Wise Fool People


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Amy Christian

Artistic Director


Amy Christian has 26 years of experience implementing physical and visual arts programming for both youth and adults from visioning through evaluation. A founding member and director of Wise Fool Community Arts (San Francisco, CA 1989-1998), San Francisco Street Theater Festival (1994-1999), and Wise Fool New Mexico (2000 -present), Amy has participated in all aspects, administrative and creative, from teaching workshops to performing and managing international touring productions. She brings insight, experience, passion and commitment to the work.  Amy is a National Adviser to the American Youth Circus Organization’s Social Circus Initiative and has been a TED speaker and NEA panelist on the social impacts of outdoor theater.


Autumn Billie

Office Coordinator


Autumn Billie is an Indigenous feminist from the tribes Acoma Pueblo, Taos Pueblo and Diné Nation. Currently, she is pursing a film major at the Santa Fe Community College. Growing up in Santa Fe, Autumn has volunteered her time or worked at local non-profit organizations such as Earth Care,  Tewa Women United and Strong Families NM. 

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Carol Schrader

Managing Director


Carol Schrader has extensive background in nonprofit management, education and social justice.  In Wise Fool she has found an organization which melds her interests in arts, environment, and social justice. She has worked  as an environmental educator at River Source and Railyard Stewards, taught at Santa Fe Community College and coordinated their re-accreditation.  She has served on the city Immigrant Task Force and as the Board President for the Friends of the Santa Fe Public Library.  Prior to moving to Santa Fe, Carol worked in Washington DC on women’s issues and peace and justice campaigns.  Carol has an MA in Multicultural Education from the University of New Mexico and a BA in Government from Harvard University.


Barbara Tullman-Malisow



Barbara has served as Bookkeeper at Wise Fool New Mexico since 2014 and is also Project Administrator with the Peñasco Theatre Collective.  Originally from New York, she has lived in the Peñasco area since 1972, raising three daughters with her husband of 35 years. Barbara is passionate about education and music, and brings over twenty years of experience as a bookkeeping manager.

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Ilana Blankman

Programs Director


Ilana is a professional circus artist and teacher who began her training with Wise Fool New Mexico in 2007, through the BUST! program. In 2012, Ilana attended the professional training course at Circomedia, School of Physical Theatre & Circus, in England after which she toured, performed and taught with numerous European circus companies. She has returned to her native New Mexico to become the WFNM Youth  & Adult Programs Director. In addition to her work with Wise Fool, Ilana is a co-founder of Pitch Catch Circus, a 9-week advanced acrobalance course. Ilana holds a Masters Degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico, speaks fluent Spanish, and has a passion for working with diverse communities, getting folks upside down, and baking cookies.

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Alexandra Diaz

Programs Coordinator



Alex joined Wise Fool in 2010 after spending years admiring the circus world and realizing there was no time like the present to follow your passion. She participated in the BUST and ELEVATE programs as a student and moved into teaching roles with the Monte de Sol mentorship and the Circus Comes to Schools programs. Her bilingual background growing up in Puerto Rico and Santa Fe and extensive experience working with youth make her a natural fit for directing programs at Wise Fool.  In addition to her experience teaching English to students in immersion camps and creative writing to children of all ages, Alex is also a published children's author who received her MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University in Bath, England. Her most recent titles for children and young adults include The Only Road (Simon & Schuster) which she has also translated into Spanish, and Good Girls Don't Lie (Leap Books). 

Artists and Instructors

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Deirdre Africa


Wise Fool has changed Deirdre's life one circus class at a time!  She started with a circus conditioning class when she signed up for Medicare and now is deep into the wonder and magic of aerial fabric, trapeze, stiltwalking and unicycle, of all things. She is so happy to be assisting with the Circus Comes to Schools program, bringing stiltwalking, juggling, plate spinning, and acrobatics into the public schools.  She loves her gigantic life full of Wise Foolians!


Ember Bria


Ember is a contortionist and object manipulator. She has been involved with Wise Fool for several years and enjoys teaching in kids' camps.

