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Faculty & Staff

Caroline Calouche - School Director, CC&DC Company Director, Faculty - Aerial Partnering, Silks, German Wheel, Trapeze, Contemporary (She/Her) 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!

Caroline Calouche headshot, she is a middle eastern american with olive skin and brown curly hair that is short and she is wearing a royal blue shirt

Kristin Bridges - School Program Director (She/Her) 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.

Kristin Bridges headshot

Aaron Atkins - Faculty - Contemporary Dance, Ballet (He/Him) is originally from Lancaster, South Carolina and gained notoriety at an early age as a contemporary ballet dancer before attending the prestigious Greenville South Carolina's South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.

As a contemporary ballet dancer, Mr. Atkins debuted at the young age of 17 with Classical Contemporary Ballet Theatre and Ballet Savannah as a principal dancer in 2007. Mr. Atkins also performed with South Carolina’s Columbia City Ballet; and York County Ballet that same year. Additionally, he worked as a choreographer, co-director, and make-up artist for the Lancaster Community Playhouse and received The Director’s Choice Award and Best Make-up Artistry in 2006 for his work in the stage play version of Oliver. Mr. Atkins relocated to New York in 2010 to continue his artistic and performance endeavors. He worked with Ballet Hispanico and was a founding company member of BH Dos the second company of Ballet Hispanico.

In 2012 Mr. Atkins Founded Ballet Inc. Since Ballet Inc.’s founding by Mr. Atkins, his artistic vision and choreography has led Ballet Inc. to commendable, international credibility and groundbreaking success. Most Recently, Ballet Inc. has opened Ballet Inc. Studios, located in the heart of  Rock hill South Carolina, near the home town of Mr. Atkins. It has been his life mission to bring Ballet Inc.'s Mission back to his hometown.

headshot for aaron atkins / light black skin male

Wayne A. Boyd, Jr (Stormi D) Faculty - Hip-Hop (He/Him) also known as Stormi D. was born and raised in Columbia, SC on January 17, 1992. Stormi began his dance career in 2013. A student organization for models and dancers was started at Clemson University and he immediately took this opportunity to feed his passion of dancing and performing. As his passion grew stronger, Wayne took advantage of taking classes whenever he could to help him grow in cities like Columbia, SC, Atlanta, GA, and Charlotte, NC. Stormi had managed to work with industry choreographers around the world including Gary Beauford and Jeremy Green. Wayne has taught Hip Hop at Clemson University under a student organized group (Clemson Dancers), collaborating with other dancers, and continuing his quest to become a better dancer and choreographer. He has continued his career in Charlotte, NC, dancing for various artists including Jody Watley and opening up for R.Kelly Memory Lane tour with artist Fudg3 as a choreographer and dancer. He has choreographed for The Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade twice and for the Charlotte Center City Vision Awards. Currently, Stormi resides in Charlotte, NC where he is a hip hop, competition teacher, and former NBA Dancer in the Hive Hip Hop Crew for the Charlotte Hornets. He also continues to dance on tour with a Mary J. Blige tribute band, called Just Fine. His greatest wish is to give by sharing his talent of dance, be an inspiration to many, and help someone else pursue their dreams.

photo of Stormi

Carlos Alexis Cruz - Faculty - Hand Balancing, Partner Acrobatics (He/Him or Ellos) 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.

photo of Carlos Alexis Cruz, Latino male wearing a blue shirt

Allison DeFelice - Faculty - Silks, German Wheel (She/Her) grew up in Rhode Island where she began gymnastics and competed in it for 4 years. After moving to Charlotte she decided to give cirque a try at 14 and fell in love with being in the air (something that came naturally as an avid rock climber). While she took a break from cirque during and post-covid, she is excited to be back in the studio helping others find their path in cirque as well! She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree of Political Science and Intelligence Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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​Jennifer Foster - Faculty - Silks (She/Her) is a Charlotte, NC native and currently lives in Mint Hill, NC with her husband and daughter that they welcomed at the beginning of 2023. In 2015, she graduated from UNC Charlotte with a Bachelors of Science in Accounting. She now works as a senior accountant at WP Engine. In 2018, she began taking recreational aerial classes with her husband at Charlotte Cirque and Dance Center (CC&DC) where she fell in love with the art. Her focus is in Silks, Partner Acrobatics and Duo Trapeze. She is excited to share her passion and love for circus with others.​

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Sergii Kudriavtsev - Faculty - Acrobatics, Straps, Partner Acrobatics is an acrobatic coach and circus artist specializing in two disciplines - Cyr Wheel and Aerial Straps. He has done gymnastics since he was 7 years old. He recently arrived from Europe; Ukraine ready to share his experience. He is looking forward to working with students to teach new skills. 

