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Artistic Director
Jack Marsh has served in a variety of roles at Circus Flora beginning in 1986 when he was just two years old.
A few years later, he transitioned into a job riding a Clydesdale named Jack, and has since performed as a juggler
in most Circus Flora productions. For several years he tumbled with the St. Louis Arches. After working as a corporate attorney in New York, Marsh ran away to re-join the circus, inspired to help Circus Flora continue to create new
and innovative productions. Marsh holds a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University and a J.D. from the University
of Wisconsin.
Theater Director / Featured Performer,
“Yo–Yo the Narrator”
Cecil MacKinnon, performer, director, and teacher, has performed extensively with theater companies in New York
including Shaliko Company, Working Theatre, American Place Theatre, Theatre for a New City, and PS-122. Since
1980, she has been a member of Shakespeare and Company. MacKinnon co-founded the Pickle Family Jugglers,
a comedy juggling act that expanded into The Pickle Family Circus. In 1994, she received the first Citizens’ Exchange
Council grant to travel to Eastern Europe to research circus in transition. In 2002, MacKinnon was commissioned by
the Virginia Festival to conceive and direct Romeo and Juliet using musicians with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra
and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Productions she has directed include Twelfth Night, Loves Labours Lost,
Comedy of Errors, Life is a Dream (which toured to Spain), On the Razzle, Much Ado About Nothing, and Two Great
Oceans. Most recently, she directed Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Naples Opera and three
highly successful collaborations between Circus Flora and the St. Louis Symphony at Powell Hall: The Floating
Palace, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, and A Winter Fable. She is currently an arts professor at New York University’s
Tisch School of the Arts. MacKinnon has performed with and created shows for Circus Flora since 1986.
Dramaturg / Featured Performer
Since 1966, every student to study at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting program has
studied circus techniques with Hovey Burgess. He also taught in the Drama Division of The Juilliard School (19681972). Hovey created, directed and performed with the Circo Dell’Arte (1969-1970), which included Cecil MacKinnon,
Larry Pisoni, Judy Finelli, and Jim Jansen. He taught at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College (1973 1975, 1995), and at the Ultimate Clown School (since 1999) with Dick Monday and Tiffany Riley. His instructional book
Circus Techniques (1976) is still in print. Hovey choreographed and appeared in the motion picture Popeye (1980),
starring Robin Williams, one of his former Juilliard students. He is the recipient of the Red Skelton Award Gifted Mentor to Clown Theatre Artists (1991), the International Jugglers Association’s Excellence in Education award (1997),
and the Downtown Clown Golden Nose - Lifetime Achievement award (2009). While Hovey is in high demand with
many circuses around the world, his most enduring relationship continues with Circus Flora (since 1991).
Creative Consultant
Amanda Crockett is passionate about making motion into laughter. She started clowning alongside her father at age
9 and has since had the great fortune to perform around the world. In 1999, Crockett graduated from the Dell’Arte
International School of Physical Theatre, continued her training at Celebration Barn Theater, and won the Audience
Choice award at the Krystallpalast Varieté in Leipzig, Germany in 2009. Some of her favorite shows include: Carnivale
in Venice, Italy, Festival Mímame in Colombia, Shanghai’s Oriental Arts Center, Anjos do Picadeiro in Rio de Janeiro,
the Edinburgh Festival, and Australia’s Tasmanian National Circus Festival. Most recently, Crockett was featured as a
principle character and Hat Juggler in Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE in Las Vegas. When not on the road,
she lives in Chicago where she teaches and performs at the Aloft Loft.
