Biographies
Biographies

Christine Aiken
Christine Aiken, Artistic Director and Founder,  has a passion for flying trapeze, double trapeze, sling, lyra, silks, and adagio.  
Former professional dancer, competitive diver, gymnast, model, dancer, and equestrienne that now owns Seambiance, Inc.,
the managing company of Asheville Aerial Arts and works for PrimeLending,  where she is celebrating 18 years in the
mortgage industry.  Christine resides with her son and two dogs in Asheville she continues to enjoy swimming, training her
son, camping, traveling,gardening, reading, golf, fishing, and her passion in aerials.


Xavier Aiken
Xavier began performing at the age of 4 with Asheville Aerial Arts, as our first youth troupe member.  He currently performs
on aerial sling, and trains on lyra, trapeze, acrobalance and silks.  He has a flare for the dramatic and loves to perform.  
Audiences are delighted by his stage presence, fearlessness, poise, grace and skill.  He currently works with Waverly
Jones, Heather Poole and Phoenix to improve his skill set and proficiency.  His favorite past-times include aerials,
swimming, gymnastics, painting, driving his car, writing, painting, making magic potions and riding his bike.  


Monique Andrea Cote
Monique is from Miami, but now lives in Asheville, NC.    She is a former gymnast, and 4 time All American Springboard
Diver, and has coached both.  She has Bachelors in Education from WWC, and has worked in admissions for over a
decade.  For fun Monique loves to spend time with her son, surf, windsurf, climb, skate, snowboard and paddle with her
family and friends.  She is also a Capoierista, and practices yoga.  Monique enjoys wildflowers, gardening, and reading.  
She has aerial experience working with Christine Aiken on singles, swinging trapeze, adagio, body balancing, German
wheel, and sling.   Monique is a certified German Wheel instructor and heads up Asheville's premier German Wheel
performance troupe, Continuum.


Eddie Gumm
Award winning artist, Eddie Gumm, designed the Asheville Aerial Arts logo.   Eddie is the celebrated artist of the 2008 Bele
Chere design as seen at http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2007/bele_chere_announces_headliners/ and also the Pepsi can
design contest.  His work can be seen currently at many local venues including the Grove Arcade, on Pepsi cans, and on his
website at http://www.egconcepts.com/ .  


Jessica Hill
Jessica Hill has been dancing for most of her life.  She has trained in a number of different styles of dance and is always
excited to learn more.  She began her training in aerial arts at Aerial Space in early 2010.  Her first aerial performance was
with the Runaway Circus and the Loose Cabooses in Asheville.  She has graduated from UNC Asheville and is a
performing artist with Asheville Aerial Arts.  Her focus is primarily on aerial silks, but she is also stunning on the doubles
trapeze, in acrobalance and on the lyra.  She loves to dance and travel.  Jessica is known for her big drops, despite her tiny
stature.  Jessica is currently training at the prestigious NECCA school in Vermont.


Waverly Jones
Waverly Jones is a multi-talented aerial artist based in Asheville, NC. She specializes in several aerial apparatuses,
including aerial fabrics, aerial hoop, static trapeze, Spanish web, and pole fitness. In January 2011, she became a member
of Asheville Aerial Arts, and has performed at many different events including festivals, galas, fund raisers, carnivals,
concerts, and private events. In September 2013, Waverly competed in her first pole fitness competition in Boston, MA., and
hopes to keep competing in the future. Aside from performing and training, Waverly is  passionate about teaching aerial arts
at Aerial Space, located in West Asheville, and Warren Wilson College, located in Swannanoa, NC. Waverly aspires to
become certified in teaching aerial arts, and to reach out to others through performance and instruction.

Dari Layne
Starting at three years old, Dari began performing and competing in both dance and gymnastics.  After graduating from the
University of Miami, Dari began working for Club Med where she was introduced to their Circus programs.  During her 3 ½
years with Club Med, Dari became an performer/instructor for both the adult Flying Trapeze and the children’s Circus
programs, specializing in Single, Double, Swing and Casting Rig Trapezes, Spanish Web, Big and Mini Trampoline Acts,
Vaulting, Adagio, Hand-to-Hand Balancing, Clowning, Juggling and Fire Poi.  Dari has been fortunate to have taught
trapeze/aerial arts in Florida, the Bahamas, Mexico and Israel with Club Med and HiFli Trapeze and with KidzSole in China
and Hong Kong.  Dari is currently working and living in Asheville, enjoying being able to participate in Asheville Aerial Arts
and mentoring aspiring artists and fellow members of Asheville Aerial Arts.


