Abigail Munn | Co-Founder, Executive Director, Trapeze. Abigail is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, and aerialist. She holds a BFA in Modern Dance from UC Santa Barbara. She made her first appearance in the ring as a child with the Pickle Family Circus. She since has performed with Lone Star Circus, Zoppé Italian Family Circus, New Pickle Circus, Cabaret Verdelet, Circus Cabaret, Tease-O-Rama, Va Va Voom Room, and The Velvet Hammer Burlesque. Abigail was featured in the New York Times for Alma Esperanza Cunningham’s work “princess”. She also co-directs the nouveau-vaudeville troupe Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, three-time Best of the Bay winner. Internationally recognized, the Kitties were very influential in the modern Burlesque resurgence.
Rob Reich | Composer, Musical Director. As one of the city’s stalwart underground artists, Rob Reich is quintessentially what makes the San Francisco music scene a vibrant and vital mecca for independent music. Reich started studying piano at age three. After graduating with a degree in Music Composition from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, he moved to the Bay Area, where he discovered the accordion, now his primary instrument. He is best known for his work with Tin Hat, Gaucho, and Circus Bella. His recent album “Shadowbox” was described by Downbeat Magazine as “an elegant quintet date that moves effortlessly between post-bop, jazz Manouche, and chamber-rock.” Andy Gilbert of East Bay Express writes, “Whatever context he’s in, Reich transforms it into a creative hothouse where thousands of musical flowers bloom.”
Steve Smith | Ringleader. Steve Smith began as a clown with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1971 and went on to become that circus’s Goodwill Ambassador. He later was Dean of the Ringling Clown College for ten years and also served as director for the 123rd edition of “The Greatest Show on Earth”. Smith’s work with circus has been a constant theme throughout his career. From 2005 to 2010 he served as co-creator and director of four original productions for the Big Apple Circus, led the Krooze Komic Physical Clown program for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines for nine years, conceived and directed two original circus-themed shows for Chicago’s Goodman School of Drama Children’s Theatre, and in 2010 he was featured in the 6-hour television documentary “CIRCUS” which aired nationally on PBS. Before moving to San Francisco in 2014, Smith was Creative Director at the Circus Arts Conservatory in Sarasota, Florida. As a teacher, he has served on the faculty of The Theatre School at DePaul University and the Ringling School of Art & Design. Smith has conducted master classes in Physical Comedy around the world from Moscow to Australia, Japan to Spain, and Finland to Mexico, as well as at major universities and festivals throughout the United States. Most recently, he represented Circus Center teaching and speaking at the 50th Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. Smith is a five-time Emmy Award winner for his work in children’s television and a 1993 inductee into the Clown Hall of Fame. Smith has worked as a director and creative consultant for numerous clients, including Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, McDonald’s, Verizon Wireless, Walt Disney World, Chuck Jones Film Productions, The Reduced Shakespeare Co., Princess Cruise Lines, NBC-TV, CBS-TV, and many Off-Broadway theatre, cabaret, theme park, and film projects.
Sara Moore | Clown. Sara Moore is a beloved & award-winning clown, actor, director and filmmaker. She’s the director of San Francisco Circus Center’s Clown Conservatory where she effusively trains folks who are “the future of funny.” With over three decades of experience as a performer, director, teacher, and writer, her substantial body of creative work covers the full spectrum of clowning and spans multiple media, including the big top, casinos, film, off-broadway, and regional theater. She’s created work for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Krofft Puppets, Six Flags, and Merv Griffin’s Resorts where Mr. Griffin affectionately dubbed her “The new Fanny Brice.” She’s always devising one of her trademark Human Cartoon productions, which have included her ecstatically-reviewed one-woman show, Show Ho, and also Wunderworld, her fully-pantomimed retelling of the Alice adventure. Hailed by critics as a “21st century Pagliacci,” Moore continues to challenge our culture by reclaiming and defining clowning as the poetry of otherness, equal parts tenderness and hilarity, oopsiness and grace—humanity in high relief! Her newest production, The Supers, is being produced by Circus Center and opens at Z Space in San Francisco in the winter of 2020. She is excited and proud to be a part of Circus Bella!
