Summer Performance Intensive

This is an audition-only program for Portland area youth and young adults interested in intensive, performance-focused summer training in the expressive circus arts.

Previous experience in aerial arts, dance, gymnastics, or other performing/movement arts is required.

The summer will include 9 weeks of intensive training in theatrical performance, circus arts, aerial and acrobatics with select, high-level coaches. The company meets 5 days/week for 3 hours/day and culminates in a series of performances. This year SPI students will travel to Trenton, New Jersey to perform at the national AYCO Youth Festival.  For a peek at a past Summer Performance Intensive performance, click here.

Ages: 10+

Days & Times: June 19-August 20, Monday-Friday 2pm – 5pm * no class Tuesday, July 4


Price: $3,000 / plus performance/festival travel, accommodation, and expenses

Auditions: April 15, 2017 1:30-3:00 pm.

There is a $20 audition fee

•   For information or to RSVP for auditions, contact our Studio Manager at

Training Company - Summer Term

Improve strength, flexibility and circus technique throughout the summer by joining the Circus Project’s Summer Training Company!

This 8-week program is a great fit for current Training Company students and alumni, prospective Training Company students, as well as those looking for a taste of more frequent and intense training.

Areas of focus will include handstands, tumbling, partner acrobatics, trapeze and fabric. The emphasis will be on refining technique in order to lay the foundation for advanced skills and progress student’s ability to safely explore new creative ideas on the ground and in the air.

Every practice will include dynamic flexibility training as well as a wide range of conditioning exercises for increasing range of motion, endurance and more!

Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm 

Sample Schedule:

  • Thursdays
    Warm up
    Aerial Technique
  • Tuesdays
    Warm up (may include cardio, conditioning and dance)
    Acrobatics Technique
    Aerial Conditioning

**Optional: may add weekly private lessons with a coach for an additional fee.

Acceptance by 45-minute assessment ($50 fee) or coach approval.

Summer Pricing (includes membership for open training):

  • $725
  • $1150 with additional weekly private lessons (8 total)

•   For information or to schedule an assessment, contact our Studio Manager at


Training Company

 The Circus Project’s Training Company (TCo) is a by-audition program preparing experienced and dedicated students to pursue their art with greater intensity and launch their careers, whether the next step is further study at a higher-level institute or venturing into coaching and performance.

Past TCo members have continued on to professional training programs at École de Cirque de Québec, New England Center for Circus Arts, Cirko Vertico, and the School of Acrobatics and New  Circus Arts, among others.  
Members will train with master coaches; Russ Stark (Cirque du Soleil), Kari Hunter (Teatro ZinZanni), Alicia Cutaia (Bodyvox), and Noah Fassell (DreamAwake Productions), & Alison Lockfeld. The nine-month curriculum includes training in tumbling, partner acrobatics, hand balancing, dance, physical theater, and a range of aerial apparatus as chosen individually.

All TCo students will enjoy individual mentorships and one-on-one training with chosen master coaches. The nine-month curriculum includes training in tumbling, partner acrobatics, hand balancing, dance, physical theater, and a range of aerial apparatus. The year will begin with a focus on all-around skill building; time dedicated to specialty training will increase as the year progresses.

TCo students will work towards audition readiness by mid-year in the arenas of strength, flexibility, vocabulary, and audition pieces. Additionally, all TCo members will create performance-ready acts by year-end, and benefit from multiple Work-In- Progress showings for constructive critique by select panels of regional professional circus artists. In addition to dedicated group and one-on- one training, TCo students will be granted Community Memberships and allowed unlimited independent training time in our beautiful, centrally located 4,184 sq. ft. facility that features a range of aerial apparatus, cyr wheels, Chinese Poles, spotting belt, dance studio, shower, and lounge.

Ideal TCo candidates are over the age of 17 with a background in movement disciplines such as dance, gymnastics, martial arts, parkour, diving, or ice skating, and a desire to bring their passion for the circus arts to the next level!

Local auditions begin August 13, 2016.  Distance audition materials are due by August 22, 2016.

•    Advanced level students
•    By audition only 

Training Company Class Schedule
for Fall/Winter/Spring
(9-month program)

Group Training:
Tuesday, 6-9pm
Thursday, 6-9pm
Saturday, 1:30-4:30pm

Individual Training:
1 weekly private lesson
2 meetings per month with coach mentor
5-20 hours per week of independent training

Price:  $5,395.00 for full program


Youth Training Company

The Circus Project’s Youth Training Company (YCo) is a by-audition program preparing dedicated young students to pursue their art with greater intensity. Members will train with master coaches; Elisa PenelloKari Jay HunterAlicia Cutaia, and Noah Fassell, as well as guest specialty coaches, seven hours each week. 

The nine-month curriculum includes training in tumbling, partner acrobatics, hand balancing, dance, physical theater, and a range of aerial apparatus.  YCo students will grow in the arenas of strength, flexibility, skill vocabulary, and performance quality. 

All YCo students will enjoy individual mentorships with selected TCo members, and create a performance-ready piece for the Circus Project's spring showcase.

Ideal Youth Training Company candidates are ages 11-17 with a background in movement disciplines such as dance, gymnastics, martial arts, parkour, diving, or ice skating, and a desire to bring their passion for the circus arts to the next level!

