Adult Training Company

With our mentorship structure, you could study cloud swing one-on-one with Kari Hunter of Teatro Zinzanni and Palazzo, tumbling with Russ Stark of Cirque du Soleil, or aerial hoop with Jacki Ward of Cavalia! Learn contortion from Guinness World record holder Brittany Walsh and handstands from Nicolo Kehrwald of Cavalia and author of “The Little Handbalancing Book." Train straps with Zoe Stasko of Halcyon and acrobatics with Austrian National Sports Acro champion and master coach Stefan Furst!

Specialties we offer:

  • Tumbling and ground acrobatics (Stefan Furst, Russ Stark)
  • Static cloud swing (Kari Hunter)
  • Contortion (Alison Lockfeld, Brittany Walsh, Jacki Ward Kehrwald)
  • Chinese Pole (Kate Law)
  • Trapeze (Jack Stock-Lynn, Kari Hunter)
  • Cyr Wheel (Nick Carter, Kate Law)
  • Juggling and prop manipulation (Anni Küpper, Nate Hughes)
  • Handbalancing (Nicolo Kehrwald, Zoe Stasko)
  • Rope (Alison Lockfeld, Russ Stark)
  • Straps (Zoe Stasko, Nicolo Kehrwald)
  • Partner Acrobatics (Stefan Furst, Erica Rubinstein)
  • Hoop (Jacki Ward Kehrwald, Kari Hunter, Nicolo Kehrwald)
  • Sling (Jordie Campbell, Kari Hunter)
  • Fabric (Alison Lockfeld, Jordie Campbell)

See our Coaches page for more information.

The Circus Project is seeking dedicated circus students (17+) who want to take their skills to the next level and train like a circus professional.  This by-audition program in Portland, Oregon consists of two 9-month segments, the Foundation Year and the Specialty Year; each can be completed sequentially or repeated as needed.  The program includes one-on-one mentorship, a deep focus on one's specialty, group rehearsals and creation process, and career preparedness. The Circus Project values high-level circus training as well as the creation of authentic stories through contemporary circus as a medium.  

The Foundation Year prepares students to pursue their art with greater intensity and to propel them towards further study, coaching or performance. The program includes all-around skill building in acrobatics, aerial, juggling, dance and physical theater in addition to audition-preparedness and act development. All Foundation Year company members participate in the Core Training Program, in which students choose from dozens of available classes at their skill level, and develop their circus specialties with one-on-one mentorship lessons and a Circus Project training membership. Throughout the year, students have multiple performance opportunities and finish the year with a culminating, evening-length show.

In addition to the Core Training program, Foundation Year participants may also add two additional training expansions, a Focus Track (includes private lessons, solo development, and small group work) or a Preparatory Track (our most expansive option for the student that wants it all).

The Elements Specialty Year expands on the Foundation Year for the student who is ready to take their specialty to the next level. The Specialty year has a required Core Training Program as well as an optional Preparatory Track add-on.

Check out the information packet below for more details and please feel free to reach out to us at frontdesk@thecircusproject.org with any questions!

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Youth Training Company

Brio (previously Swifts & Orbits) is the Circus Project’s 9-month training program for inspired youth ages 7-16 looking to improve their circus technique and adventure into the world of circus performance. Our newly redesigned youth program focuses on each student’s artistic goals and exploration by enabling students to select from classes in acrobatics, aerial, juggling, stage presence, dance, body awareness, improv, theater, and more. While getting to work with talented and inspiring coaches (such as Kari Hunter of Teatro Zinzanni, Rachel Randall of Zoppe Circus and Nate Hughes, International Juggling Association gold medalist), students will have opportunities to create solo, partner, and ensemble work as they prepare for their Spring show and other projects large and small.

We also have training options for younger performers (the Jr. Core Program), by invitation-only. Please contact us for more information.

Training Companies Managers


Kari Hunter
Brio Company Manager

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.  

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Nicolo Kehrwald
Elements Company Manager

Nicolo Kehrwald is excited to be back at the Circus Project after touring with the esteemed contemporary circus company The Acrobatic Conundrum, traveling through Europe as one of the highlighted circus artists on AIDA Cruises, and most recently performing under the largest Big Top in the world with Cavalia.

Nicolo is delighted to be returning to his roots in Portland, where he grew up studying dance, theater, and acrobatics.  Nicolo spent 12 years as a company member of the critically-acclaimed DoJump Extremely Physical Theater. From there, his love of the circus arts took him around the world to study under such masters as Yury Bozyan in Montreal, Yanjibileg and Bud Tumurbaatar in Mongolia, and Claude Victoria in France.  Nicolo is the author of The Little Handbalancing Book, the first modern book about the art of handbalancing. He is also well versed in a wide variety of circus disciplines, having performed trapeze, rope, Chinese pole, group acrobatics, duo straps, and duo hoop, as well as featured solos in capoeira, net, straps, hoop, and handbalancing.