Meet Aeriosa

Julia Taffe

Artistic Director

Choreographer Julia Taffe combines art, environment and adventure, making dances for buildings, mountains, neighbourhoods, theatres and trees, finding new movement perspectives in the realm of suspension.

Julia is the artistic director of Aeriosa, a Vancouver-based vertical dance company. She has choreographed over 25 works on location including: Stawamus Chief Mountain in Squamish BC, Taipei City Hall, Cirque du Soleil Headquarters, Vancouver Library Square, Banff Centre, Scotiabank Dance Centre and Toronto’s 58-storey L Tower.

Prior to founding Aeriosa, Julia performed across Canada with Ruth Cansfield, and around the world with Bandaloop. Julia attained ACMG Rock Guide certification in 1997. She has worked as a co-producer, choreographer, cast member, stunt performer, mountain safety rigger and creative movement consultant on various film and television productions in Canada and abroad.

Colin Zacharias

Colin Zacharias is an internationally certified mountain guide and has worked in avalanche or guiding operations since 1980. He enjoys working with Aeriosa’s dancers whether on mountain cliffs, tall buildings, trees or in the theatre. Colin also guides thoughtfully designed climbing and skiing adventures to destinations spanning the globe, from Nunavut to Antarctica.

Colin was one of the riggers for the 2000-2002 video production of Granite Ocean, that featured Julia Taffe dancing on vertical rock faces of the Stawamus Chief Mountain in Squamish, BC. Since then, he has worked with Julia and Aeriosa on more than 40 productions. His responsibilities have included site safety inspections, risk management planning and documentation, dancer safety supervision, rigging and climbing, tree climbing, training riggers and dancers, and writing the Aeriosa safety manual.

Aeriosa is one of the foremost vertical dance companies in Canada and as a result has collaborated with the Vertical Dance Forum (Europe), Gravity and Levity (England), Kate Lawrence Vertical Dance (Wales), Il Posto (Italy), Wired Aerial Theatre (England), Histeria Nova (Croatia), Compagnie Retouramont (France) and Bandaloop (USA) to support and develop risk management planning and training strategies for the art form.

Colin is the past Technical Director for the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, and currently participates in professional level curriculum development for the Canadian Avalanche Association and the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. He is a professional level avalanche educator and operations safety consultant for ski areas, cat and heliski operations. Outside North America, his work training and mentoring mountain professionals has taken him to Europe, Japan, Chile, and Iceland. His rigging and mountain safety experience also includes feature films such as iRobot and Touching the Void and TV programs including Burnett Productions EcoChallenge and Expedition Impossible series filmed in Morocco, Argentina New Zealand, Fiji and Borneo.

Colin’s certifications include ACMG/IFMGA/UIAGM (internationally recognized mountain guides associations), SPRAT (rope access), ACTSAFE Fall Protection, ACTSAFE Aerial Lift Operator, and the Wilderness First Responder.

Keely Sills

Keely has been floating, swaying and dancing with Aeriosa since 2009. Throughout the years, she has been given the opportunity to be creative in many facets within the company. With a background in industrial rigging, Keely has worked with the Aeriosa rigging team on many projects. She also produces Aeriosa’s newsletters and promotional material. Under Aeriosa’s mentorship, she had opportunity to co-create two works in the trees with Julia Carr, in partnership with VanDusen Gardens and The Esquimalt Township Community Arts Council. Keely has travelled the globe over many years with her aerial circus work, performing silks, hoop, duo trapeze, and sway poles. In 2018, Keely started an aerial circus arts program for youth and adults in Powell River, where she and her husband reside. She has a passion to teach the circus arts to her community and looks forward to creating many shows! Keely also volunteers with qathet Community Justice, a restorative justice practice, as a circle keeper and in a writing capacity.

Cara Siu

Cara Siu is a movement artist and emerging choreographer and movement facilitator, engaged in exploring performance research and community dance. Her passion to share expression, physicality and imagination with audiences have fueled many diverse dance experiences. After acquiring her modern dance training in Vancouver, BC at Simon Fraser University, she continued her dance training in the US, winning scholarships to both Jacob's Pillow Festival in Massachusetts and Lewitzky Dance Company in Los Angeles.

Upon returning to Vancouver, she became captivated by the emerging form of dance theatre and apprenticed with Lee Eisler of Jumpstart Performance. As a collaborator/performer, she has contributed to the creation of dance theatre productions for Gambling Soles, Donna Redlick Dance Theatre, Link Dance Foundation and Raven Spirit Dance.

Chandra Krown

Vancouver born, Chandra Krown is a dancer, aerialist, choreographer and multi-disciplinary artist. She started with a ballet foundation as a child but soon discovered gymnastics and enjoyed competing.

As a young adult she began performing with local companies in Vancouver and decided to train at Main Dance's professional training program to improve her skills and techniques. After the program, she launched XtravaDance Productions with some peers and pursued her career in the performing arts/entertainment. She worked with various companies in Vancouver.