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Lisa Kadel


Lisa Kadel was inspired to study circus through Wise Fool’s Bust program.  She loves to teach and aims to help students build confidence and community through circus skills.  When she is not training in or teaching circus, Lisa works as Licensed Professional Counselor for adults with intellectual disabilities.

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Sarah-Jane Moody


Sarah-Jane Moody has been working with Wise Fool since 1996 primarily as a clown but also loves to write, direct, make music, and disrupt the military industrial complex whenever possible.  She is a graduate from the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake, CA and has studied red nose clown with Avner Eisenberg, Giovanni Fusetti, and Ronlin Foreman to name a flattering few.  The world of the clown and the journey that it proposes is quite profound and beautiful, and is a deep passion and constant source of inspiration and fascination. Come play!

Circus Luminous at the Lensic Theater Open Dress Rehearsal

Alessandra Ogren


For over 20 years Alessandra has passionately taught, performed and created arts opportunities for youth in circus, puppetry and theatre. Her commitment to social justice and issue- oriented theatre has been a lifelong pursuit; from childhood thru her degree in social justice theatre at Evergreen College, interning with Wise Fool Community Arts in San Francisco and then co-founding Wise Fool New Mexico. In her years with Wise Fool she directed many projects including: Circus Across Cultures (2005 and 2006), a cross cultural performing and teaching tour reaching over 10,000 young people in India; Rosebud Giant Puppet and Stilt Camp (1999, 2000), a summer camp working with Elders and youth from the Rosebud Lakota Nation; circus performance tour to flood damaged areas of Nicaragua (1999); and Walking Tall Circus Arts program (2004-2009) serving underserved youth at the Miami Performing Arts Center. She attended a two-week social circus teacher training offered by Cirque Du Monde (Cirque de Soleil) (2006).  Alessandra recently directed Wise Fool’s new outdoor performance, SeeSaw, which is currently touring internationally. Alessandra continues to vision projects and programs for Peñasco Theatre Collective and Wise Fool New Mexico.

photo by Kate Russell

Ousmane Sylla


Ousman Sylla is a talented acrobat who has performed in Circus Luminous. He teaches tumbling and partner acrobatics.

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Amy Bertucci Nieto


Tamara ‘Amy’ Bertucci Nieto is a principal artist and instructor with Wise Fool New Mexico. An accomplished aerialist and acrobatic stilt walker, Amy has appeared nationally and internationally with the acclaimed stilt/ aerial spectacles, ‘Flexion’ and ‘SeeSaw’. Since 2000 Amy has been a major force in Wise Fool New Mexico’s countless original productions both as a performer and creative visionary. For nearly two decades she has been teaching people of all ages aerial dance, stilt-walking,performance technique and various circus arts. Amy’s passion is creating physical theater in collaboration with others and bringing this work to audiences around the world.

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N’faly Derame


N'faly Derame is a talented acrobat who has performed in Circus Luminous. He teaches tumbling and partner acrobatics.

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Oriana Lee


Oriana Lee is a lyrical mama, lover of life, and loyal Earth school student. She teaches stilts and other circus skills.


Deirdre Morris

Deirdre Morris


Deirdre is a contemporary dancer, aerialist, acrobat, and activist working in the US and Europe. Her practice spans theatrical forms that focus on spectacle based physical theatre and site specific installations. Deirdre has worked as a director/choreographer/instructor/performer for ‘See/Saw’, ‘Flexion’, ‘Bust!’ and numerous Wise Fool New Mexico productions since 1999. Her collaborative projects draw diverse communities into creative processes that are  interdisciplinary, socially reflective and somatically aware. Her devised work, has been presented most recently at Muszi, Budapest, Hungary, TAM, Tarnovo, Bulgaria and the FemArt Festival, Pristina, Kosovo. Deirdre holds an MFA In Interdisciplinary Dramatic Arts from the University of California, Davis. Learn more about her at theforgottenbody.com.

