MARIA BERNHARD     Principal-Founder-Teacher


Since 2002, Maria Bernhard has been a highly-respected and well known Pilates teacher in Claremont and its surrounding communities.  For three years, she owned Pilates Bodies, a popular studio she managed out of her house in Claremont.  She has taught at two very popular local studios, as well at Scripps College, and does regular workshops at the nearby University of La Verne.  Maria’s clients range from ages 12 to 85, and have included professional boxers, competitive ice skaters, ballerinas, expectant and new mothers, as well as severe scoliosis patients, people with MS, fibromyalgia, cerebral palsy, osteoporosis, and different strains of arthritis. Maria utilizes her creative background in dance, circus arts, and theatre to keep her Pilates work fresh, exciting, and challenging.  

    Maria holds certificates of teacher training completion from Long Beach Dance Conditioning (with Marie Jose Blom-Lawrence), as well as a B.A. from Pitzer College of the Claremont Colleges (Theatre).  She recently received her Fly Gym Teaching Certificate as well.  Maria also has two teenage boys and highly recommends doing Pilates during pregnancy!

    Maria has always loved movement, she danced with The Eugene Ballet Company as well as Inland Pacific Ballet, and also studied Flamenco and modern dance.  Her fascination with the circus inspired her to leave grad school in London to become a street performer.  Dancing on stilts, juggling fire, and doing flying trapeze work, she traveled throughout Europe ending with a brief stint in the punk French circus Archaos.  In 2012, she created SpinCircus which performs full aerial shows for kids and adults at the studio.  In 2014, she created the aerial troupe Flying Foxxes, which performs locally, mainly showcasing the teachers from her studio.

Nichoel Ann
Master Aerial Teacher &
Aerial Program Director

Nichoel has been dancing her whole life.  She began intensive Aerial training under our former Master Teacher, Erynn Richardson in 2011, and soon after began teacher apprenticing, and now she not only teaches a full class load of her own, but she has single-handedly transformed our Kids Aerial Program.   She adores the Silks and Hoop as well as Static Trapeze.   She is a breathtaking aerial performer, and is thrilled to share her deep love of aerial with everyone who is willing to try.  She has performed with our studio as well as in Venice for their ARTwalks, and performs monthly at the DA Gallery in Pomona.  She is a Certified FlyGym Instructor as well, and also teachers our Flexibility Class. Nichoel trains and certifies all of our incoming teachers through our Teacher Training Certification Program.

On the side, she does a lot of spiritual work (she even does Tarot Readings) and loves extending a hand to others.  She is thrilled to combine her passion of helping others with teaching others the aerial arts.  She loves the fact that her job here consists of hanging upside down!   She is an inventive and very talented choreographer and has choreographed the last five of our Kids Spin Circus shows.

Alex Godinez

 Pole Teacher



ALEX  has been dancing in various styles since she was 3.  She attended the Orange County High School of the Arts in the Commercial Dance Department.  Since then she discovered her passion for pole dancing, and practices her technique every day.  She loves the diversity of pole styles and the empowerment that comes with it.  Her spirit is contagious and she looks forward to sharing this with her students.  She is also a certified personal instructor and fitness instructor and is a fitness coach locally.  


Tracie Sokoloff

Aerial Level 1

TRACIE SOKOLOFF - Is a Ceritifed Yoga Teacher, holds a certificate as an Aerial Yoga Teacher, and has a lifelong history of dance, musical theatre, and performance art.  She teaches Aerial Yoga and Circus Workout and is also available for private aerial instruction on all of our equipment.  When she is not teaching and performing, she is also a counselor, with her Masters in Psychology.

Victoria May


Aerial Yoga

Liquid Motion

Pilates Mat

VICTORIA MAY - Has received her Aerial Yoga training through our studio and is a very kind and gentle teacher, infusing her aerial classes with her certification in the movement technique Liquid Motion. She is also a certified Pilates Mat Teacher.

Shelby Becker

Kids Level 1

Kids/Teens Level 2

Shelby began training at The Circus Studio in 2012 under Program Director Nichoel Ann. In years since, Shelby has performed in a variety of venues including the dA Center for the Arts, the Claremont Artwalks, and many of The Circus Studio’s productions including Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Narnia. She loves connecting with individuals of similar interests and sharing her passion with others through performing and teaching Aerial Circus. Shelby is a very thorough and methodic teacher, paying close attention to her students every move.  She loves circus and is veryloved by her students!

