Instructors

Acoatzin

Acoatzin Torres

Founder and lead instructor Acoatzin Torres is a well-known local instructor and performer of aerial arts. He has trained, taught and performed locally and across the United States.  Much of his formal training has been at the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) in Brattleboro, Vermont, a world-renowned venue for circus art instruction and instructor certification.  His expertise extends to aerial fabric, lyra, trapeze, sling, and rope. His unsurpassed dedication to his craft and to his students shines through in every class he teaches.

Prior to discovering his love for the circus arts, Acoatzin was a performer and teacher of multiple styles of dance, most notably Mexican Folk Dance, which he has studied since he was 5 years old.  Prior to moving to the U.S., Acoatzin danced professionally in his home country of Mexico, where he also studied fashion design.


Ari Darmon

Ari Darmon Began his Acro career on a whim; he was introduced by friends, and one of them suggested he would really enjoy the child-like play that Acro provided. On that advice he went to his first jam. In the past several years Acro has taught him lots of things: Communication, Trust and Strength and Resolve. Ari is a certified personal trainer and is currently attending Acro Revolution teacher training. He has taken many workshops and has been teaching and performing Acrobatics for the past year. His training focus includes hand balancing and dance acrobatics. He also enjoys other forms of dynamic acrobatics. When not being a sturdy base Ari enjoys Trail Running with his canine companion and the company of friends and loved ones.


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Hilary Eckberg

Hilary Eckberg has studied aerial arts for five years, primarily aerial silks, although she has also spent time training on flying trapeze and rope. While she began her studies in Northern Virginia, she has done most of her training in other cities in the US while traveling for her day job supporting the aviation industry as an analyst. At last count she had visited twenty-five different aerial studios or trapeze rigs across the country, although she can only say “been there, done that, got the T-shirt” for eight of them, as she routinely forgets to buy the T-shirt. Most of her training has been done at Aerial Revolution in San Diego, CA; Moxie Mischief in Dallas, TX; AirCat at the Boulder Circus Center in Boulder, CO; and Apex Movement, Moth Contemporary Circus Center, and Miraas Circus Arts in Denver, CO. She has also taken the Nimble Arts foundation to aerials teacher training. Visiting so many different studios and working with so many different teachers has given Hilary a wide range of experiences and exposure to a variety of aerial teaching styles. Now that she is no longer traveling so frequently, she is eager to inflict those teaching styles on students at Monarca in Flight.


Gwynne Flanagan

Gwynne is a DC-based aerial performer with over 10 years of experience. She has trained in NYC, NECCA and Montreal. Gwynne is a founding member of Girls on Trapeze and Duo K+G. You can find out more about her at gwynnewithwings.com


Jean Lam

Jean Lam has been a professional In the fitness industry for over a decade.  She is an AFAA certified group fitness instructor and GoldenHearts senior specialist;  ACE certified personal trainer;  NASM certified Corrective Exercise Specialist, PSIA level 2 ski instructor and children’s specialist 1.  Jean has worked with all ages and abilities in different areas of fitness.  She has trained high level athletes from competitive dancers and tennis players up to teaching parkour-based fitness to senior citizens. She is a member of the board of PK Move, a nonprofit foundation that brings parkour to special populations.

In the past several years, Jean has been studying aerial silks.  She has taken classes and workshops under a variety of organizations and individuals, including Acoatzin Torres (Monarca in Flight), the Trapeze School of New York in DC (TSNY), the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) in Brattleboro, Vermont, as well as completed NECCA’s Nimble Arts Aerial Teacher Training at Caroline Calouche studio in Charlotte, NC.


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Susan Lowery

Susan started her professional life in the science world.  As a published biologist, she has worked for Battelle, NASA, New Mexico State University, Corning and Juniata College. In one facet or another, Susan has always been encouraged or steered to instruct adult learners (university students, USArmy Engineer Officers and NGB soldiers).

During a sabbatical in the UK at the age of 43, Susan found aerial arts at Spin City, Newbury, England under the instruction of Amy Capper-Gorman, Francesca Stockwell, Lexi Gumm and “Bendy Kate” Czepulkowski, training mainly in fabric and cross training in Roman rings, flexibility, static trapeze, corde lisse and Lyra.

Susan loves to use biology and science to highlighting the physical movement with scientific and anatomical concepts.  She loves instructing students who, like her, start their aerial journey with “hurdles” (lack of strength/flexibility, fear of heights, lack of confidence, overweight or simply over the age of 40) but simply posses the desire to “try”.


