Wise Fool People



Alishiya Kapoor

Co-executive Director

Productions & Admin Director

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Alishiya is dedicated to social justice and working alongside diverse communities in many forms. She has worked with youth since 2013, working for a social justice non-profit, Jerusalem Farm leading youth on home repair and hospitality sites in the diverse community of Northeast Kansas City, MO. She started her circus training in 2012 with hula hooping and is a certified yoga instructor, receiving her 200-RYT in 2015 from Siddhi Yoga in Dharmshala, India. She has been teaching both youth and adults since. Moving to New Mexico in 2016, she became an AmeriCorps VISTA with Santa Fe Birth to Career/ Opportunity Santa Fe/ Mayor’s Youth Cabinet supporting extended learning programs in Santa Fe, including a summer program between the City and Santa Fe Community Educators Network. Alishiya began training with Wise Fool New Mexico in 2016 and has performed in BUST and CircAspire.


Amelia Calsi

Adults Program Coordinator

Youth Outreach Coordinator

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Amelia is an artist, activist, and community organizer. She arrived in Santa Fe in the autumn of 2021, following a little voice in her head that compelled her to explore the light and landscapes of this magical desert. Always seeking creative spaces, she was excited to be introduced to the work of Wise Fool, and even more excited to get to join their team. Previously, Amelia worked as a muralist and arts administrator for Groundswell, a Brooklyn-based youth non-profit. She is also passionate about rock climbing, slacklining, silks, and social justice.


Kristen Woods

Co-Executive Director

Studio, Fundraising and Marketing Director

Youth In-Studio Coordinator

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Kristen Woods is an artist. She is also a Co-Chair in the American Circus Executors Social Circus Committee. Kristen is a Nimble Arts certified aerial instructor. She received a MEWP(Mobile Elevated Work Platforms) and Wire Rope and Rigging certification from the IATSE 480 training center. Having worked at the Santa Fe Opera, on television, at events around her state and dozens of cabarets, she is a performance artist specializing in aerial acrobatics, stilt-walking and clown. Kristen first started at Wise Fool while taking BUST in 2011. Kristen also practices photography and makes art as often as possible however she can and wherever her ideas take her. Kristen believes that circus has magic for everyone. She is very excited to share her love of art with the Wise Fool community.



June Knight

Fundraising Coordinator

Bio Expand June Knight was born in Columbia, SC and has lived in five
states. She is a graduate of Florida State University with a
Bachelor of Music Education degree and earned a MA (less
thesis) from San Francisco State University in Broadcast
Communications Arts.
She has worked at UNM as the Manager, Corporate Support for
KNME-TV (PBS). She has been on the Board of Opera
Southwest, the UNM Faculty/Staff Club and the Committee for the
Allegro Society of the NMSO. She moved to Albuquerque in 2006
from the Los Angeles area to work at KNME- TV (PBS). She has
worked for six public broadcasting organizations, including KHFM,
Classical Public Radio. She also has extensive experience in
finding corporate sponsors for non-profits and economic
development publications. In addition, she was an entertainer
(singer) for senior housing and centers in the Los Angeles area. AmayaHEADSHOTADSCF9874

Amaya Alvarado

Co-Executive Director

Bio Expand Amaya Alvarado is a multidisciplinary circus artist and lover of movement.
After completing the Professional Program at the Circus Warehouse in NYC she went on to graduate from the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) focusing on hand to hand, group acrobatics, and trapeze. Amaya has performed with a number of renowned companies and organizations including Comedy Central, Summer Stage NYC, Nimble Arts, and Aerial Angels, and she is the founding director of Aiya Productions. She has studied hand to hand, acrobatics and aerials with some of the greatest coaches and innovators in North America: at NECCA and in Montreal with Jérome LeBeaut (Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Eloize and Seven Fingers) and Natalia Adamiecka (Cirque Eloize). She also studied with prominent coaches at the Beijing Acrobatic School in China, including Coach Lee and Coach Tzuo. As a teacher, Amaya endeavors to uplift, empower and facilitate experiences of joyful spontaneity and growth. Amaya co-created, choreographed and performed in the contemporary circus theatre show Tinder and Ash, born through a Tohu artist residency in Montreal and further developed at the Orchard Project Residency in Saratoga Springs, NY. In 2019 Amaya directed and performed, in collaboration with Kate Law, a two woman show entitled Pole Disclosure which was developed with support from the Regional Arts and Culture Council of Oregon. Amaya’s most recent work, entitled “Grief Cabaret: A Glamorous Mourning” premiered in Portland in September 2021. Amaya is a movement storyteller and her work has been called “hilariously vulnerable” and “beautifully touching. Elevate2

