Waverly Jones is a versatile aerialist who specializes in several apparatuses including aerial fabrics, aerial hoop, duo aerial arts, spanish web, and pole fitness. In January of 2011, Waverly became a professional company member of Asheville Aerial Arts, and since then has performed at countless festivals, gala events, fund raisers, carnivals, corporate events, weddings, concerts, and private parties. Waverly continuously pursues education in her field by traveling to schools and studios around the world to learn as often and as much as possible. She has had the pleasure of working with talented artists and athletes such as Serenity Smith-Forchion, Molly Graves, Olga Karmansky, Shaina Cruea, Heidi Coker and many more. She has completed a certification in pole dance and fitness instruction from Dakota Fox’s Aradia Fitness USA. Waverly deeply enjoys connecting with others through performance and instruction of aerial arts and pole fitness. As of July 2015, Waverly is honored to co-own Empyrean Arts, Asheville’s first and only certified pole and aerial studio with her aerial partner and dear friend, Heather Poole.
Heather Poole is a proud co-owner of Empyrean Arts with Waverly Jones. Heather is passionate about her continuing education in sustainable athletic training methods, and specializes in end range flexibility training for herself and her students. She has received Yoga and Mat Pilates Teacher Certifications, and in early 2015 she became an Aradia Fitness Certified Pole Instructor and Master Trainer by the incredible Dakota Fox based out of Cary, North Carolina. She participated in the Liquid Motion methodology dance training in January 2016 where she discovered that she loves fusing contortion and dance techniques together. Most recently Heather received her Elevated Flexibility Teacher Certification in February 2017 from Marlo Fisken. Heather has studied and continues to train with some of the leading aerial, pole, contortion, dance, and athletic coaches in the United States and values the importance of continuing to be a student. Heather’s first aerial love is Fabrics, and she really enjoys creating collaborative group performance art. She is a professional performing artist with Asheville Aerial Arts, and a co-founder of Bromelia Aerial Dance Collective. Heather strongly believes in safe, supportive, sustainable training for herself and her students.
Alan Malpass takes great pride in his work as a personal trainer, and he is well known in the Zumba and group fitness community for his sweet disposition and fun loving personality. Alan attended Western Carolina University where he graduated with the school’s first Bachelor of Music in Musical Theater Performance degree. After graduation, he moved to Asheville to continue his work with Ann Dunn and the Asheville Civic Ballet, and also with Asheville Aerial Arts where Alan is one of their most seasoned aerial acrobatic performers. Alan is the very 1st certified male pole fitness instructor in Western North Carolina, and also through Aradia Fitness program. Alan is a certified Aradia Pole instructor, and leads the Iron Core class at Empyrean Arts.
Jessica Smith has been training and performing on Trapeze and Lyra since 2010. Jessica comes to the aerial arts through her dance background and approaches the bar with a lighthearted perspective. Jessica enjoys bringing her love for bars and dance together with aerial dance trapeze, one of her favorite aerial arts disciplines. She truly loves exploring her creativity by discovering new ways to dance in the air. Jessica believes that movement can be fun, exciting and allow the individual to uncover their true beauty. She performs under the name of Phoenix as this mythical bird illustrates how to recreate the self from what is already available. Jessica is one of the leading aerial arts instructors at Empyrean, and helps oversee and train aspiring new aerial instructors through the Empyrean Arts teacher training program.
Jennifer Bronson is a native of South Carolina where she grew up dancing. While obtaining her undergraduate degree, Jennifer received her Bachelors in Psychology and Dance. Upon graduating, Jennifer moved to Memphis, TN where in addition to her professional career, she fell in love with Pole & Chair Dance. Jennifer has many years of experience encouraging others to feel comfortable in their skin while learning Pole techniques and dance, and over a decades worth of experience in teaching modern, contemporary, jazz, tap, and hip hop dance. Jennifer has recently become a certified Aradia Fitness pole instructor, and we are thrilled to have her expertise on the Empyrean team.
