Swing State Aerial Co-Owners
Swing State Aerial is a collaborative project between Mackenzie, Stephanie, Luella, and Isis, with contributions from our co-founder Karen and other aerial friends. Between us, we have 31 years of aerial experience, a dance degree, a fine arts degree, a masters in public health, massage therapy certification, dance and aerial teacher training, and a focus on creating community through aerial arts.
All Swing State Aerial instructors have trained with Nimble Arts and/or Born to Fly Teacher Training programs, maintain first aid/CPR certification and concussion training, and our classes take place in a facility and program that participates in the American Circus Educators Safety Program.
Luella joined Swing State Aerial in early 2018. Luella is a mesmerizing performer with a long background in modern dance - currently a company member with Li Chiao-Ping Dance, she has a BA in Dance from Beloit College and has performed with Frente de la Danza in Quito, Ecuador, Agnieszka Laska Dancers in Portland, OR and Kanopy Dance Company here in Madison. She has been training and performing aerial dance at the Madison Circus Space since 2011, whenever she isn't home with her 3 young children.
Along with being one of the midwest's foremost aerial performers (especially on corde lisse!), Luella is a talented solo, duo, and group choreographer, regularly producing stunning pieces featured in Skeleton Circus, Madison Circus Space Gala, Circus After Dark, and she produced and directed the empowering circus-themed V-Day show in 2017.
Luella will be focusing on offering family circus playdates and programming for families and children, as well as private lessons on rope and silks.
Stephanie began exploring different movement classes in 2010. She joined an intro to aerial arts class with Wild Rumpus Circus at the Goodman Center as part of this exploration, and fell in love. Stephanie expanded from trapeze into silks, lyra, rope, and pole. Beyond a love of flying, Stephanie found that circus offers a warm, supportive community that lifts up all its members. Stephanie began producing acts as a part of the Chiaroscuro Student Showcase with Cycropia Aerial Dance. Later that year, Madison Circus Space opened its doors, and allowed a venue for creative circus arts to really dream big. Stephanie along with Mackenzie and Isis was a founding director of the first Skeleton Circus, as well as Circus After Dark, The MishMash show, and Guerilla Gallery Night open houses. Stephanie has a special talent for PR and collaborative work, and her work with the community has produced incredible results both in individual acts (Stephanie’s silks trio “Crush” has been lauded as the best silks act yet produced in Madison) and in shows with ever-increasing popularity. With day-jobs in arts administration and public health, Stephanie is also very concerned with building community relationships, so that no one with a love of death-defying feats ever has to be turned away.
Stephanie is the person to contact if you wish to bring Swing State Aerial to your next event OR if you are interested in youth/preteen classes or private lessons. She has a regular youth class and loves bringing the joy of aerial to kids in the Madison area!
Mackenzie was bitten by the dance bug nearly at birth - starting with ballet and tap and expanding into modern dance, tumbling, musical theatre, and clowning. This passion then led to studies in Dance at Macalester College and Iowa State University, working with artists such as Alan Danielson, Laura Sanda, Janice Baker, and Vernon Windsor. One day during a dance class after moving to Madison, she wondered how she could fly on the trapezes looped to the State Street Studio ceiling, and when she started trapeze with Wild Rumpus Circus a few months later, a circus love was born.
Quickly expanding into silks, rope, pole, and custom apparatuses, Mackenzie soon began choreographing pieces and producing shows, beginning with the 2013 Chiaroscuro Student Showcase with Cycropia Aerial Dance. She also began assistant teaching with Wild Rumpus Circus and fell in love all over again, now with the joy of new students taking first flight. When Madison Circus Space opened, she jumped right in, directing, producing, and/or choreographing in shows like Skeleton Circus, Circus After Dark, V-Day, and Circus on TV and then becoming an aerial arts teacher. Focusing on technique over tricks, she strives to give each student a supportive, encouraging environment to shine.
Isis fell in love with dance trapeze in 2011 and has been taking classes, training, and performing regularly ever since, first with Cycropia and then at Madison Circus Space. Trapeze continues to be her main interest, although she has experience with aerial silks, lyra, and several other apparatus. Isis was fortunate to be introduced to aerial alongside several talented dancers who helped her blend aspects of modern dance into her aerial practice. The pieces she has collaborated on and danced in have sought to go beyond the traditional razzle-dazzle of circus arts to encompass a wide range of expression and style. Isis has also been a founding director of popular shows including Skelton Circus and Circus After Dark. Isis believes wholeheartedly in the inclusivity of circus and her driving philosophy is that aerial is for all bodies.
Jess comes from a background of music, modern dance, and aerial arts, beginning with Cycropia Aerial Dance and moving to Madison Circus Space when it first opened.
Jess co-choreographs, co-produces, co-owns, volunteers, and generally partners in SSA crime whenever we get up to a project. She's also the very best at making sure we stay on our training and conditioning programs and that we COUNT the music, danggit!!
Jess and her mesmerizing movement style can be seen almost anywhere Swing State is also performing. Don't miss it!