Our Coaches

Our Coaches & Counselors

Smirkus Camp coaches and counselors are experienced circus professionals trained in a variety of disciplines. These coaches will train campers in juggling, aerials, balance, acrobatics, and clowning. Click on their photo for a brief bio.​​


Andrew Kaefer
Andrew is a 19 year old juggler living in New York City. He has been doing circus for 9 years. He toured with Circus Smirkus in 2017 and 2018. Currently he is studying footwear and accessories design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He also owns a vintage clothing business. Andrew loves all things circus and creative.

Maia Castro-Santos
Maia is a hula hooper and aerialist, specializing in lyra and invented apparatus, from Gill, MA. She grew up going to circus summer camps at the New England Center for Circus Arts and Circus Smirkus where her love for the eccentric circus community and adrenaline rush of performing began. She started training aerials at NECCA and teaching herself hula hoops from Youtube tutorials at the age of 10. She was a Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour trouper for 3 years where she performed hula hoops, lyra, silks, rope, aerial chair, aerial chandelier, and aerial cylinder. Now she attends Columbia University in New York City where she is the Vice President of the Columbia Circus Collective and will be taking on the role of President next fall. Her passions outside of the circus ring include visual arts, songwriting, video production, cuddling her cats, and spontaneously attending punk and metal concerts!

Izzi Kessner
Izzi is a circus artist and aerialist from Los Angeles. They have trained and performed circus for seven years, and coached circus for three. Izzi enjoys creating videos for the internet which combine their love of circus and their lgbt identity. In their free time, they teach their cat trapeze, read poetry, and drink objectively too much boba tea.

Georgie Johnson
Georgie is a circus artist, dancer, and choreographer. Starting circus arts in 2010, she has studied movement arts at New England Center for Circus Arts, Oberlin College, L’Accademia Dell’Arte and Scuola Circo FLIC. In addition to circus arts, Johnson has shaped her passion for moving by learning a myriad of forms and techniques, including contact improvisation, flamenco, capoeira angola, contemporary dance and physical theater. Over the span of her career she has choreographed and performed solo dance trapeze, engaged in collaborative projects and immersive installations, and devised and directed evening length works for the stage and film. She currently lives in Torino, Italy where she is further developing and refining her training as a circus artist. 

Glenna Broderick
Glenna didn’t start out this way. As a shy college freshman they fell in with the school’s circus club, the Surrealist Training Circus, where they discovered a knack for clowning, learned to dance on stilts and all manner of other absurdities.

Craving athleticism and humor in performative movement, Glenna went to circus school at NECCA in 2009 knowing very little about what they were getting into. The world now has an accidental clown and purposeful aerialist who’s just trying to make art sometimes.

Glenna loves trapeze, rope and partner acro the most, but delights in being a circus generalist. They have lived and taught in New Orleans and Philadelphia, but since 2020, Glenna has lived in Chicago, making street shows and laughing a lot with La Vuelta Ensemble. This will be Glenna’s seventh summer coaching at Smirkus, where they have taught in aerial, clowning and directed two summers of Road Show. 

Tyler Jacobson
Tyler began training circus with the Great Y Circus in 2006. Since then, he has developed proficiency in a wide range of acrobatic disciplines, including handbalancing, contortion, diabolo, hula hoops, aerial hoop, and aerial silks. Tyler has been able to put these talents to use across the United States on the national tour of Pippin (2017), Cirque Dreams Holidaze (2021), and other productions. As a coach, Tyler specializes in breaking complex skills down into manageable progressions. His greatest joy is watching his students grow in confidence through learning circus arts. 

Joel Baker 
Joel is a professional performer, circus arts coach, and director, with over two decades of industry experience. After graduating from San Francisco’s Circus Center and their Clown Conservatory program in 2002, Joel launched his career as an acrobatic clown by joining the legendary San Francisco New Pickle Circus. Joel went on to perform in shows across the globe including LOFT by The 7 Fingers and the award- winning Cirque du Soleil production, The Beatles LOVE, the latter with an additional role as Artistic Coach.

Joel’s passion and enthusiasm for teaching eventually drove him to design the Physical Comedy & Connection Workshop. It’s here that he delves into his creative toolbox, helping students of all levels explore what makes them unique and interesting. This emotional exploration allows artists to develop a sense of wonder, humor, and a genuine connection with the audience.

