Elizabeth Burris, Founder/Co-Organizer
Elizabeth Burris founded the Capital Flight Festival in 2014 with the help of her two good friends, Jennifer Leisch and Justin Blazejewski. Her vision for the festival was to provide AcroYoga training and play opportunities for her friends in Washington DC and to celebrate the practice that brought them together. She is currently a certified Los Angeles-based Yoga & AcroYoga Level 2 teacher, and AYFit Trainer. She has 14 years of studying yoga from Vinyasa to Ashtanga, and 7 years of practicing AcroYoga. She has had the privilege of being a White House Yoga Ambassador, taught workshops for Reebok and Lululemon, lead classes at Divine Play, the largest AcroYoga festival in the world, and holds retreats world-wide. As an instructor, Elizabeth focuses on community building and strives to hold space for others to shine. She has a zest for life and believes that AcroYoga brings the playful kid out of everyone. With some trust and an upside down time, life just seems a little lighter and all around more fun! Website: elizabethburris.com and Instagram: @acrogoddess
Justin Blazejewski, Co-Organizer
Justin began practicing yoga to help with a back injury he received while serving in the Marine Corps. He quickly realized the physical benefits of yoga when his back pain disappeared completely. After months of diving into a daily yoga practice, Justin then attended a yoga/kirtan retreat in Bali with Alanna Kaivalya and Dave Stringer that was the turning point in his spiritual practice. Soon after Justin found his guru Sri Dharma Mittra and immediately enrolled in the “DMY Life of a Yogi” teacher training in NYC to deepen his practice. Justin is a RTY-200 and 800 hour certified Dharma Mittra Yoga teacher and is grateful to teach in the spirit of his guru. After 5 years of teaching yoga Justin found an unexpected playfulness and personal healing in Acro Yoga. After several immersions Justin attended the Acro Yoga Teacher Training program in Australia where he earned his Acro Yoga Teaching certification. He now hopes to spread and cultivate the playful and therapeutic aspects Acro Yoga to everyone. Justin’s classes consist of the Dharma’s or Acro Yoga asana sequences, acrobatic, therapeutics, Thai massage, pranayama, mediation, and Yoga Nidra.
Adi has been a life long student of practicing yoga off the mat in all shapes and forms especially when it involves being outdoors. Her passion for movement and the environment have taken her on countless adventures around the world and she currently travels and teaches as part of the YogaSlackers & created the Redefining Balance series and retreats to share the modalities of shifting perspective through yoga, slacklining, AcroYoga, climbing, surfing, mountain biking and just about anything else you can think to do on the Earth’s terrain. Traveling & teaching often times with her car as a home base, you can find her somewhere in the vicinity of an ocean, climb site, mountain or legit climbing tree as she works with students on and off the mat to discover a new sense of balance, strength and focus in whatever their form of practice might be.
Candace O'Neil Cihocki
Candace O'Neil Cihocki is an Acro Revolution teacher, who works in the entertainment industry and also teaches Vinyasa Yoga, Barre, pilates and Acrobatics! She is a trained dancer, actor, and director. Her knowledge covers not only the dynamic movement arts, but expands into performance creation, developement, anatomy, Thai Yoga Massage and yoga therapeutics. She loves to train hard, laugh and spin all the ways.
Lauren Clausen is a certified AcroYoga teacher currently based in Boston, MA. Lauren fell in love with AcroYoga at first flight and continues to be inspired by the elements of connection, trust, and joy that are the framework of the practice. When she is not in the air and has no one on her feet, Lauren can likely be found by the sea or in the mountains.
Joy Chen and Ben Klein
Joy Chen & Ben Klein are NYC based acrobatic teachers and performers trained in the Dutch style of partner acrobatics by Niko Douwes. With an extensive background in dance and yoga, Joy now teaches 15+ popular acrobatics, conditioning & yoga classes a week at Warrior Bridge & Brooklyn Boulders gyms in NYC and at workshops and festivals around the country with Ben Klein. The duo emphasizes mastering basic skills and specialize in teaching standing duo and trio acrobatics and also enjoy organizing acro retreats. Ben is a talented musician and Joy owns the cutest cat in the world Donut. Website: www.stronglikejoy.com , Instagram @stronglikejoy
Lori Flower is the founder of Karmic Connection Yoga, part of a living, breathing movement which promotes healing through conscious and creative connection. She is a mother, naturalist, & Yoga instructor with 15 years’ teaching experience. Certified in AcroYoga MTL in 2011, Lori pioneered a community of AcroYoga practice in Vermont and has supported the growth of AcroYoga around New England. Lori is strong as a base as well as a flyer, despite her 100 lb. stature, and this has given her the freedom to develop Acro relationships with a wide range of people. While Lori is super happy upside down and learning hot new tricks, her true gifts are expressed through holding powerful, nurturing space where people feel safe playing together, investigating self-discovery, and exploring human interrelationship. www.karmiconnection.com
Elise Foster, Co-Organizer
In 2011, Elise "flew" for the first time and immediately fell in love with AcroYoga. Like nothing else she has experienced, AcroYoga has the ability to transform lives. As an AcroYoga teacher, Elise aims to bring the joy, power and healing energy that AcroYoga brought into her life to others.
