About Me

Early years...

Mel was born and raised in Whistler, BC, Canada, and is the oldest of four children. Mel began gymnastics at the age of seven, competing as a provincial level gymnast until the age of 14. She also started dancing at this time, competing in jazz, hip hop, and lyrical. As part of an active family, she learned to ski and snowboard, waterski and wakeboard, and took regular flying trapeze classes in the summer for 12 years. In 2003, Mel was honoured to be selected as a representative of the BC Olympic Youth Leadership Academy for Whistler's 2010 Olympic bid, alongside friend and 2010 ski cross Olympian, Julia Murray.

In 2003, Mel was offered the opportunity to attend the Victoria School of Performing and Visual Arts in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Here Mel fell in love with the diverse disciplines in performing arts. While attending Victoria School, Mel participated in acting, directing, theatre, film, dance, and cheerleading, and was part of the first Canadian cheerleading team to make the finals in the United States Nationals in 2004. Mel continued to compete in dance in jazz and lyrical, while studying various dance forms such as modern, east Indian, African, and gumboot dancing. She also began acting and performing at the Edmonton Citadel Theatre and was an actor for the 2006 PBS production of Dare. In 2006, she completed her diploma and was awarded the Roy Edwards Citizenship Award for contributions and dedication to the school and community at large, through volunteering at the local Mustard Seed humanitarian organization to fundraising for school trips and events. She also worked in the summer for the All Canadian Flying Trapeze as well as Bungee Trampoline Zone back in Whistler, BC.

In 2006, Mel moved back to Whistler rejoining her gymnastics team as a recreational and competitive level coach, receiving her Gymnastics Coaching Certificate in 2007. In addition, she continued to compete in dance alongside both her sisters and began her career as a dance instructor. While in Whistler she was able to perform in dance and contortion during the year, including Whistler's 2007 New Year's celebration in the Village Center.

University life...

In 2007, Mel was accepted to the University of Victoria (UVic) where she would begin her undergraduate degree. That same year she joined the UVic Dance Company as a dancer and choreographer of which she would be apart for the following three years. In 2008, she began teaching and performing dance in jazz, hip hop, contemporary, modern, musical theatre, and acro, bringing in her acrobatic and performing abilities and finding her passion in choreography, producing showcase events as well as acting as Master of Ceremonies for various events.

In 2009, Mel rediscovered her love of theatre by being invited to act, choreograph, and perform contortion and dance in two productions with the UVic Theatre Department. She also collaborated as a choreographer with the Victoria School of Contemporary Dance in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, she was introduced to aerial yoga and pole fitness, and began teaching both dance and aerial yoga, and eventually taking and teaching aerial acrobatics. She earned her Aerial Yoga Teaching Certificate in 2012 and her love for aerial and acrobatics led her to perform pole and aerial throughout Victoria in 2012.

As an undergraduate student, Mel thrived once she found her passion in psychology, joining the UVic Psychology Organization of Students as well as becoming a member of the International Honour Society in Psychology. She also became interested in university governance and was voted in as a representative of the UVic Senate Committee responsible for academic governance of the university. Moreover, she took a strong interest in business communication, project management, and leadership and management, taking various workshops and classes at UVic and through other universities.  In the summer of 2012, Mel graduated from her Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction and decided to move abroad to travel the world and expand her horizons.

Working internationally in Qatar...

In January 2013, Mel left her life in Canada and moved to Doha, Qatar, located in the Middle East, to become an international expatriate. With the absence of an acrobatic community, Mel found and fell in love with Ashtanga yoga and became a member of Qatar's yoga community. Here she was introduced to acro yoga and instantly fell in love with partner acrobatics. She also began teaching and performing dance, and with her close friend built Doha Dancers, a growing dance community in Qatar for anyone interested in dance.

 

Early 2014, Mel traveled to India to complete her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training program and began teaching Ashtanga, vinyasa, and hatha yoga at various locations in Doha. She also attended various yoga retreats to strengthen her own practice and participated in acro yoga events worldwide. At the same time, she began teaching pole fitness out of her home and started to look for opportunities to build an acrobatic community in Doha. In the fall of 2014, Mel began teaching pole fitness and aerial yoga at a public studio, becoming the first pole fitness and aerial yoga instructor in Qatar and sparking a demand for both pole and aerial acrobatics. Noticing the demand, Mel launched Acrobatics Middle East, a community for acrobatic lovers to share information about workshops and classes in the region and internationally. This same year, Mel began her Master of Business Administration program in Dubai, focusing on motivation, organizational commitment, and organizational culture of North American expatriates living in the Middle East.

As her passion for partner acrobatics increased, she met various like-minded acrobats and was introduced by her now close friend and circus sister, Kat Cirq, to hand to hand and high-level partner acrobatics. With her cheerleading and gymnastics background, Mel fell easily into advanced partner acrobatics and thrived in the creative atmosphere, increasing her acrobatic ability and returning to Doha to expand the acrobatic community alongside other major members. Following her introduction into partner acrobatics, Mel followed into the world of high-level aerial acrobatics, attending and teaching at various international festivals, primarily in Europe. In 2015, Mel introduced two more instructors to teaching pole fitness in Doha and created the first major desert aerial photo shoot. As part of her community growth goals, Mel created and managed Qatar's first non-profit community-oriented Doha Yogathon, bringing together as many yoga and yoga-like instructors in the country to participate and share their teaching and knowledge with residents and expatriates alike.

Circus School

In January 2016, following the completion of her her MBA, Mel moved to London, UK to take the full-time professional aerial program at Gravity Circus Center, taught by international professional aerialists and instructors including Tyrone Herlihy, Ben Brown, Ezra Weill, Tom Ball, and Yam Doyev. Here Mel took aerial silks, hoop, trapeze, and majored in aerial rope/corde lisse. During her time in London, Mel also took pole and dance classes, as well as working regularly with professional hand balancers and contortionists, including famed contortionist Pixie Le Knot. In addition, Mel began modelling professionally and expanding her repertoire from acrobatics to alternative and fashion. After completing five months of intensive training, Mel traveled through the UK and Ireland, performing and training in aerial and partner acrobatics. Following her acrobatic training, Mel advanced into her 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training program in Ashtanga, vinyasa, and yin yoga as well as teaching an aerial yoga teacher training program. In the fall of 2016, Mel chose to study at China's Beijing International Arts School studying hand balancing and contortion, learning the differences between Eastern and Western circus practices.

In 2017, Mel taught and performed throughout Asia and Europe while expanding her training by attending various international circus programs and conventions, including Ecole Nationale de Cirque (ENC) in Canada, Pitch Catch Circus in the United States, and TILT Aerial Festival in the UK.  She teaches in various teacher training programs and has taught celebrities and royalty. She is now based in Saudi Arabia and is dedicated to building the circus community in the Middle East and around the world.