When Joel isn’t busy teaching or performing on stage, he spends his time illustrating his fellow circus performers— each show Joel performs in becomes a new painting in a series of watercolors.

Sarah Norden
Sarah is an aerial hoop artist and occasional dancer/clown/choreographer/writer from Yarmouth, Maine. She is currently a student at École Nationale de Cirque, but is also a recent graduate of Wesleyan University, where she studied Science and Technology Studies, Dance, and Environmental Studies. Her interests include circus dramaturgy, the intersection of art, queerness, environmentalism and fun, and caring for her new kitten.

Will Borges
Will is 21 years old and grew up on Long Island New York. He has been doing circus for nearly 10 years and specializes in aerial straps, hat juggling, and hoop diving. He currently attends the National Circus School in Montreal and will be starting his final year this fall. Besides circus William loves playing guitar, skate boarding, and most recently, spending time with his pet rat Jeremy. 


Ali Bottari
Hi! My name is Ali and I have been jump roping for 15 years. Up until about a year ago I only knew jump rope as a competitive sport, but I was given the chance to perform at SeaWorld Orlando with WeFlip Entertainment and haven’t looked back since! From there I joined the Cirque Dreams Holidaze 2022 tour, performed at this year’s Cirque Us Benefit Show, and most recently jumped at Disney’s Boardwalk. I am extremely excited to be a counselor at Circus Smirkus camp this summer, and I can’t wait to meet everyone!

Alevia Doyle
This summer will be Alevia’s second summer as a counselor at Circus Smirkus Camp. Before her own circus stint, she spent many years watching her brother in the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour, immersed in the circus world in her own way. Her experience at camp last year has her eagerly anticipating returning to Greensboro. 

When she’s not picking up new circus skills around camp, Alevia attends Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, where she’s studying economics with a minor in German. Alevia’s favorite parts of camp include, gold rush, dinner dress-ups, and meeting the awesome campers, coaches and other counselors. Some fun facts about Alevia: she once met a cat with thumbs, she loves mayonnaise and will happily eat a slice of bread with it as the sole topping, she learned how to juggle last year, and can wiggle her ears. This year, Alevia will be at Smirkus Camp for sessions four and five.

Avery Gunnell
I’m Avery! I’m 19 years old! I’m currently working at a daycare and traveling around to jump rope! I’ve been doing jump rope for around 7 years now! Doing shows / halftimes! I’ve competed nationally and world wide!! I Recently did a tour with cirque dreams holidaze and shortly after did the benefit show with cirque us, and I cant wait for Smirkus!!

Hilary Packard
This will be Hilary’s third year working at Circus Smirkus Camp. Before working as a counselor they attended Smirkus since they were eight years old! While not at Smirkus each summer they attend University of Toronto, in Toronto Canada, studying Architecture and Critical Equity Studies. They often can be found photographing various events in Toronto or exploring local coffee and bookshops.  Hilary can’t wait to spend all summer meeting new campers, reunite with those returning, play all the camp games, and have as much fun as possible!

Maeve Beck
Maeve is from Turners Falls, Massachusetts where she began her circus journey at nine years old at the New England Center for Circus Arts. Maeve has trained full time in NECCA’s ProTrack program and at The Sellam Circus School in the professional training program. She specializes as a hand to hand flyer and is also a contortionist and hand balancer. She has traveled and performed throughout the country with companies including Live 305 Entertainment, Santa’s Circus at SeaWorld in San Diego and is a cast member of Cirque Us’ RagTag. This will be Maeve’s second year as a counselor at Circus Smirkus Camp and she’s so excited to be returning this summer!

Spencer Hovel
Hello! My name is Spencer and this will be my second year as a counselor at Smirkus Camp. I am from Andover Massachusetts and I am studying communications and film studies at UMass Amherst. I have a lot of hobbies: I am a freerunning and tricking athlete, skier, longboard dancer, juggler, frisbee enthusiast, and I play guitar. I was first introduced to the wonderful world of Smirkus in 2016 when my family took me to see Up, Hup, and Away. Since then Smirkus has been my most favorite way to spend the summer. If you are my camper you can expect a lot of throwing the frisbee, music, smiles, general goofiness, and enjoying the day to day Vermont weather, whatever it may be! I am itching with excitement to meet you all and I cannot wait to make great Smirkus memories together this summer!