In 2004 she started to work with Aeriosa Dance Society which was her first experience dancing on buildings as a Vertical dancer. She is honored to return to Aeriosa Dance and excited about the current projects blending her love for nature and trees with dance!

Gina Alpen

Georgina Alpen is a contemporary trained dancer who received a BFA in dance from Simon Fraser University in 2014. She is honored to live and work on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqeum, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Gina joined Aeriosa in 2015 and has been performing with the company ever since. She is involved in the social dance community as a blues dancer, and until recently danced with the Ukrainian Folk Ensemble, the Dovbush Dancers, for over 20 years. Outside of dancing, she is attending UBC medical school to become a midwife.

Julia Carr

Julia Carr is a dancer, interdisciplinary creator (choreographer), educator, emerging photographer, Mother, wife, sister, and daughter; originally from Vancouver. Julia trained professionally at Arts Umbrella and with the Ballet BC Mentor Program (2004/2005).

Carr works as a dancer for Aeriosa, Compaigni V’ni Dansi, and independent contemporary choreographers. Julia is a collaborative creator who founded Body Narratives Collective in 2008 and in 2014 was selected as one of three Canadian artists to participate in a nomadic interdisciplinary art residency in Australia called Time_Place_Space: NOMAD.

She also acts as Assistant Artistic Director for Dancestreams, a Vancouver-Island based pre-professional dance company for dedicated young dancers aged 12-19 and helps schoolteachers use dance to explore curriculum subjects thanks to Artstarts and Vancouver Biennale ‘Big Ideas’ resources.

Alyson Fretz

Alyson Fretz grew up in Vancouver BC, and received her dance training at Arts Umbrellaon Granville Island. She has danced professionally with Ballet BC, Wen Wei Dance, andPro Arte Danza in Toronto. She has a passion for movement within the body and the connection between all living organisms in the natural world. Alyson has been working with Aeriosa since 2015, and is thrilled to be a part of the company; exploring the boundaries of vertical dance, expanding dance further than the stage, and making it available to all audiences.

Meghan Goodman

Originally from Toronto, Meghan Goodman is an interdisciplinary dance artist and Iyengar yoga instructor. Graduating from Simon Fraser University in 2003 with a BFA in dance and minor in mathematics, Meghan has continued to actively perform, choreograph, and teach in Vancouver for the past 17 years. In addition to her work with Aeriosa, she has performed pieces by choreographers such as Jennifer Clarke, Hanna Kiel, Justine Chambers, Michelle Olson, Rob Kitsos, and Sarah Chase. Meghan has also performed in two productions with the Vancouver Opera. Meghan is currently teaching Iyengar yoga, training with Aeriosa, and raising her two young boys.

Thoenn Glover

Thoenn grew up in the Bulkley Valley in Northern BC and is a dedicated adventurer and outdoor enthusiast, always seeking ways to pursue dance in unconventional settings. She received her professional dance training at Arts Umbrella's Graduate Program (2009) and has since made a career as a choreographer, dancer, and teacher. She has performed for Vancouver companies such as Dancers Dancing, Kinesis Dance Somatheatro, Mascall Dance, and MartaMarta Productions and is thrilled to be in her fourth season with Aeriosa Dance Society. Thoenn has presented her choreographic work in Montreal, Whitehorse, Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, and Vancouver.

Thoenn recently returned to her hometown of Smithers after completing a degree at SFU and now gratefully lives and works in the territory of the Witsuwit'en Nation. Within her new academic pursuits her goal remains to cultivate creativity and enthusiasm in every adventure and foster inspired movement practices for all ages and abilities.

Alex Tam

On the unceded traditional Coast Salish territory, Alex Tam is a Vancouver-based dance artist. A natural born thrill seeker, Alex was instantly hooked on vertical dance while gazing out, suspended, from a Grand Fir tree and has been performing and collaborating with Aeriosa since 2015. Alex studied Fine Arts at KPU (Hons.) and professional dance at Arts Umbrella and Modus Operandi. Alex has toured and performed both independently and collectively at international dance festivals in Canada, United States of America, South America, and Taiwan. He is currently advancing his education in health through the Registered Massage Therapy Program at Langara Collage.

Abby Watkins

Abby Watkins first discovered Vertical Dance on a shining golden granite wall in the high Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The ropes were so long and the loft so slow and luxurious that she could spin through 5 or 6 somersaults and land gently back onto the wall. Aha! She was hooked! Abby has continued to somersault, pendulum, leap, handstand, soar and dance across buildings, rock cliffs, trees, in the theatre and many other unusual dance spaces working for three vertical dance companies in California (Bandaloop), Canada (Aeriosa) and Australia (Y Space). For Aeriosa, she has danced, taught, stage managed and rigged since 2001 and continues to work with the company whenever she can, either in person when visiting Canada (since moving back to Australia in 2015) or lately, via zoom!! When not vertical dancing, Abby worked for 18 years as a mountain guide and now works as a biologist in the Wimmera region of Australia for Parks Victoria.