Wes Hatfield – Captain / Coach / Acrobat
Wes was born in California. His parents raised him in Germany where he got his start in Gymnastics. At age 10 he joined T&T (Trampoline and Tumbling) when he and his family moved to Colorado. In the world of trampoline competition his resume includes several State and National Championship titles. At age nineteen he quit competition and became a circus performer, traveling around the world wowing audiences with his technical prowess and zany comedic antics. Wes has been an integral cast member in all of Cirque Mechanics touring productions, Birdhouse Factory, Boom Town, Pedal Punk, and 42ft. Performing Trampoline, Chinese Pole, Cyr Wheel, Russian Swing and general acrobatics along with group choreography. Over the years Wes has become part of the Cirque Mechanics production team. Acting as Team Leader for the cast and Head Artistic Rigger for the setup of the show. Wes now lives in Las Vegas where he continues his work with Cirque Mechanics. Wes is a fan of avocados, needing only a spoon to enjoy them. His favorite breakfast entree is Steak and Eggs with hash browns…not potato chunks…hash browns…don’t forget the ketchup.
Chase Culp – Bike Mechanic / Acrobat / Clown
Chase grew up in Houston, Texas and started performing in theatre at a young age. He began his circus career as a teenager spending summers touring New England with Circus Smirkus. He then joined Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey straight out of high school, touring the US for the next two years. Since then, his career has taken him to 11 different countries around the world to perform in arenas, theaters, circus tents, and more. Some of these adventures included a festival in India, a theme park in Abu Dhabi, a circus in Switzerland, and the award winning Slava’s Snowshow. Chase was with the Venardos Circus when live performances had to pause, but he used the break to return to teaching the next generation of performers at Circus Smirkus. He also took some time to pet his dogs, fix up his tiny house, and become a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader. He’s happy to be back on stage performing for live audiences again.
Dillon Vance – Acrobat / Trampolinist
Dillon is an artist dedicated to living his life on the edge as a self-described daredevil acro-spartan. His quest to become an acrobat evolved from a childhood spent hurtling down Colorado mountains on a unicycle or climbing up them with ice axes, later becoming an accomplished competitive diver and National Age-Group Champion in trampoline gymnastics.
His passion for the circus arts first began after watching a Cirque du Soleil video of Quidam in 5th grade gym class. Since then, it has become a driving force and dedication to challenge the laws of physics and exceed his own physical limits every day. Pursuing his craft has taken him from Johannesburg to the Caribbean, from New York to Las Vegas and Los Angeles working for Royal Caribbean, Le Grande Cirque Cirque Mechanics and Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson One” and the “Beatles Love”. Most importantly, wherever his work takes him, Holland lives his life the way he performs; stretching the boundaries of his mind and body, finding extraordinary ways to take his art to new creative levels and, in doing so, inspiring his audience to remember what it’s like to live a life with limitless possibility.
Blake Hicks – BMX Artist
Blake started his craft riding BMX in the streets of St. Louis, Missouri. After graduating college in Indianapolis, Indiana with a degree in Automotive and Diesel Science, he moved up to Portland Oregon to be a diesel and hydraulics mechanic with Caterpillar Inc, all while riding his bike in his off time. During the recession of 2008/09, Blake was laid off with 1,400 other workers, this was the moment he decided to change his life and follow his dreams and passion of being a BMX performer. Blake is best known for his creation of the TRON Bike/LED BMX. Blake performed in eight different countries, for world leaders, has been featured on ESPN’s College Game Day, America’s Got Talent, and even opened up for Gwen Stefani and The Muse. Blake’s other passion is creating custom LED costumes for fellow performers. His unique brand helps set his clients apart from all the rest with the dazzling lights, high durability and latest technology.
Blake is the proud dog dad to two Mini Australian Shepherds and recently got married in Sedona, Arizona to his beautiful bride, Paige. They are local to Las Vegas, Nevada and spend their weekends hiking, and you guessed it, biking! Blake is also active in the Burning Man community. You will know Blake by his white and blue twelve inch tall Mohawk and also know that wherever he is, his bike follows.
