Hawaii’s Volcano Circus


  • HVC International Circus Arts Festival (1984 to 2003) – bringing hundreds of international professional circus arts performers to the Big Island of Hawaii to celebrate circus arts.
  • Puna Performing Arts Festival – HVC created the Puna Performing Arts Festival to stimulate community involvement and to offer circus arts education and improve self-esteem among youth in Hawaii’s Puna District.
  • Malama Ka Aina (2004) &  Malama I Ke Kai (2005) – Bringing together over 20 different community groups, HVC has coordinated music, acting, dance, acrobatics,juggling, clowning and circus classes at sites designated by participating community groups.
  • Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education (SPACE) (2007 to Present) – HVC currently manages a 3500sqft performing arts pavilion in Puna Makai.  the culmination of over 20 years of proactive community outreach programs, performances by Hawaii’s Volcano Circus (HVC), and its flagship education program HICCUP Circus.  SPACE is supported by members of title holding organization Village Green Society (VGS, or Belly Acres)
  • Seaview Community School (- Present) – An assisted home school program provided by an innovative local charter school, Hawaii Academy of Arts & Sciences (HAAS).
  • Le Chic (2008 to 2012) – A saucy annual variety show that began at SPACE but could not continue before we get the proper permitting to do public events there.  The show was held at Kalani Honua in 2012, but since then has been on hiatus.

Mission Statements

Hawaii`s Volcano Circus (HVC) – Non-profit (501c3)

a)’Organizing, conducting and maintaining a company of performing circus artists for educational, cultural, instructive and entertainment purposes.’

b) ‘Owning and operating a cultural and educational center for performing circus artists.’

Hawaii Island Community Circus Unity Project (HICCUP) Circus – HVC program

‘To promote the healthy development of children using the time-honored skills and traditions of the circus.’

Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education (SPACE) – Pavillion

‘To creatively promote sustainable community development in Puna Makai.’

Village Green Society (Belly Acres) – Title-holding Company

‘To maintain the aesthetic, agricultural and community qualities of the title holding property whilst supporting the mission, values and programs of Hawaii’s Volcano Circus.’


  • To provide quality performance arts education and social programs, both at SPACE and outreach, that reinforce our performing troupe.
  • To produce quality circus shows that tour locally and abroad.
  • To seek and maintain relationships with professional instructors and performers locally and internationally.
  • To create stimulating skill games for fun and improving coordination.
  • To maintain SPACE and it’s programs as a fun, safe place for families and people of all walks of life.


  • Circus Lifestyle: play, discipline, performance, being prepared, respecting the individual, the group and family, where every character finds a place.
  • Positive personal development for the individual:  Training/work ethic, personal and social ethic, roles, employment and creative opportunities.
  • Positive social development for the community, the organization and program participants:  Appropriate programs for local community, volunteers and employment, appropriate visiting instructors and students.
  • Professionalism: Conduct, efficiency, motivation, image.
  • Nature and the environment: Message, collaboration, supplies.


Tristan Graham: Executive Director of Hawaii’s Volcano Circus and Program Director  for HICCUP Children’s Circus. Tristan was trained under the founder of the HICCUP Circus and was his main assistant for over 5 years. Since the founder’s resignation over a year ago, Tristan has maintained quality circus arts programs.  He is also the maintenance technician for the SPACE building.  Tristan is originally from Australia, he has a BA in Biology and over 15 years of teaching experience. Tristan is also the circus instructor for the arts elective program of our local charter school, The Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Lilia Cangemi: Aerial Coordinator; Lead Instructor. Lilia Cangemi, a native of Milan, Italy, started teaching Ballet when she was 16, and has been professionally performing, teaching, choreographing and directing since then throughout her life. She taught Modern Dance, Creative Movement, Contact Improvisation, Body Building and Aerobics in Italy, Mexico, Costa Rica, and the US since 1974. In 1988 she trained and performed Aerial Dance in Colorado with Robert Davidson and Frequent Flyers Director Nancy Smith, and in 2000 in Hawaii with Annie Bunker (Aerial Instructor for the University of Hawaii), and Andrea Torres (Director of Samadhi, Oahu), among others. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist and, after six years of Medical School, she received a Masters in Journalism, devoting herself to research in the holistic field. From her experience in the performing and healing arts, she has also created Dolphin Dance, a synthesis of Aquatic Bodywork, Biodanza and subaquatic contact improv she teaches and performs in warm water. Lilia has been teaching Partner Acrobatics for the last eighteen years and Aerial Arts to children and adults for the last three years. She has conceived, produced and directed multi-media performances throughout her career and is looking forward to continue inspiring students and audiences in Hawaii and beyond.

Maja Nilsson:  Maja has trained in aerial rope in Sweden, Denmark, and Russia. She currently performs at events and in Street Performances in Hawaii and Europe. She has been teaching the children’s/beginners aerial classes for the past 2 years at SPACE, and prior to coming to Hawaii, she taught aerial and acrobatics in Sweden.

Eli Allen:   Eli was one of the first HICCUP kids starting his training in circus arts at age 7. His specialty is juggling and comedy. He creates an enthusiastic environment with his fun personality, and the kids love him. He often performs at corporate events and street performances throughout Hawaii and Europe. He is married to our aerial instructor, Maja, and they have a young son who will likely be performing with his creative parents soon.

Board of Directors 

Michele Denise:

Cheryl Taylor:

Patrick Hesser:

Aileen Wilke:

Bryan Brey: Board member and volunteer coordinator for HICCUP/SPACE. Bryan graduated with honors in Political Science from UCLA, and is interested in creating a gift-sharing economic system for our rural area. Bryan’s 8 year old son is one of our upcoming circus stars; specializing in juggling, unicycling, and magic.

Reza Morin-Dayani: Board member, and our media guru and website developer. He currently works as the technology specialist for a local Hawaiian charter school: Kua’o’Kula. Reza is also a local DJ, dance instructor, and yoga enthusiast.

Alexis Lee: Board member, previous Secretary of HVC, 25 year affiliation with HVC Member of VGS Land Trust, Professional Circus Arts Performer, Co-Producer of Hawaiian Vaudeville Festivals; WATSU water massage therapist and educator.



Our founder, Graham Ellis, retired in 2015 after over 30 years of leadership and service to our community through H.I.C.C.U.P. and Hawaii’s Volcano Circus. We send Graham our deepest love and gratitude for all he has achieved in bringing this gift of Circus Arts to Puna Makai and beyond. Hundreds of children, statewide, have benefited from HICCUP programs over the years, and it is our intention to keep these programs going for another 30 years or more! Fortunately, Graham is still surrounded by talented youth, including his own family, and will remain a member of our Advisory Board to support us in moving forward.