Olimpia Newman

Finances and Grant Coordinator

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Olimpia is a world citizen who worked and lived in Austria, France, Germany, Japan, Poland, the USA, West, and East Africa. Her professional background focused on the creative as a textile designer and analytical as a business consultant and project manager. After acquiring her business degree, she joined the United Nations and managed projects in African and Asian countries focusing on developing the skills of entrepreneurial women. In New Mexico, she committed herself to grant writing for numerous nonprofits and joined Wise Fool in 2020. The creative and supportive environment inspires her daily work. While she enjoys writing grants and making numbers “sing and dance,” she recently joined ELEVATE to explore her inner child through circus arts.

Artists and Coaches

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Amy Christian

Artistic Director Emeritus & Master Coach

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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.


Carey Cramer

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Carey Cramer is a principal artist and instructor with Wise Fool New Mexico. Carey is an amazing rope coach, teaches in our Afterschool programs and is a shining light and friend at Wise Fool. They have performed and coached around the United States and studied at prestigious École nationale de cirque. 

Lisa  Kadel - trapeze photo

Lisa Bartley

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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 Clinical Counselor and a Behavior Support Consultant for adults with intellectual disabilities. 

She has worked as a counselor with adults and children including people with addictions and people with mental illnesses. Lisa has completed introductory and foundation level teacher training in Fabric and Trapeze with the New England Center for Circus arts in addition to introductory Circus Arts Therapy training at the Circus Arts Institute.  In the long term, Lisa would like to teach circus to
children and adults with disabilities and with learning challenges. Colleen basing two high

Colleen McKeown

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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.


Ari Bair

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Ari has been a student and performer at Wise Fool for over 9 years and is now a coach themself.

Wise Fool - Circus Luminous

David Nieto

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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.

Sarah-Jane Moody - IMG_5988

Sarah-Jane Helvey

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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!

Alexandra Diaz - Alexandra Diaz

Alexandra Diaz

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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).  www.alexandra-diaz.com Wise Fool - Circus Luminous

Dawn Furlong

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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.

Board of Directors

Kianah Jay (Co-Guiding Officer)

Kianah Jay is a painter, musician, rapper, aerialist, actress, dancer, and choreographer. Raised in Tesuque, New Mexico, Kianah’s regard for the desert has informed her body of work. Informed by de-colonial mindset, she is deeply committed to a range of materials, collaborators, and experiences as she celebrates togetherness, brownness, blackness, and primal femininity. She is thrilled to join the Wise Fool Board.

Evan Anderson (Board Secretary)

Born and raised in Juneau, Alaska, Evan graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2015 with an M.Sc. in Literature & Modernity. Since then, he has organized grassroots fundraising for Oregon’s local PBS & NPR affiliate, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and has helped put on arts events such as the Pickathon Music Festival, Symbiosis’ Oregon Eclipse, and Envision Festival in Costa Rica. He is excited to be part of Wise Fool’s mission for arts education and social justice.

Tori Nicole

Tori Nicole is a self-taught multi-disciplinary artist, creating out of her studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area then moved to Los Angeles in 2014 where she worked in the pastry departments at several fine dining restaurants, centering her energy on the art of food for 7 years. She moved to New Mexico in 2021 and started heavily channeling her creative focus on visual arts and community building within her studio space, which she utilizes for community art nights and group exhibitions. Tori also has taken part in fundraising and volunteering for community initiatives for unhoused people and youth.

Julián Antonio Carrillo

Julián is an anthropologist, folklorist, and museum & culture worker originally from the Southwest borderlands. He promotes artists and non-profit organizations that advance racial and cultural equity. He found his way to Wise Fool through his love for and research of maroma. The maroma is a community tradition featuring clown poetry, theater, music, and acrobatics; it is considered the seed of the modern circus in the Americas. He works at the University of New Mexico’s Maxwell Museum of Anthropology in Albuquerque and is excited to be part of the Wise Fool Board.