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 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.”
Joel Baker | Show Director, Clown. Joel Baker is a much-loved clown performing worldwide and a graduate of the San Francisco Circus Center and Clown Conservatory, where he began incorporating acrobatics, handstands, and chair balancing into physical comedy. Joel launched his career as an acrobatic clown in San Francisco’s legendary New Pickle Circus. For over six years, Joel was a key performer—and additionally served as an Artistic Coach—in the award-winning Cirque du Soleil show LOVE on the Las Vegas Strip. Joel performed main clown roles in SOAP (Chamäleon Theatre Berlin) and LOFT by The 7 Fingers (Les 7 Doigts de la Main). His various collaborations as a director include the Nevada Ballet Choreographer’s Showcase and the show ALIS in Italy. He has appeared on the national television shows "The Night that Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles" as well as “America’s Got Talent” and has performed under the direction of James Cameron in the film Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D. During the winter Variety season, you can find Joel performing in Europe with PALAZZO as the classic Bellhop who can’t stay out of trouble.
Samantha C. Baker | Technical and Creative Assistant Director. Samantha holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing and works to translate the poetry of life onto the page and stage. She performed nationally for acclaimed, San Francisco-based hula dance company Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu and wrote dance and theater reviews for Bay Area newspapers. Her love of—and international experience in—poetry, dance, theater, and translation contributes to the magic of the circus stage and behind the scenes.
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, 1987-1990. 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, WI. 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.”
Natasha Kaluza | Hula Hoops. Natasha is a multi-talented performer. She graduated with honors from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Theater Arts and followed up with a graduate year of dance studies. She completed the SF Circus Center Clown Conservatory program under Jeff Raz. Since 2003, she has been performing solo and ensemble works in theater, circus, music, and dance. Performance credits include Sweet Can Productions, Circus Bella, Pickle Circus School Tour, New Pickle Circus, San Francisco Circus Center, Flynn Creek Circus, Circus of Sound, New York Clown Festival, and more. She is also one–half of the award winning clown duo Coventry & Kaluza.
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.
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 11, 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 9, 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 6, 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 1, is just starting out!
Tumelo Michael Moloi | Gumboots Dance. Tumelo Michael Moloi was born in the notorious apartheid-era township of Katlehong, south-east of Johannesburg, South Africa. Displaying an amazing talent for sports, arts, and dance at a very young age, Michael had already begun his dance career by 16 years of age as a member of the highly-acclaimed South African dance company Via Katlehong. The troupe performed a mix of the street dance forms known as pantsula (South African town dance) and gumboot (mine workers). As the leader of this successful dance troupe, Michael toured all over South Africa and Europe, performing in France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Spain. Additionally, he designed the traditionally-inspired costumes for the Via Katlehong shows. As choreographer, Michael has created rhythmically intricate routines that incorporate the gumboot dances, which have their origins in the mines, and the traditional stamping, clapping dances known as ndlamu.
Circus Bella All-Star Band!
Ian Carey, Trumpet
Michael Pinkham, Percussion
Rob Reich, Accordion
Alisa Rose, Violin
Jonathan Seiberlich, Sousaphone
Greg Stephens, Trombone