In April of 2014, Elise began performing with her good friend and fellow teacher, Dean Hively, in an acro-burlesque duo. Acrolesque has performed dozens of shows in the DC area, as well as at Burning Man, Divine Play Festival, and as roving performers at Beats Antique's Creature Carnival.
In April of 2014, Elise began performing with her good friend and fellow teacher, Dean Hively, in a. Lili is a Certified Level I teacher of AcroYoga. She has studied AcroYoga for four years, and yoga since 2001. AcroYoga combines the mindfulness and self-awareness of yoga within the context of a community. Individuals explore human emotions and connections through play. Through acrobatics and THai massage we develop sensitivity and break boundaries with the support of others. Lili believes that this practice is a catalyst for personal transformation. Her aim is to create a safespace for this to occur and ultimately; "To empower life change and inspire connection through joyful lay and healing love."
Dean teaches AcroYoga in D.C. and has been practicing this lovely sport for about 5 years, prior to which his movement of choice was kung fu and dance. IN 2014 he and Elise began performing as Acrolesque. By day a scientist, he has a laid back and positive approach to life and teaching. His classes emphasize safety, form, and the energetics of partnership, and his goal is to promote joy, amazement, and comfort in community.
Shana Hornstein has been practicing yoga since 2001. She completed teacher training and started teaching yoga in 2006. In 2008, she discovered Acro Yoga and loved how it informed her individual yoga practice as well as the amazing community of friends she met through this new partner practice. In 2012, Shana completed Acro Yoga teacher training in Montreal. Shana has studied with Jason and Chelsey Magness (Yogaslackers), Lux Sternstein (Seattleacro), Jessie Goldberg and Eugene Poku (AcroYoga Montreal), among others. She has taught AcroYoga in Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, Orlando and Melbourne Florida, Capital Flight Festival and the Dutch Acrobatic Convention. She currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and can often be found upside down on someone's feet.
Amy Impellizzeri is a force of movement and fitness. She is the co-developer of AYfit and its lead trainer, teaching courses internationally. Continuously inspired to train larger and more diverse audiences, Amy has taken AYfit to global locales such as Kenya, Thailand, Australia, Europe& the United States. Amy is an AcroYoga® Immersion & Level II Teacher, a Core Conditioning Teacher, an Acro Rev Teacher and NASM-CPT. She taught dance for 26 years, including 10 years at the University of Oregon as full-time faculty. She presents regularly at Conferences & festivals in her nurturing, challenging, & fun style. www.amyiacro.com fb: amyiacro, twitter: amyiacr, IG: @amyiacro
Alexandra Joy & Jeremy Day
Alex is a Certified Level 2 AcroYoga instructor and RYT-200. As part yogi, part acrobat and part psychotherapist, Alex endeavors to assist her students in experiencing individual and relational growth through movement and divine play. Jeremy is a RYT-200 and experienced AcroYoga instructor. As a long time rock climbing and surfing teacher, Jeremy utilizes his knowledge of the physical and spiritual bodies to design and offer classes that will enhance both your mind and body. Together, Jeremy and Alex are passionate about helping students increase their fitness while making meaningful connections, enhancing their sense of community and having fun.
"Drstadharmasukhavihari" (living happily in the present moment) Bassam Kubba has lived on three different continents and has worn many professional hats: computer programmer, professional climber, yoga teacher and acrobatic performer. He has finally settled down in NYC as a Vinyasa Yoga, AcroYoga, and Thai bodywork teacher. He most recently performed at Crystal Ball’s New Year’s Eve 2016! Bu
He started his yoga practice in 2009 while he was a professional climber in the Middle East. Like many, his practice started as a physical one, but in time it has become a spiritual path, a lifestyle and a career. He is a graduate of OFSY's 200-Hour Vinyasa Teacher Training and is excited to complete his Aerial Teaching Training in 2016! Bassam’s classes focus on transitions and balance structure with improv, strength with flexibility, and breath with body. He is extremely passionate about sharing his knowledge. His mission is "Empower life change and inspiring connection through a joyful practice and healing art"!
Jeff Mandell is devoted to bringing peace and joy to the world by teaching people how to flip upside down with a partner. He is a certified AcroYoga teacher (Montreal Style), Laughter Yoga teacher, and massage therapist (Thai massage & deep tissue). Jeff is an adjunct professor at Champlain College as well as a facilitator and mediator. He is also the northeast regional director of Kids4Peace International, an organization that brings together kids from Jerusalem and the US for a youth peace-building movement.
Amanda began practicing yoga in 2006 and started training acro yoga with Patrick in late 2015, at which point her acro practice evolved from a recreational past time to a way of life. As much as she loves the physical practice, it's the deeper level of connection, and, more importantly, the idea of being able to share it, that gives Amanda the desire to go outside her comfort zone and share acro yoga with as many people as possible.
