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SARAH 
SCHEUNHAGE

Owner and Director

Bachelor of Fine Arts- Contemporary Dance

Ecole Nationale De Cirque Graduate, Instructor in Circus Arts

1st Aid & Respect In Sport Certified

NCCP Level 1 & BCRPA

Since 2000 Sarah's roles in the circus world have included professional aerialist, acrobat, choreographer, coach, and studio owner.

 

At 4 yrs old she began gymnastics and ballet training with a dream of one day leading a life onstage.

At 8 yrs old she joined the competitive team at Falcon Gymnastics School here in Victoria and dedicated her life to competing for the next 10 years.  Upon retiring from the sport, Sarah moved full-time into the world of dance and received her BFA degree in Contemporary Dance from Simon Fraser University.  

  

While training for a fitness competition in university, she was spotted by the directors of a Vancouver-based circus company, The Underground Circus.  Already enamoured with the circus arts and eagerly searching for the opportunity to fuse her dance and gymnastics background, Sarah joined their company. For the next 4 years she studied under Peter Boulanger and Ninon Parent (former Cirque du Soleil Members and owners of TUC) honing her skills as an aerialist and acrobat and performing with TUC in their live productions for corporate and private events all over BC.

In 2005, she moved to Toronto where she became a company member of Cirque Sublime and a coach at the Toronto School of Circus Arts.  

2006 marked the year she stepped out as an independent performer and coach which took her to many different places around the world.  Sarah performed for several years in leading roles for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Sea World San Antonio, Texas.  She was also the Aerial Coordinator for Cast 4 on the cruise ship "Allure of The Seas", RCCL. She has performed in China at the Dalion International Fashion Festival, on the Samsung stage at the 2010 Winter Olympics, at 5star resorts such as the Adam & Eve Hotel in Antalya, Turkey and the Fallsview Hotel & Casino in Niagara Falls.  She has had the honor of being Aerial Choreographer and lead Aerialist for the Confederation Centre for the Arts production of "Disco Cirque", while simultaneously performing the role of "Prissy Andrews" in Canada's World Record holder longest running musical, "Anne of Green Gables" in PEI.  While there she also was a recipient of a Maud Whitmore Scholarship to create a new act in the circus arts.  The Silk Swing was born out of that award.  Her circus work also led her into the Film/TV world.  She is credited in Showtime's movie Reefer Madness starring Neve Campbell and Alan Cummings, in Disney's Under Wraps 2, and also 2 commercials linked here CLOVER LEAF

and DISCO CIRQUE.

In 2017, she retired from performing full-time and moved back to her hometown to open up The Rising and share her passion and knowledge with the next generation of circus artists.

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SIERRA TANNER

Special Programs Manager & Assistant General Manager

Senior Coach- Kids / Teens / Adults

Bachelor of Arts- Recreation & Health Management

Ecole Nationale De Cirque Graduate, Instructor in Circus Arts

Aerialist, Professional Company Member

1st Aid & Respect In Sport Certified

NCCP level 1

Sierra has studied circus arts since 2017 and her background includes dance, gymnastics, sports, theatre, and music. Her passions are performance and fitness; circus arts combines both of them and lends itself to display elements of elegance, beauty, and excitement! Sierra began coaching at the Rising in early 2018, and is a graduate of the École Nationale de Cirque Instructor Program. 

 

Sierra continues to learn and develop new skills on all the apparatuses as a member of the Rising's Professional Company. She performs at private and public events on Vancouver Island and in Vancouver. Some noteworthy locations she's performed at include The Empress, Diner en Blanc in the inner harbour, Light Up the Hills, Porche, the Victoria Conference Centre, the Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver, and more. Sierra has performed various acts in the Rising's Professional Circus Shows: Cirquemas, How the Grinch Stole Cirquemas, Circus of Frights and Cursed. Sierra and Chloe's Duo Hoop Performance was awarded 1st place in the Virtual Canadian Pole and Aerial Championship Competition. She has also appeared as a circus performer in Disney's movie Under Wraps 2.

 

What she loves about coaching at The Rising?

The Rising continues to create a diverse community filled with people from all walks of life; I love being a part of this community. Coaching allows me to share my passion for circus, motivate students to achieve their goals, and have fun doing so!

 

Fun Fact: Sierra has a Ragdoll cat named Lulu. She doesn't have a favourite apparatus; she loves all of them because each one is unique and has its own style and beauty!

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Chloe Hoffman

 Adult & Kids Circus Coach

Aerialist & Vocalist, Professional Company Member

1st Aid & Respect In Sport Certified

Chloe was first introduced to circus arts in 2017, when the Rising first opened. She's participated in gymnastics, dance and many other sports growing up and has always enjoyed the learning process of trying new activities. Chloe wanted to do circus because it seemed like a fun, unique challenge. It proved to also be a great creative outlet and opportunity to perform! She did circus for a couple years, took time off in high school, and then came back to it in 2021 after missing it so much.

