6 Carlaw Ave.
Unit 104
Toronto, Ontario

Instructor Bios

Emily Hughes

Emily, who began her circus adventures at the ripe age of 8, now has over 20 years experience in the "circus" world under her belt, including more than 15 teaching and more than 12 performing in a professional environment. Emily first began teaching her slightly younger peers at age 13 and has since taught children and adults alike at HarbourKids’ Circus camp, Main Space School of Circus Arts, Toronto School of Circus Arts, Toronto Aerial Dance, and The Circus Academy. In addition to Hercinia, Emily also currently teaches Cirque-ability's Performance Team and at UofT's Athletic Centre. Emily has a great passion for encouraging others to learn new skills, and her years of experience bring a very detailed approach to technique in the air, while encouraging creativity and expression. As an alumnae of Ryerson University's Theatre Performance: Acting program, she believes that at the heart of all performance is storytelling and encourages her students to find character and intention in everything they do.

Kirsten Edwards

Kirsten has been working and performing professionally as an aerialist since 2006 after putting her ‘alternate’ career in law permanently on hold. She made her way to the world of circus arts by a somewhat circuitous route with stops in the worlds of competitive equestrian sport and equestrian vaulting, literary academia and the legal profession. She holds a certification in personal training and a Level 1 coaching certification from the Canadian Equestrian Federation. Kirsten teaches a wide variety of aerial apparatus while specializing in static trapeze. She enjoys working with students at all levels from beginner aerialists and fitness enthusiasts through to advanced students looking to create and perfect full acts.

Mark Segal

Mark is a Toronto based aerialist who has been training, teaching and performing aerial and circus since 2001. Mark began his training at the Toronto School of Circus Arts. His background includes nothing that has anything to do with aerial. He went to Sheridan College for animation and illustration and worked in film for four years before accidentally falling into circus. He spent the next ten years making performance and movement his life. Mark’s apparatus of choice is aerial rope or ‘corde lisse’, but he also specializes in partner silks, silks, trapeze, and acro. In addition to his circus experience, Mark is a Canfitpro Certified Personal Trainer. Mark currently performs with and for Suspended Animation Circus, Hercinia, A2D2 Aerial Dance, Circus Orange and Anandam.

Dino Gonçalves

Dino started as his career as an actor/director and arts education specialist. After obtaining an Honours Degree in Theatrical Studies from the university of Ottawa, he went on to specialise in movement, clowning, mask and commedia dell’arte. He started teaching in 1994, offering workshops both in French and English to professional, amateur and student theatre communities all over Ontario and in Quebec. Dino trained at the Toronto School of circus for 10 years, where he became familiar with most apparatus and basic floor techniques and discovered a passion for aerial arts. He has been teaching aerial arts for three years, both in English and French, and is now the Artistic Director and General Manager of Le groupe Théâtre Novo, a Toronto based multi-disciplinary theatre company. Dino truly believes one is never too old to pursue a passion and strives to inspire his students to soar beyond their perceived limitations.

Sandra Crljenica

Upon starting her fourth and final year of University, Sandra took her very first silks class and decided right then and there her life was going in a new direction. A circus direction! With a background rich in dance, music and theatre, Sandra completed her BFA in Theatre from York University in 2008, and started performing professionally as an aerialist in 2011. She has trained on several apparatuses including: solo and duo aerial silks, solo and duo aerial hoop, triple trapeze, duo straps, and aerial rope. As a teacher Sandra prides herself on her high energy music, sporadic dance parties, and helping prove to her students that they are far more capable than they ever thought possible. She regularly teaches at Hercinia Arts Collective and Totum Life Sciences, and frequently guest teaches at City Dance Corps, The Circus Warehouse, and Artists’ Play Dancetheatre.

Joanne Galligan

Joanne was a gymnast in childhood, and has always loved dynamic acrobatic movement. Putting that aside for quite a few years, she reconnected with her love of acrobatics when she started training at the Toronto School of Circus Arts in 2005. Joanne has been training in circus arts for the last ten years, and has coached for the last six years specializing in Static and Dance Trapeze. Although her heart belongs to trapeze, she has studied many circus arts including silks, chinese poles, spanish web, rope, loop walk, aerial cube and swinging trapeze. Before finding the circus, Joanne attended the Ontario College of Art & Design and the International Academy of Design. She studied life drawing, printmaking and painting before she learned how to turn on a computer and eventually take her art to the digital world. She now runs her own graphic design company Anchor Design. Joanne has her Foundation Level Trapeze Teacher training from NECCA under Elsie Smith (formerly of Cirque du Soleil), and is a Canfitpro Certified Personal Trainer. Joanne enjoys working with all levels, and is a firm believer that ANYONE can do circus!

Natalie Parkinson

Natalie began as a competitive dancer and later attended an arts high school and York University for the Dance BFA program and Kinesiology. She is a dance teacher, artistic gymnastics coach and has been teaching and choreographing for over 12 years. Natalie has earned teaching credentials from B.A.T.D. and is a member of the Coaches Association of Ontario, NCCP and OGF. In 2007, she entered the circus world and has now branched off and co-created HerciniArts; a home where all artists can collaborate and inspire each other in a positive learning environment.

Christopher Taylor

Chris Taylor is a self-taught circus artist. After training as a provincial champion competitive gymnast he became involved in circus for fun and later learned from and trained with many professional circus artists around the world. He spent 3 years working for Cirque du Soleil as a Fly In Technician and then later as a show acrobatic coach on the Cirque show Bananashpeel. He has designed new and unique circus apparatus and acts. Chris has been teaching competitive Gymnastics since 1988. He has coached at all levels of the sport and currently focusses on the provincial girls and pre comp program at the University of Toronto. He has been teaching and doing circus since 1999. He also teaches hand-balancing and adult acrobatics. He has a passion to be upside down and is always striving to improve his own handstand work. Chris is a multi facetted artist who’s current interests include drumming, guitar, songwriting and singing. He is working on a multi disciplined solo show.