Instructor Bios

Stacey Strange (Owner, Founder, Creative Director): 

After spending the first eighteen years of her life growing up on the edge of nowhere in Minnesota, Stacey (née Kigner) 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 completed a New England tour in 2017. She completed her Fabric Teacher Training in 2011 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. She is a New York Times published photographer, and works under the banner Seriffim Photography.

Teaching Specialties: Aerial Silks, Aerial Hoop, Aerial Partnering, Spanish Web


Nick Cegelka (Owner, Technical Director): 

nick baby bw

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.

Teaching Specialties: Chinese Pole, Juggling

Liz Cowell (CFO): 

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.

Teaching Specialties: Corde Lisse, Trapeze

Elaine Cassarino (General Manager, Youth Program Director):
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.
Teaching Specialties: Aerial Silks, Trapeze, Youth Circus
Kate Gonzales:
Kate was climbing on curtains and people before she could walk, and baton twirled and danced her way through childhood and college. So when she saw an amazing circus show in 2013, and then was approached outside the theater by a certain circus studio owner asking “do you want to try circus?”, she said “Yes, please!!!”
Since then, Kate has been training in silks, lyra, sling, Chinese pole, aerial partnering, and partner acrobatics. She can be seen performing in circus shows as a sad clown, an evil minion, a sky witch, or even Prince. She also stage-managed the touring production of “Sherlock Holmes and the Sapphire Night.” She began teaching aerials in 2016. She loves trying new apparatuses and new tricks, and especially loves helping guide other people into the aerial world.
Teaching Specialties: Aerial Silks, Aerial Hoop
Liana Magliff:

Liana is thrilled to be sharing her passion for aerial acrobatics with Air Temple Arts! She is a recent graduate of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, where she earned a BS in Neuroscience. She grew up as a team captain competing in artistic gymnastics, aiming to push her body’s limits utilizing unique forms of exercise and the many apparatuses offered.

While at college Liana fell in love with aerial acrobatics, and practiced dance mediums including Modern and Jazz. What began with a natural talent on silks blossomed into new skill sets on trapeze, lyra, and partner acrobatics, while learning a background in circus history. She continued training silks and rope at Bascula in Tel Aviv, Israel during summer 2016, performed partner acrobatics in a Muhlenberg Circus’s theater production, and participates in aerial and circus workshops to continue improving and learning new circus arts including juggling. Liana loves to learn and aims to grow her aerial knowledge, and share her love of circus arts with others, especially with her 4-year-old niece.

When not in the air Liana specializes in ceramics and the pottery wheel, indulges in ice cream, and follows Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, TBBT, & OITNB, among other drama and comedy series. She enjoys outdoor and adventure activities such as biking, rock climbing, adrenaline-inducing rollercoasters, and world travel.

Teaching Specialties: Aerial Silks, Tumbling, Youth Circus
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.

Teaching Specialties: Hand Balancing, Ninja Skills

Allison McDermott (on leave):

allison monster

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.
Teaching Specialties: Aerial Hoop, Trapeze

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.
Teaching Specialties: Hand Balancing, Contortion