 

Chloe has performed in the Rising's Act Creation Shows: Cinema Circus, Under the Big Top, and won "Best Overall Perfomance" in the Rising's Random Music Circus Competition. Chloe became a member of the Rising's Professional Company in 2022 and has since performed in the Rising's Professional Circus Show Cursed as well as at various private and public events in Victoria. Chloe and Sierra's Duo Hoop Performance  was awarded 1st place in the Virtual Canadian Pole and Aerial Championship Competition.

 

What she loves about coaching at The Rising?

What I love about coaching at The Rising is working with unique strengths and abilities and helping students progress to achieve their goals. 

 

Fun fact: Chloe has classical voice training and performs as an aerial vocalist on the aerial hoop with our professional company! Her favourite apparatuses are silk and hoop.

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ADI SALINAS

Flexibility & Contortion Coach

Ecole Nationale De Cirque Graduate, Instructor in Circus Arts

Contortionist, Professional Company Member

1st Aid & Respect In Sport Certified

Since Adi was a child she has always enjoyed the freedom that flexibility gives to her body, and the energy that moves through her. Although Adi was born with a naturally flexible body she had to work to become a contortionist!  She began training later in life when she was 21, and through her experience she knows you can always improve your flexibility, you just need to actually do it! This is why she teaches- because she wants others to know that they can improve too, that it is possible, and that she can guide them through it..... it just a matter of discipline.

Adi got into contortion when one day during one of her classes of aerial arts, Ivanov Niebla (former performer at Cirque Demain/performer at Cirko Alebrije/her teacher) saw potential in her and invited Adi to be part of the circus company Cirko Alebrije in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México.  That is where she learned most of her contortion training, and her passion for contortion started growing. 

 

Adi is a graduate of Montreal The National Circus School's ( ENC ) Coaching Program.  She has a technical degree in performing arts at the University of Guadalajara. There she was thrilled to discover how the beautiful fluidity of expression through movement of the body could also excite the mind. She took one-on-one classes with Alejandra and Laura Ramirez, both professionals of contemporary dance in Guanajuato, Mexico. 

 

 Moreover, she has had extensive flexibility and strength training with Juan Luis Gonzales, a former coach with Cirque du Soleil. She has also practiced the modalities of gymnastics, acrobatics, and yoga, furthering her understanding of the body arts. 

 

Arriving to Canada, she has trained in Contemporary dance with Dyana Sonik and Kathy Lang and in Ballet with Amalia Schelhorn.  She was also part of the contemporary dance company Dance Berserker Dance with Kelly Hobson, and performed at the Royal BC museum with Island Circus Space.  In 2019, she had a baby boy and took a little break but she is back and excited to be part of The Rising Team.  It is like her second family.  Adi remarks, "They are so welcoming, silly, good hearted and open to try new things all the time, is just fun! and I’m even more excited to start to share my knowledge with you!"

 

Fun fact: My family is huge! Since my grandmother have 14 siblings - and that is just from one side of the family!

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Alia Saurini

Adult Trapeze and Aerial Rope  Coach

1st Aid 

Respect In Sport Certified

NCCP LV 1

Alia has been performing and coaching circus for over 15 years. With a background in gymnastics and a
degree from the School of Contemporary Dancers in Winnipeg, the combination of strength and artistry of
circus was natural draw. Alia has been fortunate to perform with a number of dance and Circus
companies, most notably Cirque du Soleil. After 8 years and over 3000 shows with KA, Alia now shares
her passion and knowledge by coaching, mentoring, and occasionally performing, with The Rising Circus
and Noble Riot Dance Theatre. She is inspired everyday by the dedication of her students and loves
helping them stretch their limits and achieve their dreams.

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Sarah Jane Achtem

Aerial Yoga

1st Aid Certified

Elevate Aerial Yoga Teacher Certified

Sarah Jane Achtem grew up dancing on the island.  She has trained extensively for over two decades in numerous different dance styles in Canada and the US.  Sarah Jane furthered her movement training in Vancouver while studying at iNdustry Dance Training Program. It was here that she had her first taste of aerial arts during circus training and instantly found a new love.  Since returning to Victoria, Sarah Jane has increased her aerial expertise by training in aerial yoga and hoop, along with teaching various dance styles to students of all ages.  She completed her Level 1 Lyra and Aerial Yoga Fitness training through PFIC and her 20 hour Elevate Aerial Yoga Teacher Training in 2019. She has also successfully completed Spin City's Aerial Hoop teaching training in the Intermediate and Advanced levels.  Sarah Jane is thrilled to share her passion for aerial arts and fitness.

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Elizabeth Jenkins

Kids & Teens Circus Coach, Camp Leader

1st Aid & Respect In Sport Certified

Liz was first introduced to circus when she was a young child at a rhythmic gymnastics competition, and as one of the activities she got to watch aerialists train. After seeing the aerialists, she begged her mom to sign her up for circus but there were no circus schools.  Years later after training as a competitive swimmer for 7 years, she began looking for a new activity and aerial circus was still in the back of her mind.