Calvin Ku | Pole, Clown. From performing at the International WuQiao Circus Festival in China to clowning in Cirque De La Mer at Sea World, Calvin Ku continues to bring laughter to audiences show after show. Through the culmination of his many talents, Calvin performs his unique, theatrical comedy for various companies all over the Bay Area, such as, World Entertainment Services, Cedar Fairs, and the Medical Clown Project.
Dwoira Galilea | Contortion. Dwoira Galilea, a Coney Island native, trained in rhythmic gymnastics and graduated from the Performing Arts High School of NYC as a theater major. She specializes in contortion, aerial hoop, and tissu and has toured internationally with traditional and contemporary circus, cruise ships, night clubs, and corporate events.
Veronica Blair | Aerial Straps. Veronica started her acrobatic career at the age of 14 with Make*A*Circus and trained Chinese Acrobatics under Master Lu Yi with the San Francisco Youth Circus as well as since studied with some of the most celebrated and prominent artists in her field, including trapeze great LaNorma Fox, Ringling Bros. first African-American Aerialist Pa-Mela Hernandez, and the renowned “God Father of the Tissu” Gérard Fasoli of Centre National des Arts du Cirque (CNAC). Veronica was personally selected by Cedric Walker, the founder of Universoul Circus, as a single trapeze artist where she was resident aerialist for 5 years. Veronica has since performed with several other renowned groups and productions around the globe such as AntiGravity, Universal Studios Japan, and Warner Bros. Music. She has been a part of Germany’s most successful circus show, “AFRIKA! AFRIKA!” and was the lead aerialist in KAMAU’s “BooDha” music video with over 100k views on YouTube. Expanding her portfolio beyond performing, Veronica launched the development of “The Uncle Junior Project” in 2010. The ongoing documentary shines a light on the careers of African-American circus performers, including Emanual “Uncle Junior” Ruffin who remained largely uncredited for his contributions to American Circus until after his death.
Willem McGowen | Diablo. Willem graduated from l'École de Cirque de Québec in 2017. Since then he has performed with Chicago's Midnight Circus, Strut & Fret Production House, Circus Monti. He is very excited to be a part of Circus Bella's first ever winter spectacular! His high-risk and cross disciplinary act will wow jugglers, diaboloists, and dancers alike. In a world where so many diabolo acts look the same, Willem's is truly a breath of fresh air.
Carlo Gentile | Foot Juggling / Risley. Carlo has been teaching, directing, and performing circus for the past 15 years. He is a graduate of the San Francisco Circus Center’s Clown Conservatory and trained multiple times in China where he worked with his wife, Orlene, perfecting their foot juggling act. He has performed with the Royal Lichtenstein Circus as a clown, juggler, unicyclist, and diabolo artist. He has toured extensively with the Zoppé Italian Family Circus and has performed with St. Louis’ own Circus Flora. With Orlene, Carlo has served as Artistic Director of CircEsteem and the Chicago Youth Circus.
Orlene Gentile | Foot Juggling / Risley. Orlene has been singing and dancing since age three. She cut her teeth as a variety entertainer on the streets of India, Vietnam, and the back woods of Thailand. Orlene is a graduate of the San Francisco Circus Center’s Clown Conservatory and trained multiple times in China where she worked with her husband, Carlo, perfecting their foot juggling act. She has performed with Zoppé Italian Family Circus, Circus Monti, and at the Krystallpalast Varieté. With Carlo, she has served as Artistic Director of CircEsteem and the Chicago Youth Circus.
Gianluca “Gianni Magi” Gentile | Risley. Gianluca, age 12, is a clown and acrobat. He is inspired by the long history of acrobatic clown performers including Fumagalli and the Fuma Boys. He has studied trapeze, Chinese pole, tap, and ballet. Performance credits include the Zoppé Family Circus, El Circo Cheapo, CircEsteem, and the Chicago Youth Circus.
Giulia “Trixie Love” Gentile | Risley. Giulia, age 10, is an acrobat and aerialist. She has performed with the Zoppé Family Circus and other variety cabarets. Most recently she completed a training program for trapeze and other general circus arts at CircEsteem in Chicago. She enjoys painting, dancing, and spinning carpets.
Gioia Mei “Tatlo” Gentile | Risley. Gioia, age 7, started performing in the circus at the age of eight weeks with the Zoppé Family Circus. She’s had a love of performing ever since. Currently she’s training as a risley flyer and developing her headstands and handstands.
