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Circus in Rochester NY | Roc City Circus

Get To Know Roc City Circus

Opened in 2019, ROC City Circus was created to give the Rochester community a place to learn, practice, and share in the passion of the Circus Arts. Striving to create a place where all people feel welcomed, ROC City Circus, in Rochester, NY, will be known near and far as the place to learn, play, grow and make new circus friends. We look forward to meeting you soon, at ROC City Circus.
Aerial arts instructors in Rochester, NY

Meet our Team!

Emma Hartzell

Youth Aerial Program Instructor

Emma brings with her an extensive 11-year NYS certification in childhood education. She is also certified to work with students with disabilities. Emma has been teaching dance and flexibility classes for children, along with choreographed dance routines for live performances for years in the Rochester area. She is also trained in CPR and First Aid. She loves to encourage children to exercise and make healthy lifestyle choices using positive reinforcement, such as saying, “Let’s go play at the Circus!”

Audra Findley

Youth Aerial Program Instructor

After moving to Rochester from St. Louis in 2015, in hopes of finding a new community of friends based around fun and fitness, it all began with an introductory Aerial workshop, and there was no looking back!

Audra has experience in Aerial Silks and Static Trapeze, but Lyra (Aerial Hoop) and teaching Youth Aerial is where her passion truly lies. Performing at numerous events in Rochester and Buffalo Audra’s favorite part of teaching is being able to share the passion and encouragement that got her to where she is today.

In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and two children, spending time with friends and doing anything active. She has four rescue cats and is told she can’t have any more. We shall see…

Sophia Cox

Stretch & Flexibility, & Youth Aerial Program Instructor 

photo credit Olivia Kaiser Photography

Sophia began her training in the Circus Arts in 2015. Training on Lyra (Aerial Hoop) Static Trapeze and Aerial Silks. Competing in the St Louis 2019 Aerialympics, flying away with two silver medals.

Sophia teaches stretch and flexibility classes,  and, the youth program at Roc City Circus. When she is not training hard, Sophia is a student at RIT and is studying Visual Media.

Hilda MacKinnon

Youth Aerial Program Instructor

Hilda fell in love with Aerial Arts in 2014 in Northern California, where she was involved with a community teaching, performance organizing and taking opportunities to practice in the redwood forest.

In 2017, she moved to Rochester, making Aerial training, teaching, and performance a priority in navigating a new home.

Ashely Buonaugurio

Youth Aerial Program & Aerial Hoop Instructor

Ashely was introduced to the Circus Arts in 2015 when she took an introductory Aerial Hoop class. From there, she was immediately hooked and has continued to train and performed on multiple apparatuses.

Her passions include Lyra (Aerial Hoop), Static Trapeze, and partner or “doubles” work. Experienced in instructing both children and adults and loves to watch her students grow over time.

Ashely works as a legal assistant during the day, and when she’s not hanging upside down, she spends her free time enjoying outdoor activities, hanging out with friends, and learning everything there is to know about whales.

Chris Henry

Aerial Silks, Straps, and Basic Handstands Instructor

Chris is very passionate about the Circus and performing Arts. Starting in 2010 with Aerial Silks, Chris has expanded his skills to include, Aerial Straps and is an avid practitioner of Handstands, dabbles in Juggling, Cyr Wheel, Acro and now the Flying Trapeze!

Chris has trained in Rochester, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Montreal, Berlin, and Des Moines, always learning and gathering as much knowledge from as many sources as he can. During the day he gives his body a little break as a software architect, and where he’s not practicing, teaching, or working, her might be taking photos or waiting on Neal Gaiman to write another book.

Mindy Walsh

Aerial Silks – Bungee Fitness Instructor

Mindy began her love for the Aerial Circus Arts in 2012. While training to run marathons, she took an Aerial Silks class with a friend. She was immediately hooked! Mindy has been teaching in the Circus and Aerial Arts since 2014. She has an extensive background in group aerobic exercise instruction with a prior AFAA certification. Mindy brings that passion to all of her classes. She looks forward to sharing her love of Aerial and fitness with you.

Mindy’s home is filled with her love for animals. She and her husband share their home with three birds and two dogs.

