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.


Sophia Chen

Sophia Chen began her aerial journey in October 2017 on split fabric here at Monarca in Flight. She branched out to lyra a few months later and quickly fell in love. Today, lyra is her primary apparatus, though she also trains split fabric and cross-trains with static and dance trapeze. Sophia is particularly interested in transitions and theory, and strives to teach students not just skills, but how to find pathways between them. In April 2019, she completed Paper Doll Militia’s Level 1 Lyra Teacher Training with Rain Anya.

A New Jersey native, Sophia holds a B.A. in Political Science and Music Education from Denison University in Granville, OH. She has lived in the DC area since 2011 and supports her circus habit by working as a management consultant and project manager. Sophia is also a classically trained mezzo-soprano with extensive performance experience as both a soloist and an ensemble singer; she has performed in nine countries across four continents and still performs locally when her schedule permits.

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


Danny Guzman

Danny (aka Daninho) is from Virginia, and he studied Management Information Systems at George Mason University. Danny has been training Capoeira for 13 years now and is a part of Grupo Capoeira Brasil. Danny started instructing because of his passion to share a new culture, the rich culture of Capoeira, with the community. Now, in addition to his passion for the culture, his favorite part of instructing is the students and the enthusiastic energy they bring to his class!

In fact, everyone who comes to Danny’s Capoeira class leaves with new friends. While the culture and friendships are exciting and invigorating, when you come to Capoeira with Danny, make sure you’re ready to sweat!


Jasper Hu

Jasper (aka Alegre) was born in Phoenix, Arizona but grew up in Queens, New York. He graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor in Integrative Studies with a concentration in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology. After a few years of working, he stuck around the George Mason area and recently received his Master of Social Work degree. He currently works as a Social Worker in Case Management at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

In his free time, Jasper aka “Alegre” has been training Capoeira for 11 years now and is a part of Grupo Capoeira Brasil. Jasper has a passion for the culture and history of capoeira and started instructing so that he could share this passion with others. In fact, these are the same reasons that people get excited to take Jasper’s class. According to Jasper, capoeira is “not only a martial arts class, it’s a lesson in history.” Jasper describes capoeira as a martial art masked as a dance which tells a story. This atmosphere and Jasper’s passion for capoeira helps to create a community within every class he instructs. He strongly believes that a positive attitude can help anyone achieve their goals. If his silly antics doesn’t make you smile, his energetic Capoeira classes will.


susan

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 (Spin City Hoop Bibles) 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”.

Susan has over 600 hours in instruction of Aerial silks, currently instructs at Pilates Connection Winchester, VA and Monarca in Flight in Washington DC (aerial flexibilty, silks, sling, Lyra, conditioning) Susan has continued her personal training traveling to England to train with Yam Doyev (Gravity CircusLondon), Gravity & Levity European Aerial Dance Festival 2018, as well as returning to train with the amazing team at Spin City Newbury, England UK. Susan has also trained with Rain Anya (Paper Doll Militia) Christine Van Loo, Bobby Taylor, Laura Witwer (NY), Lydia Laria, Caitlyn Larsson (FittoFly, AU), Acoatzin Torres (Monarca in Flight), and others. Susan was accepted (thru audition) into Paper Doll Militia’s Born To Fly Instructor Certification program and completed their training in October 2017.

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Danielle O’Donnol

Danielle O’Donnol is a mathematics professor. She found her passion for aerial arts after starting her career in math. Because of moving and traveling she has taken classes at studios all over the US and London, with most of her training at National Centre for Circus Arts (formerly Circus Space) in London and Asabela Studio in Bloomington, IN.

Danielle has focused on static trapeze, but also explored Lyra, dance trapeze, rope, German Wheel, silks and sling. She tries new apparatuses whenever the opportunity arises.

She started performing three years before moving to Arlington. She has completed the Asabela Studio instructor certification for both static trapeze and Lyra.


Izzy Kranenburg

Izzy has been passionate about fitness ever since he can remember doing gymnastics and cheer when he was younger.  He moved into parkour and freerunning back in 2014.  Izzy likes being able to take part in each sport and discipline and combine them together. He also enjoys spending time in nature and practicing movement outside.


Elise (Teddy) Sipos

Elise Thea Sipos, known to her circus friends as “Teddy,” grew up in the southern bayous of Louisiana. To minimize the damage, her parents put this whirling dervish into dance class at the young age of five. Over the years she has studied; modern dance, creative expression through improvised movement, the ancient art of Bharata Natyam, ballet, jazz, flamenco, and various styles of African dance.


Angela Skolnitsky

Angela Skolnitsky is a yoga instructor pursuing a DPT in Physical Therapy. Yoga and dance were her first hobbies before a career in the military, contracting, and language study. She came to aerials in 2014 and has never looked back.