Meet our Faculty!
Position: Adjunct Faculty - Clown
A performing artist, producer, teacher, director and creative coach. Michelle has been a part of the entertainment industry for over 25 years and had the honor of being the first African American person to create a main clown character for Cirque du Soleil. Michelle toured with Cirque's big top show OVO for close to 10 years. Currently Michelle resides in Washington State and is the founder of Circle Up Productions, a live entertainment and performing arts education company, a creative team member of Puget Sound Revels and recently directed Seattle’s Intiman Theater’s Starfish Project. Prior to Cirque du Soleil, Michelle spent 15 years living and working in New York City. During that time, she toured their critically acclaimed solo show The Mammy Project across North and South America and had the pleasure of working in the downtown NYC theater and circus scene, playing with Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit, Circus Amok and The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Michelle grew up in Tacoma, WA., studied theater for 3 years at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. and is a Graduate of the National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York City.
Position: Head of Professional Training Program & Core Movement Faculty
A 2003 graduate of the Professional Training Program, is thrilled to be back at Dell’Arte as Head of the PTP and Core Movement Faculty. For the past 18 years Sheila has developed a career as a director, deviser, movement specialist, Alexander Technique and yoga teacher in Brooklyn, New York. As a theatre maker, Sheila is committed to non-traditional performance that is physical, music-driven, inclusive and literary. In New York, Sheila has directed shows at the Brick, the United Solo Festival (Theater Row), the Tank, the Women in Theater Festival (the Gural), the West End Theater, and the 72nd St Theater Lab. Regional credits include the Boston Center for the Arts, and the Minneapolis and Montreal Fringe Festivals. For eight years Sheila served as Head of the Movement Department at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan where she regularly directed and coached productions in the 2ndyear of training and for the Academy Company. Sheila is intrigued by and actively investigating the overlap between physical training, creativity, mindful movement and Eastern meditation practices. Additional teaching and coaching with: California State University Summer Arts, Shakespeare & Company, Brandeis University, the Balance Arts Center (NYC), FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, NYU Gallatin, the Linklater Center, the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, and Emerson College. Sheila is a proud member of the Humanist Project and a sponsored artist with Leviathan Lab, both companies based in New York City. Sheila is an alumna of Brandeis University (class of 1999), and NYU Gallatin (MA, 2010). www.sheilabnyc.com IG: @sheilabnyc
Position: Adjunct Faculty - Commedia Dell'Arte
An artistic director and a co-founder of Bämsemble Company (Italy) and is
Artistic Director of Drama and Performance for Blue Box Earth, an innovative transformable sculpture, gallery, and performance space coming to Dresden Germany in 2022. Jon’s career spans over 30 years. He has worked throughout the US, Europe and the UK, as a theatre director, teaching artist, writer, and performer. He served as co-artistic director and co-founder of Zoo District Theatre (Los Angeles), was a resident director, member, and director of education at The Actors’ Gang (Los Angeles). He is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre West (Los Angeles), and served as director of the Get Lit Players (Los Angeles) in
2012. Most recent work includes TOSKA (Director) work-in-progress/in residence, at Teatro Di Villazzano, TARTUFO SUPERDRAMA (Director) for Atelier Teatro Fisico in Turin (September 2020), Associate-director for FENG CHA in Dusseldorf Germany (July 2020) conceived by Susanna Weins (a Roy Hart senior teacher), Associate-director KAFKA’S MONKEY adapted and performed by H.P. Trauschke (August 2020), Palais
Sommer Festival, Dresden Germany, director and co-writer of, FATA MORGANA, A Hallucination From The Mad Sensational Life Of Nico, conceived and performed by Margherita Remotti – at the Chapel Playhouse, London, and he directed a subsequent film version. Jon directed and co-created a free adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes classic interlude, El Retablo De Las Maravillas entitled SALT; THE MARVELOUS PUPPET SHOW, for Bämsemble Company, scripted by Francesco Botti. SALT was presented at Antiteatro Fabio Chiesa, Viareggio; Spazio Seme, Arezzo; Teatro C’Art, Castelfiorentino;
Cavallerizza Reale, Torino; and Teatro Franco Parenti, Milano. Jon developed and teaches Superdrama, a system of performance, training, and devising, influenced by Commedia dell’Arte, the Actors’ Gang style and indirectly, Le Theatre du Soleil. He is a frequent guest teaching artist/adjunct professor for numerous university and theatre
programs abroad and in the US.