Kira Dillon-Malone

Aerial Hoop Instructor

Kira began training in 2004 on various apparatuses such as swinging and Chinese pole. She has been performing professionally for years and began teaching in the Circus Arts in 2015. Her current passion is Aerial Hoop (Lyra)
015. Her current passion is Lyra (Aerial Hoop).

Kira has her master’s in education with a focus in working with special needs students, both children and adults. Kira is also a licensed massage therapist, which comes in handy when discussing muscle groups and how to utilize your body when working through various Aerial skills.

In her spare time, Kira is an avid gardener, a practicing herbalist, a bookworm, a gamer, and a mom. Just kidding, the mom thing takes up most of the time, so she hardly ever gets to that other stuff!

Illy Welden

Static Trapeze Instructor

Illy fell in love with the Circus Arts in 2010, after taking her very first Aerial Silks class. Since then, she has trained on a wide range of apparatuses, including Aerial Hoop, Hammock, Cube, Frame, Tippy Hoop, Chinese Pole, Corde Lisse, Net, and of course, Static Trapeze! Bringing a vast level of knowledge ranging from beginners’ singles, too advanced level doubles training. Illy has been teaching in the Circus Arts since 2012. She looks forward to sharing her passion for flying with all of you!

When Illy is not instructing Static Trapeze classes, she enjoys spending her time doing anything fitness related. From bodybuilding competitions, rock climbs, paddleboards, cycles, hikes, Acro Yoga, and more. While fitness is important to her, being a mom is her greatest joy, she also appreciates the finer things in life, such as board games, reading, Twix bars, and craft beer.

Ali Payne

Dance – Jazz Lyrical and Barre Above ® Instructor

Allison began her study of dance at the age of two in various studios around Syracuse, NY. She studied at the University of Hartford, taking classes in Ballet, Jazz, and Tap, and was president and choreographer for the University of Hartford Dance Team. Since moving to Rochester in 2006, Ali studied dance with Sandy Stramonine School of Dance and taught the Advanced Jazz Class for three years. After taking a break from teaching dance to have her two children, Fritz and Liam, Ali became Barre Above Certified ®.

Ali is a violinist and music teacher at Fairport Central School District. She choreographs the musicals at Fairport High School and enjoys hanging around on Aerial Silks at ROC City Circus.

Aurora Quinn Marsh

Hoop Dance Instructor

photo credit Jacob Barber

Aurora grew up performing in theater she started Hula Hooping and training in the Aerial Arts in 2015. She has since gone on to perform professionally under the alias Sugar Hoops. Although self-taught in Hooping and Dance, her skills are exceptional. Aurora looks forward to sharing her skills with other upcoming stars.

Joanne Wu

Acroyoga Instructor

Joanne is a board-certified rehabilitation medicine doctor (MD), experienced registered yoga teacher (E-RYT), wellness consultant, and fitness expert who is passionate about exercise as a prescription for healing. Her training includes holistic health coaching through Integrative Nutrition, and Medical Acupuncture through Harvard University. She also carries a board certification in Integrative and Holistic Medicine. Furthermore, she is a Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine and a Level II Reiki Practitioner.

Joanne is certified to teach Acro from Acroyoga Fit, SeattleAcro, and Acro Revolution. Furthermore, she has studied intensively with other schools of Acro, such as LIFT School of Acrobatics, Acroyoga Montreal, YogaSlackers, and Cheer style Acro.

Emma Christine

 Zumba Instructor


Emma’s love of Zumba began in 2011 while in graduate school at Brown University where she studied immune responses to viruses. It’s been suggested that Zumba positively benefits both physical and mental health, improving heart health, immune cell function, and just generally making you feel better. For her, she keeps coming back because it is FUN! Emma became a certified Zumba instructor in 2015 and enjoys helping people dance their stress away to a healthier life. When she’s not on the dance floor, you may find her on the Aerial silks or at the wheel creating pottery, like the ROC City Circus mugs that we proudly sell at ROC City Circus.

Kerri Rogers

 

  Aerial Silks Instructor 

Kerri took her first Aerial class in 2011 and has enjoyed it from day one. With no prior gymnastics or Aerial training of any kind, it’s a real testament that you can try something new at any age and succeed. Performing, teaching, and training adults and children since 2015, it’s a great escape from her everyday life in corporate America and motherhood.

