Jessica Hentoff (Artistic/Executive Director)
Jessica has been teaching and performing circus arts for over 40 years. Ms. Hentoff has been using circus arts to motivate social change since she founded the St. Louis Arches youth circus performance troupe in 1989. She created Circus Harmony in 2001 to expand youth circus opportunities for St. Louis youth. In 2009, Ms. Hentoff was named both St. Louis Arts Innovator of the Year and Outstanding Arts Educator of the Year. Ms. Hentoff is the only person to be a founding member of both the Big Apple Circus in NYC and Circus Flora in St. Louis. She serves as youth circus advisor to both the Circus Fans Association of America and the World Circus Federation. In 2014, she was honored to be the first person to receive the American Youth Circus Organization/American Circus Educators’ Excellence in Circus Education Award. Jessica is the artistic/executive director of Circus Harmony where she uses her remarkable vision and use of circus arts to build character and community and to help children “defy gravity, soar with confidence and leap over social barriers.”
Karen Hansky (General Manager of Circus Harmony and everydaycircus)
Karen ran away and joined the circus in May of 2005 working in the Baby Elephant Café. She is now the General Manager of everydaycircus and Circus Harmony, handling all aspects of office management, human resources, and scheduling. Prior to working for the circus, Karen was store manager for Organized Living and Kitchen Coordinator for the weekly Logos program at Concordia Kirkwood Church. Karen was a homeschooling mom for 16 years, giving her valuable experience in organization, self-discipline, motivation, and encouragement for her tasks at the circus. In between juggling her circus responsibilities, she enjoys spending time with family, friends, and a variety of hobbies.
Colleen McIntee (Program and Evaluation Coordinator, Lead Aerial Coach)
Colleen is a physical educator, 200RYT yoga therapist, aerial coach and French teacher. She has performed and taught circus with Cirque du K, the Kalamazoo College Physical Education Department, Aerial Angels, Starfish Circus, Sailor Circus, and Cirque Astuces. She holds degrees in French and Economics from Kalamazoo College and a MA in Education with teaching certifications from University of Michigan, as well as aerial teacher training from NECCA. She is responsible for coordinating all on and off site educational programs, by way of scheduling, staff training, curricula writing, grant research and writing, and communications. She also works to help the team evaluate and improve program effectiveness through regular data collection, analysis of our offerings, and participation in academic studies of our work!
Master Teaching Artists
Rosa Yagaantsetseg (Contortion, Hand Balancing, Aerial, and Wire-walking Coach)
Rosa is both an honored Artist and a citizen of Mongolia. While she has done and taught every circus act you can think of (including partner acrobatics on the back of a yak), her specialties are contortion and hand balancing. Rosa is world famous as a performer and choreographer of acts that are a creation of beauty, strength, creativity, and control of the human body. Her acts have won accolades from around the world, including silver medals at the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival, the Paris Young Actors Festival, the Italian International Circus Festival, the Hungarian World Circus Arts Festival, and more.
Richard Kennison (Juggling and Poles Coach)
Richard has taught thousands of people how to juggle. He has taught in many venues, from inner city schools to corporate meetings. Richard has trained and coached a number of national award winning youth jugglers including Book Kennison, Casey Boehmer, Cameron Ritter, Kellin Quinn, Tony Pezzo, Thom Wall, Delaney Bales, Ashley Ellis, Viola Dix, Kiera Daisy Conner, and Zak McCallister. In 2012 The International Juggling Association awarded him the Excellence in Education Award for his lifetime of teaching juggling. In 2016, the IJA presented him with The Bobby May Award for Coaching. He has also coached fifteen Groundhog Day Juggling Festival “Phil” award winning acts. Richard holds a BA in philosophy from Webster University and a business degree in Sports and Entertainment Management from Fontbonne University.
Donesha Buhr (Basic Circus Arts and Hoops Coach, Costume Mistress)
Meet the daring, darling Donesha, hula hooper extraordinaire. She has been a member of this flying family for 12 years, five of which she’s been teaching, and loving every minute of it. She says that, “the best part about teaching is that I never stop learning, even with skills that I learned when I first started. Through teaching, I am learning as much as my students.” Donesha is particularly skilled with our youngest Intro to Circus Arts students, and she has a high interest in using circus to help students achieve early childhood development milestones.
Cesar Perez (Tumbling, Dance, and Acrobatics Coach)
Cesar has been involved in dance for eight years, learning and mastering different styles of hip hop, ballet and jazz. As a choreographer/dancer he won numerous national titles in competitions. His passion for the sport and love for dancing continued as he started his coaching career as an assistant coach, as well as teaching classes, camps, and choreographing for numerous studios and companies. Along with dance he has found a love for gymnastics while coaching youth levels 4-9 at the South County YMCA and St. Louis Gym Center from 2011-2014.
Briland Farnell (Stage Manager, Aerial and Rolla Bolla Coach)
Briland has worked as a circus performer, theatre teacher, swim instructor, as well as a coach in both gymnastics and circus. Briland recently graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Theatre, Creative Writing, and Hospitality. While he was at Florida State, he developed a passion for circus arts as a cast member in the FSU Flying High Circus, where he performed as a clown and on acts such as tight wire, teeterboard, low casting and flying trapeze. He recently moved to St. Louis with his fiancée to join Circus Harmony’s team and is loving his work!
Audrey Crabtree (Acting and Performance Coach)
Audrey Crabtree has been working in theater for 25 years and circus for 16 years. She is an award-winning, director, writer, and performer. She has worked with circus and theater, professionals, corporate executives, and professional speakers, and students of all ages as an instructor and artistic coach. Her original work has won a Drama Desk Award, Innovative Theater Award and Golden Nose Award. She has worked with Cirque du Soleil, The Big Apple Circus, Clowns Without Borders USA, and currently with Circus Flora with their Clowns on Call program. She spent the last 18 years in New York City and touring in the UK, Ireland, Australia, India, Mexico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and all over the US.
Maren Steinig (Aerial, Basic Circus Arts Coach)
Maren decided to take a year off to teach at Circus Harmony, because she wants to develop her circus skills and get to know different styles of teaching. Since she was five years old, she has been doing circus. At her home circus school in Germany, CircO Hannover, she is now leading two circus groups of 25 students each. Maren’s favorite disciplines are acrobatics and aerial, but most of all, she enjoys to be on the trapeze. For the future, she wants to stay always in contact to the people from Circus Harmony, because they became a second circus family for her!