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International Circus & Dance Celebration Workshops


Chinese Folk 


Workshop Description: The Red Handkerchief dance is based on traditional Chinese folk music which consists of many different traditional Chinese instruments. This dance is choreographed by former New York Chinese Culture Center principal dancer Grant Zhuang. The dance depicts the enjoyment of the Chinese celebrating the happiest season, the Chinese Spring Festival. 

Athena He-DeMontaron (CC&DC Alumni) began training in Chinese traditional dance in 2005 under her mother, XiaoSong He, founder and director of the Little Lotus Company in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was a principal dancer and soloist with the company from 2011 until she graduated in 2019. Over her 14 years at the company she has trained in a variety of dance styles including: Chinese folk, traditional dance, contemporary, and classical dance. Within the traditional dance style she has trained extensively in minority dances such as: Dai, Mongolian, Tibetan, Xinjiang, Miao, and Korean. He-DeMontaron has also won several awards and accolades for her work during her time with the Little Lotus Company.

Athena Chinese Dance
Chinese Dance

Belly Dance

Middle East


Workshop Description: Transnational Fusion is an evolving genre reflecting common denominators between North African, Arab, Persian and Turkish secular dance traditions. These classical dance traditions reflect the aesthetic of dances and movements dating back over 3,000 years, and has credible connections to practices of Neolithic and Bronze Age matriarchal traditions. The dance is presently transforming through interactions with new technology in world music, cultural dialogue between the East and West, and intense international interest in American hip hop and electronic music. The resulting movement values a nominal use of space, percussive hip work, lyrical arm and torso work, and emphasizes musical interpretation over movement bravado.


Satya: Finding a colorful and unbridled love of movement at an early age, Satya started formal dance classes at age 14. Her love of the unconventional led her to join the AZ Renaissance Festival in 2005 as a belly dance in a world music and dance troupe. Since then, she has continued her belly dance training, specializing in Transnational Fusion Dancer and now teaches classes and workshops throughout the US. Throughout this time, Satya found a love for the fire arts as well as aerial silks and most of all, lyra. She currently performs and teaches as half of the creative movement troupe, Satarah as well as a solo artist. Whether from the ground, through the air or the flames, Satya’s light burns brightly on stage, bringing a refreshing authenticity and from-the-heart pieces to audiences everywhere.

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Belly Dance



Workshop Description: Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines music, dance, acrobatics, and martial arts to create a unique full-body experience. African slaves developed Capoeira to be form of resistance and preservation of culture during slavery in South America. Today this art is used to build community and foster diversity. During this class, participants will be exposed to the fundamental elements and movements of Capoeira.

Reba Bowens: Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Reba Bowens has been working with dance and capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian art form incorporating acrobatics, martial arts, music, and dance in Charlotte communities and schools. After attending a public art middle and high school for dance, she continued her dance studies at Winthrop University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She holds a Masters of Arts in Arts Administration from Winthrop University. She has had the opportunity to work with Caroline Calouche, Gaspard & Dancers, Moving Spirits Inc., Triptych Collective, Rachel Barker, Sarah Ingel, Megan Payne, Eric Mullis, and many others. Along with dance, Reba has been an avid practitioner of martial arts. She studied Shaolin Kempo Karate for 14 years and attained the rank of 2nd Degree Black Belt. For the last 10 year she has focused her studies on capoeira which has allowed her opportunities to travel to Russia, Brazil and various places across the United States. For Reba, movement allows for infinite creativity and exploration with body and mind and she hopes that she can share this message with others. Outside of her creative practices, Reba is a nonprofit administrative professional working with various organizations in Charlotte and surrounding areas. 

Capoeira Photo




Workshop Description: Garba is a form of dance which originates from the state of Gujarat, India. Many traditional garbas are performed around a centrally lit lamp or a picture or statue of the Hindu goddess Durga. Garba is performed in a circle as a symbol of the Hindu view of time. The rings of dancers revolve in cycles, as time in Hinduism is cyclical. As the cycle of time revolves, from birth, to life, to death and again to rebirth, the only thing that is constant is the Goddess, that one unmoving symbol in the midst of all of this unending and infinite movement. Over the years, the interest in Garba has increased. There is a huge interest in Garba among the youth of India and in particular, the Gujarati diaspora. Traditionally, this dance is performed in concentric circles and the entire group performs once step in sync, with the beat starting slow and slowly catching on speed.

Shefalee V. Patel is an artist and a traditional Garba dancer. Garba is a form of dance originating from the state of Gujarat in the country of India. She has been dancing this art form since the age of four and has been a participant, national award winning choreographer, a judge for the last 2.0 years and has chaired a 500 participant National dance competition in Charlotte. Each year she continues to share this art form with school groups, festival goers, and various other workshops. In the class participants will learn authentic Garba with the intricate clapping and snaps. They will learn Be-taali (2 clap) and Tran-taali (3 clap) Garba steps.

Indian woman wearing sari


Latin America

Workshop Description: Throughout history juggling has gone from being a unique talent in ancient Egypt to royal entertainment during the Renaissance and everything in between. 

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.


Carlos Alexis Cruz Headshot.jpg


Hawaii, U.S.

Workshop Description: Hula has long been held as a sacred way of communicating between peoples, the land, and the spirit of this place. Hula, in both its traditional (hula kahiko) and modern (hula ‘auwana) forms, can be a beautiful and empowering way to move your body and connect with the rich history of Hawaii. Hula can range from very gentle to more strenuous movements, and is wonderful for challenging your balance, coordination, and rhythm. Hula utilizes fluid, circular movements of the joints, particularly the hips and hands, which can improve your flexibility the more you practice. Not only is hula a beautiful way to honor Hawaiian culture and history, it’s also great for your health!

Kumu Mālia: Beloved globally for her kind and loving teaching style, Kumu Mālia is a revered kumu hula and lomilomi practitioner. A traditional graduate under Kumu Hula Puluʻelo Park, she completed her hula ʻuniki in 2002 and studied oli under Kumu Hula Keola Lake. For two decades, Kumu Malia has passionately taught hula and lomilomi to students of all ages, leading her halau, Nā Hula Ola Aloha. With a unique approach, she intertwines lomilomi, hula, pule, oli, and lei-making in her 128-hour Puana Lomilomi program. A member of Ka Pā o Lonopūhā, she shares native Hawaiian healing arts, emphasizing lomi aʻe and elements of haki kino, laʻau lapaʻau, and hoʻoponopono. Kumu Malia, an ambassador of Hawaiian culture, has presented at various institutions and is currently engaged in historical novel research on the Kawehewehe and Kalia area. Grounded in the land, she finds inspiration in the 'āina.


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Workshop Description: The trapeze was invented by Jules Léotard in 1859 at the Cirque Napoleon in in Paris, France.  This was a high flying trapeze act in which he swung over mattresses instead of a safety net.  Times of changed!  In this workshop, you will get to experience some basic moves on a single and double point trapeze.

Kaila Rhyne 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! 

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