Meet the Night Owls
Craig Lewis has been fascinated with circus arts since he taught himself to juggle at age 10. He has since pursued training in aerial arts and juggling through San Francisco Circus Center, Aerial Space in Asheville, NC, and the Aerial Dance program at East Tennessee State University. In 2013, he founded Night Owl Circus Arts in Johnson City, TN, where he enjoys directing performances, and helping people of all fitness levels and backgrounds achieve their goals in circus arts. He has a degree in Digital Media from ETSU, and he is also the owner of Craig Lewis Weddings, where he works as a professional wedding DJ and MC.
Lauren Wirick has enjoyed performing on stage through dance, drama, singing, and playing instruments since the age of 6. Fulfilling her childhood dream of running away with the circus, she started training on aerial silks in 2010 through Anti-Gravity and Orlando Aerial Arts. Training under artist director, Jennifer Drabik Pierce, her aerial experience expanded through various art forms including lyra, cube, Spanish web, hammock, and aerial partnering and synchro acts in addition to aerial silks. She enjoyed teaching her love and passion in the aerial art form at Orlando Aerial Arts and performing through Suspended Artistry Performance Company professionally for community events, including Give Kids the World, Microsoft, Power-Gen International, and Red Chair Affair. She also enjoyed performing through dance with Central Florida Community Arts. Lauren continues her passion with teaching aerial choreography, lyra, and silks at Night Owl Circus Arts in classes. She loves character performances as well as deep emotional pieces that engage the crowd to feel what she is performing and invite them in to the story she is telling. Lauren has recently added acro yoga to her list of skills and hopes to incorporate this onto the stage as a beautiful art form.
Caitlin's love for aerial started from an Instagram post. She was so mesmerized by it that she instantly went to Google to find a studio in the area that taught aerial silks. She stumbled across Night Owl Circus arts where she signed up for her first class and was immediately hooked. Growing up she always wanted to be a ballerina but was never allowed to take classes. She loved the gracefulness of ballet dancers and envied it as a child. Her favorite thing about aerial is being able to complete complex moves and be graceful while doing them. Caitlin is a mother to two beautiful children: five-year-old Colt, and one-year-old Cora. She hopes they will one day take aerial classes too, and fall in love with aerial like she did. Caitlin works as an Administrative Assistant in the Division of Health Professions at Northeast State Community College.
Abby has been training in aerial arts for three years. She loves the challenge that silks provides for her body and mind. She has an associates degree in mathematics from Northeast State Community College. She received her RYT-200 Yoga Teacher Training in Johnson City in 2014, and RYT-500 in India in 2016. She teaches classes in aerial yoga, and paddle board yoga. In her spare time, she loves to travel and take new yoga classes. Abby lives at home with her husband, Chris, her four month old daughter Melanie, her dog, Mia, and her pig, Wilbur.
Rhianna Smith is a professional actor, dancer, and aerialist originally from Johnson City, TN. She recently completed the MFA in Physical Theatre with Accademia dell'Arte in Arezzo, Italy, and also holds the BA in Theatre Arts from Hollins University. Past professional credits include Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama, National Theatre for Children, Prairie Fire Children's Theatre, The Public Theatre, and Marin Shakespeare Company. International credits include residencies with FLIC Scuola di Circo in Torino, Famile Floz in Berlin, and Divaldo Continuo in the Czech Republic. She has also trained extensively in Aerial Silks practice and performance, primarily with Night Owl Circus Arts. Rhianna was the Artistic Director for Serendipity, and teaches flexibility and improvisational character development for aerialists.
Kayla is the true mother of dragons. She needed time off from her rein as Khaleesi so she became an aerial mermaid. Kayla started silks in 2016. No one has been able to stop her since. She previously took dance and cheered all through school. Kayla's favorite thing about performing is getting to take on new character's and costumes. She also enjoys her after performance celebrations with Kay Newell. Her main hobby other than silks is being a mermaid. The position to be the merman of her dreams is still available. She recently graduated with her bachelor's degree in social work from ETSU, and today she works as a Juvenile Probation Officer at the Johnson City Juvenile Court.
Danielle is eighteen years old. She has been doing aerial silks for almost three years now, and she's completely in love. The thing that drives her passion for silks the most is the physical challenge, but she also enjoy the mental challenge that comes when you're trying to put together a sequence. As a former competitive cheerleader, she learned that to push herself physically. Since growing out of cheer, silks has been the perfect thing to fill that void, and has given her something that she can look forward to doing for the rest of her life.
Wil began studying aerial arts after a friend recommended the classes after having taken a course in silks at their university. Having an interest in arts and athletics, he gave the classes a try in the beginning of summer of 2017. Wil finds technique, strength, and body awareness to be the most intriguing aspects of aerial arts but also the most difficult to master. Although he is new to aerial arts, Wil hopes to push his limits and be the best aerialist he can. Inspired by his instructors and fellow Night Owls, Wil encourages everyone to give aerials a try and be adventurous!
Megan Bordwine began aerial silks three years ago. She became interested in silks after seeing a circus as a little girl. She thought that the aerialists were amazing and wanted to be just like them. Years later an online search lead her to the Night Owl Circus and she absolutely loved it. Megan has been a cheerleader for eight years cheering on varsity, competition, and college levels. She is currently studying Music Education at Emory and Henry college.