Catch her if you can! Micki’s introduction to Acro was a happy accident: what started as a solution to a none-too-exciting Sunday afternoon quickly became whirlwind of acro-adventures around the country. After completing AcroRevolution TT1 in 2014, her love of traveling acro led her to co-founding AcroEverywhere (host of the Philadelphia Phlight Festival) - because location is no obstacle if there’s an opportunity to play! Her most recent adventure is co-owning and operating Rebel Circus Arts, located in Philadelphia, when you can’t run away to join the circus, you make the circus join you! When not upside-down with her fellow monkeys, she can be found caring for other furry beasts in her right-side-up job as a small animal veterinarian. www.acroeverywhere.com www.reblecircusartsphilly.com @acrojunkie
Jessalyn began flipping and flying as a toddler in gymnastics and cheerleading, and she began studying acrobatics in Los Angeles in 2008. Her main passions are training, teaching, and performing partner acrobatics and flying trapeze. She has studied across the country with teachers of Dutch Acrobatics, AcroYoga, sports Acro, circus acrobatics, cheer stunts, and aerial arts. She recently graduated from Pitch Catch Circus school with coaches Niko Douwes and Cassie Drew and has many exciting teaching and performing events coming up. In addition, Jessalyn is the proud mama of Indiana's Acro community, Indy Acro Yoga. She is also a certified yoga teacher with experience teaching Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, Aerial yoga, AcroYoga, and adaptive yoga..
Mendel’s passion for movement began with break dancing over 9 years ago. His curiosity led him to hip-hop, parkour, gymnastics, and yoga. In 2012, he had his first AcroYoga experience and has since been thoroughly hooked. Mendel became part of the NYC AcroYoga community and shortly after, he became a certified Level 1 AcroYoga teacher. He teaches a few weekly classes in Manhattan and Brooklyn, ranging all the way from beginner to intermediate levels, especially his monthly handstand workshops.
His knowledge of the practice and anatomy has been well recognized, and has garnered Mendel opportunities teaching classes and workshops not only throughout the United States, but the world. Being that Mendel is a dedicated acrobatic performer, his focus and method revolve around a sense of flow and full body integration. Constantly striving for emotional and mental self growth, his classes have a sense of purpose, community collaboration, and connection that is unique to Mendel’s style.
Eddie Salguero is a Certified AYfit Trainer and an assistant for AYfit Certification courses. Eddie is very passionate about sharing this partner based fitness program, meeting new people and building a community through fitness, trust and connection. He is currently living as a nomadic yogi, teaching AYfit workshops and studying to become a Personal Trainer. In addition, he loves outdoors activities like climbing, hiking, camping, and had been exploring adventure racing. He is part of the AcroFarmers: planting and cultivating the seeds of AcroYoga across the globe. Instagram: @edonthefarm
Ryan Stepka is the founder of Acroshirt and a certified Acro Revolution Teacher. He is based out of New York City and is a giant among men at 6’4, 220 pounds. Many years ago he saw Whakapainga flying people for three days in a row at Envision Festival in Costa Rica. The last day he got the courage to ask Whaka to fly him, and his life was changed forever. Ryan now travels the globe teaching and selling his acroshirt line of clothing. His passion for the practice is grounded in his love for lifting up others, and supporting people’s journey to be the best versions of themselves. Go to www.acroshirt.com for more info, and look for Ryan on Instagram to follow his journey: htto://instagram.com/ryan.stepka
Lizzy is life-long circus monkey with an Masters in Business. From the time she could crawl she was monkeying around and was lucky enough to have an older brother that was in the circus. Throughout childhood, Lizzy loved gymnastics, acrobatics, and circus classes. Then like many people, she ‘became an adult’ and mostly forgot about these things until the universe sent her some amazing friends including Josh Young who awakened that inner-child-acrobat! She loves playing with and learning from friends and sees everyone’s potential to be an acrobatic super hero! In addition to teaching yoga, she has facilitated an after-school circus program for under-served youth, a women’s empowerment group in Washington DC, and women’s political training programs in the Middle East. Lizzy believes that acrobatics helps us learn life lessons about balance, inner-strength, and literally and figuratively lifting up others.
Josh is happiest when he is empowering others to be the best version of themselves. He spends all of his free time flying everyone through hand-to-hand, washing machines, whips, and pops! When he is not tossing someone around, he is dorking out on cataloging every single acro washing machine, pose, and transition. After spending years searching for acro videos on YouTube, Josh came up with the idea to build Acropedia.org; a free resource for acrobats everywhere.
Josh’s movement journey began when he was tormented by lower back pain. After 14 surgeries and hundreds of doctors he found no relief from chronic pain. He healed himself through yoga and mindfulness practices. Josh also spent over a decade as a critical care registered nurse, working in intensive care. His passion for healing others developed into his passion for partner acrobatics. Josh’s mission in life is to empower people to find their own path to happiness, healing, support, and love.