Our Artists

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Christine Aiken

Christine has a passion for flying trapeze, double trapeze, dance, acro, and adagio. Former professional dancer, competitive diver, gymnast, model, dancer, and equestrienne who now owns Asheville Aerial Arts, Dare to Fly Trapeze, and Seambiance, and serves as Vice President of Mortgage Lending for Guaranteed Rate, where she is celebrating 21 years in the mortgage industry. Christine also serves as President-elect of the WNC Mortgage Bankers Association.  Christine resides with her son, AerialXman, and their two dogs.  She continues to enjoy swimming, camping, traveling, gardening, reading, fishing, and her passion in creative performing arts.

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Xavier Aiken

Xavier began performing at the age of 4 with Asheville Aerial Arts, as our first youth troupe member.  He currently performs silks, sling, lyra, fan veils and rhythmic ribbons.  He has a flare for the dramatic and loves to perform.  Audiences are delighted by his stage presence, fearlessness, poise, grace and skill.  He trains with Waverly Jones and the Empyrean staff to expand his horizons.  His favorite past-times include aerials, swimming, gymnastics, painting, driving his car, writing, painting, following idols like Sofie Dossi and riding his bike.


Monique Andrea Cote

Monique is a founding member of Asheville Aerial Arts, is a certified German Wheel instructor, and performs with Continuum, the area's only German Wheel performance troupe.  She hails from Miami, and is a former gymnast, 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, gardening, reading,  skating, snowboard and paddle with her family and friends. She is also a Capoierista, and practices yoga.  She has aerial experience working with Christine Aiken on fabrics, singles, swinging trapeze, adagio, body balancing, and German Wheel. 


Jessica Hill

Jessica 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 versatile aerial artist who specializes in several apparatuses including aerial fabrics, aerial hoop, duo aerial arts, Spanish web, corde lisse, and pole arts. In January of 2011, Waverly became a professional company member of Asheville Aerial Arts, and since then has performed at countless festivals, gala events, fund raisers, carnivals, corporate events, weddings, concerts, and private parties. Waverly continuously pursues education by traveling to schools and studios around the world to learn as much as possible with highly respected athletes in her fields of expertise. As of July 2015, Waverly is honored to co-own Empyrean Arts, Asheville’s first and only certified pole and aerial studio with her aerial partner and dear friend, Heather Poole. She has completed an instructor certification in pole dance and fitness from Dakota Fox’s Aradia Fitness USA, and recently teamed up with her studio partner, Heather, to create Aerial Silks and Lyra teacher training programs for Aradia Fitness. Waverly deeply enjoys connecting with others through performance and instruction of aerial arts and pole fitness.

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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.

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Heather Poole

Heather Poole is a proud co-owner of Empyrean Arts with Waverly Jones. Heather is passionate about her continuing education in sustainable athletic training methods, and specializes in end range flexibility training for herself and her students. She has received Yoga and Mat Pilates Teacher Certifications, and in early 2015 she became an Aradia Fitness Certified Pole Instructor and Master Trainer by the incredible Dakota Fox based out of Cary, North Carolina. She participated in the Liquid Motion methodology dance training in January 2016 where she discovered that she loves fusing contortion and dance techniques together. Most recently Heather received her Elevated Flexibility Teacher Certification in February 2017 from Marlo Fisken. Heather has studied and continues to train with some of the leading aerial, pole, contortion, dance, and athletic coaches in the United States and values the importance of continuing to be a student. Heather’s first aerial love is Fabrics, and she really enjoys creating collaborative group performance art. She is a professional performing artist with Asheville Aerial Arts, and a co-founder of Bromelia Aerial Dance Collective. Heather strongly believes in safe, supportive, sustainable training for herself and her students.

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Mya Kerestes

Mya Kerestes had performed adagio and acrobatics with Asheville Aerial Arts. She is known for her strength, flexibility, and contortion skills. Along with Mya's love for acrobatics, her passion is dance. She has been dancing since age 2. Her genres include: ballet, contemporary, modern, Horton, jazz, and hip hop. She has competed as a soloist and in groups both regionally and nationally with the Center Stage Performing Company from Center Stage Dance Studio in Asheville. She is a devoted student of Kelsey Lee, who has inspired her to work hard and believe in herself. Mya also enjoys making slime with her friends, hiking in the mountains, and swimming.


Laura Marie

Laura Marie is an aerialist, dancer, and performer based in Asheville, North Carolina. A Tennessee native, she began her training in various form of dance as a toddler with Heidi Longwith, artistic director of Tennessee Youth Ballet. Her continuing desire to find new ways to express, explore, and create through movement led Laura Marie to aerial arts where the static trapeze immediately made a girl who had always wanted to run away with the circus fall in love with aerial training. Since, she has expanded and focused her training to include several bar-based apparatus and styles. Laura Marie is an Empyrean Arts Certified Aerial Instructor, Aradia Fitness Certified Pole Instructor, and has been certified by Liquid Motion. She teaches a variety of classes that specialize in everything from skill-based aerial and pole to exotic dance and sensual movement to aerial dance and choreography creation.
Laura Marie’s style focuses on self-expression and discovery through movement, and it is her ultimate goal to teach in such a way that provides each student with a sense of accomplishment, excitement, and self-empowerment. She is consistently fascinated and inspired by her students and peers in all fields of performance and visual art, their interpretation of dance and aerial work, as well as inventive and intuitive styles of movement. In addition to teaching, she has continued to work with various companies and troupes, performing both dance and aerial and strives to combine the two as much as possible to create works that are aesthetically imaginative and, usually, a little weird.


April Skelton

April has been performing as an aerialist since 2005, and has been a student, and later, teacher of aerial arts since 
beginning her own training at Canopy Studio in Athens, Ga., in 2004. She has studied under Fred Deb', Sarah Poole, Elsie 
Smith and Serenity Smith Forchion of NECCA, Rain Anya of Paper Doll Militia, Terry Sendgraff, members of Frequent Flyers 
in Boulder, Co., and her mentor Susan Murphy, at whose Marsh Studio April has also taught. April performs on aerial silks, 
bungee harness, invented apparatus, static trapeze, and lyra, but her best work is on the single-point trapeze. April's 
fantasies of rock and roll stardom were writ large in a 2013 work she choreographed for Canopy Studio's Repertory 
Company, a multi-part aerial interpretation of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" on 16 single-point trapezes. April joined Asheville Aerial Arts in 2014, but now resides in Colorado.

We contract many artists, but these are some of the familiar faces you will see at our events.