Christine Ann Aiken, Artistic Director and Founder, has a passion for flying trapeze, double trapeze, sling, lyra, silks,
and adagio. Former professional dancer First City Jazz Dance Theatre, Northwest Florida Ballet, Pofahls, First
International Jazz Dance Congress, University of Florida, and The Dance Center. She has been competitive diver,
gymnast, model, dancer, and equestrienne that now owns Seambiance, Inc., the managing company of Asheville
Aerial Arts and works for Silverton Mortgage Specialists, Inc. where she is celebrating 15 years in the mortgage
industry. Christine resides with her son, two dogs and cat in historic Montford where she continues to enjoy
traveling abroad, volunteer work for various organizations, golf, fishing, a very active career and social life, and her
passion in aerials.
Heather Poole has had the honor of training with many wonderful people including: Zay Weaver (Spike) of the Aerial
Angels, the awesome and supportive community that is Aerial Space, Christine Aiken of Asheville Aerial Arts,
Limber Ember, Canopy Studios, Caroline Wright, Duo Volee, Joe Taft, NECCA, as well as many others. She
currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina where she is a performing artist with Asheville Aerial Arts, The Aerial
Space Cadets, and Bromelia Aerial Dance Collective. Heather teaches both children’s and adult aerial classes at
Aerial Space where she also diligently continues her training. She is known for her straddle over split and
incredible back bends. Some of her favorite things are aerial silks, duo work, contortion, hand balancing, rigging,
dark chocolate, and being outside.
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 heavy 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.
Waverly Jones is from Carolina Beach, North Carolina, where she began climbing trees at age 3. She took classes
in gymnastics and tumbling at the Coastal Tumble Gym from ages 7-10, and did not get back into gymnastics until
May of 2010 after perusing a New Years resolution to start tumbling again. Hitting many dead ends trying to find a
gym that would allow her to practice (considered "too old" at age 21), Waverly heard about Asheville Aerial Arts from
a friend who had seen the troupe at Riverfest in Hot Springs, NC. Aware of Waverly's struggle to find a way to get
back into a tumble gym, her friend insisted she take a class or two at Aerial Space. Upon the first silks class she
took with Andrew Hartnagel she bought a package of classes and has been attending Aerial Space several times a
week since May of 2010. Waverly is most fond of aerial silks, but she also enjoys aerial sling and would like to learn
more about trapeze and lyra.
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 is a student at UNC
Asheville and a performing artist with Asheville Aerial Arts and the Aerial Space Cadets. Her focus is primarily on
aerial silks, but she is also interested in sling, trapeze, and lyra. She loves to dance and travel. Jessica is known
for her big drops, despite her tiny stature.
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).
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!"
Amanda Jokerst is from St. Louis, Missouri where she spent many of her earlier years competing in both artistic
and rhythmic gymnastics around the country. During high school, she participated in competitive cheerleading and
won several national championships with her team, Spirit Elite All Stars. In college, still loving to move and
entertain, Amanda performed and choreographed for her school's dance collective, Zoe's Feet. After graduating
from Wheaton College in Chicago and still craving creative ways to be physically active, she found the Fireflies, St.
Louis' first Acro Yoga performance troupe and soon joined them. It was through this community that Amanda was
introduced to aerial arts, enjoying her first silks experience hanging from a tree in the park across from her house.
Since then she has trained in silks, trapeze, lyra and sling with Circus Harmony and Bumbershoot Aerial Arts in St.
Louis, Night Flight Aerial Arts in Portland, Oregon and currently with Aerial Space in Asheville. Amanda is very
excited for the opportunity to work with the wonderful folks at Asheville Aerial Arts. When she's not in the air she
enjoys herbalism and plant medicine, basket weaving, spending time in the forest, singing, skinning roadkill, contra
dancing, gardening, cooking, qi gong, playing the fiddle and banjo, and rompin around with her dog, Lucy. Amanda
also works as a labor doula and is currently studying Holistic and Quantum Midwifery at The Matrona here in
Monique Andrea Cote
Monique is from Miami, and is married with a fabulous family. 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 12 years. For fun Monique loves to 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.
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.
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/ .
Alan currently lives in Asheville and takes pride in his work as a Clinical Hypnotist. 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 trapeze. Alan
has developed his aerial capabilities and we are thrilled to have him as a member of our troupe.
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.
Photo by Brisco Photography