•    Intermediate/Advanced level students
•    By audition only  

Youth Training Company Class Schedule
for Fall/Winter/Spring

       •    Tuesdays 4:15-6:15 pm
       •    Thursdays 4:15-6:15 pm
       •    Saturdays 10 am -1 pm

Price: $3,771.00 for full program

**Terms:  9-month program with rolling auditions and enrollment each session (discount for 9-month enrollment versus per-session) 


•   For information or to RSVP for auditions, contact our Studio Manager at

Training Company Coaches:



Kari Hunter


Kari is our Lead Coach at the Circus Project.  Drawing from a background in dance, gymnastics, theater, and music, Kari has been training, performing and coaching circus arts since 2001.

Her coaching credits include the Circus Guild, Versatile Arts, Emerald City Trapeze, Le Cirque Centre, the Circus Center (San Francisco), New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA), and the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) where she served as lead aerial coach for the Professional Preperatory Program. 

Deemed an “aerialist par excellence” by the Seattle Times, Kari has graced the stage in over 30 major U.S. cities and internationally with the Seattle Opera, Pallazo Variety, Freidrichsbau Variety (Germany), Festivla Burlesco (Portugal), and Teatro Zin Zanni (Seattle), among others.  


Russ Stark

Russ Stark is an Aerial Acrobat, TV and Film performer, Gymnast, Acrobatic Instructor, and Aerial Apparatus Rigger. He received his training from Bitterroot Gymnastics Center, University of Montana and Cirque du Soleil.

Russ' live performances and industrials have included Target, Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, American Music Awards (Enrique Iglesias), Grammy Awards, Fiat International, Olympic Tour of Champions, Cirque du Soleil (Quidam and Dralion), Detroit Opera House, Lady Gaga, Cirque Berserk, Ledzaerial, Cirque Mechanics just to name a few.

His TV and Film performances have included Water for Elephants, Chronicles of Riddick, Walt Disney’s Zack and Cody. He is also trained in teaching Aerial Harness, Silks, Corde lisse, Spanish Web, German Wheel, Trampoline Wall, Artistic Gymnastics and Acro for Dancers.

Alicia Cutaia

Alicia Cutaia earned her BFA with honors from Point Park University with a double major in Classical Ballet and Jazz. Her previous training included scholarships at Hubbard Street Dance, North Carolina Dance Theater, and River North Dance Company. She has worked with and performed pieces by many renowned choreographers, including Lauren Edson, Jamey Hampton, Ron De Jesus, Gina Patterson, Lar Lubovitch, Louis Falco, Michael Foley, Keisha Lalama-White, Joel Hall, Lou Conte, Daniel Gwirtzman, Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Daniel Ezralow, Choo-San Goh, Alan Hineline, Harrison McEldowney, Kevin O’Day, Frances Patrelle, David Storey, Margo Sappington, Christian Holder and Bianca Sapetto. Ms. Cutaia previously worked as Rehearsal Director, Costume Manager and Dancer with Eisenhower Dance, Dancer with Hubbard Street Dance and Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. She also enjoys teaching and setting choreography nationally.

Her choreography has been showcased at many choreographic festivals such as the Jazz Dance World Congress “Leo’s Choreography Competitive Event”, the “Maggie Allesee New Choreography Award”, “Michigan Youth Arts Festival”, "Dance Chicago", Harvest Contemporary Dance Festival, Kaleidoscope Dance Festival, Midwest Rad Festival and the “NSAL Mid-Michigan Chapter.” Her work "Impact" was recently set on Eisenhower Dance. Her choreography for competition studios have won many National awards. Some of Ms. Cutaia’s teaching credits include the Lou Conte Dance Studio, Oakland University, American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theater of Harlem and the Eisenhower Center for Dance. A number of Ms. Cutaia's students have been accepted on scholarship to many prestigious summer and college dance programs. Ms. Cutaia is in her second season working with Bodyvox.

Noah Fassell


Noah Fassell is the founder and Artistic Director of DreamAwake Prod., an international performance production company established in 2001.

Some of his clients include HBO, Warner Bros, Cirque du Soleil, director/producer James Cameron, and Royal Caribbean Cruises. For the past two years Noah has also been working with as their experiential marketing designer, creating unique interactive brand specific performances that capture focus within crowds and spread awareness of products and services.

Having been raised on stage, Noah has been performing and directing professionally for over 30 years and his work has toured to theater festivals in Germany, Jordan, Scotland, Italy, and throughout the US. In addition to performing, he has spent over 15 years teaching adults and children various styles of physical theater, circus, parkour and freerunning and has co-designed the pedagogy for several non-profit theater and circus afterschool programs such as Vagaboom in San Francisco, The Joy Now Arts Project in Portland, and the Parkour and Freerunning Program at The Playground Gym, Portland.

Alison Lockfeld

Captivated by the circus at an early age, Alison began her circus training with preschool classes at Acrosports in San Francisco. Spending most of her life surrounded by inspiring people and immersed in the circus world Alison has learned a lot about acrobatics, dance, juggling, contortion, clowning and aerial arts. She has trained at a number of schools around the United States, Canada, Switzerland and France. Most notably the Mongolian Contortion Center in San Francisco and Kinetic Theory in Los Angeles. She also studied Psychology and Kinesiology and graduated Occidental College. Alison loves to share her skills with audiences and students.

Alison's specialty is aerial corde lisse. Her technical skill, flexibility, and comedic flair have made her a crowd favorite. She has performed at many celebrity and corporate events. She has appeared on television shows Baskets, Jump Shipp, and the NBC Upfronts. She works for entertainment companies Way 2 Much Entertainment, Eye of Newt Cirque, Wonderworld Entertainment and Kinetic Theory.  She's been in a number of shows including Cirque-A-Palooza at the Pasadena Playhouse and Cirque Montage at the Dubai Shopping festival.