Her first and favorite circus activity is Aerial Silks, especially when it involves a second person, (doubles). Corde Lisse, Lyra, (Aerial Hoop) Acro and pole are just a few other activities Kerri continues to train and teach on. Always ready to travel to various cities to keep expanding her knowledge of the Circus Arts in hopes to motivate and inspire others in their fitness journeys. “I will continue to educate and learn to be the best and safest instructor I can be. Words can’t express the gratitude that comes with watching students overcome their impossible. Come, join the circus and fly to new heights”

Mandy Raville

Ring Master, Aerial Silks Instructor 

As a wide eyed little girl, watching “Circus of the Stars”, Mandy dreamt of flying through the air with the greatest of ease. It wasn’t until 2012 when she took her first class in the Aerial Arts that she realized it was attainable even as an adult. She started training in Aerial Silks and began teaching to share her love with beginners.

After traveling to Club Med, Turkoise, she was bitten by the Flying Trapeze bug and started scheming to bring a rig to Rochester, New York. With the help and support of her husband, Kevin, and her daughters, Jordyn and Sydney, her dream has become a reality. Mandy also uses her strengths to compete in Ninja Warrior Competitions and even competed on American Ninja Warrior Season 11.

Penny McClure

Sling/Hammock Instructor

Penny McClure ​is a lifelong dancer from Rochester, NY. She discovered the world of dance at the age of four and soon developed a passion for jazz, tap and lyrical over the years. Her interests in creative movement made the continuation of Aerial an easy transition. In 2013, she took her first Aerial Yoga class, immediately falling in love with the Aerial arts. Since then, she has continued to train on various apparatuses, including Sling, Hoop, Silks, and Bungee.

On top of practicing and instructing Aerial Yoga, she enjoys costume design and creation. Sewing and crafting various dance, Aerial, and cosplay costumes have become an integral part of her hobbies. Penny is absolutely thrilled to be instructing with Roc City Circus.

Shannon Circe

Tap Dance Instructor

Shannon Circe lives in Rochester with her wife and three sons and works during the day as a cardiac sonographer. Shannon fell in love with dancing and performing at a very young age, and she feels extremely fortunate to find a way to keep her passion alive through teaching and choreography as an adult.

In her younger years, she was able to travel around the country for performances and competitions, and tap even helped her to perform twice in the halftime show of the NFL pro bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii. Now along with her family, she enjoys traveling, animal rescue, and dancing just about any time of day.

Matthew Swayngim

Flying Trapeze Instructor
In West Philadelphia born and raised on the playground where he spent most of his days…so the Flying Trapeze was a natural progression. Swayngim, otherwise known as Mr. Density is famous for catching all around the world. His namesake comes from his diet of watermelon and cheese.  

History of The Circus

“Who started the circus?” you might ask. Well, the creation of the modern circus is credited to Philip Astley, a former cavalry Sergeant-Major with a knack for showmanship and excellent equestrian skills. His circular arena, in which he performed his “feats of horsemanship,” was simply called the “Circle” which eventually led to the name the “Circus” being used. In 1770, he hired acrobats, clowns, tumblers, jugglers, rope-dancers and more to add some flair and novelty to his performances between his equestrian performances. Soon after, competing shows began to rise. John Bill Ricketts opened the first circus in the United States in Philadelphia in 1793, and the rest is history as they say.
Circus Activiies in Rochester NY | Roc City Circus

Benefits of Circus Activities

Join the circus!
There are a plethora of benefits to participating in circus activities. By partaking in classes or practicing circus skills independently, you are exercising not only your body but your mind as well.
Benefits of circus activities include but are not limited to:
  • Improved balance, coordination, & reflexes
  • Improved patience
  • Stronger concentration
  • Increased self-confidence, social skills, and feeling of belonging
  • Improved fitness and flexibility
  • A safe space to have fun
  • And more!
Circus Classes in Rochester NY | Roc City Circus

Now that you have met the team and read why partaking in circus activities is such a great idea, stop in and sign up! See for yourself how fun joining the circus can be — contact us today 

Hours

Monday + Wednesday + Friday
9:30 am - 1:30 pm
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Tuesday
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Thursday:
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Saturday
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Sunday:
10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Address

1344 University Ave Suite 6200
Rochester, NY 14607

Contact Us

Phone: 585-287-5976
Email: mandy@roccitycircus.com