Photo of Sergii wearing a black tank top

Jaala McCall - Faculty - Intro to Dance (She/Her) is a multidisciplinary artist from Fort Mill, SC. Jaala has trained extensively in multiple styles of dance, as well as danced competitively in her early training years. She has also been involved in other performing art forms such as musical theater and piano. As her passion for dance grew, she spent a summer at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater before beginning her training in the Academy at Charlotte Ballet in 2017. Shortly after, her professional training took flight at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2018. Performance highlights from her time at UNCSA include works by Robert Battle, José Limón, Trisha Brown, Kira Blazek-Ziaii, Yoshito Sakuraba and more. Since graduating, Jaala works as a dance instructor, and is motivated to create works of her own inspired by her passion for social justice and human rights. She hopes to be an advocate in both her choreography and performance works.

Photo of Jaala McCall who is medium brown skin wearing a black top

Phillip McRorie - Faculty - Contemporary Dance, Dance Workshop - Ballet Barre (He/Him) is a North Carolina based dance educator and artist living in the Charlotte-metro area instructing dancers in release-based modern techniques, ballet, and choreographic processes, as well as generating new works as an independent artist and guest choreographer.

 

Phillip began his dance training under the faculty of Appalachian State University and Western Carolina Youth Ballet/SG Dance Theatre, studying modern dance techniques, movement composition and improvisation, ballet, pointe, and jazz. Upon graduation, Phillip moved to Asheville, NC, to work with the Asheville Ballet and Terpsicorps Theater of Dance, as well as complete anatomy and bodywork training. While working with these companies, Phillip was able to continue his training in ballet techniques, choreograph and perform in new contemporary works, and assist with the instruction of school programs.

 

After relocating to Charlotte, Phillip began to pursue teaching more fully and has trained students of all ages in ballet, modern dance, choreography, conditioning, pointe, and jazz. In addition to his work as a teacher, Phillip has presented works at the Carolina Aerial and Dance Exchange and the Shadows Showcase by Bloom, performed in Caroline Calouche and Co’s annual “Clara’s Trip,” and furthered his knowledge in ballet pedagogy by completing teacher certifications in the Cecchetti method.

 

Currently, Phillip is pursuing the completion of his MFA in Choreography from Jacksonville University and instructing dancers around the Charlotte area.

Photo of Phillip McRorie of a white male with medium brown hair wearing a beige shirt

Kim Melohn - Faculty - Silks, Lyra, Intro to Aerial, Deep Stretch (She/Her) is a multi-disciplinary circus performer and coach with a specialty in bending gravity to her will. She chooses to triumph over that overwhelming force via contortion and vertical apprarati. Ever since she learned how to climb fabric, in 2014, she has hardly been able to come out of the air. While living in the Chicago suburbs, Aloft Circus Arts was her circus home. There she worked with aerial and flexibility coaches: Hayley Larson, Natalie Abel, and Julie Marshall. In 2021 she started training full time at the renowned New England Center for Circus Arts, where she switched her focus to contortion under the guidance of Stephanie Abrams.

As an adult sized child, Kim just wants to have fun and do cool stuff! To her that means big dynamic movements, death defying drops, intricate wraps, and splits for claps (ha that rhymes)! She enjoys creating high energy acts with a lot of personality and a healthy helping of corny humor.

When this bendy babe doesn’t have her feet over her head, she enjoys spending time at home with her husband and their dogs. Their activities include but are not limited to eating food, watching reruns, and “attempting photosynthesis.”

