A-WOL was created in 2003 as a “Collective.” The four co-founders’ intention was to form a group that could operate efficiently by using the different strengths and skills of all company members, both on and off stage, liberating audiences from traditional ideas of what it means to dance. Mingling the worlds of dance and aerial, our dancers ignite a wonder and curiosity for what can happen when a human body takes flight. The physicality of their movement both on the floor and in the air, conveys striking fearlessness and unmistakable rigor. A-WOL dancers have been seen hanging from the trees in the middle of the forest to dangling from the ceilings of Portland’s trendiest night clubs. Hip yet sophisticated, A-WOL has a versatility of style.
Thank you for your interest in and support of A-WOL Dance Collective. See you at the show!
Jen is a founding member of A-WOL Dance Collective. She wears many hats at A-WOL, but she absolutely adores her role as an artistic director and company member. As a lover of collaborative creation and the exploration of combining floor work with aerial movement, A-WOL brings completion to her life! Her background and training include Pendulum Aerial Arts, Polaris Dance Theatre and a number of amazing choreographers and instructors in the western states including Mary Hunt and Jayne Persch. She also enjoys teaching aerial, dance and aerial yoga and her most recent endeavor includes her Aerial Yoga Teacher Training, Soulaira, that she co-founded with Jessica Baker in 2014. In Jen's spare time she maintains her registration as a dietitian, runs a sheet metal company, attempts multiple coffee dates with her husband each week and is raising her two children, Rustin and Sienna.
Brandy Guthery, originally from Tampa, Florida (home of the Buccaneers) moved to Oregon at age 14 where she began studying at Oregon Ballet Theater. She has trained in ballet, modern, flamenco and aerial dance. Brandy has performed with A-WOL Dance Collective, Polaris Dance Theater, Oregon Ballet Theater, Pendulum Aerial Dance Theatre, Portland Opera and North West Academy. She is a founding member of A-WOL and current Artistic Director of the company. When she is not dancing she is a regional property manager with Pinnacle and a proud coach of the Clackamas Cavalettes. Brandy loves chips and salsa and a good scary movie.
Alicia’s favorite aspect of A-WOL is the fusion of dance, acrobatics, and aerial that happens in the creative process and on stage. She has ten plus years of experience on a large variety of apparatus but her most favorite way to perform on stage is with a partner. It’s always friendlier with two!
Sarah Burk has been performing with A-WOL since 2006 and became a company member in 2008 after playing an active role as company manager. Sarah has been involved in A-WOL hair and make-up as well as sewing costumes. She has a childhood background of dance and ballet. Much of her skills lie in her athleticism and strength from being an avid runner. Today she enjoys training for marathons and raising her son and daughter.
Margo began her dance training in Centerville, OH where she was a 10-year performing member of the South Dayton Dance Theatre before attending Ohio University on a dance scholarship. Locally, she was a 10-year performing and founding member of Polaris Dance Theatre, led by Robert Guitron and has had the pleasure working with other remarkable Portland artists including, Skinner | Kirk Dance Ensemble, Mary Oslund, Bonnie Merrill and Gregg Bielemeier. Margo has been a part of A-WOL Dance Collective for a combined 7 years since 2004, starting with the original debut of Art in the Dark.
Kelsey began her dance career 15 years ago with Allegro Dance Studio in Canby, OR where she explored numerous avenues of dance. In 2006, Kelsey had the opportunity to perform with the Moscow Ballet in their performance of Cinderella. After high school Kelsey, became a founder of A-WOL's preprofessional company, the A-WOL Aeros. Kelsey was offered an apprenticeship with the Collective in 2011 and became a company member in 2013. As a company member Kelsey has performed in many productions and continues to offer a unique and creative perspective to the A-WOL Dance Collective.
Ashley began her training with A-WOL back in 2010 and hasn't looked back since! While her first aerial art form started in 2006 with pole, she has since expanded her aerial vocabulary to include a wide array of apparatus. She performed with the Ecdysiast Pole Dance Company from 2013-2015, playing Alice in "Alice in Wonderland" in their Fall 2014 production. She started with A-WOL's FlyCo training company in 2012, became a Company Apprentice in 2013, and was thrilled to accept a Company Dancer position in 2015. Ashley enjoys the challenge of aerial dance, as well as the immense trust and respect shared by company members for their fellow dancer.
Julie Hoel Barnes is a company member and board member, as well as a one of the four founders of A-WOL. She began dance and gymnastics in the Chicago area at the age of six but truly fell in love with aerial movement, the synthesis of her past endeavors, when she moved to Portland. Currently, Julie is a School Psychologist who is busy raising her two lively children with her husband. She occasionally can be found on the stage or teaching group or private lessons at A-WOL.
