Coaches & Staff

Photo by Brandon Waldrop, 2013.

Photo by Brandon Waldrop, 2013.

Jenny Prohaska

(Founder, Coach)

Jenny Prohaska founded Lucia Aerial Performing Arts in the summer of 2013. Jenny is especially passionate about teaching absolute beginners, setting goals, guiding their progression and confidence through intermediate studies, and then ultimately working with advanced students to help them create and express themselves through choreography. She has a strong background in static and dance trapeze, aerial silks, lyra, and act development. She is enthusiastic about teaching healthy lifestyles and behaviors to adults and children of all ages and finds teaching aerial a rewarding and inspiring experience. She teaches Beginner through Advanced levels of Trapeze and Lyra as well as Act Development and Aerial Conditioning.

Jenny was born and raised in Leawood, Kansas and her background prior to aerial arts included performing/competing internationally in many disciplines such as competitive cheerleading, dance, and theater. Outside of Lucia Aerial, Jenny has her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kansas, where she specialized in preventative health and neuropsychology. She currently works as a forensic and police psychologist by day, and an aerial instructor and performer by night! She has recently received several awards for contributions to the Kansas City business and arts community, including the 2015 KC Influential Woman Award and was named a 2015 Rising Star in KC Business.

Jenny is available for private instruction in Trapeze, Lyra, Silks, Conditioning, and Act Development.

Photo by Brent Holzapfel, 2016.

Photo by Brent Holzapfel, 2016.

Daniel Parks

(Owner, Technical Director)

Daniel Parks was born and raised in KCMO before attending University of Central Missouri to receive a B.F.A. in Technical Theatre. During that time he was twice a finalist for the Barbizon Award for Excellence in Lighting Design for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Daniel was a Stage Crew apprentice for the ‘05 and ‘06 seasons at Santa Fe Opera. Locally, he has been both a lighting designer and production manager for Seamless Dance Theatre since 2006, Quixotic Fusion since 2007, and Lucia Aerial since 2013. He has designed and/or operated shows across the United States and internationally including the TED stage, Costa Rica, Canada, and Bahrain. Daniel collaborated closely with artist Lisa Lala on ‘LIT’, a formal gallery show featuring custom LED art portals. He was previously the Assistant Technical Director at KU’s Lied Center for the 2013 and 2014 seasons before now operating his own production company offering production services and lighting equipment rentals. Daniel began taking aerial classes in 2012 and has loved resuming training for duo trapeze in addition to rope and static trapeze.

Photo by Spencer Studios, 2017.

Photo by Spencer Studios, 2017.

Elena Sherman

(Studio Manager, Coach, Aerialist)

Growing up, though she loved the idea of acting, Elena found herself gravitating behind the stage, especially in college where she worked on the technical stage crew at the Lied Center of Kansas learning everything it takes to put on full-scale Broadway productions to intimate lecture series.

Elena’s passion for aerial & circus arts started after she began working full-time as a fitness User Experience Designer while researching fitness trends. She started taking a lyra class and hasn’t gotten off the hoop since. Realizing aerial & circus arts are the perfect combination of all her interests (design, artistic & physical expression, stage production, fitness) she began apprenticing at the Quixotic School of Performing Arts in 2012 and later became a founding member of Lucia Aerial Performing Arts. She moved to Portland in 2015 where she continued developing as a circus artist at Pendulum Aerial Arts, The Circus Project, and Night Flight Aerial. She returned to Kansas City in 2017 and has been delighted to take on her new role as studio manager.

In her free time, Elena enjoys seeking out new ways to move and express herself, including partner acrobatics, flying trapeze, tumbling, and swimming. She fully embraces living life both on and behind the stage.

Elena is available for private instruction in Lyra, Straps, Trapeze, Aerial Yoga, Conditioning, and Act Development.

Photo by Brent Holzapfel, 2015.

Photo by Brent Holzapfel, 2015.

Ariana Ferber-Carter

(Artistic Director, Coach, Contortionist, Aerialist)

Ariana Ferber-Carter resolved to become a circus performer when she was six years old. She studied gymnastics, aerial arts, partner acrobatics, handstands, trampoline, and contortion during her six summers on tour with Circus Smirkus. She developed a love for balancing and bending and has specialized in contortion for her adult life. Her professional credits include Circus Bella, Cirque Imagination, and Celebrity Cruises Production Cast - Specialty Act. She is a recent recruit to the Kansas City circus community where she works for Lucia Aerial Arts and founded Pareidolia Contortion with her circus partner, Liv Morrow.

Ariana is available for private lessons in Contortion/Flexibility, Handbalancing, Partner Acrobatics, Trapeze, Lyra, and Act Development.

Photo by Brent Holzapfel, 2015.

Photo by Brent Holzapfel, 2015.

