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 hosting performances of all types at The Aviary.
Her aerial training began 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.
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.
Emily is a multidisciplinary artist, Co-Founder of The Greatest of Ease Circus School and performance troupe, best known for crafting memorable characters and for her whimsical and ethereal performance style. Emily has been defying gravity for almost a decade, weaving skill and strength and style between ceiling ribbons, having completed rigorous Teacher Training with Paper Doll Militia and trained with seasoned circus performers throughout the United States and abroad. Her rich history in dance (ballet, jazz, etc.) and competitive cheer inspire her instruction, which focuses on form, injury prevention, character development, and authentic expression.
Stephanie immediately fell in love with the aerial arts despite being dragged to her first class over five years ago at the Aviary. Growing up playing soccer and running, Stephanie has been involved in various forms of physical activity since her childhood – none of which related to aerial, flexibility, or upper body strength. She primarily trains and performs on lyra and loves trapeze, but also began to enjoy silks while pregnant with her daughter. She has trained under numerous professional aerialists at the Aviary and other studios in Southeast Michigan and Ohio and has taken workshops from instructors across the country to further her knowledge and skill.
Stephanie has experience coaching youth soccer and extensive training with kids, adolescents, and families as a mental health therapist, specializing in eating disorders. Passionate about using movement as a means to help others love and appreciate their bodies and to promote healthy self-esteem, especially in kids and teenagers, she is excited to join the Flight Crew at the Aviary to help others to find their wings through the aerial arts!
Sara Duhaime has been an aerial instructor since 2014. Since then, she has dedicated her time to developing herself as a performer and a coach. Forever a student, she has traveled near (and sometimes far) to train with talented coaches whenever possible. She has developed choreography classes on lyra, silks, and hammock. Her multidisciplinary training has lent itself to creative ways of adapting movement from one apparatus to another when creating content for classes and choreographing routines. She loves to watch students develop their own personal style in the air.
Poppet teaches and performs regularly as a living statue, clown/mime, street performer, dancer/choreographer, contortionist, and more. Her fascination with performance began in early childhood, watching her father apply classic white face for miming, and then joining him in practice and play. She strives to bring the magic and fire that she had experienced with him so many years ago to all of her performances and looks forward to bringing her students into a world of magical possibilities, creating connections and memories that will last a lifetime.
Rachel Wallace - TA
Rachel began her journey with The Aviary in 2017 and immediately fell in love with circus and the community. She was a high-level competitive gymnast until she was 18 years old but had largely been out of the movement arts until she took her first silks class during graduate school. Now, Rachel spends as much time as she can at the Aviary, primarily training silks, but also dabbling in sling.
In addition to her time doing gymnastics, Rachel has years of experience coaching beginning through competitive levels. Now in the circus world, she brings a love of theory, form, and technique to her training and teaching. She also loves working on new and creative pathways. She is thrilled to join the Aviary Flight Crew is excited to help others grow and achieve their circus goals.
Elijah Lennington - TA
Elijah discovered the joy of movement as a child. He grew up moving, whether it be playing baseball or basketball, doing gymnastics, or dancing ballet, jazz, or tap. Now, as an adult, he still spends almost all of his time moving. Elijah has performed multiple times with The Aviary using both the silks and trapeze, and many times outside as a dancer, both as a group performer, soloist, and choreographer. He’s pursuing a degree in dance while also rigorously training and performing with The Aviary in static trapeze, aerial silks, and contortion. He hopes to bring this love of movement and art and performance to those he encounters both in The Aviary and out!
Kat Eilers - instructor at large
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!