Instructor Bios

Stacey Kigner (Owner):

Stacey Air Temple ArtsAfter spending the first eighteen years of her life growing up on the edge of nowhere in Minnesota, Stacey packed her bags and headed east to attend Vassar College, where she majored in English and spent four years in the school’s recreational circus group, the Barefoot Monkeys.

She has performed up and down the east coast in performances ranging from street fairs to music videos. She specializes in aerial silks, solo and duo lyra and Spanish web.

In addition to performing and teaching, she has produced and directed several professional shows including Missed Connections, and SPECIAL RELATIVITY: Circus Through Space and Time, and Reverie in Black and White. Her latest show, Sherlock Holmes and the Sapphire Night is currently on tour. She completed her Fabric Teacher Training in 2012 at NECCA. She opened Air Temple Arts in 2013.

In 2015 she was acknowledged as one of New Haven’s ‘Rising Stars’ by Business New Haven, and featured on the national PBS program START-UP. She published her first book, The Sum of All Paths in 2015.

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Nick Cegelka:

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Nick has been involved in circus arts of one kind or another for over a decade. He started riding unicycles as a way to cross train for freestyle skiing in high school, but was soon addicted to riding on one wheel just for the fun of it. Since then he has taken up juggling (and other object manipulation), partner acrobatics, and Chinese pole as major areas of interest.  In addition to those traditional circus arts, Nick is an accomplished fire and sideshow performer with a wide variety of skills. From 2009 – 2013 he was the head of Safety for Wildfire, a fire arts retreat. He studies Chinese Pole with Sandra Feusi at the New England Center for Circus Arts.

His past performance highlights include juggling alongside Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band, repeating (on location) a suspended straight jacket escape first performed by Harry Houdini, entertaining audiences between sets at the World/Inferno Friendship Society’s annual Halloween shows, performing as one half of the circus duo Soviet Bloc Party and performing in the full length shows “Missed Connections” and “Special Relativity.” In 2017 he went on tour with Cirqularity’s production Sherlock Holmes and the Sapphire Night as one of the lead roles and performed a solo on Chinese Pole, a partner acrobatics duet, hoop diving, and group acrobatics.

When not teaching or performing, Nick is putting his Mechanical Engineering degree to good use as Air Temple Arts’ resident rigging expert. He has been responsible for designing, building, and maintaining all of the points at both air temple’s old and new locations. In addition to in studio work, Nick also heads up rigging at all Air Temple performances.

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Kristin Mass:
Kristin is an aerialist from Orlando, Fl. She has performed in a variety of different venues: everything from music festivals to private events, dinner theater, and even entertaining the First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Kristin thrives on helping young aerialists achieve their dreams of becoming  professional performers and many of her students (former and current) are now world-class entertainers.
She also founded and manages her own non-profit organization, which awards one scholarship a year to am aspiring circus professional. In addition to being an artist and coach she is also a (very part-time) agent and has helped many talented people find auditions, gigs, and long-term careers.
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Liz Cowell:

Liz prides herself on keeping her persona as much of a mystery as possible. However in her life she has studied Opera and Vibrato Techniques at Alfred University, performed as a professional fire eater, and currently attends Post University where she is pursuing a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and Criminal Justice.

As far as circus is concerned, she began silks classes recreationally in 2013 and currently teaches Corde Lisse and Static Trapeze at Air temple Arts.

She performed Corde Lisse for Cirqularity’s Reverie in Black and White, and group acrobatics in their touring show Sherlock Holmes and the Sapphire Night. She completed NECCA’s Corde Lisse Intensive in 2016 and studies rope there with Molly Graves.

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Meghan Magner:

Meghan Magner is a writer, actor and aerialist from Beacon Falls, Connecticut. She began aerials at Air Temple Arts in 2014 and completed Aerial Teacher Training at NECCA in 2017.

In 2011 she was awarded “Actor of the Year” by Naugatuck Valley Community College, which she graduated from in 2011. In 2017 she toured with Cirqularity as Sherlock Holmes in their production Sherlock Holmes and the Sapphire Night, which she co-wrote and produced.