Anthony Oliva

Anthony Oliva is fascinated, overjoyed, and nourished by the communication of bodies in motion with one another. He has danced and climbed all his life, and began training himself in circus arts in 2006. He has since studied and graduated from the New England Center For Circus Arts’ Professional Training Program (2011 Chinese Pole & Hoop Diving, 2014 Hand to Hand), where he was then employed as an acrobatics instructor. In 2011, he began working as a dancer for Pilobolus Dance Theatre.

Reconnecting with the circus community in 2014 brought Anthony to Montreal where he trained under Jerôme LeBaut (Ecole Nacionale de Cirque-Montreal, Cirque Eloize, Cirque du Soleil) and was a part of creating the show Tinder and Ash (TinderAndAsh.com) with 4 other graduates of the NECCA Protrack program. Recently he has joined the team at Trapeze School New York-DC as a part of the fly staff and a coach in the acrobatic/aerial program.

Anthony has trained and worked as a performer, instructor, and rigger across the U.S. and internationally, from Anchorage to Miami, Montreal to Macedonia, and is excited to make a connection in your community – with you.


Corrina Owens

Corrina Owens is an aerial artist specializing in aerial fabric. She began her love of circus arts at an early age and began officially training in 2013. Corrina began her training in the surrounding Atlanta area, and since then, has traveled across the states and internationally to advance her training and deepen her knowledge of aerial arts.

In 2015, she completed the aerial teacher training program under the instruction of Amber Monson with Sky Gym, an aerial arts studio in Atlanta, GA. Since then, she regularly instructed aerial silks and hammock for students of all ages at Sky Gym. Corrina considers herself a “fabric theory nerd” and is constantly finding creative ways to transform common sequences by finding new pathways and exploring styling variations. Now residing just outside of the D.C. area, Corrina enjoys sharing her passion for aerial arts by teaching in a safe and encouraging environment.


Veniqua Stewart

Veniqua discovered aerial arts training three years ago as an outlet from the stress of her JD/MPH dual degree program. She began her training under Acoatzin Torres, and continued to work to strengthen herself as an instructor, and to develop her own technique. She integrated methods she has learned during her extensive background in performing arts into her teaching. She has also paid close attention to the stumbling blocks that she faced in her early practice, and those faced by her students.

Additionally, she has traveled to various studios around the DC area, and to the New England Center for Circus Arts in order to supplement her skill set. These experiences have helped Veniqua to develop an arsenal of tips and strategies for helping aerialists to gain a strong foundation for their practice, and has enabled her to readily identify and resolve student difficulties with ease. Veniqua is always excited about aerial arts, and is eager to spark that same enthusiasm for the practice in her students!


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Kat Stroot

Kat Stroot has been a performer since she was a very small child, beginning as an actor and dancer before she can even remember, and growing up in the theater. In 2003 she began studying the aerial arts, focusing on silks, dance trapeze, and harness work. After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (ETW), she joined forces with Stephen Wangh on his production of Five Aerial Scenes from Troilus and Cressida (Tectonic Theater co/NYU) and was hooked on the idea of combining theater and the aerial arts to further the deeper meaning of story using this uniquely expressive art.

Kat has worked as an actor, teacher, stage manager, aerialist, and producer in New York, DC, and abroad. As a stage manager and teacher, she takes safety very seriously, emphasizing best practices whether working with prop weaponry, rigging to fly a performer, or simply maintaining a safe working environment for her students and colleagues.


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Mauricio Valle

Handstand Fitness Founder, Handstand & Fitness Coach
Born in Santiago, Chile. Raised in Northern VA

Mauricio started his handstand journey in his early 30’s. He has trained extensively with professional hand balancers, acrobats, and Cirque du Soleil artists and mentors. His hard work and dedication proves you can start your journey at any age.

After years of traveling to classes and workshops to build his knowledge, technique, and skills, he created his own Handstand Fitness program to save you time, money, and frustration by bringing the training to you.

If you’re struggling with getting into the handstand or have trouble finding the balance without using the wall, Mauricio will help you find the balance you desire with his Handstand Fitness program.
He will help you build your confidence so that you can safely stand on your hands. His experience, passion, and attention to detail will help you quickly gain the knowledge and strength you need to achieve your freestanding handstand and fitness goals.

The meaning of life is to find your purpose, the gift of life is to share that with others!”