Windu Sayles – Acrobat Generalist / Rubber Boy
Windu was born near a US Army garrison in Vicenza, Italy in 1984. Windu has not spent more than two years in the same place since elementary school. He graduated cum laude from California State University, Northridge in 2008. Windu has a diverse and extensive training background, which he only started pursuing as a hobby in his 20’s. He has studied many disciplines including the aerial arts, break dancing, contortion, ballet, yoga and gymnastics. His performance displays his unique multi disciplinary expertise. Windu began his performance career with the Los Angeles based Diavolo dance company. Windu has a love for circus and dance, and enjoys bringing them together. In the past year, Windu has rediscovered his love of computer science and now works as a software engineer in addition to performing.
Lauren Stark – Aerialist
As a classically trained dancer, Lauren spent her childhood performing ballet and contemporary jazz styles of dance in northern California. Lauren attended Santa Rosa Junior College, earning an Associate’s Degree in Theatre Arts, while dancing with SRJC’s resident dance company and performing for De/Em Dance Collective. Shortly after graduating Lauren moved to San Francisco to further study her love for dance with Alonzo King’s “Lines Ballet.” She was later introduced to circus arts when she moved to Los Angeles, quickly she began incorporating aerial hoop, trapeze and duo aerial work into her performance repertoire. Lauren has worked professionally with a variety of circus and dance companies, some touring contracts that allowed Lauren to perform all over world. Her skills in circus and dance led her to tour with Cirque Mechanic’s “Pedal Punk.” Performances include the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival in 2015 and VivaFest in 2016. Lauren worked with Troupe Vertigo during their creation of “Tableaux,” which was performed at VivaFest in 2016, and The International Dance Festival at the Fort Mason Center in San Fransisco in 2018. Lauren resides in Las Vegas, is currently performing in “Extravaganza” at Bally’s, as a dancer and aerialist.
Lindsey Covarrubias – Aerialist
Lindsey, a San Francisco Bay Area native, began performing as a child and continued to pursue her love of the stage in college at the University of California, San Diego. Shortly after graduation, Lindsey found a home in the circus arts after moving to Los Angeles where she taught and trained at Cirque School Los Angeles. Maintaining a strong emphasis on corde lisse, Lindsey has performed as an aerialist with various companies across the country including Troupe Vertigo and Cirque Mechanics, with whom she joined for two touring shows (The Orchestra Project and Pedal Punk). Additionally, as a freelance performer, Lindsey has worked commercially for companies such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Neutrogena and has performed at many private events for similar corporations. Lindsey currently resides in Paris, France, where she likes to hang from her hair, eat lots of weird cheeses and practice her accordion.
Nata Ibragimov – Hula Hoop Artist
Originally from Baku, Azerbaijan, Nata grew up in NYC and currently resides in Las Vegas. She was a national level rhythmic gymnast for 11 years. After retiring from the sport at the age of 16, she pursued her other passions, such as visual and performing arts. Circus was a perfect outlet for her creativity, it gave her freedom to experiment and improve her skills. Nata is an original cast member of Cirque Mechanics Pedal Punk, performing a solo hula-hoop act. Nata is also a member of Los Angeles based Troupe Vertigo. Nata is grateful that circus has given her the opportunity to meet some incredibly talented people that inspire her art every day. Nata is a professional illustrator and holds a BFA degree in illustration, from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her paintings have been included in private collections and displayed in galleries around the world. Nata is currently in a Tattoo Artist Apprenticeship and is hoping to split her time between tattooing and performing in the future. Nata designed Color Me Circus – a coloring book for adults inspired by the beauty and imagination of the circus, available at amazon.com. www.nataillustration.com
Willem McGowan – Juggler/ Manipulation
Willem McGowan taught himself to juggle in his parents’ backyard in Oak Park, IL. He started his circus training with CircEsteem in Chicago, and Circus Smirkus in Vermont, before heading to l’Ecole de Cirque de Québec for a professional training program. Since graduating from ECQ in 2017, Willem has worked around the world with multiple circus companies, including Strut & Fret Production House, Circus Monti, and the Midnight Circus. He is very excited to be performing Cirque Mechanics for the first time in Under Canvas!
