Adult Training Company at the Circus Project

Elements is by-audition and prepares dedicated students to pursue their art with greater intensity to propel students towards further study, coaching or performance. Past Training Company 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. Download details here:

Elements offers all around skill building in acrobatics, aerial, juggling, dance and physical theater in addition to audition preparedness and general act development. Focus on technique and progressions in group classes, excel in a specialty during private lessons, gain endurance and strength while training for numerous hours and celebrate your progress in projects and performances. The year culminates in the production of an evening length show.


Orbits & Swifts

Youth Training Companies at the Circus Project

Orbits and Swifts are the Circus Project’s 9-month programs for dedicated youth looking to improve their circus technique while diving deeper into the performance aspect of circus and discovering themselves as an artist. Over the nine months the class focuses on acrobatics, aerial, juggling, stage presence, dance, body awareness, improv, theater and more.  Students explore solo, partner and ensemble work as they prepare for the Spring show. Both groups have performance opportunities throughout the year.


Ages: 8 – 14 yrs
Tuition: $2550 (payment plans available)

Class Times:

  • Tuesdays: 4:30 – 6:30pm
  • Fridays: 4:30 – 6:30pm
  • Students are paired with a mentor from either the Swifts or Elements Training Companies.

Prerequisites: Ideal candidates are in a level 2 or higher circus class or have a background in movement disciplines. Most importantly students are eager and ready to challenge themselves. Entry into program by coach approval or individual assessments.




Ages: 10 – 17 yrs
Tuition: $3995 (payment plans available)

Class Times:

  • Tuesdays 4:30 – 6:30 pm
  • Thursdays 4:30 – 6:30 pm
  • Saturdays: 10:00 am– 1:00 pm
  • Students are paired with a mentor from either the Elements or Alchemy Training Companies.

Prerequisites: Ideal candidates have at least 2+ years experience in circus or equivalent background in movement disciplines.

2017-2018 Training Companies 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 Connect.com 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 Lockfeld 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. 


Mizu Desierto

Mizu Desierto is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Water in the Desert (WITD) and The Headwaters Theatre. She is a performer, choreographer and educator whose work explores themes of identity, truth, ecology and transformation. She has performed with Harupin-Ha Butoh (S.F.), Yoshito and Kazuo Ohno (Japan), & Diego Piñon (Mexico) and her solo work has been presented nationally and internationally.

Mizu’s artistic works have been commissioned by The City of Portland and Portland Center Stage and she is a frequent educator and choreographer for The Circus Project. In addition, her projects have received funding from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Oregon’s Regional Arts & Culture Council, Oregon Arts Commission, Portland Development Commission, The Multnomah County Cultural Coalition & The Oregon Cultural Trust.

As an educator, she has taught intensive courses through Prescott College (AZ) and Portland State University. Most recently she was awarded her second artistic fellowship residency at Playa Summer Lake.