Amber Victoria is a movement artist, social activist, naturalist, and a certified Liquid Motion instructor. Her ideal fitness practice is one which fosters muscular strength, endurance, and most of all an uplifted spirit. Having trained in various classical forms of dance as an teen, she now gravitates towards free form styles which allow the dancer to experience their unique movement expression while maximizing fitness benefits. Amber has studied and extensively performed as a GoGo Dancer, Showgirl, Hooper, Hype Girl, and Modern Dancer throughout the South East. She began teaching at UNC Asheville in 2013 while pursuing an undergraduate in Biology. Dance is Amber’s self expression of Love for Life. Her whole being has benefited from this therapeutic art; Spiritually, Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally. Amber strives to go through each class with an intention to help each student nurture their own unique movement style, and find the joy and strength that comes through moving in one’s own body.
Todd Gorham is a Certified Arborist, a member of The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), and is Empyrean Arts leading aerial rigger. Todd graduated from Warren Wilson College with a Bachelor of Arts in Outdoor Leadership and is most at home in the wilder regions of Appalachia. While attending WWC, Todd entertained his prolific energies by climbing trees, playing varsity soccer, and learning Aerial Silks and Acrobalance. Playing circus with his friends, taunting gravity, reading science fiction, fantasizing about being a kung fu master and fighting monsters in dreams are some of his favorite things to do. Todd enjoys his domestic life in West Asheville when he is not seeking high adventure and joy in motion.
Jenn is originally from Baltimore, Maryland and now calls Asheville, North Carolina home. She started her aerial training in Carrboro, North Carolina and mostly concentrated on Aerial Silks. Since moving to Asheville, her aerial repertoire has increased to include Trapeze and Lyra (and two flights so far on flying trapeze!). Since the opening of Empyrean Arts, she dived head first into learning pole fitness, absolutely loves it, and is now a certified Aradia Fitness pole instructor! Jenn is also a certified Empyrean Aerial Arts instructor, and loves teaching everyone how to play in the air. She works as a veterinary nurse at an emergency clinic nearby and enjoys kayaking, hiking, and traveling in her free time when she isn’t up in the air.
Alexandra Hatch has always harbored a deep passion for being upside down; nurturing said passion through gymnastics and vigorous tree climbing until she discovered circus arts in 2013. Since then Alex has been training predominantly in Aerial Silks, Contortion, and Lyra, and has been performing with Asheville Aerial Arts since 2015. Alex supervises open studio sessions and is an aerial teacher in training at Empyrean Arts.
Laura Marie began taking classes in aerial arts as a hobby in 2014 in Asheville, North Carolina after years of trying various artistic and athletic endeavors. A year later she realized that there was no place she would rather be than in the air and strengthened her dedication to training, accepting a work-study position at Empyrean Arts and focusing on Trapeze and Lyra, and has since expanded her training to include Contortion and Pole Dance. Laura Marie is a certified Empyrean Aerial Arts instructor, a certified Aradia Fitness Pole instructor, a Liquid Motion dance instructor, and a member of the Asheville Aerial Arts performance group. She is passionate about self-expression through movement and truly believes that everyone is capable of flying.
Conner Hall has trained with the Asheville Academy of Ballet and Contemporary Dance since she was a small child. She now dances professionally for the Asheville Ballet and for Lindsey Kelley Dance. After performing an acrobatic dance routine for Asheville Aerial Arts in 2015, she decided it was time to take her dancing into the air and pursue the aerial arts! Conner is thankful to the beautifully talented aerialists, many of whom are part of the Empyrean Arts team, for inspiring her to pursue this newfound execution of art and athleticism. Conner Hall is currently involved in the work study program at Empyrean Arts.
Cody Hayman discovered circus arts in a barn in Olympia, Washington in 2010. A student of a variety of circus and movement arts, Cody’s main focus is aerial rope, which he has taught and performed on throughout the western United States. In 2014 he helped found Airbound Underground, a collective of aerial instructors, performers, and producers in Olympia. He was also an instructor at SANCA in Seattle, Washington, and is excited to now be a part of the team at Empyrean Arts!
After living in many other areas of the country, Eleanor decided to move back home to the mountains a few years ago, and upon doing so, discovered the aerial arts. She was inspired to begin studying aerial arts after seeing a collaboration between a local band – Pawtooth, and Bromelia Aerial Dance Collective in 2014. Currently, Eleanor focuses on learning Aerial Silks, Lyra, and Contortion, and she also explores dance, choreography, and other apparatuses too. You can find Eleanor happily hosting open studios at Empyrean Arts.