Toni Thord-Gray - Organizer

Toni Thord-Gray (IG: @light_weaver) is one of the festival organizers and is teaching lyra, ground circus sampler (Hula Hoop), aerial sampler, and act creation.

Toni has been performing for 10 years, beginning her career in fire performance, flow arts (hula hoop, poi, fans), and dabbling in physical theatre before she made her foray into aerial dance. She now has more than 7 years of experience in aerial, specialising in spinning lyra. 

She is a freelance aerialist and fire performer and is currently teaching regular classes at Siren Studio, Allegro Rhythmic Gymnastics and Bloc 11 Bouldering Gym in Cape Town. She has performed all over South Africa and with notable companies Firetribe (CT) and Parolabianca (IT, ZA) over the last 7 years. Toni focuses on storytelling and act creation through aerial dance and fire; as well as developing a deeper understanding of her student’s bodies.

Charlie Lau - Organizer

Charlie Lau (IG: @circleintheair, CV and showreel here) is one of the festival organizers and is teaching lyra, trapeze, hammock, and act creation.

Charlie came to circus arts in 2012, with no dance or gymnastics background, but a real penchant for being upside down and the required stubbornness for working through the gnarliest trick. Since then, she’s trained and performed across four continents – including as a visiting aerial performer with Moya / Zip Zap Circus (South Africa), a teacher and performer at Helios School of Circus Arts (Mexico), a performer with Afreaka Aerials (UK), and an ever-eager student under a global patchwork of coaches and studios. She has also performed at various festivals and cabarets, in solo, duo, and trio acts. Her movement style favors contemporary choreography and emphasizes flow and musicality.

Caitlin Leigh

Caitlin Leigh (IG: @smokenstardust) is the executive and artistic director of FireTribe and is our primary flow arts instructor and workshop facilitator.

Caitlin has been spinning poi (and other props) since 2004 and has been performing with FireTribe since 2005. She has experience in classical dance, music and education. She is passionate about sharing knowledge and loves how Flow Arts can teach one so much more than just the prop at hand. She has been teaching poi professionally, to all ages, since 2015 and coordinates all Flow Arts training within FireTribe.

Claire Procter

Claire Procter (IG: @acroclaire) is an acroyoga instructor, who will be teaching Acroyoga (along with Marissa Dana), as part of the Ground Circus Sampler.

Claire's love for acro started back in 2012 when she started taking acroyoga classes. Initially just a fun hobby, her passion really took off when she decided to get teacher training in 2016. She started to travel the world and build her skills and technique, learning from different teachers in the USA and across Europe, as well as through enrolling in Pitch Catch Circus in 2020. 

Claire loves to base (that is her main strength), but she also enjoys flying, especially pops and whips. 

As a duo with partner Marissa, the two combine their skills, passion and nearly 20 years of teaching experience to offer a safe space to explore the innovative practice and realize potential to achieve beyond what you previously thought possible.

Jesyka Sham

Jesyka Sham (IG: @jesyka_sham) is the owner of Flying Fitness Studios and is teaching silks. 

She is a born creative with the ability to visualize and produce shows that inspire audiences. Using her dance background and depth of experience (she started performing professionally at age 14), she now works as a freelance fire dancer and aerial artist for Fire Tribe, AfrodizzyActs as well as other agencies; as well as an aerial silks and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu instructor.

As a performer, her work for corporate and private events has taken her to Portugal, Italy, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. She also was an aerial artist in a circus called The Fantastic Griffizi Brothers where she performed Spanish Web and Globe around South Africa.

As a teacher and show producer, she formerly directed NPC Living Arts Foundation and Sisonke Social Circus where she produced numerous circus productions with a cast of 30 children. She has also done a Training for Trainers course with Cirque du Soleil and a Gymnastics Instructor Course with Gym Wizards.

Jenny Le Roux

Jenny Le Roux (IG: @jennyleroux) is a performing acrobat, aerial artist, and coach. She will be teaching handstands as part of the Ground Circus Sampler, and be hosting a taster workshop on flexibility/contortion.

Jenny has a background in Artistic Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics & Ballet, with 19 years' professional experience performing locally & internationally. She incorporates different elements of what she has learned, focusing on strength in flexibility and control, learning to trust yourself, and discovering what your body is capable of. 

Leda Botha

Leda Botha (IG: @sirenpolewear) is a performing acrobat and pole artist, who will be teaching a taster workshop on floorwork. 

Leda is the owner and founder of Siren Studios and Siren Pole Wear. She started her pole journey in 2015 and has since won multiple artistic pole, exotic pole and lyra championship titles and is the current world duo artistic lyra champ with her aerial partner and fellow instructor Jenny. Leda is a multi-faceted performer and choreographer, best known for combining beastly strength moves with sensual flexy tricks to create powerful routines. She has performed both locally and internationally and lives for the stage. She has a vibrant, bubbly (slightly naughty) and infectious energy, which comes across in her performances and classes. Her teaching style is encouraging and fun, while focusing on technique to prevent injuries while still pushing her students beyond what they believe they can do.

Marissa Dana

Marissa Dana (IG: @marissa.dana) is an Acroyoga teacher and holistic life & wellness coach, who will be teaching Acroyoga (along with Claire Procter), as part of the Ground Circus Sampler.

As a duo with partner Claire, the two combine their skills, passion and nearly 20 years of teaching experience to offer a safe space to explore the innovative practice and realize potential to achieve beyond what you previously thought possible.


Nadia loves expressing herself through movement-- so has been dancing and doing gymnastics her whole life. The first time she got on aerial silks, she immediately fell in love with the art form and decided to dedicate herself to it. Now she coaches silks at the Flying Fitness studio. It's truly an art form that keeps on giving. It inspires Nadia to be her best self, and she loves helping others find their own best version of their selves through silks.

Julia Šmigelskis

Julia Šmigelskis
PT BSc, MSc Exerc. and Sport PT

Practice Owner, Senior Physiotherapist
(IG: @climbingphysio.ct) 

After finishing her undergrad in Austria, Julia spent some time working in an Austrian private hospital with a focus on orthopaedic and neurological rehabilitation. When she returned to South Africa in 2014, she qualified as a neuromusculoskeletal physiotherapist, before completing her Masters in exercise and sport physiotherapy in 2021. She is currently a part-time senior lecturer at UCT for the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.


Julia thoroughly enjoys working with all kinds of orthopaedic patients and has a passion for outdoor and adventure sport. Her special interest is in climbing related physiotherapy, especially assessing and treating finger injuries, but also optimising climbing performance.