Olivia Shaw is a quirky and passionate dancer turned aerialist trained in multiple movement styles including Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and African. Having grown up a dancer and gymnast in Bend, OR, she went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance with an emphasis in Theatre Arts, graduating Cum Laude from the University of Oregon. Olivia has toured as a performer in Theatre and Dance productions, distinctively with the University of Oregon Repertory Dance Company. She received her Aerial Yoga Teacher Certification through Soulaira, directed by Jen Livengood and Jessica Baker. This is her fourth year with A-WOL and she loves the collaborative creativity that fuels this company. She currently teaches a number of styles in and around the Portland area. If you don’t find her dancing, she is most likely climbing trees and mountains or sipping a local glass of Pinot.
Ally began dancing at a young age and has participated in many different types of dance over the years. She auditioned for and joined A-WOL’s training company Flyco in 2012 where her love for dance grew to new heights. She has performed as a part of A-WOL for gigs such as OMSI After Dark, Nike, Bridgetown Bash, Monday Markets, Arts Festival in the Forest and many more. She participated in FlyCo’s first open air production PUSH in June 2014 and A-WOL’s Project Warehouse shows every fall since joining Flyco. She has also had the opportunity to teach aerial to A-WOL students as a part of her training. Ally became an apprentice on the company in the fall of 2014. When she’s not dancing, Ally works as a Registered Nurse in Women and Children services.
Rachel was born and raised in Helena, Montana where she began her dance training at the age of eight with Creative Arts Center, Queen City Ballet, and Big Sky Dance Works. Through the years she has trained in ballet, contemporary, hip hop, breakdance, neofusion, tumbling, and aerial. She has been certified in Pilates, group and personal training, and is constantly pursuing her passion for health of the body and mind. Currently she instructs at Allegro Dance and A-WOL. She also plays a managing role in youth classes at A-WOL and teaches several classes a week in the studio. Rachel loves a good book, spoonfuls of peanut butter with chocolate chips, playing with her nieces and nephews, baking muffins, and hiking to enjoy an incredible view. Her bucket list includes becoming a licensed skydiver and learning to poach an egg perfectly.
Kelsie Young has been apart of A-WOL since 2013. She started on A-WOL’s FlyCo and just recently became a member of the company. Prior to A-WOL, Kelsie trained at Allegro Dance Studio in Canby, OR studying ballet, jazz, modern, and aerial. Kelsie also trained with Willamette Ballet Academy in Woodburn, OR. During the summer of 2014, she had the opportunity to attend the Annual Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder, CO. While there, she took Silk and Lyra classes under Ana Prada as well as Harness, taught by Karen Fuhrman. Kelsie loves performing and is excited to be apart of A-WOL’s company! She would like to thank all of her former instructors for helping her get where she is today.
Liz has been moving and grooving since age 3. She has performed all over the US, and has a degree in dance, and Human Physiology from the University of Oregon. Liz was drawn to A-WOL through college and work friends in 2014. She never considered being an aerialist before going to the A-WOL auditions and now she can’t imagine life without flying.
Angela grew up in dance studios and on gymnastics floors, but her real passion was jumping rope. She performed and traveled as part of a jump rope team all through middle and high school. This is how she realized her love of the stage! Years later she took up partner acrobatics and aerial dance. As an adult she has found that these art forms feed her soul in a way that nothing else can. So much so that she has chosen the path of teacher and coach as well as performer. She performs as an acrobat with Tempos Contemporary Circus and is honored to be in the air as part of Awol Dance Collective!
Alice has been dancing since the age of two, beginning with ballet, jazz, tap, and hip hop. As a young adult, she was part of the preprofessional company, Ballet Theater of San Luis Obispo. Over time she expanded her repertoire with modern, belly dance, ballroom, acrobatics and fire performance. Alice moved to Portland in 2010 and began learning aerial. Alice recently earned her BA from PSU. There, she studied Anthropology, Liberal Studies, Linguistics, and Dance. She would like to give a huge thank you to the AWOL company for giving her the opportunity to learn and perform with them.
This group of A-WOL aerialists, dancers and circus artists perform year round at parties, productions and community events. They are highly skilled on a variety of apparatus in the air and on the floor and ready to perform in a minutes notice. Look for them around town all glittered up soaring through the air!
Flyco TRaining Company
A training program for serious aerial students looking to accomplish the skills and professionalism required in the industry. This one year training program includes intensive aerial training, conditioning and choreography work. Using A-WOL's method of collaboration, FlyCo members produce a show for the annual Open Air Production at Director Park in downtown Portland. Auditions are held in the fall.
Aphyna Van De Veere
Aeros Youth Training Company
Aeros is A-WOL's new pre-professional youth training company, a program designed to provide an advanced training ground for young aerialists seeking pre-professional instruction. The members of the program are invited to participate in specialized rehearsals, classes, and performance opportunities. Aeros offers a supportive and disciplined environment with coaches that are committed to fostering a positive spirit and a high expectation for learning and excelling in the aerial arts.
Board of Directors
Julie Hoel Barnes