Kay Newell has been a student and performer at Night Owl Circus Arts since 2015. Kay is a former Ballet student and amateur performer, and is also experienced in theatrical/dance costume design and construction. Kay has many fitness interests such as aerobics, strength training, general dance fitness, outdoor sports such as running, biking, hiking, and canoing, and she is a certified Zumba instructor. Kay became interested in Aerial Silks after being persuaded by a friend to take one beginner's class. That class led to many more classes and ultimately her participation in the Night Owl Circus and other NOCA performances.
Phil began his aerial training at the tender age of 60 after watching his daughter Suzanne perform several shows through ETSU and Azure Aerial Arts. He began his journey into the aerial world at Azure Aerial Arts in the summer of 2015, and has since branched out taking classes through ETSU and Night Owl Circus Arts. In addition to aerial arts, Phil has taken ballet since 1994. He currently takes classes with Centre for Performing Arts in Kingsport, and East Tennessee State University. Phil says that since he began drawing Social Security, his goal in ballet class is to "get worse slower." In addition to taking classes, he continues to perform in CPA's spring recital, Intercity Ballet's Nutcracker, ETSU Department of Theater and Dance Showcases, and Kingsport Ballet's Spring performance.
Kaitlyn took her first aerial class along with a few friends in June 2015 at Night Owl Circus Arts as a fun workout activity. Little did she know what a huge part of her life it would become! Today she has taken over 150 classes, and performed at many events with NOCA. Kaitlyn is a vegan, and she lives with her 115 pound Akita named Puhduka.
Jen was dragged kicking and complaining to her first dance class, but fell in love instantly, and has been dancing and practicing yoga ever since. She is the Director of Mountain Movers Dance Company, which has been the resident modern dance company at ETSU since 1982. She teaches aerial, modern and dance history at ETSU as adjunct faculty, works full time as a researcher in a Microbiology lab at Quillen College of Medicine, and is the owner of Azure Aerial Arts.
Jen holds a 200 hour certification in Yoga, has trained more than 300 hours with Shiva Rea in Vinyasa yoga techniques and philosophy, and has trained in Jayne Bernasconi’s method of aerial yoga. She has 40 years of experience studying, teaching and performing modern dance, and has a foundation teacher training certification in Aerial Fabrics with the New England Center for Circus Arts. She also has a Masters degree in pharmacology and toxicology, just for fun!
Jessica Miller is a veterinary receptionist from Kingsport, TN and owner of Violet Lane Soap Shop. She stumbled upon the aerial world while scrolling through Instagram and knew she had to try it. She was diagnosed with an anxiety/panic disorder at a young age and never quite found her niche. After just a few classes, she spread her wings and took flight. With the help of NOCA, she ran away with the circus and never looked back. Jessica's main aerial interests are silks and lyra while also doing partner work in both apparatuses. She spends her free time making bath products, Netflix binge-ing with her husband Will, and pretending to throw sticks in her backyard with her two woofers, Loofah and Ludo.
Drake Parrott is a senior at ETSU majoring in interdisciplinary studies in theatre and dance. Drake was introduced to aerial dance by Jen Kintner, and took to it like a bird to the sky! Drake is a member of Mountain Movers Dance Company, and regularly performs for various events throughout the area, including the Kingsport Busker Festival, Blue Plum, and many ETSU sponsored events. In addition to his training at ETSU and Azure, Drake has also studied at the American Dance Festival at Duke University, and at the Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder, CO, with many wonderful souls. He enjoys taking every possible opportunity to learn something new! Aerial fabric will always be his true love, but Drake loves to hang around on trapeze, lyra, and corde lisse as well, and enjoys teaching others how to love these pieces of equipment. He also loves to incorporate concepts of partnering and modern dance within his classes.
Valerie's first experience with aerial arts was in May 2015, after seeing an advertisement on Facebook. Having competed in road races both on foot and bike, as well as triathlons, aerial arts was far removed from any physical challenge she had ever attempted. Valerie soon determined aerial arts greatly improved her flexibility, while significantly improving upper body strength.
Married with two children, Valerie's family assumed her new circus antics were the result of a pre-midlife crisis. Ever supportive, her family has embraced and encouraged Valerie's aerial interests.
A science teacher by day, Valerie is also pursuing her doctorate in education from Carson Newman University.
Angela is a teacher and theatre artist from Arkansas. She holds a BA in drama and speech licensure from Harding University and is working toward her MA in communication and storytelling at East Tennessee State University. She only began training in aerial silks this year but has worked on numerous theatrical productions with Searcy Summer Dinner Theatre, Ozark Actors Theatre, and Dallas Theatre Center. She is beyond grateful for this chance to collaborate and combine her childhood love of mime with her newfound love of aerials.
Rebecca has always been interested in gymnastics, but didn't get the opportunity to take classes until October 2015. She has been attending weekly classes since then, and absolutely loves the diversity and challenge that the adult tumbling class offers. She currently has a BS in Sociology, and is working towards a Master's degree in Biology, studying circadian rhythms in cave spiders. She also works full-time at ETSU Quillen College of Medicine as an Anatomic Technician in the human gross anatomy lab. Hobbies include hiking, caving, and camping, as well as reading, and science.