Our Team

Circus professional Corey Cheval

Dr. Corey Cheval, Executive Director

Founder & Director Dr. Corey Cheval has studied classical dance and music from an early age, and later took a specialized interest in the dance and music of Brazil. It was during her research on the dances of the African diaspora in Bahia, Brazil that show first began her study of aerial arts (2005). Cheval holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Florida (2015) and an M.A. in Performance Studies from the Federal University of Bahia (2008). 

With a research focus on performance and identity, Cheval taught courses at the college level in both technical and theoretical aspects of performing arts. Cheval has published her research on performance studies in peer-reviewed academic journals, and has been a guest speaker at TEDxUF, Frank Conference, Harn Museum of Art & Appleton Museum of Art. 

Cheval has travelled and performed across the United States and Brazil as an acrobat, singer and dancer since the early 2000s. Cheval produces Dusty’s Ragtime Circus, an award winning live music circus show. As director of the Gainesville Circus Center, she shares her passion for performing arts with the next generation of young artists. Cheval has also written several successful grants for the production of shows and general program support at the Gainesville Circus Center. Cheval has also provided Visa document services, tour planning, PR and travel logistics for international artists working in the U.S. She has worked with artists such as Ulisses Rocha (Brazil), Hermogenes Araujo (Brazil) and Dong Xin (China). 

Liz Bouton, Instructor

Aerial silks artist Liz Bouton

Liz studied classical ballet from the ages of 3 - 20, but found her passion dancing in the air. Her favorite apparatus are silks and lyra, and she loves getting bendy with flexibility classes. As a young ballerina, Liz received many merit scholarships to attend summer intensives ranging from the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC to the Orlando Ballet School. Ballet has helped with her flexibility and technique in the air, and though she will always admire it, she loves how strong aerial has made her inside and out.

Trapeze artist Robin Best

Robin Best, Instructor

Robin Best began aerial arts at the Gainesville Circus Center in the summer of 2018. Though their favorite apparatus is static trapeze, they have received training in lyra, silks, and acrobatics. Just one year after joining the circus, Robin became a soloist with the touring production of Dusty's Ragtime Circus, earning their title as the Darling of Dusty's Ragtime. Robin is also a music teacher and a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in African studies and bassoon performance.

Aerial silks artist Rainy Barton

Rainy Barton, Instructor

Rainy Barton is an elementary music teacher, teaching grades Pre-K-5 about the joys of music making. Music and dance has always been a part of her life through her participation in band, musical theatre productions, dance teams, etc. She stumbled upon aerial arts through a friend, and has not stopped attending since. Her favorite apparatus is silks. She is very thankful for the circus community and enjoys performing and teaching there.

Jordan Weidenbaum, Instructor

Jordan has been training in the circus arts since March of 2021. Her favorite apparatus is the Lyra and favorite moves are Mermaid and Needle Split. She loves Circus because it gives her a creative, safe space to be her truest self and to do what she loves most, perform!

Isabel Brazzel, Instructor & Office Manager

Izzy is an avid mover and as been dancing for over 16 years! She is trained in classical ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, and movement improv. She has experience teaching dance to youth in both English and Spanish, and has spent the last 4 years performing with a dance company in Richmond. However, she is proud to say that she "ran away to join the circus" and has found a new love in the circus and aerial arts.

Kate Schwitz, Instructor

Kate has trained in flying trapeze and aerial silks with Tito Gaona, and has taken her passion for the circus arts with her to UF, where she is majoring in Computer Science. Her love for performing arts extends to various forms of dance, as well as classical piano.

Ryah Wa, Instructor

Xe has loved flying trapeze since xyr youth. While Spanish web is the most important apparatus to xem, xyr favorite part of aerial is getting stronger every day.

Samatha Belmore, Assistant Instructor

Coach Sam has been performing and involved in Gainesville Circus Center ever since 2016. She started in the kid circus camp and started training from there. Her favorite apparatus is silks. She is currently working on graduating high school in Santa Fe’s dual enrollment program. 

Erin Cronin, Assistant Instructor

Erin has been training with GCC since October 2020. Contortion and dance trapeze have her heart, but she has also trained in lyra, silks, acrobatics, and dance. Circus is where she feels at home.

Hula hoop artist Jessica Antiga

Jessica Antiga, Instructor

Kelli Sanders, Instructor

Kelli is the Co-owner of Evolve Pilates, a Pilates based fitness and wellness center here in Gainesville.  She has been teaching and helping the Gainesville Community feel strong and well for the last 20 years.  Kelli found Corey and the school in 2015 and has been an active team member ever since.  Kelli loves circus arts and the joy it brings to her life.  She truly believes in the joy of movement and how finding your movement can change your life.  She is currently only teaching flying trapeze but also trains on static trapeze and lyra. Kelli is also a mom and wife. She loves to cook, create recipes and FLY!

Stacie Atria, Instructor
Tawania Hollis, Transportation & Maintenance