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Faculty & Staff

School Director/Faculty

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!

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School Program Director/Faculty

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 and currently trains at Bloom Movement Artistry.  While aerial silks is her apparatus of choice, she does enjoy training other disciplines like sling, lyra, trapeze, hand balancing, contortion, and a variety of dance styles and is so thankful to be a part of the circus and dance community.

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Carlos Alexis Cruz (Faculty) 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.

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Pauline Biahun (Faculty) began her dance training in France and attended her professional training in ballet technique in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2002, she received a scholarship from the Foundation of Princess Grace de Monaco. Pauline danced with Le Grand Theatre de Limoges in 2003. Later on, she went to Mexico to perfect her knowledge in contemporary dance at Centro Nacional de Danza Contemporánea and became a ballet teacher at Centro ProArt in Santiago de Queretaro. After being introduced to the Martha Graham Technique in la EscueLa Superior de Danza y Musica de Monterrey in the Summer of 2005, Pauline joined the Martha Graham Center in New York City about a year later under a full scholarship. She performed as a member of Graham II, and received her certificate of recognition as a teacher of the Martha Graham technique. At the Martha Graham Center she taught for the Pre-Teens Program and Young Artist Program, introducing the vocabulary of the technique. She also taught Graham technique classes at The MoveShop and the Talent Unlimited High School in NYC. Pauline participated in the reconstruction of «Panorama» for the Spring/Summer Season 2010 of the Martha Graham Dance Company at the Joyce Theater in NYC, teaching for the Young Artist Program dancers, the Talent Unlimited High School dancers and the All-City dancers. She also taught Ballet at the New York Theatre Ballet and Park East Day school. Pauline was the artistic director of Caliince Dance, a modern dance company founded in the Fall of 2009 in New York City that performed to many places in the USA but also France and Italy. In 2011, At Planet Connections Theater Festivity, she received the award for Outstanding Choreography while working in collaboration with The MoveShop. In 2014, she had the honor to be the artist in residence at Lycée Français New York.

Pauline occasionally teaches Graham technique and Ballet at Open Door Studios and at Caroline Calouche and Co. in Charlotte and is delighted to be a member of Movement Migration under the direction of Kim Jones.

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Cassandra Brower (Administrative Assistant/Faculty) recently relocated  from southern Utah. She holds a bachelor of science in dance and is a licensed massage therapist. She has worked as an administrative assistant in a dance organization for the last three years. Cassandra has a strong background in ballroom dance and has trained in a variety of genres including modern, aerial and ballet. She is a versatile performer and has been a member of the ballroom companies at both Utah Tech University (UTU) and Utah Valley University. She has also performed and choreographed concert dance works at UTU and the Red Rock Dance Festival. She is looking forward to exploring the beautiful city of Charlotte. In her free time Cassandra enjoys rock climbing, hiking and cuddling with her cat. 

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Anna Fergione (Faculty) has had a love for acrobatics since her first gymnastics class at the age of 4.  She went on to compete in USA Gymnastics until college where she was on the club gymnastics team at UNCW right up to her graduation in 2015. It was around that time when she came across aerial silks for the first time and instantly fell in love. Shortly after college she moved to Greece where she lived for 5 years and trained in the circus community there, learning many diverse training styles and perspectives. She currently trains in lyra, trapeze, sling, and silks. As an instructor with over a decade of experience coaching and a masters degree in counseling psychology, she loves to motivate her students and facilitate growth in an inclusive and encouraging environment. 

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Phillip McRorie (Faculty) 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. 

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Nicole Muse-Dennis (CC&DC Company Director/Faculty) is originally from Queens, New York where she began dancing at the age of 3. Nicole has studied tap, jazz, ballet, modern/contemporary, pointe, and African forms of dance. Nicole’s teaching and choreography first began as a teenager where she and two other students were given the opportunity to compose all choreography and all instruction for the dance class at her high school. Nicole continued this into college where she was the principal dancer and choreographer for the Association of Rhythmic Talent on the campus of Winston-Salem State University. Nicole also served as the assistant to the director of The Artistic Studio in Winston-Salem State University. She taught for the Performing Arts Center in Charlotte, NC. Nicole is also the co-founder FLOW liturgical dance ministry. Nicole’s resume is full of guest teaching tenures at studios, schools, churches, and workshops as her company Muse Inspired Arts. Her performance experience includes theatrical dance performances including being cast as Mary in the National Black Repertory Theater’s production of the Black Nativity. Nicole is the mother of two daughters. She is a licensed teacher for the State of North Carolina. Her friends and family describe her as loyal, passionate, and creative. Her passion is in helping dancers reach new heights by actualizing the beauty and power that they have in themselves.

