Who We Are

We are a collection of educators, artists, athletes and circus performers who are totally dedicated to creating the best educational space available!


Katherine Tesch - Director, Youth Circus, Aerial Acrobatics, Balance

Katherine began her career as a dancer and joined the circus in 2006, spending the next 10 years as a circus performer.  During this time she also began developing her circus and dance education program. She has had the great opportunity to perform and train with a wide variety of companies all over the world giving her a well rounded and strong base to create the curriculum and program that The Circus Academy of Tucson uses. Some highlights are that she has trained and done workshops with Circo Picolino in Brazil, The New England Center for Circus Arts, Pilobolus, Streb and Air Dance Moscow. She is an active member of the American Circus Educators. Her favorite thing about teaching circus is watching children learn that through hard work and dedication the impossible becomes possible! 

Annie Mielke - Aerial Acrobatics

Annie Mielke has over 10 years of circus experience. She began training with Circus Juventus in Minnesota when she was 10 years old and joined Katherine when she moved to Arizona for college. She has performed with Katherine for the past 4 years and has been an integral part of her teaching and training team. She specializes in aerial acrobatics including aerial silks, Spanish web, lyra and trapeze. She also has a strong background in yoga and conditioning. 

Ariella Galdstein - Stretching, Contortion, Aerial Acrobatics, Balance

Ariella is a current PhD. candidate at the University of Arizona. She has been training aerial acrobatics with Katherine for the past 4 years and has become a talented aerialist through her dedication and training. Ariella has been a figure skater since she was very young and her unique background as an athlete gives her the perfect base to teach and design our stretching and contortion program. She is also a skilled tightrope walker.


Talia Troyo - Tumbling

Talia was a competitive gymnast though out her childhood and teenage years. She is currently a speech therapist, competitive ultimate frisbee player and silks student. Her excellent base in tumbling will allow her to take our advanced students tumbling skills to the next level!

Pierre Hicks - Juggling, Props, Unicycle

Pierre is currently a senior at the University of Arizona in the College of Optical Science. He grew up in San Francisco, California where he had the chance to train at the San Francisco Circus Center, one of the most prestigious schools in the country. There he was able to hone and develop his amazing juggling skills! He focuses on juggling balls, clubs, rings, diabolo, unicycling and slack lining. He also has training in contact juggling, trampoline, rola bola, walking globe, spinning plates and juggling sticks. 


Ryan Pieroni - Props, Poi, Diabolo

Ryan Pieroni is a Creative Writing Student at the University of Arizona and has been spinning poi and diabolo for six years. He hails from Atlanta, Georgia, where he performed with Milton High School's Theater Company and participated in their cirque style performances. This is where he originally began training in poi and diabolo. 

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Wes Crary - Advanced Aerial Conditioning, Partner Acro, Aerial Partnering

Wes trained with the Redland's Youth Circus from a young age and has been on Katherine's team for the past three years, becoming one of her most advanced students and performers. Wes's specialty is high-level conditioning and strength based skills, making him perfect to instruct Men's Aerial and Partnering. He is also a certified EMT and recent graduate of the Fire Fighter's Academy! 


Jorday Ruiz- Stretching, Contortion and Conditioning

Jordan has been training in contortion, dance and aerial acrobatics since she was a child. She has both her personal training and yoga teacher certification. She recently got a degree in visual art with a minor in early childhood education, making her a perfect fit for our programs. She is currently available for contortion training by private session only, email for availability.


Tran Thai- Handstands, Stretching, Conditioning, Aerial

Tran has a movement background in stretching and color guard, before joining us in 2013. She is also has a degree in music education from the University of Arizona and teaches in the Tucson school system. 


Laura Burghardt, Julia Fisher, Sam Garn, Ren Carter-Tucker, Isabel Vincent, Angelina Duarte, Joe Schlosser, Nola Millet and Olivia Rivera.

These talented ladies and gentlemen are our advanced students and interns. They bring their unique athletic and education backgrounds and talents to assist in all of our classes and help nurture our students development with more one on one in class instruction. 

In addition to our regular instructors we have guests that come through on a regular basis who include Rachel Walker of the National Circus School in Montreal, Cody Hayman (@circococo), Elena Sanders of the Zoppe Family Circus, Liam Halstead: box juggler extraordinaire and more!

Hiring! We are always looking for ways to strengthen out program! If you teach a skill we don't offer or have an idea for an awesome new class, always feel free to reach out with proposals and resumes! We are currently looking for a tumbling teacher. One of our goals is that this program will support three full time teachers/partners. If your passion is circus education and you have a goal to do that for the long term and live in one city, reach out, we'd love to talk about partnership opportunities. This person would have strong skills in juggling, acrobatics, tumbling or balance skills.