About the Academy
Welcome to Firefly Circus Academy
See how high you can Fly! Experience the thrill of learning acrobatic and aerial skills while improving fitness, strength, and flexibility. Our students learn to achieve their maximum potential while experiencing high quality instruction in a safe, supportive and creative environment. While circus is a rigourous, muscle building workout, it is also an art form. Come climb and create your personal story at Edmonton’s award-winning circus arts studio. Turn your life upside down at the Firefly Circus Academy, Alberta’s pioneer Aerial Arts Program.
Firefly has been teaching community members how to fly since 2004. We offer recreational classes in aerial silks (tissue), aerial hoop (or Lyra), rope (corde lisse), straps and trapeze. In addition to aerial arts, we have aerial conditioning, handstands and acrobalance, contortion and extreme stretching, and aerial yoga. Though our program is adult-based, there are a few special classes for kids between the ages of 9-16.
Our instructors are dedicated to consistent, professional development; Firefly instructors have trained with some of the top aerialists and coaches in the world today. We regularly bring the best of the best to Edmonton, in order to learn and then share with our students. The Firefly Circus Academy is dedicated to teaching you with the absolute highest technical, safety and artistic standards.
Circus Academy Leaders
Annie is the founder and Executive Director of the Firefly Circus Academy, currently in its 14 year of teaching people to fly. She has completed and contributed to the curriculum in teacher training courses across Canada and North America. Having taught basic aerial skills for many years, Annie also enjoys teaching Firefly Theatre’s signature fusion, Aerial Theatre. As a pioneer and practitioner of the form, she enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge through workshops that transform aerialists into storytellers.
Annie has 30 years of circus experience, commencing with the Big Apple Circus in 1987. Edmonton’s award-winning Firefly Theatre, under the direction of Ms. Dugan, continues to be at the forefront of the development of Circus-Theatre, and remains one of the only companies in Western Canada to work in this genre. Their productions contribute to the evolution of circus-theatre, which is growing in popularity around the world.
Director of Operations/Instructor
Stephanie has been a company member and performer of Firefly Theatre and Circus for 6 years and a student for the last 13 years. She has a true passion for Aerial and Circus Arts. She has performed in many productions put on by Firefly such as KOLABO and PANACHE and has been involved in many events including the Canada 150 celebration at Roger’s Place, performing along with Canadian artist Sarah McLachlan. Stephanie has attended and trained at numerous circus festivals in the US and Europe including the Santa Barbara Floor to Air Festival as well as “Les Rencontres de Danse Aérienne” put on by Fred Deb, the artist known for developing the discipline of aerial dance.She has also used her previous busy travel schedule as an opportunity to train with coaches and artists throughout North America.
Stephanie coaches multiple aerial disciplines and even has training on a very unique Apparatus – the Aerial Kite. She has just recently completed Teacher Training with Paper Doll Militia and is excited to be coaching at Firefly!
Samara started training with Firefly in 2008 and with a few breaks off and on for different adventures traveling around the world she has happily found herself back at Firefly teaching Silks and Rope. Samara is an actor/ stunt performer, and a musician. She loves the way circus combines her love of being physical with the opportunity for such creative expression. Samara has worked as a personal trainer, and is currently finishing her yoga teacher training.
Marla loves to move her body! Dancing, aerial circus, yoga, spin, jogging…you name it! She completed her Bachelor of Education degree at the U of A, and has had the wonderful opportunity to apply her love of education with her passion for movement, teaching Dance at various schools with the Edmonton Public School Board. Currently, she teaches at Lillian Osborne High School, works as a freelance dance teacher/choreographer, dances with the Contemporary company, ViVA, and performs with Firefly Theatre and Circus (where she has been training since around 2008–time sure does “fly”!). Marla is very excited to be joining the Firefly teaching staff!
Tara began training at Firefly and discovered her love of the aerial arts after graduating from MacEwan University for Theatre Arts back in 2014. She immediately fell in love with this challenging art form that combined her loves of fitness and performing. She currently divides her training time between trapeze, hoop, rope, and her personal favourite, silks.
Alexa De Grace
Alexa’s first exposure to aerial acrobatics was a Firefly Theatre show she saw in 2007. She’s been training with Firefly ever since (with a few breaks here and there) and has also taken classes in San Francisco and Vermont. She has tried just about every class that Firefly offers and enjoys every apparatus, but the trapeze has a special place in her heart. Alexa has a Bachelor of Kinesiology and is excited to apply that background to teaching aerial acrobatics.
Erin is a fitness junkie. When she isn’t at Firefly she can be found at yoga, the barre studio or paddling down the North Saskatchewan River. She is an avid runner, many of her vacations are to attend races in cities across North America. She has been training with Firefly since 2008 after being invited by a good friend; that first class turned into a great love for the aerials silks. She now looks forward to spreading that love of this unique sport to new students and is very excited to join the instructor team for 2018.
Michalene Giesbrecht came to Firefly Theatre in 2005 as a dancer and a high school science teacher, and fell in love with the trapeze. She is now a stay at home mother with her two daughters and has been coaching aerials with Firefly since 2009.
Jordan came to firefly as a young student in 2015, she found her love of all things cirque at Firefly and has never looked back. Jordan loves to train in contortion as well as all of the arial arts. She has performed in Firefly’s annual LTBH, as well as well as Cirque in the Park. When Jordan is not at the Studio she is busy attending school, playing, coaching and officiating Ringette. Jordan looks forward to sharing her passion and love of all things cirque with all of her students.
After being a competitive cheerleader for many years, Kelly decided to branch out and try aerial arts in 2010. After her first intro class she was hooked (literally and figuratively)! As an educator and administrator in the school system, Kelly has always had a passion for teaching and learning and was thrilled when she joined the Firefly coaching team in 2014. While Kelly loves all things creative, she is particularly passionate about aerial hoop and trapeze.
Carolyn has always been keen to try different forms of physical activity. Growing up as a competitive diver, she knew that aerial arts would give her a similar thrill and challenge she was looking for. Carolyn started as a student at Firefly in 2014 and instantly fell in LOVE! You can usually find her hanging out on the trapeze or up in the silks. As a Certified Personal Trainer, Carolyn loves helping others explore new and fun ways to exercise.
Sheri was thrilled when she discovered Firefly and the magical combination of artistry and exercise that aerial arts provides. When she’s not teaching, she’s often at the studio, exploring moves and transitions. After a good training session, she likes to indulge in some chocolate.
She has completed teacher training courses through NECCA and has trained with coaches from Drapés Aériens and Paper Doll Militia among others.
As an instructor she’s able to combine two of her favourite passions: teaching and aerial arts. She spends many hours devising plans and exercises for her students and loves to see students gain strength, confidence and skills in the air!
Joel has been coming to Firefly since 2012 after returning to Alberta. His introduction to aerial arts began while he lived in the U.S. in 2003, helping at a community circus arts program for troubled youth. For someone who once weighed over 240 lbs, this was his game changer. Here at Firefly, Joel continues to focus on silks, trapeze, and aerial net while also enjoying the challenges and artistic opportunities other aerial equipment has to offer. And recently, he is enjoying the opportunity to help new students begin their own aerial journey.
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