 2010, Amy entered graduate school at the University of Michigan to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Dance. Her research investigated pole dancing in three parts - Teaching, Choreography, and History/Context. These studies also allowed Amy to perform pole and other dance forms in Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. Amy is excited to apply her teaching methodologies to (and answer any burning questions in) pole workshops in the Ann Arbor area.
Kat fell head over heels in love with the aerial arts in 2013. She was introduced to Samadhi Hawaii in Honolulu by a friend and quickly became obsessed with the workout, the dance, the art, and the lifestyle. With Samadhi Hawaii from 2013-2017, she was part of a duo act, KatAshtrophe, and was a member of the Samadhi Hawaii Aerial Dance Company, performing in multiple shows and events. She is primarily a fabric artist, feeling at home on the silks and sling, but likes to dabble on lyra and is finding new love with aerial rope. She is excited to have become a part of the Ann Arbor Aviary community and is thrilled to share her experiences and love of the aerial arts with new and old students!