Resident Composer
Miriam Cutler, performer, writer and producer for more than 20 years, began her career as a singer/horn player in
various bands that toured the West Coast, including the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. With the development
of her own recording studio, she moved from live performance into composing and has contributed songs to feature
films, including Bachelor Party, Grandview USA, and Slaves to the Underground, as well as special songs for the
children’s educational show, Square One on PBS. She has scored numerous feature films and TV specials, and in
recent years has chosen to focus on independent documentaries including many film festival favorites: The Hunting
Ground (Sundance/CNN), Ethel (Sundance/HBO), Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (Sundance/HBO), Thin (Sundance/HBO), Absolute Wilson (Cinemax/Berlin), Lost in La Mancha (Berlin/IFC). Cutler co-produced and scored the highly acclaimed
documentary One Lucky Elephant (the story of David and Flora, our circus namesake) which was shown on Opera
Winfrey’s network, OWN, and The Film Forum in New York City. She has co-produced live jazz albums on Polygram/
Verve for Joe Williams, Nina Simone, Shirley Horn, and Marlena Shaw and has produced independently released
albums of her own songs and soundtracks. She has served on documentary film festival juries for the Sundance Film
Festival, American Film Institute, the Independent Spirit Awards, and the International Documentary Association, and
has been a mentor for the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Composer Lab. Since 1988, Cutler has been resident composer for Circus Flora. In 2013, Cutler was inducted into The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Musical Director, Arranger & Composer
Janine Del’Arte has played a part in setting the magical atmosphere with music for Circus Flora since 1988. She
comes from a family of musicians and has been performing since the age of seven. Janine is a professional woodwind player, producer, and composer in Los Angeles. Janine and the Circus Flora band recently released “INSIDE
THE BIG TOP”. Her musical credits include Little Richard, The Coasters, The Platters, and Shirley Bassey, among
others. She has appeared in the television shows Murphy Brown, Sliders, Fame LA,Beverly Hills 90210, and Picket
Fences. She has fronted The Vibe Tribe, which is described as “generating a sonic journey through world music,
dance, and visual arts.” She currently plays with The Swingin’ Deacons, with whom she recorded music for TV’s The
Gilmore Girls. Outside of Circus Flora, Janine’s musical heart lies with teaching young musicians as an educator and
clinician in Conejo Valley, CA.
Lighting Designer
Jesse AlFord is a freelance lighting designer based in Louisville, Kentucky. His work can be seen with Theatre [502],
Stage One Family Theatre, Savage Rose Classical Theatre Company, Pandora Productions, and more. Jesse grew
up in the Great All American Youth Circus in Redlands, California, where he began his circus training at the age of
six. He now works as the Head Coach for My Nose Turns Red Youth Circus, and serves as the Board President of the
American Youth Circus Organization, and the American Circus Educators.
Since running away and joining George Matthews’ Great London Circus, Erik Jaeger’s life has been full of ups and
downs – “build-ups” and “pull-downs,” that is! He has toured extensively in the United States, as well as Canada,
Mexico, Japan, Singapore, and Europe, traveling with the likes of Circus Vargas, The Big Apple Circus, Ringling Bros.
and Barnum & Bailey, Disneyfest, Barnum’s Kaleidoscape, Cirque du Soleil, Cavalia and even presenting his own
Circus Jaeger. He currently enjoys working closely with Florida State University’s Flying High Circus and continues
to provide circus tents, along with wise counsel for many unique events. His tents recently made an appearance on
the Warner Brothers hit TV show “Gotham”. Erik’s association with Circus Flora began in 1994, when as tentmaster,
he fell in love with the organization’s unique style of circus. In 2007, Erik returned as consultant for the “Take-a-Seat”
project, where he was instrumental in designing, importing, and installing the new state-of-the-art seating system
that Circus Flora’s patrons enjoy today. Although his specific area of expertise is logistics and tented structures, Erik
brings with him a comprehensive depth of circus knowledge and decades of experience.
Sound Designer
Mark Kreitler has been with Circus Flora since 1995 as the sound designer and engineer. A tent is a difficult acoustic
environment - add a reflective seating area, a live orchestra, and concealed microphone placement on the narrator,
and the situation becomes even more challenging. This type of performance requires coherent vocals so the audience is immersed in the story line and character development. Kreitler has consistently met these demands through
careful component and placement choices. As an audio veteran of many different arenas of sound challenges,
Kreitler uses all his skills to stay on top of the constantly changing environment of the tent. When Circus Flora is not
performing, Kreitler tours the United States with a variety of corporate and public events.
