About Us

History

Space is the culmination of over 20 years of proactive community outreach programs, perfomances by Hawaii’s Volcano Circus (HVC), and its flagship education program HICCUP Circus.

SPACE Mission

Organizing, conducting and maintaining a company of performing circus artists for educational, cultural and instructive purposes. Owning and operating a cultural and educational center for performing circus arts to creatively promote sustainable community development. 

    • Providing opportunities for individuals of all ages to develop and share their gifts and talents in a hands-on experiential and exploratory learning environment
    • Encouraging a sense of pride in the local environment, improving access to positive and prominent cultural and recreational activities like the HICCUP Circus
    • Creating opportunities to celebrate and delight in life together, forging real collaborations within the community, with all participants actively involved in developing, planning, and implementing programs and activities
    • Modeling and promoting sustainable living research in the development of local community

WHO WE ARE:

Tristan Graham: Executive Director of SPACE; Ringleader of 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, has shown business savvy by maintaining a steady income stream nearly equal to the expenses, and he has developed good community relations. He is also the maintenance technician for the SPACE building. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated director who knows not only how to perform, teach, and keep financial records, but also knows the structural needs of the building, our technical equipment, our van, and he can fix most anything. 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, and is a member of the American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO).

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: Assistant Aerial Instructor: 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: Assistant Circus Instructor: 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 our aerial instructor, Maja, and they have a young son who will likely be performing with his creative parents soon.

Board of Directors 

David Gomez:  President, 30 years affiliation with HVC, Member of VGS Land Trust, Professional Comedian and International Clown, Circus Arts and Theater Instructor with HICCUP, Professional Dance Instructor. Co-Producer of Hawaiian Vaudeville Festivals.

Robin WorleyRobin Worley served as HVC Board President in 2015. She now holds the roles of Secretary and Treasurer. She also sits on the Events and Grant Writing Committees. Robin has over 20 Years affiliation with Hawaii’s Volcano Circus and was an HVC Board member in 1993-94. Robin studied Theater Craft with a focus on Costume Design at UH Hilo. She is a professional fine artist and fashion designer, and runs a local B&B. She has produced an ecologically educational “Trash-Fashion” show annually in places around the world for nearly 30 years.

Robin spend many years with HVC & HICCUP as a Circus Arts/Theater Instructor, Tour Chaperone/Organizer, and Office Manager/Booking Agent, she is co author of the Circus Arts play “Lifecycle” which had a brief debut in 1998.
She is Founder of Haute Trash Artists Collaborative, a California based 501(c)(3)  go check haute trash dot org; Member of the Board of Directors of Friends of the Hilo Palace Theater since 2010 go see hilospace  dot org.; Member since 2000 of the New Old Time Chautauqua, a not fot profit  Educational Traveling Circus- Check chatuaqua dot org.
Robin brings to the organization a connection with many unique performing artists & arts organizations, and a very great love of the circus. She has helped in the creation and sustaining of amazing festivals in the circus arts including HVC’s Hawaiian Vaudeville Festival between 1993 and 2000 and the Moisture Festival, the world’s largest Vaudeville and Variete’ Festival since it’s creation in 2004, check out moisturefestial dot org. 
Robin hopes in the future to be able to draw professional performers and trainers for workshopping and retreats for the purpose of enhancing our local circus community as well as creating opportunities for performing artists to comfortably train in our state of the art facility in paradise.

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.

Irene Kral: Board Member, 15 year affiliation with HVC, Member of VGS Land Trust; Professional Nurse; Former circus arts instructor and costume designer with HICCUP.

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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.