Emma Milner


Kids Level 1

Little Monkeys

Emma has been attending our aerial classes and performing in countless show here at the studio since 2013.  She is an amazing contortionist in the air, and has participated in many shows including the DA Gallery, Claremont ARTwalk, and has been teaching our Kids 1 classes since 2019.  She loves Aerial and it brings her so much joy to share her love of circus with others!  Emma is fantastic with kids of all ages, but her favorites are the Little Monkeys.  Her energy outlasts them all!

Kayla McKay

Kids Level 1

Aerial Level 1

Kayla has been training with us since 2014.  She has joined us in multiple shows here and at a local park. Although she is juggling college and extracurriculars, she always makes time for circus.  She loves Aerial Silks, Lyra, and Static Trapeze!

Zarah Carter
 Aerial Level 2 
Kids Aerial Level 1 

ZARAH received her entire Aerial Teacher Training from our studio in 2014 and is an amazing aerial performer.  She performs regularly with our troupe and is a vibrant, encouraging, and highly skilled instructor!  Zarah has been teaching with us since 2015, as our primary Aerial Silks instructor, as well as one of our Kids Aerial instructors.  Her tireless enthusiasm is highly inspiring and contagious.

Justine Chang
Aerial Level 1
Pole Dance

JUSTINE CHANG - Is a Certified Pole Dance Teacher and also holds her certificate as an Aerial Yoga Teacher.  She has been taking classes with us tirelessly until we finally trained her and hired her as an instructor. She teaches Aerial Yoga , Circus Workout, Pole Foundations, & Circus Bootcamp.  

Tamara Teragawa


Aerial Level 1

Tamara graduated from California State University of Fullerton with a BA in Dance and a BA in Communications. She is a 500hr register yoga instructor with certifications in power vinyasa, aerial yoga, restorative yoga, yin yoga, senior yoga, chair yoga and children’s yoga. Her movement background comes not only from dance, yoga and aerial fitness, but a variety of sports ranging from tennis, track and basketball, which she played competitively since age 4. Tamara is currently a company member of DIAVOLO: Architecture in Motion and performs and teaches with the company. 

TREVOR bio pix.JPG
Trevor Helms


Little Monkeys

Aerial Level 1

Trevor is a graduate of the contemporary dance program at the University of North Carolina. He has also trained and performed in New York and abroad at the University of Malta. He received his BFA in Dance and Choreography in 2015, and has since danced in several NC-based dance companies including ShaLeigh Dance Works and Lauren Kearns Dance Project. He has appeared in numerous performances including musicals aboard Carnival Cruise Line. He has choreographed works for emerging artists' concerts and hosted his own work in multiple local NC showcases.  He recently relocated to California this year to continue performing and teaching. He teaches gymnastics, tumbling, and dance as well as Aerial Circus Classes!

Vanessa Garnica


Kids Level 1

Aerial Level 1

VANESSA GARNICA is a certified Pilates Teacher, Aerial Yoga instructor, as well as a certified Level 1 Kids and Adults Aerial Teacher.  Vanessa is an intense performer and has been in theatre and dance her whole life.  She is obsessed with all things fitness, and has recently begun competing in the bodybuilding world!  

Angela  Rodriguez


Teens Level 1

Aerial Level 1

From surfing to skateboarding, zip lining to downhill skating competitively since age 15, Angela has always been active.  Angela has been a hip-hop dancer since she was 10, she also has 10 years Pole Dance experience.  She fell in love with aerial a few years ago and is now obsessed with it.  She loves helping people believe in themselves, even when they are doing something 'as crazy as aerial!' She was born and raised in LA and has one daughter.



Pole Dance

Brisa studied Ballet professionally for many years before discovering her love of Pole Dancing.  She has been teaching Pole for 2 years at our studio, as well as performing aerial and ballet in our performances.  She is a highly technical teacher, and also very encouraging and fun.

Madison McKinney


Kids Level 1

Little Monkeys

Aerial Level 1

Madison has been with us since 2012, starting her aerial training as a young student.  She has blossomed into a gorgeous performer and detail-oriented teacher, under the tutelage of Nichoel Ann.  She apprenticed in Kids Levels 1 and 2, when she was a Level 3 student and now teaches her own Kids Level 1 class, and occasionally substitutes as the teacher for Kids/Teens Level 2.  

She loves creating choreography, especially on the Aerial Hoop.  

She has performed in every one of our Youth Performances as well as our recent Adult Performances.