Set Designer
Sarah Pearline has designed and created Circus Flora’s scenery since 2006 and is thrilled to be returning for another
exciting season! She is a freelance set and projection designer whose recent credits include Talley’s Folly (Purple
Rose Theatre), The Firefighter Project (PuppetArt Theatre), The Way of The World and Gross Indecency…(Hilberry
Theatre), Happy Now? (World Premiere, Yale Repertory Theatre), Nostradamus Predicts the Death of SoHo (Ohio
Theatre), Trojan Women, Two Great Oceans, and Wilde Thing (Experimental Theatre Wing), Dinner with Friends
(Penobscot Theatre), Cyrano de Bergerac (The Hangar Theatre), and Two Gentlemen of Verona (NYU). She has also
had the pleasure of working with The Tipping Point Theatre, Prospect Theatre Company, SoHo Think Tank, Ensemble
Studio Theatre, Urban Stages, and the NYC Fringe Festival. Currently, Sarah is an Assistant Professor of Set Design at
Wayne State University, where she teaches and mentors a wonderful group of students while also collaborating with
the rest of the faculty and a wealth of guest artists. She earned her MFA in Design from the Yale School of Drama and
her BFA in Theatre from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Costume Designer
A Cum Laude BFA graduate in Costume Design from Webster University, Nina has designed and built numerous theatre, dance, and circus costumes for more than 20 years. She has patterned and built clothes for the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Beginning her professional career
as a dancer, Nina has focused her insight on the specialized needs of dance and circus clothes. She has worked with
choreographers at Webster University, Washington University, COCA, Alexandra Ballet, among other organizations.
Since 2008, she has taken that experience to the next step, designing and building for Circus Flora and truly loving it!!
Academically, Nina has been an adjunct full professor at Webster University since 1991 and is currently the Costume
Shop Manager at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Theatrical Costume Workshop, located at 6700 Arsenal St., is Nina’s newest venture. In addition to building professional costumes on site, the Workshop offers classes
Featured Equestrian Troupe
Lev Gigolaev developed his equestrian skills in the Kantemirov group, a family of Soviet Ossetian circus artists that
has been training trick horsemen since the early 20th century. Lev worked extensively in the Russian circus before
traveling to North America to perform with many renowned companies, including the Sheval Theatre and Ringling
Brothers. This form of trick riding has a rich history that predates its appearance as a form of entertainment. It was
once used in warfare by the Cossacks, who adopted it from the people of the Caucasus region, a community originating in the southern regions and steppes of Eastern Europe and Mongolia. Stylistically, its difficult and complex maneuvers resemble both a sport and martial art. Lev, together with fellow performers Cecile, Alina, and Veronica, and
trusted horses Bubba, Kontos, Fez, Remington, and Lancelot, will present a dynamic horseback act that will leave you
breathless and your heart thumping. The Alanian Troupe is excited to be making its Circus Flora debut!
Featured Duo
Iking and Melvin are born and raised St. Louisans. As adolescents, both began their circus careers with Circus Harmony, training at the City Museum, and performing with the St. Louis Arches in Circus Flora. Both performers continued their training at the world-renowned École Nationale de Cirque in Montreal, from which they graduated in 2014.
Immediately after graduating, Melvin and Sidney began work on a new creation with Les 7 Doigts de la Main, and
when they are not performing with Circus Flora they are on a world tour with their latest show, Cuisine et Confession.
Iking and Melvin are also founding members of FAQ, a new and up-and-coming circus company.
Featured Trapeze Act
David Jones and Blaze Birge trained with a 5th generation Romanian circus family. After this initial training, they
returned to Northern California to refine their skills and develop their signature double trapeze act in 2004. Their bold
and original choreography comes from their ability to isolate their environment, leaving the audience’s heart in its
throat. They combine speed, power, and technical mastery to inspire audiences with disciplined artistic and athletic risk. With adventure as their primary criteria, the Daring Jones Duo has been featured in both traditional and
non-traditional circus all over the world.
Featured Duo
Terrance started performing in 2008 in St. Louis with Circus Harmony and the St. Louis Arches. Laurie trained as a
competitive gymnast and dancer in her native Gatineau, Québec. In 2011, both Laurie and Terrance began training
at École de Cirque de Québec, both as solo acrobats. They helped each other to create solo numbers and quickly
realized that they loved working together, and ended up creating a duo act for their first presentation. Duo Tux was
born. Terrance and Laurie enjoy challenges, and found that performing as a trio- the two of them and a jacket- posed
their favorite challenge. Duo Tux graduated in 2015 and are thrilled for their act to make its Circus Flora debut.