Photo of Kim Melohn who is a white woman with short light brown hair

​Kaila Rhyne - Faculty - Silks, Hip-Hop (She/Her) has been dancing for 26 years. She has studied various dance styles, including Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Contemporary. She attended Winthrop University where she received her Bachelor’s in Dance Education. Kaila’s aerial journey began shortly after graduating college at Caroline Calouche & Co. She performed professionally with Caroline Calouche & Co. for many years, performing in shows such as Clara’s Trip, Star Gazer, and Rouge. While performing, Kaila also taught at Charlotte Cirque and Dance Center, teaching Silks, Trapeze, Acro and Partner Acro. After performing, Kaila began teaching at Northwestern High School, where she started and developed the dance program there. She taught at Northwestern High School for 5 years and is now teaching at Alexander Graham Middle School in Charlotte. While teaching at Northwestern, she was also teaching at a local Rock Hill studio called New Attitude Performing Arts Center. There she taught dance as well as took over the aerial program there. Kaila is excited to return to Charlotte Cirque and Dance Center to teach Hip-Hop and Silks 1!  

Photo of Kaila Rhyne wearing a black shirt.  white woman with auburn color hair

Kiana Pieters - Faculty - Silks, German Wheel, Intro to Dance (She/Her) grew up in Mexico and has Dutch-Indonesian and Canadian roots. She has always loved movement, singing, dancing, and most of all—flying. After earning a science degree in college, she decided to run away and join the circus and has now been pursuing her cirque dream for almost 2 years. She currently is focused on training Aerial Silks, Cyr Wheel, and German Wheel, but also trains Lyra, Partner Acro, Contemporary Dance, and loves discovering and learning new disciplines and skills (like Spanish Web and stilt walking). Most recently she performed in Caroline Calouche & Co.’s Stargazer and Clara’s Trip, and CC&DC’s Wizard of Oz, and is eager to continue performing and growing. She loves adventures, sunshine, singing and playing guitar, and high fantasy, and she aspires to share hope, joy, and light with those around her.  

Photo of Kiana Pieters who is Mexican with long brown curly hair

Matthew Sanchez - Faculty - Breakdancing, Acrobatics and Partner Acrobatics (He/Him) A Bboy from the Bronx NY that 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.

Photo of Matt Sanchez who is hispanic male wearing a black t-shirt

Sarah Small - Faculty - Lyra, Silks  (She/Her)  has been performing with Caroline Calouche & Co. and teaching with Charlotte Cirque and Dance Center and others in the Charlotte area since 2012. Over the last decade, she has taken workshops from Tanya Burka, Susan Murphy, Amy Ell, and others from NECCA. She also attended Central Piedmont Community College for Dance Performance, taking ballet and modern dance instruction from Clay Daniel, Tracy Chan, and Katherine Horne and has taken dance workshops with Maria Caruso of La Roche University and the Bodiography dance company. Sarah started working with Elevate in 2015, traveling around the southeast to perform for corporate and private events on Silks, Sling, Trapeze, Lyra, Lollipop Lyra, and Stilts. She loves performing, sharing her love of aerial arts, and snuggling with her two cats.

Photo of Sarah Small who is half Asian and White with long brown hair, wearing glass and a green shirt

Neelanthi Vadivel - Faculty - Contemporary Dance, Ballet (She/Her) trained in Canada as a classical and contemporary dancer, Neelanthi performed internationally for over a decade with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (1995-1998) and Les Ballets jazz de Montreal (1998-2006), most notably featured in the works of choreographers Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin, Jiri Kylian, Rodrigo Pederneiras, Twyla Tharpe, David Parsons and Aszure Barton.

After a 3-year period as lead dancer for the Cirque du Soleil production, Dralion (2006-2009), she turned to artistic direction and led 3 world-renowned Cirque productions as Artistic Director, to over 40 countries (Saltimbanco 2009-2012, Michael Jackson Immortal 2013 and Totem 20014-2017). During this period, Neelanthi discovered the complexities involved in this particular artistic field. From the perspective of a lifelong dancer, her intuition and training both challenged and enriched her work with the circus. Through perseverance, mentors and a willingness to learn, the lessons have been profound.

Currently, Neelanthi works at the Still & Moving Center, a center for Mindful Movement in Honolulu, Hawaii. As the Operations Manager, and Artistic Director of its sister division, Hoa Hele retreats, she leverages her extensive experience to develop mind-body programs and events to foster personal growth and cultural enlightenment.

Photo of Neela Vadivel who has long brown hair wearing a black top.
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