Our Story

As a professional aerialist, Hilary Sweeney experienced first hand how transformational and empowering the circus arts can be. She founded Westchester Circus Arts as a means to share this gift with her own community. She believed people of all ages did not need to “run away” with the circus or be born into a circus family, in order to benefit from the artform. Almost 2 years later, the organization has grown to include a year-round afterschool program for kids, adult arts and fitness classes, summer camp, offsite and school programs.

Co-directed by Carlo Pellegrini, a veteran circus performer, youth educator, and social circus leader with Amazing Grace Circus, Westchester Circus Arts is a thriving center for circus arts education, performance, and community programming.

MEET THE INSTRUCTORS

Carlo Pellegrini

Carlo hails from a career as a professional circus artist with the Royal Lichtenstein Circus, Big Apple Circus, and as a professional dancer with Nikolais Dance Theater.

In 2002, he co-founded Amazing Grace CIRCUS! in Nyack, NY with Janet Hayes. Amazing Grace CIRCUS! is now celebrating it’s 10th anniversary year as the oldest year-round youth circus organization in the greater NY and northern NJ area.

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Hilary is the founder/director of Westchester Circus Arts and Wow Factor Talent.

She has appeared an aerialist in Cirque le Masque’s “Carnivale”, “Above the Belt” off-broadway, Waterfront Museum’s “Showboat Shazaam,” Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, Evolve dance festival, and numerous special events for clients including Mercedes Benz, Pepsico, the NY International Auto Show, and more. She comes from a background in ballet, since the age of five with Lucy Johnson Fitzgerald Dance Studio in Worcester, MA and Boston Ballet.

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Henry is an aerialist and flying trapeze instructor for Trapeze School New York. He traveled to Montreal, Canada to train with the top aerial straps artists in the field, and is now performing his new act here in New York.

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Becca’s love affair with trapeze began at 8 years old in a circus day camp. She trained primarily with Philippe Vercruyssen (Cirque du Soleil, Circus Arts Camp). Since then, she has taught trapeze to children and adults of all ages and levels. It is her pleasure to open people’s minds to the experience of trapeze and all things circus.

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After a decade of artistic gymnastics experience, Heather began her aerial education in her hometown of Orlando, Florida at Orlando Aerial Arts. Ignited with a passion to fly, Heather set her sights on performing at the professional level. Heather has performed at a variety of events and venues including art gallery openings, conventions, VIP events, and theme parks. Her favorite aerial contract was performing in Cedar Point’s night show “Luminosity” and her most memorable moment was performing for the First Lady in 2012.

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Leah Newcomb is a versatile aerial artist trained by internationally renowned aerialists such as Leo Hedman (London), New England Center for Circus Arts (Vermont), School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (Seattle), and Circus Warehouse (NY) to name a few.  She is a creative performing artist (with a special love for corde lisse) and a love for teaching.  Her teaching style is uniquely warm and inviting as she challenges her students to reach new heights in their training.  She infuses her classes with unique and complex sequences that keep students inspired and challenged.

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Amanda trained and performed throughout the U.S. and Canada, working as a solo performer and choreographer, and as a performer in duo and ensemble groups, in a variety of aerial and ground disciplines, such as trapeze, tissu, sling, corde lisse, handbalancing, partner acrobatics, and dance. She also performed as an aerialist in the national tour Threesixty Entertainment’s U.S tour of Peter Pan. As a trainer, she is recognized for exceptional technical understanding and communication skills, rich artistic vocabulary, and enthusiastic teaching based on both methodical progressions and creative exploration.