Featured Performer
Jessica Hentoff is the artistic/executive director of Circus Harmony, the social circus organization she founded in
2001. She is a founding member of both the Big Apple Circus in NYC and Circus Flora in St. Louis. Jessica has been
using circus arts to motivate social change since she started the St. Louis Arches youth circus troupe in 1989. Ms.
Hentoff has been teaching and performing circus arts for 40 years. In 2009, she received the double honor of being
named St. Louis Arts Innovator of the Year by the Arts & Education Council and receiving the Grand Center Visionary
Award for Outstanding Arts Educator. She serves on the advisory board of the World Circus Federation and is on
Circus Fans of America’s Youth Circus Committee. In 2014, she received the first-ever Excellence in Education Award
from the American Youth Circus Organization/American Circus Educators. Jessica is the only social circus person
to ever serve as a judge at the International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo. Her remarkable vision and use of circus
arts to build character and expand community has brought about ground-breaking and bridge-building programs
like Circus Salaam Shalom which connected Jewish and Muslim children, Far East Meets Midwest which combined
Asian and Midwestern arts and artists and Peace Through Pyramids, an ongoing collaboration between the St. Louis
Arches in the United States and the Jewish/Arab Galilee Circus in Israel. These trademarks of Circus Harmony are
the embodiment of the organization’s mission to help children “defy gravity, soar with confidence and leap over
social barriers, all at the same time.”
Featured Performer
Adam Kuchler is a unique comedic performer who combines skills in juggling, mime, magic, music, and manipulation.
A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kuchler began his career with Vermont’s Circus Smirkus, and has spent the last 19
years touring with numerous circuses across 43 states and 14 countries. Kuchler has also performed with Bindlestiff
Family Circus, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, and Les 7 Doigts de la Main, and has appeared on the Late Show
with David Letterman. In 2012, Kuchler was awarded a special prize for clowning at the International Circus Festival
in Figueres, Spain.
Featured Performer
Mayya Panfilova, a first-generation circus performer, performs accompanied by 12 cats, ranging in age from 2 to 9, of
many different breeds including British Shorthairs, Russian Siberians, Orientals, and Siamese. Ten of the cats were
hand-picked and trained by Mayya, while the other two were born and raised in her care. Originally from Russia,
Mayya attended choreography school, specializing in ballet. She later became a celebrated trainer of performing
house cats, initially performing throughout Russia and Europe. Since 2005, Mayya has presented her impressive
pride of domestic felines in the United States, along with her husband Andriy and daughter Alisa. Mayya has worked
in The Russian State Circus Company and Moscow Circus on Ice (Russia); National Circus of Ukraine (Kiev); Festival
of Circus Arts in China (Shanghai); Circus Micheletty (France); Cole Brothers Circus (USA); Royal Hanneford Circus
(USA); Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus (USA); Grand Country Music Hall (Branson, MO); and Theatre
Millenium (NY). Her TV credits include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC, Zella Entertainment Christmas Show,
and Country Fried Home Videos on CMT.
Featured Trampoline-Wall Act
Part acrobatics, part extreme sport; the art of wall trampoline requires a high level of athleticism and focus. Originally from Canada, Quatuor Bounce is comprised of Pauline Baudgillard, Jasmin Blouin, Marine Crest, and Felix Di
Pasquale, circus artists versed in several disciplines. Creative and fearless, this troupe will prove that humans can
indeed walk on walls. Displaying a high level of acrobatic skill and energy, these four artists will beguile and inspire
you with their performance. Having toured in China, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Canada, Quatuor Bounce is pleased to
bring its thrilling and beautiful act to a U.S. audience, only at Circus Flora!
