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.
Director, Poi Training
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.
Katherine Celeste coordinates Tucson Circus Arts year-round classes and workshops. She has been training, performing and teaching with Flam Chen and Tucson Circus Arts since 2007, specializing in aerial arts, 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. Her early background was in ballet and modern dance, graduating from Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy in 2005 with a focus in dance. Career highlights have been participating in the aerial spirit group of the All Soul’s Procession, as well as directing the dance and fire spirit groups in 2010 and 2011 respectively. She enjoys sharing her art through teaching, especially her youth circus classes!
Ben Lerman is a certified personal trainer and freelance hand balance performer who has performed, worked and trained around the country with Olympic athletes and internationally recognized production
companies, including Cirque Du Soliel. His goal is to use a unique perspective of kinesiology and sports related science to help aspiring circus arts enthusiasts build the necessary foundations to move forward successfully as performance artists.
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