Terry Crane, Artistic Director and Co-founder
Terry surrendered to restless urges that led him to walk calmly away with the circus at the tender age of 20. Since then, his search for movement and performance mentoring has generated a zigzag constellation of off-the-beaten path destinations, taking him to the San Francisco Circus Center, Montreal's National Circus School (of Cirque du Soleil fame), and the Beijing International Acrobatics School. He has now performed in countless countries, on 3 continents, with various groups such as Circus Syzygy, Circus Monti and Teatro ZinZanni. Terry is a longtime practitioner of capoeira, contact improvisation, hip-hop dance, physical theater, and tree climbing. He infuses his work with these influences as well as his own fiercely unique style.
Susie Williams, Managing Director
Susie is in love with performing arts and is thrilled to have been a performer, director, teacher and producer in both circus and traditional theater. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s theater program and a Fellow in the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) Professional Development Program. Producing credits include: Bright Ideas’ Aerial Salons, migrations, Landscrapes and Discord and the award winning Roundhaus video Hammertime. As a performer, Susie has appeared with the Poemas, the High Flying Pages, Lisa's Bright Ideas, Built 4 Collapse and in Kristin Geneve Young’s migrations. Susie taught aerial arts at Aerial Arts NYC, STREB, TSNY, and as an adjunct professor at Pace University.
Carey Cramer, Artist
Carey’s performance background draws from a diverse experience in classic ballet, modern dance, muay thai kickboxing and acrobatics. After her first taste of circus as an undergraduate at Oberlin College, she trained intensively under the coaching of Terry Crane, before attending the prestigious National Circus School of Montreal. There her professional formation included acrobatics, hand balancing, clowning, singing, and her primary discipline of rope. Influence from hip hop, break dance, and contact improvisation styles along with a passionate love of movement and psychology have empowered Carey’s work on the rope with a unique, raw, and dynamic style. She has brought her manifold talents to the stage in Montreal, San Francisco, Chicago, Vancouver, and Egypt and even toured with the American rock band Heart. Carey balances professional performing with teaching at the therapy-based Every Body’s Circus program at the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) in Seattle. She has performed and toured with Acrobatic Conundrum for more than two years.
Lauren Joy Herley, Artist
I was born on the 21st of March 1989. The first day of spring, the first day of Aeries. I am a quite, tender soul, yet I am quite a flame. I am a graduate of the National Circus School of Montreal as a specialist in vertical rope, contortion and handstands. I have worked and collaborated with choreographers and directors such as Yaron Lifschitz (CIRCA), Dave St-Pierre (Compagnie Dave St-Pierre), Emmanuel Guillaume & Jeannot Painchaud (Cirque Eloize), Gypsy Snider (Les 7 Doigts de la Main - PIPPIN on Broadway) Veronique Thibeault (Cirque du Soleil), Raymond Brisson (Compagnie Marie Chouniard) and Benoit Landry (Nord Nord Est.) I was an original cast and creation member of "Cirkopolis" by Cirque Eloize. I haved taken part of 5 different creations with the company CIRCA and have been touring internationally for the past 5 years. I have performed in venues from grand theatres to small circus festival tents. I have performed for many large events such as the opening ceremony for the Vancouver Olympic Games, the 2011 opening number for Cirque de Demain, as well as many special events and cabarets in Montreal and around the world.I am a rope artist, but I have studied everything from hand to hand to hair hanging. I am an artist who enjoys risk and the beauty of pain. Circus is my choice of life each and everyday, I chose it 10 years ago and I choose it still today. I am passionate about music, I love to sing and I love jazz music. It’s an everyday devotion for me to make love the foundation of everything I do.
Laura Miller, Stage Manager
Laura has been a movement-based artist since the age of three. Having spent her childhood as a competitive dancer, Laura earned her degree in Art and English at Earlham College, where dance was not offered as a course of study. In order to stay active, she involved herself deeply in the school's dance team, the Earthquakers, and student-run dance organization, Dance Alloy. Through these groups, she choreographed over 10 original pieces, learned many new styles of dance from around the world, and got her hands dirty with all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into putting on a show. After college, Laura moved to Seattle, where she decided to try out an aerial class "just for fun," and accidentally got addicted to all things contemporary circus. She's excited to bring her mad administrative and planning experience to the Acrobatic Conundrum. Outside of rehearsal and the tech booth, you can find Laura in the SANCA office, working on her aerial, tumbling, or tap dancing skills, or watching choreography videos on YouTube.