Featured Troupe
The St. Louis Arches is the premiere youth circus performance troupe from Circus Harmony, St. Louis’ only complete
circus school and social circus organization. Circus school means they teach a wide array of circus arts. Social
circus is the use of circus arts to promote social change. The St. Louis Arches are currently comprised of children
9-19 years old from throughout the St. Louis area. These acclaimed and accomplished youth circus performers can
be seen year-round in their “home ring” at City Museum in downtown St. Louis. They also appear at a number of
events throughout St. Louis and beyond. The Arches perform a wide array of circus arts including acrobatic, aerial,
juggling, and balancing feats of skill and daring. They’ve also started working on their flying trapeze act at the new
Circus Harmony Flying Trapeze Center at Union Station Since the troupe’s inception in 1989, the performers have
been coached and directed by Jessica Hentoff. Additional coaches include Rosa Yagaantsetseg, Richard Kennison,
Warren Bacon and Arch alums Sidney ‘Iking’ Bateman, Elliana Grace, and Keaton Hentoff-Killian. The troupe has
been appearing with Circus Flora since 1989. Since 2007, the Arches have collaborated with the Galilee Circus, a
Jewish/Arab youth circus in Israel in a program called Peace Through Pyramids. This year Circus Harmony took
Peace Through Pyramids into Ferguson. Choreography by Jessica Hentoff and Sidney ‘Iking’ Bateman.
Featured Performer
Born in Prague into a traveling circus family in the 1940s, Helena Valla is a 7th generation circus performer. The second of five children, she grew up performing a variety of acts in Circus Umberto, the state circus of Czechoslovakia.
As a young girl Helena did a handstand act, worked a horse act with her sister Anna, and then, with the entire family,
developed a unique trampoline act fused with flying trapeze where Helena performed both front and back full twists.
When Helena married circus artist Vlastek Valla, her family joined The Bertinis, Vlastek’s family’s unique unicycle act
that involved somersaults to shoulders from a teeterboard. At London’s World Championship in 1975, the Bertinis won
first prize, and the act was presented in many prestigious circuses throughout Europe. Helena also performed a daring perch act where she performed acrobatic tricks on a perch 20 feet high in the air that was balanced on a single
shoulder by her husband. Hellena, Vlastek, and their son Vlasticek finallyy settled in France where they performed in
Cirque Bouglione and Cirque Grusse. Helena came to the U.S. to perform with her brother Sacha Pavlata in the Big
Apple Circus in 1980. She stayed in America and went on to star as “Elegant Ellen” in the motion picture Big Top Pee
Wee. She also appeared on unicycle in the film Annie, and she and her family made numerous TV appearances in the
U.S. and Canada. Helena never thought she’d be in the ring again at the age of 70 but was happy to be called out of
retirement by Circus Flora, where she is gracing the Big Top once again with her performing pigeons.
Featured Troupe
As far back as 1780, in the cafes of Old Bohemia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the ancestral Wallenda family
was a traveling circus troupe consisting of acrobats, jugglers, clowns, aerialists and animal trainers – all in one
family. Tino Wallenda, grandson of the famed Karl Wallenda, represents the sixth generation of the famous Wallenda Family. Karl Wallenda began walking the high wire in the early 1920s; the family tradition is being carried on by
several branches of the Wallendas. Tino started on the wire at the age of seven when Karl took him into the circus
backyard, put the balance-pole in his hands and taught him how to place his feet, control his body and where to
focus his eyes. At the age of 12, he made his first crossing on the wire, 35 feet off the ground. At 17, Tino became a
full-fledged member of the Great Wallenda troupe. For several years, he toured with, and under, the tutelage of his
grandfather. Now, Tino leads the Flying Wallendas, traveling with his daughters and son, eight to 10 months a year,
recreating breathtaking versions of the pyramids that brought the Wallendas to the U.S. in 1928. In 1998, performing
family members reunited from three separate groups, the Flying Wallendas, the Fabulous Wallendas and the Great
Wallendas, to recreate their crowning achievement, The Seven-Person Pyramid, reestablishing their legacy in circus
history. To debut the intricate maneuver, the Wallendas premiered their feat for the Hamid Circus Royale during the
1998 Moslem Temple Shrine Circus in Detroit, which was the scene of the Wallendas’ greatest tragedy 36 years
before. Several attempts have been made by others to perform this intricate pyramid; as of yet, none have succeeded
in accomplishing the feat the way it was performed by the Wallendas – incorporating the chair and without the use of
nets or safety devices of any kind. This will be the Flying Wallendas’ 26th year with Circus Flora.