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Jasmine Quinsier


Santa Fe native and performer at heart, Jasmine delves into beautiful creativity with a community of wonderful talent in Northern New Mexico. She has the honor of performing and dancing with the Santa Fe Opera, Wise Fool New Mexico and local bellydance company Nymphaea Dance Collective. She is a career graphic designer and fine artist. Jasmine smiles a lot because life is brilliant! minaswirled.com

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Fantina Becker


Growing up a nomad and a seeker makes finally finding one’s tribe all the more rewarding. Fantina's movement background is in yoga, but she ultimately found magic and healing power in partner acrobatics - a practice which is grounded in trust, communication, balance, creativity, and play. Acro opened the door to the inclusive and inspired contemporary circus communities of Wise Fool NM and the Albuquerque Aerialist Collective. Fantina began her journey with aerials and other circus arts in BUST! 2015, which also lead to a profound reimagining of the value and virtues of performance. Fantina believes that sharing acro as either play or performance is a gift and a joy because of the co-creation that happens when we lift each other up, create space, and hold one another - reminding us what it means to truly see each other and be in relationship.

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Zeke Farrell


Zeke Farrell taught himself to backflip and hasn't stopped since. He's become a professional breakdancer, circus teacher, and performer.

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Freyr A. Marie


Freyr A. Marie has been involved with Wise Fool for the past seven years as a teacher, performer, and participant. Freyr is currently the BUST program director.

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Heather Muntean


Heather fell in love with aerial fabrics and the Wise Fool community after her first class in 2012 and never looked back.  She is an on-going student in various apparatus; performs, teaches, and mentors in aerial fabrics; and stiltwalks with a local brass band.  Wise Fool’s deep roots in social justice are dear to her heart as well.  When she’s not hanging upside down, Heather is a licensed social worker, working with older adults and community based health.  She is also an avid rock climber and overall explorer of Santa Fe and northern New Mexico with her trusty dog Bing.


Lisa Smith


Lisa Smith is a youth teacher and visual artist with years of experience in ceramics, printmaking and puppetry.  She devotes much of her time to playful creativity with kids and brings passion, joy and heart to her classes.  Lisa has taught youth and art classes for 30 years and has been a Wise Fool youth teacher since 2011.  Working with kids has always been a source of inspiration and delight for her, and kindness, courage and connection are at the heart of her work.


Nikesha Breeze


Nikesha Breeze is an accomplished multimedia and multidisciplinary artist. With time, space, the body and mind as her medium of choice, she is constantly finding new ways to bring herself and those around her into a deeper sense of presence and beauty. She works with Wise Fool New Mexico and The Peñasco Theater Collective as a director, teacher, visionary and activist.

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Dawn Furlong


Dawn Furlong is a local tattoo legend who runs Dawn’s Custom Tattoos. She has been an artist and an athlete throughout her life and more recently a student at the Wise Fool studio. Dawn has performed in Circus Luminous and teaches unicycling and juggling.

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Colleen McKeown


Colleen McKeown is a solo, duo, and ensemble circus performer and instructor who specializes in duo trapeze and partner acrobalance. Her circus addiction began with Wise fool and traveled on to professional circus training at the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, VT. She teaches classes and private lessons in partner acrobatics, trapeze, lyra, and circus conditioning.

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David Nieto


David Nieto is from El Libano, Tolima, Colombia and now lives in Santa Fe. He's performed in Circus Luminous eight times and and teaches unicycle and juggling at Wise Fool.

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Elise Southwick


Elise is a professional circus performer and teacher whose began training at Wise Fool in 2010. In 2015, she graduated from The Professional Track Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts with a focus in double corde lisse and handstand acrobatics. At Wise Fool, she teaches Fabric, Rope, Handstands, and Flexibility, as well as in various youth programs. She has completed the Foundation Level Teacher Training in Trapeze and Fabric from NECCA. In 2009, she received her BA in Contemporary Music from the College of Santa Fe, and is now a professional banjo player and vocalist. A passionate fruit lover, Elise can often be found drinking a giant smoothie or preparing raw vegan treats. www.elisesouthwick.com

Board of Directors

kate-marcoKate Marco—Guiding Officer

After more than two decades in Taos, Kate set out for the New World and in 2001 moved to Santa Fe.  Kate fills her time with Tai Chi, writing, cycling, cooking, travel, nutritional counseling, three children, six grandchildren and of course, Wise Fool New Mexico.