DESIGNERS & CREW
Aloysia Gavre – Co Director / Choreographer
An original co-director and choreographer of Birdhouse Factory, Boom Town and Cirque Mechanics for the Orchestra, also an early member of the San Francisco based Pickle Family Circus, Aloysia has been a movement, dance and circus enthusiast most of her life. She has studied with Pilobolus, The Tandy Beal Dance Company and Zacho Dance Theater and perfected her circus abilities with Master Lu-Yi of the San Francisco School of Circus Arts and L’Ecole Nationale du Cirque in Montreal. Aloysia was a featured act in Cirque du Soleil’s O in Las Vegas and Quidam where she performed the aerial hoop act that earned the troupe a special prize at the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival in 2002. Aloysia ia also co-founder of Cirque School L.A., a place for “anybody with any body” to explore the circus arts www.cirqueschoolla.com
Sean Riley – Rigging / Scenic Designer
Sean Riley has a 20-year career combining suspension, kinetic movement, and design with performance. Through scenic design, rigging design, and mechanical design, often in concert with each other, he creates unique performance environments. Concentrating his design for performance on site-specific and non-traditional work Riley has created installations in collaboration with a wide spectrum of accomplished artists and collaborators . Being known for his bold and often surprising use of space and for large—scale movement, Riley’s installations commonly reflect his life long obsession with gravity and Newtonian physics. His works have been installed from backyards to Broadway, and continue to tour internationally. He is a founding member of Cirque Mechanics and his company Gravity Design, through which he has developed an arsenal of specialized tools, pushing the bounds of performance as well as industrial safety. Riley is also the host of the National Geographic Television series “World’s Toughest Fixes” www.visiblegravity.com, www.gravitydesign.org,
Janeen Johnson – General Stage Manager / Collaborator
Janeen is an independent arts administrator, stagecraft specialist, and artivist with 20+ years of experience in arts management, event operations, and theatre arts production. She supports projects, artists and organizations through planning, fund development, executive producing, touring and partnerships. She is a maven for dance, theatre and special events; a production tour de force on any team. Janeen facilitates creative visions to be realized and is often sought out for her expertise in theatre production and event management. Her training in the discipline was cultivated through her service in arts management and her own personal dance training and stage performances where she gained insight into the art of stage-managing. She has worked with celebrated arts organizations in both the public and private sectors such as Kongo SQ West Kinship Society, Fua Dia Congo, Urban Bush Women, World Arts West, Chitresh Das Institute, Black Choreographer’s Festival: Here & Now, and National Black Theatre Festival to name a few.
For the past 11 years, Janeen has worked with Cirque Mechanics as Principal Touring Production Stage Manager, directing the administration and logistics of its four theatrical touring productions – Birdhouse Factory, Boomtown, Pedal Punk and 42ft: A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels. With the company, she has toured North America, Europe, and Asia installing its creative works that cross platforms, genres, cultures, and language barriers. Currently, Janeen aims to leverage arts & culture as a viable service industry with a sustainable impact to arts communities locally and beyond. Through her agency Flowtown 411 presents: Janeen offers community leaders educational and training opportunities that advocate and advance the working knowledge of artists, local companies, aspiring producers and stagecraft technicians.
Her hope is to continue service, in collaboration, with Cirque Mechanics and local agencies that work to develop a model of art creation for sustainability, community building and public sharing.
