Who We Are

Katherine Tesch

Program Coordinator, Youth Circus,  Aerial Artscatherinet

Katherine Tesch coordinates Tucson Circus Arts year-round classes and workshops. She has been training, performing and teaching with Flam Chen and Tucson Circus Arts since 2006, specializing in aerial acrobatics, stilt acrobatics, poi spinning and dance. During her time with Flam Chen she has had the privilege of interning at the New England Center for Circus Arts and training with Circo Picolino in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. She has also attended workshops with the Streb and Pilobolus dance companies. She has enjoyed her opportunities to direct All Soul’s Procession Spirit Groups in dance, fire and aerial over the past 5 years and loves working with her youth circus students!


Chase Archer

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In his youth Chase Archer’s pursuit of theater, combined with his love of dance and visually striking art attracted him to modern circus entertainment. After sharing his love of juggling and twirling with audiences all over Arizona for almost a decade Chase has now found a new home in Tucson Arizona with Tucson Circus Arts. Some of Chase Archer’s exploits include performing in the Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts for eight years (aka PAPA), leading a team of ten instructors who provided object manipulation workshops for the 2014 Sedona Yoga Festival, as well as having served as a guest entertainer with a multitude of professional entertainment groups such as Tucson’s very own Flam Chen. Spreading joy through Circus Theater is Chase’s way of life and he is honored to be serving Tucson Arizona as a member of the TCA instructor team.


Annie Mielke

Aerial Arts


Annie Mielke teaches aerial classes and workshops in Silks, Lyra, Trapeze, Spanish Web, Sling, and Cloud Swing. She has been training at Tucson Circus Arts since 2011, when she moved to Tucson to attend the U of A. During her time in Arizona, she has performed at various events with Flam Chen and MMOS, including the annual All Souls Procession and Moctoberfest for the past three years. Growing up, Annie performed continuously in plays and musicals and trained for eight years with the nationally recognized youth circus program Circus Juventas in St. Paul, MN. Aerial circus is her passion, but she also enjoys cross training in various dance styles, rock climbing, and yoga.



Directors Team

Paul Weir


Paul Weir has played numerous roles in the development of the Arts District in Downtown Tucson since 1990 as an active board member for organizations like the Tucson Arts Coalition, and It’s Happening Downtown. Paul now serves full-time as a Board Member for MMOS and Technical Director of Flam Chen Pyrotechnic Theater Company, while promoting events throughout the year locally, nationally, and internationally. Flam Chen has represented the United States in the 2003 Macau International Arts Festival, Juste Pour Rire-Montreal Canada 2004 and numerous civic festivals around the world. He has been either a performer and/or director/technician for theater performances for the last 20 years. His primary focus is securing the legacy of festal culture in Southern AZ and North America by growing the connections and relationships for MMOS and creating a fully funded MMOS Arts Foundation.

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Nadia Hagen was born in New York City. She spent an inordinate amount of time in the Museum of Natural History and at various Broadway musicals. At 17, she ran away from home to join a hippie circus and spent the next few years in musical projects and black box theaters. From 1989-1990, she recorded and toured with the infamous Tribal/Industrial project Crash Worship. These experiments in Chaos strengthened an attachment to environmental theater and ritual, but the lack of costuming choices eventually led her in 1991, to form Then Tingari. This was also a tribal drum project with performance that incorporated dance, martial arts and the first flicker of fire performance. In 1995, Nadia received an Artist in Residence Award from the City of Tucson and collaborated with local artists to create Many Mouths One Stomach, an urban parade combining marching drums, staged theater performances, puppetry and fire-art. This became the prototype for the fifth All Souls’ Procession, which came under Nadia’s direction in 1996. Flam Chen Pyrotechnic Theater was founded the year previously and created the ritual finale element to All Souls. Flam Chen has grown into one of North America’s premiere fire troupes, winning a New York Fringe Excellence Award, performing at festivals nationally and abroad and featured in the book, Freaks & Fire: The Reinvention of Circus.

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Physical Theater, Stilt Acrobatics

Jay Ruby is a native of southwestern Pennsylvania who fulfilled his early instincts to perform by being a prankster, mixing clowning with sports, and playing rock and roll. At Antioch College he was exposed to the impulses of the body through contact improvisation and the power of agit-prop theater through Bomb Theater, a student collective. Later he was inspired to pursue the craft of theater by witnessing productions from professors who had worked at Bread and Puppet Theater and The San Francisco Mime Troupe.  He formally began studying theater in Berlin, Germany at Theater Zerbrochene Fenster in 1990. His active participation in the vibrant underground culture of Berlin after the fall of the wall led to his participation and residency at Kunsthaus Kule in Berlin Mitte. In this milieu, which included the future founders of Grotest Maru, Jay Ruby engaged in an assortment of street actions, experimental theater, and underground exhibitions throughout the early 90’s.  He also took advantage of workshops throughout Europe in Bio-Mechanics, Butoh, Contact Improvisation, Physical Theater and Middendorf Breath and Voicework.  In 1993 he encountered the Odin Teatret from Holstebro, Denmark. The precision and depth of their work inspired him to deepen his theatrical craft through a series of intensive seminars with Odin Teatret actress Roberta Carreri. Jay Ruby has worked as a mentor and adjunct professor at Prescott College and developed and directed the Performing Arts Program at Kestrel High School in Prescott, Arizona. He conducts residencies and workshops specializing in integrating the skills of Acrobatic Stiltwalking, Butoh and Contact Improvisation into the dramaturgical scaffold of European Physical Theater. In 2008 Jay Ruby was invited to teach in Athens, Greece; Vienna, Austria; and Glasgow, Scotland. As a teacher Jay Ruby seeks to transform obstacles into skills and impart the value of precision and discipline for theatrical craft.  Carpetbag Brigade WEBSITE