Craig Lewis
Craig Lewis did gymnastics as a kid from age 4-12, and later also began rock climbing and speed skating.  He began
juggling at age 10, and has had an interest in circus arts ever since.  He began doing aerials in January of 2010 at San
Francisco Circus Center, and later continued his training at Aerial Space in Asheville, and also as part of the East
Tennessee State University aerial arts program in Johnson City.  Today he primarily enjoys aerial silks, and is also an active
member of the International Juggling Association, where he is known for his love of club passing.  He also owns a business
performing as a wedding DJ and MC, and frequently works with Asheville Aerial Arts to provide and operate sound and
lighting equipment.  He has extensive training and experience in audio and lighting equipment, as well as in wedding
entertainment, theater, and public speaking.  He is currently a student in Digital Media with a Computer Science minor at
East Tennessee State University.


Alan Malpass
Alan currently lives in Asheville and takes pride in his work as a personal trainer. He is well known in the Zumba and fitness
community for his sweet disposition and fun-loving personality.  He chose to live in the area to attend Western Carolina
University where he graduated with the school's first Bachelor of Music in Musical Theater Performance degree. After
graduation, he moved to Asheville to continue his work with Ann Dunn and the Asheville Civic Ballet.  Asheville Aerial Arts is
thrilled to have Alan's strong, graceful skills on sling, silks, and doubles trapeze.  Alan has trained in martial arts and
acrobalance, and is one of Asheville Aerial Arts most seasoned performers.


Maria Muscarella
Maria is a clinically trained Nurse-Herbalist and hot mama of two home-schooled kids, who happens to love to fly!  As an
expert in motion sickness, she was instantly hooked on aerials when she realized she could flip around without getting
sick.  She took to the silks with a vengeance and now spends most of her free time in the air.  A competitive gymnast and
swimmer in her (much) younger years, she now runs a small homestead with bees, chickens and other sundry crazy
animals (namely her kids).  She is fluent in English, Pig-Latin, & Mermish, and enjoys knitting, sewing, soap making, crafting
herbal medicine, gardening, archery, doing crazy yoga poses just to see if she can, and flexing in the mirror saying "check
out my guns!"


Heather Poole
Heather Poole has had the honor of training with many talented people over the past many years starting with her first aerial
instructor, Zay Weaver (Spike) of the Aerial Angels.  People and places that have provided Heather with the most growth over
the years include: Joe Taft, Betsy Shuttleworth, Ember Bria, Rebecca Starr, Ana Prada, and Body & Pole NYC.  She currently
resides in Asheville, North Carolina where she is a professional performing artist with Asheville Aerial Arts and Bromelia
Aerial Dance Collective.  Heather teaches both children’s and adult aerial and flexibility classes at Aerial Space in West
Asheville, NC and through Asheville Aerial Arts.  Some of her favorite ways to spend her time are training Aerial Contortion on
Silks, group work and creating unique and interesting performance art, ongoing learning about rigging of all types, and
consuming lots of decadent dark chocolate.  


Phoenix
Phoenix decided to try aerial arts after a serious back injury, which she promised herself she would do immediately upon
healing.  She has been intensely involved in aerial arts ever since her first aerial class.  Phoenix has been in love with ballet
and dancing the Samba for many years, and she uses her dance background to creatively explore movements in the air.  
Her favorite aerial apparatus is the trapeze, and she is also very fond of lyra.  Phoenix also performs duo lyra work with her
doubles partner, Heather Poole. Together they bring their unique abilities to explore aerial duo on the lyra.


Valerie Phillips
Valerie Phillips is a seamstress in Asheville, NC.  Originally from the Philadelphia area, Valerie began teaching herself how
to alter the vintage clothes she loved so much at the age of 14.  In college she found an outlet in the theater department’s
costume shop, where she gained skills in alterations and garment construction under Alisa Kleckner of Arcadia University.  
A few years after moving to Asheville, Valerie began selling clothing, made of recycled materials, under the brand name of
Glister.  In Feb of 2011 she was featured in Verve Magazine, a local magazine featuring local business women.  Currently
she specializes in costumes for aerialists. As an aerialist herself she is able to anticipate the specialized needs of the
performers.  Valerie prioritizes using recycled materials and buying supplies from local businesses. (Headshot photo credit
to Audrey Goforth).
Photo by Briscoe Photography
Photo by Briscoe Photography