SihkaWelcome to The Last Carnival. I began working to create this company in the fall of 2013 and opened our doors for business in the beginning of 2014. My aerial acrobatic journey began back in 2010 by taking my daughter to aerial dance classes as a way to inspire her to find some form of body movement she enjoyed. After having my second child, I began my own aerial training in my hometown of St. Louis, MO  and have since studied under aerial, acrobatic, contortion, and dance teachers from across the country as well as internationally. Many years prior to getting involved in aerial acrobatics I explored the arts of contortion, fire dance, and break dancing while traveling the country as a street performer in the early 2000s. I have since continued sharing live art through street theater as well as performing at state and town fairs. I also have produced and performed in stage and theater productions, and have been hired as a circus consultant and choreographer in musical theather production and festival stage shows.

My acrobatic background comes from being a swimmer and diver growing up and then in my teens and early twenties delving into the world of breakdancing and street battle dancing. From diving, I found acrobatics over the water to be a good transition to acrobatics in aerial apparatuses. I have studied under many different acrobatic and aerial instructors including Rachel McMeanchin (of Voler), Jenna Haddock (of Le Reve), Meg Wilson, Lisa Natoli, Caty Mae, Mariel Reynolds, The AcroVan acrobats, Frequent Flyers out of Boulder Co., the folks from Bumbershoots Aerial Arts and Circus Harmony in St. Louis to name a few. I travel to attend intensives and take private lessons  to keep what we teach here in the Midwest fresh. I’ve also trained with nationally touring artists from Cirque Du Soleil and other companies as often as possible to always broaden my knowledge and bring new perspectives to my acrobatic and performance journey.

partner acrobatics

If it isn’t yet obvious, I always dreamt of running away with the circus. This naturally led to years of work combining my training as a fire performer, aerialists, seamstress, teacher and entrepreneur to start a circus school and The Last Carnival Acrobats circus troupe. My passions are choreography and costume design along with teaching and watching others reach heights of personal growth that they may have thought impossible. I have taught aerial yoga, lyra, static and dance trapeze, aerial silks, cloud swing, partner acrobatics, corde lisse, partner aerial, flexibility for any body, contortion, prop work, act development, and stage presentation. My latest personal training passions include flying trapeze, hand balancing, and dance.

aerial hoop

Prior to teaching circus arts I was a lead teacher at a preschool in St. Louis. I moved to Lawrence in 2013 in hopes of having a safer environment and better educational options to raise my family in. And I am so happy to say that I have been lucky enough to find that here as well as a community excited about alternative fitness and art. I am overjoyed to be bringing my passion for body movement and imagination through art to all the circus enthusiasts in Lawrence Kansas and surrounding areas and help create a positive community of people cheering each other on in our new found successes.

photo credit: John Clayton