Giuseppina "Guisi" Gentile | Risley. Giusi, at age 2, is just starting out!
***** CHECK BACK SOON for NEW CAST UPDATES! *****
Circus Bella All-Star Band!
Ian Carey | Trumpet
Michael Pinkham | Percussion
Rob Reich | Accordion
Alisa Rose | Violin
Jonathan Seiberlich | Sousaphone
Kasey Knudsen | Saxophone
OUR FABULOUS PRODUCTION TEAM!
Christina Weiland | Costume Designer. Christina began costuming as a circus aerialist, creating her own costumes for performance, and teaching herself the fundamentals of pattern making so that she could create whatever she imagined. Soon, other circus artists began commissioning her to make their costumes. Since then, she has been led down various paths, including musical theater, ballroom dance, ballet, opera, and even science, collaborating with the Academy of Sciences to provide costumes and props for their educational programs. She has furthered her education by studying pattern-making at Apparel Arts and has been learning about all aspects of the fashion industry. She has worked in the professional costume shops of Teatro ZinZanni, A.C.T, and Berkeley Rep, and she is also part of Berkeley Rep’s wardrobe crew. Christina is constantly seeking new challenges to grow as an artist and is delighted to return to her roots with Circus Bella.
Judy Finelli | Juggling Director. Judy Finelli co-founded the San Francisco School for Circus Arts (now Circus Center) in 1984. She was the Artistic Director of the Pickle Family Circus from 1987 to 1990. She received a BFA in Theatre, Film, and Television from NYU School of the Arts in 1970. She was the photographer for Circus Techniques (1976) by Hovey Burgess. Judy has performed in the Electric Circus, at Carnegie Hall, the Theatre for the New City, and taught at the 1974 International Mime Festival at La Crosse, Wisconsin. Other circus credits include Circus Vargas and the Pickle Family Circus. TV credits include “To Tell the Truth,” “Sesame Street,” the “Mike Douglas Show,” and a PFC documentary. She appeared as a physical comedian in Robert Altman’s “Popeye.” She taught at NYU School of the Arts, Juilliard Drama, A.C.T. SF Summer Training Congress, The National Theatre School of Canada, Dell ‘Arte School of Mime and Comedy, National Theatre of the Deaf, Ringling Clown College, and the SF Clown Conservatory. In 1973, she became the first and only female president of the International Jugglers’ Association. Currently, Judy serves as the West Coast Correspondent for Spectacle magazine. She teaches juggling and object manipulation at Sons of Cayuga Circus Studios. She is the subject of Lisa Denker’s forthcoming documentary, “Still Me.”
Suzanne Santos | Production Director. Suzanne Santos has been performing in theaters and circuses for 20 years. As an actor, Suzanne toured internationally with the award winning production of Corpus Christi. As a clown, her credits include Circus Couture, The Pickle Family Circus School Tour, The New York Clown Festival, Clowns Without Borders, El Circo Cheapo Cabaret, and Le Carnaval Carmagnole. She has also had the privilege of writing, creating, and directing for Dell'Arte Youth Academy, Prescott Circus, CircEsteem, SANCA, Aloft, and Circus Smirkus' Road Show in Vermont. She has worked for Equestre Zoppé with The Zoppé Family Circus as a member of the horse department. She has also worked as an administrator, supervisor, and production manager with many of these organizations. She is delighted to be working back in San Francisco with Circus Bella!
David Hunt | Co-founder, Artistic Consultant. David brings more than 20 years of professional experience in performance and arts administration to the Circus Bella Ring. He holds a BA from Hampshire College and was co-founder of the New Orleans School of Circus Acts where he directed and coached adults and youth. He worked with at-risk youth in a Cirque du Soleil program, served on the Board of Directors of the American Youth Circus Organization, and is currently the Executive Director for Prescott Circus Theatre. His performance work includes slack rope and juggling acts with the Zoppé Italian Family Circus, the New Pickle Circus, and Velocity Circus. On film, his slack rope work was featured in Water for Elephants.
Thomas Munn | Set Design
Kurt Landisman | Lighting Design
Tent Boss | Oliver Ramos
George Slavik | Graphic Design
Rachel Howard | Marketing
Evette Davis | Public Relations