Kiebpoli Calnek is an actress, aerialist, and founder/artistic director of Black*Acrobat- a social enterprise that empowers fringe communities through the vertical world of aerial acrobatics and with devised theatrical performances. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and of Actors’ Equity Association. Her works received generous funding and support from Elizabeth Streb, Astrea Foundation, Asian Arts Initiative, and The New York Foundation for the Arts.
She trained at the Circus Space in London and with Kevin O'Connor in NYC. Kiebpoli taught and held aerial theatre performances at Aerial Arts NYC, Big Sky Works, The Muse Brooklyn, Dixon Place, The Kitchen, LAVA, The Skybox, STREB, The Zipper, P.S. 122, The Red Lotus Room, Irondale Center, 3-Legged Dog, La MaMa E.T.C.
Kiebpoli is thrilled to be teaching classes at SF Circus Center, coaching students utilizing constructive feedback, motivation, and patience while focusing on technique, form, and dramatic flourishes.
Heidi began studying aerial at the Pickle Family Circus School in San Francisco in the late 1980s. A few years later she ran away to France, where she studied at the Fratellini National Circus school in Paris and the National Circus School of Rosny-sous-Bois, France. Heidi studied swinging trapeze for 3 years under the tutelage of Zoe Maistre. Her professional career took off in 1996 with Transe Express, where she performed static trapeze on a human mobile from a crane 90 feet in the air. In 1999 she performed with them for The King of Sweden in front of the Stockholm Opera House. She toured 4 years with the French Street Theater company Jo Bithume, playing shows all over Western and Eastern Europe, and even down into South America. She has performed static trapeze, aerial silk, rope, hoop, aerial diamond, hung from a harness at 30ft, and embodied a myraid of ground characters throughout. She once played a Death Wraith writhing up her rope and into infinity. In 2001 and 2002, Heidi toured on Caravan Stage Barge’s floating theater boat in the Eastern US, playing numerous aerial characters and grappling aloft in the rigging of the barge’s 90-foot masts. Heidi has played with bands and was once Santa’s Helper. She played a Harpie intent on stealing a man’s soul, a slut intent on stealing his body, and even an errant schoolboy. Many of these characters were in the air, though many were ground characters that interacted with the audience. Since 2000, Heidi has been steadily teaching in the US at Trapeze School NY, Streb Lab for Action Machanics and the Skybox (both in Brooklyn), and at various summer programs around the Northeast. The last few years have seen her create an original aerial apparatus, and help her students create their own artistic routines.
Born in Murom, Russia, Elena Panova is a graduate of Moscow's Circus and Variety College, where she specialized as an aerialist. Under the guidance of the famous training tandem of Tereza Durova and Viktor Fomin, she created a groundbreaking swinging trapeze act that redefined swinging trapeze as it is performed today all over the world. Elena won a gold medal and the Ministry of Culture award at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris in 1987, and the gold medal at the 1988 All-Union Circus Artists Competition of the USSR. For over twenty years, she has performed in major circuses and variety and theater shows on four continents, including the Moscow Circus, Circus Knie, the Cirque d'Hiver-Bouglione in Paris, Circus Carré in Amsterdam, the Victorian Arts Center in Melbourne, and the Big Apple Circus. She has also been a judge several times at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris. Elena moved to the United States in 1991. She started teaching at Circus Center in 2004.
An aerialist of elegance and true excellence, Veronica Blair has studied with some of the most celebrated and prominent artists in her field, including trapeze great LaNorma Fox; Pamela Hernandez, who bears the distinction of being the very first African-American aerialist to perform with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus; and the renowned “God Father of the Tissu” Gerard Fasoli, director of Ecole Supérieure des Arts du Cirque, in Belgium.Veronica started her acrobatic career at the age of 14 with Make*A*Circus, a community-based circus. In addition she trained in Chinese Acrobatics at the San Francisco School of Circus Arts (now known as Circus Center). Her first professional performance was at the age of 17, making her one of the youngest professional African-American trapeze artists in the U.S. Shortly after, Veronica was personally selected by Cedric Walker, the founder of the UniverSoul Circus, as a single trapeze artist. Under Mr. Walker’s supervision, Veronica rapidly developed as an aerialist, and was the show's resident aerialist for 5+ years. After her residency with UniverSoul, Veronica performed with world-renowned performance groups in various productions around the world, including AntiGravity, Universal Studios Japan, and AFRIKA! AFRIKA! the most successful circus show in Germany.
Intended for new students, Aerial Conditioning: Level 1 is an endurance and strength-building class that targets core, arm, and leg strength, while developing cardiovascular and muscular endurance. This 90-minute class mixes ground conditioning with stretching and apparatus training to work the entire body, build up a sweat, and tone muscles for maximum strength and control. Students will work singly and in partnership on apparatus such as Static Trapeze, Rope, and Wall Rack to develop confidence in their own strength and coordination. Aerial Conditioning: Level 1 is a drop-in class, which can be started at any time by people of any age and fitness level.