Position: Full Time Faculty Head of Arts Engagement
Is an actor, deviser, teacher and clown. Over the past 11 years in the Bay Area she has performed with We Players, S.F. Shakes, Idiot String, Cutting Ball, Impact Theatre, Shotgun Players and more, as well as in clown cabarets and festivals of devised performance. Julie has been a medical clown with the Medical Clown Project, connecting and playing with youth and elders at a variety of facilities. She was on faculty at the American Conservatory Theater (MFA, SFS, Studio A.C.T.) and St. Mary’s College Theatre Program as well as a teaching-artist with a variety of Bay Area schools and companies from youth to adults. Before moving back to California, Julie made theatre in Chicago as a company member of The Moving Dock Theatre Company/Chekhov Studio Chicago and performed and studied with various Chicago companies. She is a certified Michael Chekhov Technique instructor and is nearing the completion of her training with Soma Studios to become a certified Alexander Technique teacher. She has trained and performed internationally in Italy, Russia, and Bali. Julie holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz and is a 2010 alumna of Dell’Arte International’s MFA.
Position: Faculty (Dance & Movement)
Is a Physical Theatre and Dance artist from Cleveland, Ohio. Cleo received her Bachelor's degree at Baldwin Wallace University, where she focused her studies in Directing and Choreography. She then received a Master's degree from Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, where she developed works such as Citizens of Nowhere and Visions of a Crying Girl. Cleo specializes in dance, storytelling through movement, devised physical theatre, and movement coaching. Her work has premiered across Ohio and California in works such as The Three Musketeers, Big Love, and IMPRINTS - a dance-theatre piece about violence against women. Visit her website at cleodeorio.com
Position: Adjunct Faculty, Mask Creation & Performance
Is a theatre artist exploring transformation, expression, and story through masks and puppetry. Based in Portland, Oregon, Tony works in multiple local theatres as well as on stages across the country and abroad. Recent shows include The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, Tomás and The Library Lady tour (Oregon Children’s Theatre), Vanessa Goodwin (Action/Adventure), bugged. (Simple Machines) and The Spider Queen (The NOLA Project), and Maya (Teach For India/ ASTEP). He is a graduate of the University of Kansas (1999) and Dell’Arte International (2003). Tony has also trained in traditional mask carving and masked dance in Bali with Nyoman Setiawan and I.B. Gusto; neutral mask and bouffon with Giovanni Fusetti; and studied leather mask making and commedia with the Sartori family at the Centro Maschere e Strutture Gestuali. Tony continued his exploration in devising mask plays with the internationally renowned Familie Flöz. His masks have appeared in exhibitions such as Missing Your Face (2021), Maskibition (2020, 2012) and Reveal:Conceal (2019). He was also the lead artist for an international collaborative installation of emotion masks titled A Universal Feeling (2019). Tony has worked as a teaching artist since 2001. His teaching has included arts-integrated residencies for multiple grade levels in both Portland and New York City Public Schools; after-school classes and summer camps for multiple arts organizations and community centers; and skills-based workshops in commedia dell’arte and mask making for college students and professionals. He is a cofounder and core facilitator of the Teaching Artist Studio at Young Audiences of Oregon and SW Washington, a program began in 2013 to address the needs of developing teaching skills and to foster community among teaching artists.
Contramestre Espaço Oliveira Mendes
Position: Part Time Faculty Capoeira and Acrobatics
Is a Brazilian Capoeira, Dancer, and Movement Artist, who has dedicated his life to the art of Capoeira ever since he discovered the practice at 18 years old in São Paulo, Brazil. After several years of intensive training, he began teaching Capoeira, choreographing, and performing with his group for cultural and folkloric events, television, and Carnevale. He left Brazil in 2006 to cycle for two years, pedaling through 10 countries and over 12,000 miles to California, with the purpose of teaching and studying at Capoeira schools all along the journey. In the U.S., he has taught Capoeira in organizations throughout the Bay Area and formed his own academy in Petaluma where he taught for twelve years. He is now based in Humboldt and excited to be teaching at Dell’Arte.