Michael Picton – Composer
Michael Picton first ran off with the circus in 2000, as keyboardist with the European tour of Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam. Since then, he has become one of the musical voices of the Greatest Show on Earth, composing songs and score for Bellobration and Funundrum, the 137th and 140th editions, respectively, of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, and he has orchestrated the Dragone productions Le Rêve (Las Vegas) and The House of Dancing Water (Macao). As the Grand Prize winner of the 2004 Turner Classic Movies Young Film Composers Competition, Michael was chosen from a field of over 600 composers to compose the epic score to the 1926 Greta Garbo silent film, The Temptress. Other Film and TV work includes scores to the Marian Davies silent film The Red Mill, the independent feature Little Chenier, the Sci Fi Network series Flash Gordon, and the theme to the VH1 series I Want to Work for Diddy, for which he was awarded a 2009 BMI Film and TV Music Award. He has scored numerous commercials and his music has defined the sound of networks such as PBS, CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, Sprout TV, FX Network, Universal Network, and the Biography Channel. Michael studied composition at McGill University, Montreal and he is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.
Donovan Santos – Sound Designer
DJ Dynamixx comes from the old school when DJ’s used two turntables and actual vinyl records. He has over 23 years of experience in the Las Vegas music scene including other locations across the United States. His music knowledge, ability to transform music through turntables, brilliant programming and music production has enabled him to be recognized as one of the top DJ’s in the U.S. DJ Dynamixx has versatility when it comes to mixing the many genres of todays music. His mix of old school, New School, Top 40’s and Electro creates crowd-motivating music where people of all ages can enjoy. He has held several residencies on popular radio-mix shows and has had opportunities to perform with major artists. His ability to transform a crowd’s vibe through high-energy entertaining music makes him one of Vegas’s most sought after DJ.
Lisa Ragatz – Costume Designer
Lisa studied opera and ballet costuming at Indiana University, and has 30 years of experience in costume design and construction for opera, dance, ice-skating, and circus arts. She has worked as a costumer for Cirque du Soleil at Treasure Island, Cirque du Soleil Special Events, Bietak Productions, Busch Gardens, Indiana University School of Music, Celebration Barn Theater, The Oddfellows Theater, Under the Umbrella, Stage Flight Circus Arts, and for several CirqueMechanics productions, including Birdhouse Factory, Mechanical Action, the Gantry Project, the Symphony Project, and Pedal Punk. Lisa resides in Norway, Maine, with her husband, Steven Ragatz, in a beautiful, 230 year old farmhouse
Caroline Rogers – Costume Designer
Caroline Rogers started at a young age as a ballerina, by the age of 16 and for the next decade she was a professional aerialist traveling all over the world performing for private gala events. This is also how she met her husband, fellow cast member Kevin Rogers. They have been happily married for 18 years and always love the opportunity to work together! Having been taught how to sew as a young girl and her experience on stage wearing costumes, were the perfect background and skills to move into costume design and building. She designed costumes for a decade for various companies at live gala events, award shows, theme parks and tours including Disney and DreamWorks. She assistant designed Pedal Punk and lead designed Cirque Mechanics 1930’s circus themed show 42ft and has managed their merchandise for multiple tours. She loves sharing her passion for God, marriage, travel and homemaking on her blog Marriedrogersneighborhood.com She is excited to announce her new podcast Real House Wives of the Kingdom debuting April 30 2021.
Joe D’Emilio – Lighting Designer
Joe D’Emilio is a New York City based lighting designer with over a decade of experience in theatre, opera, and dance and special events. He joined the Cirque Mechanics family in 2015 on Birdhouse Factory and continued on to tour with Pedal Punk. Additionally, Joe has designed for Circus Juventas in St. Paul, MN, Bindlestiff Family Cirkus in NYC, and Circus Sarasota. His SF Bay Area designs include work with Ray of Light Theatre, Broadway By the Bay, Aurora Theatre and ACT. When not out on the road, Joe works at the NYC venues National Sawdust, The Box, and the Met Museum. He is a proud member of United Scenic Artists Local 829. Portfolio available at joedemilio.com