Since graduation she has won several awards for her work in the independent film industry including a finalist film award from Reel New Haven Film Festival, for her avant-garde short film “The Bagheads Make Lunch” in 2012. In 2015 she won 1st place for an original screenplay that she presented at Raindance Pitchfest in New York City.

Currently in addition to coaching at Air Temple, she works as a second shooter for Will Talamelli Films in New Haven, CT and as the head of theatrical development for Cirqularity.

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Eliannah Hunderfund:

Ellie has been involved in circus at Air Temple Arts since 2014. She specializes in Corde Lisse and Hand Balancing. She was a competitive gymnast growing up, and a diver in college at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which sparked her interest in Circus. She performed tumbling and group acrobatics in Cirqularity’s production Reverie in Black and White and is on tour as Wiggins in Sherlock Holmes and the Sapphire Night performing a hand balancing solo on canes, tumbling, hoop-diving, and group acrobatics.

She also enjoys rock climbing, obstacle races, and general ninja things. She has competed on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior for the past two seasons. When she isn’t doing circus she works as a Mechanical Engineer and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree. She teaches hand balancing and Ninja Skills.

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Elaine Cassarino:
Since two-years old Elaine has been trying to find out exactly how far she could push elaine Air Templeher body.  The first outlet she found for all of her energy was a gymnastics gym.  As a high schooler she began teaching “Mommy and Me” and Tots gymnastics and continued to coach lessons and pre-team through college.  Once she had exhausted the gymnastics outlets available to her, she dabbled in pole dance, swing dancing, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but nothing really stuck until she got a fateful phone call from a friend. The phone call began with her friend stating very matter-of-factly, “I know you secretly have always wanted to be in the circus.”  Together they went to a flying trapeze class, as she took off the platform for the first time and felt that first rush of adrenaline, she knew she had found what her body was meant to do.  That was almost six years ago, and flying trapeze was her gateway into various other aerial arts, including mostly aerial silks with some static trapeze, lyra, straps, and trampoline.  Coaching at Air Temple Arts has offered her the opportunity to combine her education degree and her passion for aerials while giving back to a community that is immensely important to her.
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Allison McDermott (on leave):

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Allison was first introduced to circus at The Children’s Circus of Middletown in CT. She began teaching circus at camps and schools throughout CT and soon she discovered her love of aerial arts at the New England Center for Circus Arts.
In 2011-2012, Allison performed in ArtFarm’s Circus for a Fragile Planet: Submerged as well as performing in Soviet Bloc Party’s Missed Connections in 2012. Allison has recently completed the New England Center for Circus Arts Professional Track Program where she performed in The Flying Nut and Gathered Safely In, as well as Trapeze Teacher Training with Nimble Arts. She is looking forward to sharing her brand of fun, pop circus with the world! Find more about Allison as a performer and teacher on her website.

Joel Herzfeld (on tour):

Joel Herzfeld has been living life upside-down for about four years now. He started his circus career training in hand balancing, partner acrobatics and contortion at Esh Aerial Arts in Massachusetts before advancing to the New England Center for Circus Arts, where

croc he added cyr wheel, tumbling, Chinese pole and straps to his skill set.
He graduated from NECCA’s Intensive program in 2013 with a major in handbalancing and a minor in partner acrobatics, and is currently continuing his studies in the school’s ProTrack program. Before he ran off to join the circus, he studied education at Brandeis University, earning his teacher’s license. Joel loves all things circus and will stop at nothing to share his passion.
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Lauren Seuch 
Lauren Seuch - Air Temple ArtsIn Lauren’s search for a unique form of fitness, she stumbled upon Air Temple and was immediately drawn into the circus world. A natural born aerialist and an extremely fast learner, Lauren felt that she found her true passion and has been at the studio constantly since she began in early 2013.  She has also taken to juggling, aerial straps and aerial partnering, and loves to take every opportunity to improve and learn a new type of circus art. She attends the University of Connecticut and majors in marine sciences.
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