Katy Pro Head ShotKaty Medley—Secretary

As Managing Director of Wise Fool in 2008-2012 and Interim MD in 2013-14, Katy led the rapidly growing company in creating sustainable admin, fundraising, and financial systems that support our mission and programs. Katy now works as an Independent Non-Profit Consultant and Outdoor Educator, and spends her spare time reading, getting fired up about social issues, and exploring the high desert mountains. Katy holds a Masters Degree in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University. 

Officer Photos 2010 - Todd Young 009Ian MacGillivray—Treasurer

Ian MacGillivray is a native of Santa Fe with 20 years’ experience in the banking and mortgage industry.  Currently working for Pioneer Bank as the head of mortgage lending, Ian enjoys helping people realize their homeownership dreams.  His passions include spending tons of time with his daughter Fiona.  At present, Ian and Fiona’s favorite activity is hanging out at the Wise Fool studio working on their circus skills.

KimDavisKim Davis

Kim Davis works with Spanish and English speaking school children as a speech language pathologist. Her previous experience is in the arts both as a lighting designer for theater, opera and dance as well as a pastry chef!  Present passions include travel, creating art, and being involved in social justice issues, particularly around border and immigrant rights concerns. She participated in BUST 2015 and her two children have been Wise Fool camp regulars.  

Cecile LipworthCecile Lipworth

With 14 years experience at V-Day, a global art-based non-profit, Cecile knows the power of art to transform lives.  Her three-decade long career has been creative-focused marketing: building global movements and campaigns; creating and producing innovative events, festivals and theatrical performances; and fostering mentorship and strategic collaborations with social justice grassroots activists and philanthropists.  Skilled at the balancing act of life, Cecile's excited to join the Wise Fool Circus and be a supportive team member to the staff and community.


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Michael Naiman

After a career in finance in New York and Tokyo, Michael left the Wall Street circus, moved to Santa Fe and joined the real circus with Wise Fool New Mexico. He discovered circus at Wise Fool’s “Elevate” boot camp and began seriously training partner acrobatics two years ago.

Bernadette Peña

Bernadette Ortiz Peña is a native Santa Fean, a mother of two creative souls who inspire her to live life fully. She holds an MA in Curriculum Design and is a seasoned educator with SFPS, including 20 years experience directing high school theater and dance. Ms. Peña is active in the arts community, and has professional experience with Teatro Paraguas, Lunares Flamenco, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, NM Film and is a member of the Santa Fe Arts Commission. Bernadette loves the Wise Fool community and is grateful for the opportunity to be part of the magical fun!

Tina photoTina Sanchez

Tina Sanchez has served on the Wise Fool board for eight years, including several years as board president and has participated in Wise Fool programs such as BUST in 2007 and 2016. Tina received a Masters in Social Work from NMHU and holds current licensure as an LISW. She has worked with youth and adults who have experienced homelessness, domestic violence, incarceration, mental illness and substance abuse. She now brings her 20+ years of work in Social Services and experience in policy development, quality coordination, and national accreditation to Wise Fool’s program evaluation and the national Weikart study.  

Christine Siegrist

 Originally from south of New Orleans, Christine Siegrist has resided in New Mexico for 14 years, working in the counseling and mediation fields. With a lifelong passion for performance, creative expression, and generalized silliness, Christine is a dedicated Wise Fool student. When she's not lounging about on a trapeze at the studio or getting hopelessly tangled in fabric while airborne, she can be found hiking with her boxer dogs, assisting with local campaigns and action groups, or in a yoga class. 

Advisory Council

Susy Alfaro

Susy joined the Wise Fool board after participating in BUST 2015 and volunteering to create videos for Wise Fool's Capacity Campaign. Her background is in photography, film and advertising and is passionate about performance arts. She hails from Costa Rica and Ireland.   

Jamelyn Ebelacker

Jamelyn Ebelacker is an enrolled member of Santa Clara Pueblo, and currently serves as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Eastern Caribbean. She graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2015 with a degree in New Media Arts after helping to reestablish the institute's Indigenous Performing Arts Program. Jamelyn can be found anywhere there is a cause worth fighting for and an amazing community to stand beside. Proud to be a Wisefoolian!