Ariel Schmidtke is an interdisciplinary physical performer and multimedia artist. With roots in the Pacific Northwest and influences ranging from Southern Gothic to French Nouveau Cirque, Ariel has traveled extensively to enrich her approach to circus dramaturgy. Inspired at a young age by gymnastics she began training as an aerialist with the Dream Science Circus at the age of eighteen. She is drawn to the nonverbal expressiveness of gestures and to diversify her performance skills she has spent the past ten years studying dance, theater, puppetry, and contemporary circus.
Esther de Monteflores is one of a tiny handful of circus performers in the USA specializing in slackwire walking. In her work, Esther seeks a balance between technical skill and expressive movement and her unique take on circus has been seen across North America.
Esther’s recent touring credits include Cirque Mechanics (Las Vegas, NV), Bindlestiff Family Cirkus (New York, NY) and Circus Bella (San Francisco, CA). Esther’s work has received grant funding from 4Culture (Seattle, WA) and Artist Trust (Washington State). Esther maintains a keen interest in building puppets and masks, enjoys commuting by bicycle and loves small, green, vintage mugs.
Lili Katzman was introduced to circus arts in Boulder, CO in 2012 through Imagination Circus Arts, where she practiced foundational skills in aerial performance from ages 10-14. She fell in love with the art form after seeing Cirque Du Soleil’s “Love”, and had dreamed of performing ever since. She returned to her practice in 2017 after moving to Olympia, WA for college, taking classes at Sparrow Studios and training at Airbound Arts. She began performing solo acts locally in 2020, where she met Ariel Schmidtke. After months of performing in shows together and admiring each others styles, they began training doubles pieces together and performing in the Olympia area. Lili currently resides in Portland, OR, and continues to train with her aerial partner (Ariel) in Olympia, as they develop multi-act shows featuring aerial routines, acrobatic floor work, and shadow puppetry.