Alissa’s childhood near Chicago was spent throwing herself out of her playpen, climbing any tree she could find, dancing, flipping, and walking on her hands. For her BFA thesis she painted expansive oil paintings of the constructed and deconstructed landscape. Exploring the constant flux of our shared landscape and our place in these repeated cycles of digging, building, tearing down, and reemerging. She felt constrained by traditional art materials and exhibition space and had an instinctive urge toward movement. She first became interested in circus arts through relationships she made while backpacking in South America, meeting musicians and acrobats that transcended the barriers of language. When she committed to developing as an acrobat and aerialist; she met fear, vulnerability, and empowerment, which exposed unknown layers of herself and she was hooked.
She set out on her first tour with Aerial Angels, performing street shows and busking festivals in US and Canada under the alias Squirt. Later, she fine-tuned her technique in trapeze and hand balance with coaches Aimee Hancock (cirque Eloize) and Sellam El Ouahabi at the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA). Alissa gained further experience on stage with Nimble Arts, Boston Circus Guild, Girls on Trapeze, and Aerial Experience in theatrical collaborations and corporate events. One highlight includes travelling to South Korea and performing at the World Expo, in a multimedia show with Samsung for a four-month duration.
Alissa enjoys both solo and ensemble based work. In 2011, she co-created and choreographed a full-length show during a summer residency with Wise Fool at the Peñasco Theater in New Mexico. In 2013, she was part of SHOW circus studio’s production of Valve, a steam punk circus show. In addition, Alissa was invited to perform her solo trapeze act at Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival in 2013, and won “Best Artistic” at Aerial Arts Festival in Denver, Colorado. While living in Germany for the past three years, she has continued to pursue dance and has been a part of Czerner Dance Academy productions in a variety of roles in musical theater such as Cats and Chicago, as well as, modern and aerial dance.
Alissa further enjoys sharing her love of acrobatic arts in a teaching and coaching capacity. Throughout the years, she has uplifted both adults and children to expand their aerial and acrobatics skills in summer camps with Circus Smirkus, Circus Minimus, and Circus yoga, in addition to recreational courses for adults. She has gained knowledge of her craft through teacher trainings with NECCA and Paper Doll Militia and is aspiring to grow as a teacher, mentor and coach.
Alissa dives deep into the creative process and immerses herself fully into a project. Like in painting, she finds joy in hours of mixing paint and the discovery of color. Each brush stroke is like a dance, and it is these pieces that you cannot define, that build the richness of a story. Like in theater and circus, she believes this is where the magic happens.