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Kiana Pieters (Faculty) has always loved movement, singing, dancing, and most of all—flying. She grew up in Mexico, always staying active and dabbling in dance and gymnastics. She fell in love with aerial silks the moment she first saw them, and from then on dreamt of one day being able to train and perform. Now, after graduating college in 2021, she is thrilled to finally be fully pursuing her life-long aerialist and cirque dreams. She trains at Charlotte Cirque & Dance Center, focusing on silks, lyra, German Wheel, and contemporary dance, and continues to enjoy learning and discovering new disciplines and skills. Kiana has experience teaching all ages and many subjects—from guitar and singing to animal care and horseback riding—and is honored to be able to share her passion for cirque with others. She hopes to bring joy and life to people everywhere, and she loves building others up and inspiring them to be their best on their own unique journeys.

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Edie Pryll (Faculty) has been performing circus arts for six years. She began classes with CCDC in 2016 and has jumped at every opportunity to perform with them since. She is a senior at Myers Park High School and looks forward to continuing her circus career after highschool. 

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Matthew Sanchez (Faculty) A Bboy from the Bronx NY thats now resides in Charlotte NC. His classes are made to get you moving, build confidence, pass history, and to give students a new form of expression. He's been breaking since 2009 when he found his first community of dancers. He had rocked the floor before but it wasn’t until he met his first mentor that he learned the culture behind the dance. As he got older, he went on to compete, perform, and share the floor with amazing dancers across the country and even across the globe. In his journey, he found that sharing my love for the dance was just as exciting as the days when he first learned. So now his goal is to share that same feeling with the future bboys and bgirls of the world.

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Savanah Wilson (Faculty) (She/They) is from Charlotte, NC and discovered their love of teaching through summer camps with Charlotte Cirque & Dance Center. At the age of 3, Savanah’s family put them into dance classes at JBP Entertainment and Donna’s School of Dance. While there they studied ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, and contemporary. Eventually they discovered aerial arts and have been training for a total of 8 years, most of which surrounded silks, lyra, and partner acro. Savanah spent the summer of 2022 training at the New England Center for Circus Arts(NECCA) where they focused on aerial silks, chinese pole, flying trapeze, and hand balancing. They are thrilled to continue to share their knowledge of the circus world with all of their students to come.

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Shaun Wilson (Faculty) Coming all the way from sunny Melbourne, Florida (where NASA is located), Shaun is a cheerleader gone dancer gone aerialist. With over 12 years of performance experience under his belt, he has trained in ballroom, jazz, hip-hop, gymnastics, and aerial arts. With a passion for teaching and sharing, Shaun has coached dance and tumbling at various dance centers, with students ranging from kindergartners to adults. In his free time, Shaun enjoys all types of outdoor activities, including skating, swimming, hiking, and kayaking. When he is not outside, he is either playing Mariokart or binge-watching Netflix dramas.

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Shay Yara (Faculty) is from Mint Hill, NC and has always had a love of physical performance. They started dancing at the age of 2, taking jazz, ballet and tap.  They were also active on stage, singing in choirs and performing in musicals. These activities continued until they became fully committed to USAG gymnastics at the age of 9. Competing for a local award-winning team and rising through to level 8, Shay won regional medals with bars being their specialty.  These skills helped make an easy and obvious transition to aerial disciplines in their teens. You will see them most frequently performing trapeze, hand-balancing and stilts, but they love all circus arts including silks, lyra and german wheel. Loving to work with youth, Shay has been a recreational gymnastic teacher, dance/aerial teacher and nature camp counselor.

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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! 

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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.

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Amber Sunshine Phenix (Administrative Assistant) 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.

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