Jenn has worked as a professional circus performer and coach for over two decades. Her training includes: The Circus Space in London, Dell’ Arte International School of Physical Theatre, sacred clown & buffoon with Sue Morrison, and Chinese acrobatics with Master Lu Yi. Jenn performed extensively in ensemble theaters throughout the US, and as a solo aerial artist in Europe. She was a tenured instructor at the San Francisco Circus Center and worked as a choreography consultant for Teatro Zin Zanni. Jenn is known for inventing a number of original aerial apparatus’, most notably, the Single‐Point Cloud Swing, the now widely used Triangle Trapeze, and the Maypole Tissu. Jenn holds a master’s degree in Process Oriented Psychology and uses that work’s unique approach to individual and collective change to create innovative choreography. In 2011, Jenn received the Skidmore Prize, a recognition for young nonprofit leaders. She recently spoke at TEDx which features short talks by “Portland’s most innovative and inspiring minds,” and was featured on “Turning Point,” a nationally‐syndicated public broadcasting program. Jenn also serves as vice‐president of the American Youth Circus Organization, and on the resource council of Circus Now.
Kirsten was involved with the Circus Project for several years as a board member and grant writer before becoming Managing Director in 2016. A lifelong love of performing arts and a fascination with the world behind-the- scenes led to dual degrees in Theatre and Psychology from Lewis & Clark College, and a career in arts administration. As a development consultant she raised over $5 million for arts and culture organizations in Oregon, and received a Crystal Award from Willamette Valley Development Officers in recognition of her contributions to The Circus Project.
Erica first discovered circus while studying neuroscience and dance at Oberlin College. With a background in competitive gymnastics, circus seemed a natural fit. She trained extensively in her specialty of basing acrobatics at Circus Center in San Francisco, Australia’s National Institute of Circus Arts, and the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) in Seattle. Erica has taught students of all ages and levels in workshops across the country, and served as Director of Youth Companies at SANCA. Passionate about connecting people and resources, Erica has organized multiple national circus conferences through Circus Now and the American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO). Erica performs with Acrobatic Conundrum and Terry Crane as duo Retro Verso, a genre and gender challenging partner acrobatics duet that flips our preconceptions on their head. Past performances include Flynn Creek Circus, the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival, Teatro Zinzanni’s Mezzo Lunatico, and the Backstreet Festival in Alexandria, Egypt.
Alysia is a Portland native who began her journey in circus as a ballet dancer in 2002. In 2005, she joined pendulum aerial arts as an aerialist and contortionist and spent the next several years performing and training throughout Portland. In 2010, Alysia attended the prestigious L'ecole Nationale de cirque to study aerial fabric. She trained there for a year before returning to Portland to pursue a career in massage therapy at East West College of the Healing Arts. After receiving her certification she returned to Quebec to study hand to hand, hand balancing, acrobatics and trampoline at the Quebec City circus school. Alysia is now primarily a coach and massage therapist, but has performed, choreographed and directed throughout Portland. Her training and experience in many different disciplines gives her a strong and solid knowledge of kinesiology, body technique and body mechanics as well as great athleticism, grace and creativity in the air.
Social Circus Director
Born in Sydney Australia, Ramsay began his performing career at the age of seven with the Australian Opera. His professional credits include working as an actor and puppeteer with major companies across Australia, including: The Bell Shakespeare Co, Belvoire St Theatre, La Boite, Theatre of Image, Queensland State Theatre, and the Hobbit Co. Ramsay has a B.A. in Theatre Performance and a teaching diploma for Chekhov Technique through Dawn Langman and the Living Word Ensemble. He studied Mask with Teatro Archivolto and Clown with Tiny Hero. Ramsay also holds an Advanced Diploma in Holistic Psychotherapy (Metavision Institute) and is currently a Master of Arts candidate at the Process Work Institute (Facilitation and Conflict Studies). Ramsay believes in the power of performance art as a vehicle for social change, and is passionately exploring the relationship between the creative process and the therapeutic journey.
Linda Sheeley brings more than 15 years of office management, finance and nonprofit experience to the Circus Project. After transitioning to nonprofit work from investment banking, Linda worked as an Office Manager for an environmental trade association and as a Development Specialist for a child abuse assessment program. A transplant from the mid-west, Linda has made Portland her home for over 20 years and believes that “Keeping Portland Weird” is a mantra we should all live by.
Student Services and Studio Manager
Amelia found circus as a teenager, and it became an incredibly empowering catalyst for a love of movement, teaching, and eventually, arts advocacy. After working with several organizations including DoJump! Physical Theatre, A‐WOL Dance Collective, and Oregon Children’s Theatre as an instructor and performer, she found herself drawn to advocating for the arts on an organizational scale. She holds a degree in Arts Administration, and is thrilled to be putting her passion and experience to work at the Circus Project.
Rooted in Portland’s diverse community, Aimee (pronounced I-May) brings a love for thriving culture in all forms. With a background in nonprofit development and direct outreach service, Aimee understands the social barriers many youth and families face which prevent them from living life to the fullest. Her life-long admiration for fun, healthy forms of expression has led her to join the Circus Project team while completing her undergraduate degree in Pre-Occupational Therapy. Aimee believes that prevention is key to healthy communities and is eager to work alongside a creative team whose mission is to create a safe space where each student can blossom to their fullest potential.
The Circus Project board of directors is a small, working board, comprised of individuals who are passionate about circus arts as a vehicle for transformation. We believe that the spirit with which our board of directors operates has a direct and tangible effect on our programs and participants, and therefore strive to create an atmosphere of creativity, diversity, collaboration, and inspiration.
Jenn Cohen, Founder & Director, The Circus Project, Process Worker
Linda McGeady, RACC Board, Randall Children's Hospital Art Committee
Caroline Petrich, Principal, CKP & Associates
Nelda Reyes, Principal, AB Cultural Drivers & Performer
Hertsel Shadian, Attorney at Law
The Circus Project Resource Council is a comprised of highly esteemed donors and volunteers who provide outstanding service to the organization on a project-by-project basis.
Pippa Arend, Program Director, p:ear
Jennifer Bouman, Attorney, Red Kite Employment Law
Representative Margaret Doherty, Oregon State Legislature
Ann Edlen, Philanthropist
City Commissioner Nick Fish, Arts & Cultural Council
Lisa Lovullo, Claim Professional, Travelers Insurance
Phelim McDermott, Director, Improbable Theatre, UK & Broadway, New York
Jordan Schnitzer, President, Harsch Investment Properties
Kate Sokoloff, Creative Director, Kate Sokoloff Creative
George Thorn, Arts Action Research
Julie Vigeland, Oregon Arts Commission, Jackson Foundation, & Arts advocate
Qualified circus coaches are considered for employment on an ongoing basis. For consideration, please submit resume with education, performance and coaching experience along with any relevant certificates and video of your work.
The Circus Project Performance Troupe books per gig in order to hire the best artist for the event or show. Accomplished circus performers with a contemporary aesthetic are encouraged to submit videos along with contact information and/or website to be considered.