Erica Rubinstein, Artist
Erica first discovered circus while studying neuroscience and dance at Oberlin College. With a background of eight years in competitive gymnastics, circus seemed a natural fit. Since college she has trained extensively in her specialty of basing acrobatics at Circus Center in San Francisco, Australia’s National Institute of Circus Arts, DoJump in Portland, Oregon and the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) in Seattle. Past performances include the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival, Teatro Zinzanni’s Mezzo Lunatico, Circus Bella, the Moisture Festival and Backstreet Festival in Alexandria, Egypt. Erica regularly teaches the youth performance companies at SANCA and has helped organize multiple national circus conferences through Circus Now and the American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO). Erica performs with Acrobatic Conundrum and Terry Crane as duo Retro Verso, a genre and gender challenging partner acrobatics duet that flips our preconceptions on their head. In addition to these artistic pursuits, Erica is the Academy Director at the Circus Project in Portland, Oregon.
Ty Vennewitz, Artist
A towering performer, Ty grew up (and up) in Washington state. He discovered dance in higher education and graduated from Western Washington at the "top" of his class. He has danced in the Portland Opera, the A-Wol Dance Collective and in a dental commercial as a ballet-dancing molar. Ty’s obsession with circus lured him across the continent to the National Circus School in Montreal, where he put on the world’s smallest mask, a red nose, and seriously studied clowning. He has performed his original material throughout the United States, Quebec, China, and Dubai. Content to be back in the Northwest, he is currently a member of Acrobatic Conundrum and teaches circus at Le Cirque Centre in Ashland, Oregon.
Xochitl Sosa, Artist
Driven by artistic passions and a need for movement, Xochitl spent her childhood in the San Francisco Bay-area immersed in dance, performance and circus arts. In 2010 she relocated to Austin, Texas to study dance and while there helped establish Sky Candy, an aerial arts school. A graduate of the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA)’s yearlong professional program, Xochitl concentrated on Dance Trapeze and Duo Trapeze under the instruction of renowned coaches Aimee Hancock, and Serenity and Elsie Smith. She continued her professional training in Montreal, where she worked under coaches from Cirque du Soleil and L’Ecole nationale de cirque. Internationally renowned for her integration of Hispanic dance forms into her aerial work, she has brought her love for flamenco-inspired movement and the intensity of Spanish classical music together to create a unique and fluid style on dance trapeze. Xochitl regularly performs in productions and events both nationally and internationally, most notably at the Aerial Acrobatics Festival in Colorado, the Mexican Circus Convention, and the Topsy Turvy Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco. Still passionately chasing her dreams, Xochitl is a professional aerialist, dancer, acrobat, choreographer, and instructor. She is delighted to perform with Acrobatic Conundrum.
Cooper Stanton, Artist
Cooper Stanton is an international performer whose greatest joys are expressing himself through movement, acrobatics, and music. He has a wide array of disciplines on the ground and in the air. Cooper grew up in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts as one of five children in a family of performers. His earliest stage experiences include A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Footloose On Ice atthe Shubert Theatre in Boston, and The Moscow Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Palace Theatre in New York. At age fourteen, he was offered his first professional acting role in the Berkshire Theatre Festival’s Waiting for Godot, and joined the Actors’ Equity Association. The next year, while studying Ballet in NYC, Cooper was introduced to the Aerial Circus Arts by Ivo Gueorgiev and, under his direction, performed as a Dancer and Aerialist in Cirque Du Romeo and Juliet at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center. This experience sparked a new passion and drove Cooper to search for a training facility that could offer him an extensive introduction to circus. Cooper attended The New England Center for Circus Arts and graduated from their Intensive Training Program in 2011. A successful audition allowed Cooper entry to the 3-year college level training program of The National Circus School in Montreal, QC. While studying in Montreal, he spent much time developing original Silks technique as well as combining his previous dance experience with his newly acquired acrobatic skills on Swinging Trapeze. Graduation in 2014 was the beginning of a new chapter for Cooper as he began an exploration of the ties that connect circus, dance, theatre, and music. He has performed in multi-disciplinary shows and theatrical productions in Montreal, Toronto and across the U.S. Since January, Cooper has appeared in EMPIRE The Musical at La Mirada Theatre, performed various aerial and acrobatic numbers aboard The AIDA blu Cruise Ship, and taken on the role of Assistant Director for This Is Not A Test with Marquise Productions. Cooper enjoys creating and performing because the process allows him to express his love of art, passion for dance, and desire to connect with others through circus.
Frequent and Past Collaborators
Scotty Dont, Jacki Ward Kehrwald, Nicolo Kehrwald, Anna Thomas-Henry, Alex Allan, Wendy Allen, Una Bennett, Zora Blade, Tanya Brno, Marta Brown, Arne Bystrom, Emma Curtiss, Sol Marie Doran, Joselynn Engstrom, Tyler Ferraro, Tom Hanna, Nick Harden, Jonah Katz, Faeble Kievman, Kari Jay Hunter, Leah Jones, Nick Lowery, Poki McCorkle, Sommer Panage, Laurie Rogers, Elizabeth Rose, Jonathan Rose, Ellie Rossi, Noa Schnitzer, Will Smith, Justin Therrien, Maddie Ward, Elizabeth Klob, KT Niehoff, The Tres Pesos, Katheryn Reed
photo by Adam Rubinstein