Faculty & Staff
Caroline Calouche has taught contemporary dance, Pilates, Gyrokinesis and ballet at UNC Charlotte, Winthrop University, The Belmont School of Ballet, Gaston Dance Theatre and The School of North Carolina Dance Theatre. Her dance and fitness teaching background has allowed her to become a sought after aerial dance instructor. Not only has Caroline developed a safe method and syllabus of teaching Aerial Silk, Sling, Trapeze, Lyra, Corde Lisse and Spanish Web, she is able to teach students how to incorporate floor work with their apparatus to seamlessly move from the ground up and back again. With her strong anatomy and physiology background, Caroline focuses on proper alignment in the air and on the ground to prevent injury and promote efficient movement. Caroline’s aerial and dance training is diverse. In the air, she has worked with Juliana Hane, Nicole Merman, Elsie and Serenity Smith, Christine van Loo, Caroline Wright, Jamie Hodgson, Tanya Burka, Cheetah Platt, Kevin O’Connor, Allie Cooper, Nancy Smith and Susan Murphy. While on the ground, Caroline’s influential teachers range from Leah Cox (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company), Elizabeth Corbett (Forsythe Composition), Libby Farr (Ballet), Andrew Harwood (Contact Improvisation), Fernando Bujones (Ballet), Elizabeth Gillaspy (Ballet), Susan Douglas Roberts (Contemporary), Brenda Daniels (Modern Dance) to name a few on an endless list of amazing teachers!
Kristin Bridges is from Winston-Salem, NC and discovered her passion for the arts through community theatre. She attended UNC Greensboro for Theatre and The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York for Musical Theatre Performance. While in New York she worked with HHC Marketing, Telsey Casting, and was Marketing and Creative Director for Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. She moved to Charlotte in 2016 and discovered her love of Aerial Arts with Aerial CLT. She is a professional petsitter and also a volunteer for the Humane Society of Charlotte and Blumenthal Performing Arts.
Macie Brown began dancing at the age of six in Greensboro, NC, where she attended Nan’s School of Dance followed by Greensboro Dance Theatre. She was a member of the competitive dance teams at both Greensboro Dance Theatre and Dancer’s Edge. After graduating in the top percentage of her class from East Burke high school, Macie returned to Greensboro for three years of dance education at UNC Greensboro studying choreography and the movement techniques of Cunningham, Bill T. Jones, Vaganova, and West African dance. During this time she taught ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and tumbling at both recreational and competitive levels at Dance Elite by Angie in Reidsville, NC. While teaching, she received an award for the choreography of the highest scoring solo at Starland Productions in 2018. Macie graduated in April 2020 from Paul Mitchell the School Charlotte, where she has been pursuing her cosmetologist license. Macie was an adjunct dancer for THE MARK dance company in 2018, performing Arlynn Zachary's piece, Listen, at the Greensboro Fringe Festival. She is now performing as a company member of THE MARK.
Nyasia Browne originates from Fort Lauderdale, FL but spent the majority of her childhood on the small island of St. Croix. She started dancing at the age of 3 doing Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Tap, and self-teaching Hip-Hop. She has been a student at Charlotte Cirque and Dance Company for 3 years specializing in Silks, while also working on Acrobatics and Contortion. She did AAU and USA gymnastics for 10 years before moving into circus arts. Nyasia currently attends Northwest School of the Arts as a 12th-grade Orchestra major (violin) and Costume Design major. Nyasia plans to attend Nursing school to become a CRNA.
Skyla Caldwell, Adult Ensemble Director, A.R.A.D. trained at the Charlotte School of Ballet under Gay Porter Speer and The Point Park Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA as a scholarship student under the direction of Robert Munoz. Skyla has danced for NCDT as an apprentice under Salvatore Aiello and Jerry Kumery. Caldwell has also danced at the National Ballet of Cuba under Laura Alonzo in Havana, Cuba, and is associated with the Royal Academy of London. Caldwell has danced with the Moving Poets Theater of Dance for the last eight years and is currently serving as the Ballet Mistress of the Union County Youth Ballet.
Carlos Alexis Cruz holds an MFA in Physical Theatre (2007) from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre where he studied a range of movement techniques including Commedia dell’Arte, Laban, Lecoq-based theatre dynamics, Alexander Technique, as well as an extensive voice training in the Linklater voice method. As part of his thesis project, Cruz went on to train Circus Arts and Chinese Acrobatics under the tutelage of Master Coach Lu Yi at the San Francisco Circus Center. He specialized in the disciplines of Aerial Straps (Sangles Aériennes) and Acrobatic Rope(Corde Lise), and developed his thesis on the study of the convergence between Circus and Theatre.
In the professional realm, he was a fulltime company member of the Do Jump! Dance Theatre, and Imago Theatre, touring nationally and internationally, and was awarded a Princess Grace Acting Fellowship prize in 2011 for his unique physical acting work with the Miracle Theatre Group, the premiere Latino Theatre Company in the Pacific Northwest. Cruz is the 2014 Arts and Science Council McColl Award winner with which he developed a community powered contemporary circus company/show, the Nouveau Sud project, from and about the city of Charlotte and the evolving concept of what is often referred to as the New South. The Nouveau Sud project had its debut production in April 2016, and it has been an ongoing initiative, with shows in 2017 and 2018.
Zoe Flowers is a Charlotte native and began dancing at the age of 3. She has trained at the Charlotte Cirque and Dance Center for the last 10 years and has performed in several Caroline Calouche & Co. productions including Clara’s Trip, Star Gazer, Crossroads, Nightingale and NextStep. She has also performed with the Charlotte Youth Ballet and Open Door Studio’s Youth Ensemble, and was assistant choreographer for Theatre Charlotte’s "Seussical".