 

Liz joined The Rising in 2020. It wasn't long after starting at The Rising that she knew that this was the place she wanted to be at. She loved the activity and the community. She took a particular interest in the fabric apparatuses, silk and hammock. Liz has always been flexible and loves learning tricks that show off this skill, and continues to take The Rising contortion classes to increase in her flexibility. Liz branched into preforming in 2023, and participated in the Act Creation shows Intergalactic Circus and Circus on Broadway. 

 

What She Loves About Coaching at The Rising? 

The Rising is definitely my home away from home and one of my favourite places to be. My favourite part about coaching at the rising is getting to help create that safe happy place for the student where they are supported in their journey as they grow in strength, skill and confidence. It very rarely feels like work and is an incredibly rewarding experience. 

 

Fun Fact: Liz has fostered over 23 cats with the Victoria Humane Society. Her favourite apparatuses are aerial silk & hammock. 

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Ashley Dovell

Kids & Teens Circus Coach 

1st Aid  Certified

Ashley was introduced to circus in 2018 when Sarah performed in the PACE Musical Theatre show where Ashley volunteers as a production team member every year. She started taking classes the same year and has been training mainly silk and hammock ever since. Ashley performed in the Rising's Act Creation Shows Under the Big Top, Once Upon a Circus, Intergalactic Circus, Circus on Broadway, and won "Audience Favourite" in the Rising's Random Music Circus Competition.

 

What she loves about coaching at the Rising?

As an elementary school teacher, I love to see children working hard to reach their goals. I love coaching at The Rising because I get the opportunity to help children achieve goals each week when we learn a new skill or routine.

 

Fun Fact: My other passion is dance! I like to incorporate elements of dance into the routines I build for the students in my circus classes. I have been dancing since I was young and continue to dance Jazz, Lyrical, and Hip-Hop!

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Lily McConnell

Kids Circus Coach, Camp and Party Leader

Lily discovered the circus at The Rising in 2018. From when she first started the circus she was compelled to do things that she didn't think were possible, and show it off in a dynamic performance. Lily has been training in hoop, trapeze, hammock silk, and silk for 5 years. 

 Lily has performed in the Rising’s Act Creation Shows: Under the Big Top, Once Upon a Circus, Intergalactic Circus, Great Love Stories, Cinematic Circus, and more. Lily is also a member of The Rising's Show Team- an advanced training program for dedicated students who want to go beyond the recreational level. With the Showteam she performed in The Rising's productions of Alice in Circus Land, and Peter Pan!

What she loves most about Coaching?

 I love a lot of things about coaching, but my favourite thing is to meet all of the kids and get to know them, their personalities, and their skill set! I love to see them grow and get comfortable in The Rising’s environment.

Fun Fact: Lily has met some of her closest friends in classes at The Rising. Although she believes that all the apparatuses are amazing in their own way, Lily finds hoop to be the most dynamic and cleanest apparatus, and so it is her favourite.

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Amelia Kosty

Kids Circus & Camp Coach

Amelia was first introduced to circus six years ago when she went to a friend's circus themed birthday party! However, she only started doing circus in 2020. She loves the feeling of excitement when she gets a skill she's been working on for along time.

Amelia is a member of The Rising's Show Team- an advanced training program for dedicated students who want to go beyond the recreational level. She performed in the Rising's Act Creation show Intergalactic Circus.

What She Loves About Coaching at The Rising?

I really like coaching at the Rising because I love to help kids get a harder skill that they have been trying to get. They’re always super happy!

Fun Fact: My favourite colour is blue and my favourite apparatus is aerial hoop.

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Abbey Hancock

Kids Circus Coach, Camp and Party Leader

Abbey joined The Rising in 2018 and instantly fell in love with the way you get to express yourself creatively. Abbey is a member of The Rising's Show Team- an advanced training program for dedicated students who want to go beyond the recreational level.  She trains aerial hoop, trapeze, silk & hammock. With the Rising's Show Team she's performed The Rising's productions of Solstice, Crystallum, and Alice in Circus Land.

 

What She Loves About Coaching at The Rising?

I love seeing all the students develop their skill and discover their strength and ability!

Fun Fact: She loves to read!

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Rylie Roberts

Kids Circus Coach, Camp and Party Leader

Rylie was introduced to circus when she joined a Spring Break camp and got inspired. She had seen a few cirque de Soleil shows and wanted to try aerial. Once she tried it, Rylie was hooked and has been doing classes since 2019. Rylie is a member of The Rising's Show Team- an advanced training program for dedicated students who want to go beyond the recreational level.  She trains aerial hoop, hammock, silk, trapeze, and cube. With the Rising's Show Team she has performed in the Rising's production of Peter Pan. She also performed in her first Act Creation Show, Circus on Broadway, in Fall 2023.

What she loves about coaching at the Rising?

I  am excited to coach at the Rising. I love watching the students try something, and try some more and then finally get it!

Fun Fact: I am a huge Taylor Swift fan!!! My favourite apparatus is silk and I love adding life to the characters and feeling to the music when I perform.

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