During the Summers, she has trained at the Charlotte Cirque & Dance Center's Creation Lab, Bolshoi Ballet Summer Intensive in NYC and the San Diego Circus Center, which is part of Cirque du Soleil’s NexGen Talent Development Program. Zoe also a teaching assistant and acrobatics teacher at the Charlotte Cirque & Dance Center. Zoe is a senior at J.T. Williams Montessori.
Phillip McRorie is a dancer and bodyworker working in and around Charlotte, NC. He began his dance education at Appalachian State University as a Dance Studies major studying various dance styles, as well as composition and choreography. While in Boone, Phillip was able to study and perform with the Western Carolina Youth Ballet and Verge Dance Collective. After graduating from Appalachian, Phillip moved to Asheville and acted as a resident choreographer and dancer for the Asheville Ballet and Operations Assistant with Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance. As a resident choreographer, he was able to produce various contemporary and modern pieces for the company. Following performing in Asheville, Phillip performed with Caroline Calouche and Co. in Charlotte and began teaching at various studios in and around the area.
Casandra Newkirk is originally from NC and lived in Charlotte and Rocky Mount before leaving for undergrad. She has a Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of Florida and do research focused on coral reef ecology and preservation. She started aerial over 4 years ago during graduate school as a way to relieve stress and has been hooked ever since. She primarily trains on silks and lyra, but recently started dance trapeze classes and loves that as well! Outside of aerial and science, she loves to read, write, and spend time with my family!
Rachel Peterson is very excited to join Charlotte Cirque & Dance Center as a teacher. She is a rising junior at High Point University where she studies dance performance and choreography. She graduated from Cox Mill High School and has been dancing for 18 years. She’s been very active in regional theater at CPCC and Children’s Theater. She just finished creating a piece for HPU’s spring dance concert and performing in Godspell. She cannot wait to share her knowledge of dance and bring some musical theater flair to the studio.
Sarah Small began dancing in high school’s musical theatre program at Rockdale County High School. She has performed in the Georgia Thespian Conference as part of Opening Number and in the state-wide Main Stage winning show, Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) Teacher’s Convention and Columbus Symphony Orchestra Women’s Choir. Sarah majored in Music Education at Columbus State University as a vocal performance and education student. She is currently a dance major at CPCC under the direction of Clay Daniel and Tracie Chan. She began as an aerial student with CC&Co. in 2011 and began teacher training in 2012. Sarah is thrilled to share her love of dance and aerial with all of her students.
Arlynn Zachary has an MFA in choreography from UNCG, a BA in choreography from Goucher College, and an AA degree from CPCC. She has worked for Echo Contemporary Dance Company, Moving Poets Charlotte, The Wake Project, Baran Dance, and Taproot Ensemble, in the capacities of dancer, rehearsal director, stage manager, and lighting designer. She has served on the KinetiCollective and Charlotte Dance Festival boards, and was the Director of Dance for the Charlotte New Music Festival’s Dance Co-Lab. Her choreography has been presented at the American College Dance Association, Goucher College, Columbia College, Furman University, Belmont Abbey College, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina Dance Festival, Charlotte Dance Festival, Greensboro Fringe Festival, Loose Leaves Showcase, and Emergance Showcase, to name a few. She has received a Regional Artist Project Grant from the Arts and Science Council in 2015, the Charlotte Emerging Choreographer’s Award from CDF in 2016, and the Kristina Larson Thesis Grant in 2019. She has worked as an MFA Thesis Concert Coordinator for Hollins University, has taught dance at CPCC, JCSU, and UNCG, and was a Guest Lecturer of Stage Management for Dance at UNCG. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of dance at Winthrop University, the Stage Manager for both Moving Poets and Your Neighborhood Orchestra, and is the Founder/Artistic Director of THE MARK dance company.
Follow her on Instagram: @themarkdancecompany, @arlynnzachary
Stephany Ridgell, Community Engagement Director, is originally from Panama City, Panama and I have had the opportunity to travel and live abroad; however, I have lived in North Carolina the majority of my life. My military roots have provided me with the experience of interacting with people from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds.
I received my bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Winston-Salem State University in 1998 and just recently earned a Master’s degree in Communication and Leadership from Park University in Parksville, MO. Most of my work experience has been in education and I have taught at all levels of the education spectrum.
I gained an appreciation for the arts and dance as a child and knowing how it impacted me and my view on life, I am thrilled at the experience to work with Caroline Calouche & Co. / Charlotte Cirque & Dance Center as the Director of Community Engagement, to help bring circus arts and dance to the Charlotte community!
Indira Vaddi, Development Director, is an experienced digital marketer, fundraiser and grant writer for more than 10 years. She did her Masters in Non Profit Management from India and takes pride in community engagement work through various development projects she has undertaken over the years. As the Director of Development, her goals include developing effective fundraising strategies, building donor relationships and achieving organization’s fundraising goal. In addition to her primary job functions, Indira runs a small business - Rustic Art LLC, that promotes and supports rural and tribal artisans by bringing their handcrafted eco friendly products at the forefront. In her free time, Indira likes to spend time with her family, explore outdoors and occasionally enjoys a good Netflix binge.
Amber Sunshine Phenix has worked as an administrative assistant for several non-profit organizations over the last 20 years. She started in performing arts when she was 7 years old and has continued to move and groove throughout her life. She is originally from Michigan and comes to us after spending several years on the west coast of California where she continued to invest in her passion for performing arts and supporting non-profit organizations. She is new to North Carolina and excited about this part of her life’s journey. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring in nature with her dog and the cat she trained to walk on a leash.