Liv Morrow

(Coach, Aerialist, Contortionist)

Liv Morrow is a contortionist and aerial performer/ instructor from Tennessee. She began dance and gymnastic classes at four years old, and by the age of eight realized her inclination toward contortion and performing. Halfway through her Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts at East Tennessee State University, Liv was awarded an apprenticeship at Firefly Aerial Dance (now Circus Warehouse). After graduating from ETSU in 2008, she moved to join Pendulum Dance Theatre in Portland, Oregon. Pendulum provided coaches such as world-renowned Mongolian contortionist Tsengelmaa Byambadorj and rhythmic gymnastics coach/ Cirque du Soleil choreographer Alixa Sutton. Liv relocated to Kansas City in 2011, and has performed and taught with Quixotic and Lucia. She has toured with Aerial Experience Productions, spent 4 months performing full time for the World Expo in Yeosu South Korea, and worked abroad with Celebrity Cruises.

To learn more about Liv, visit her website:

Liv is available for private instruction in Contortion/Flexibility, Handbalancing, Silks, Lyra, Trapeze, Straps, and Act Development.

Photo by 53Tom, 2013.

Photo by 53Tom, 2013.

Georgeanna Layton

(Coach, Aerialist)

Georgeanna Layton initially began studying Aerial Silks in 2009 with Voler Aerial Arts. She has knowledge and performance experience in Lyra, Spanish Web and a variety of custom apparatuses but is most passionate and now excels in Tissu (Silks) and Corde Lisse (Rope). Georgeanna was born and raised in Joplin, Mo. with and early background in gymnastics. She graduated from The Bauder School of design which at the time was located in Miami Fl. Georgeanna was ahead of her times and developed anti-bullying and youth community building programs in response to what she saw as a growing problem in 2000. Georgeanna has been a founding member of two performance companies, but is most proud of her work with Lucia Performing Arts. Within the company she finds great satisfaction in being part of the whole creative process from studying dance, choreographing for herself and others as well as performing group and solo pieces. Believing that creativity, like most things is enhanced by a challenge, Georgeanna has recently begun training in aerial straps. When not in the air, this grandmother spends her time keeping up with her granddaughters Kaiea and Noraleigh.

Georgeanna is available for private instruction in Silks, Rope, Conditioning, and Act Development.


Kelsey Aicher

(Coach, Aerialist)

Kelsey Aicher is an aerial performer and instructor based in Portland, Oregon. She has studied static trapeze since 2011, working primarily with coaches Daniela Steiner (Do Jump!, Sweet Can Circus) and Rachel Walker (Cirque du Soleil). Kelsey has also studied aerial ladder, duo trapeze, dance trapeze, lyra, silks, and partner acrobatics. She has been performing professionally since 2013 with companies such as Prismagic, Night Flight Aerial, Do Jump!, and Sir Cupcake's Queer Circus and was selected to perform in the 2015 Denver Aerial Acrobatics Festival Competition Show. Kelsey has been an instructor of various circus arts since 2012, coaching at Night Flight Aerial, Echo Theater Company, and The Circus Project in Portland. Her emphases are clean technique, dynamic movement, and creative solutions.

Kelsey is available for private instruction in Trapeze, Duo Trapeze, Partner Acrobatics, Partner Aerial, Silks, Conditioning, and Act Development.

Photo by Brent Holzapfel, 2015.

Photo by Brent Holzapfel, 2015.

Kelly Payton


Kelly grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and attended the University of Kansas where she received her Bachelors of Music Education. Following her passion for music, Kelly teaches Orchestra in the Olathe School District. Her primary instrument is the violin which she has played most of her life.

Loving both music and athletic pursuits equally, Kelly has dabbled in gymnastics and other various sports and training. Nothing "stuck" until she discovered Lucia Aerial in January of 2014. Kelly was hooked after taking a trapeze class on a dare and finally happily landed on aerial silks. She is currently progressing on corde lisse in addition to silks. Kelly was thrilled to join Lucia Aerial's performance company in February of 2015.

When she isn't teaching, playing the violin, or upside down in the air, Kelly loves working with animals, traveling, and inspiring others to work hard for what they love.

Kelly is available for private instruction in Silks.

Photo by Brent Holzapfel, 2015.

Photo by Brent Holzapfel, 2015.

Alyss Puhr

(Coach, Production Team)

Alyss Puhr was born and raised in Indianapolis before relocating to Kansas City about six years ago. She was a competitive gymnast for over 15 years before she attended Purdue University earning a degree in Construction Engineering. After three years as a rock climbing hobbyist, Alyss and her now husband Russ tried an Intro class in November 2012 and fell in love [he actually proposed while on the trapeze]. Well versed in trapeze and duo trapeze, a year ago she resumed training and performing on Lyra. During the day, Alyss is an Estimator for a prominent Construction group where she has also worked on outreach programs exposing hundreds of high school girls to STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] careers. When she and Russ are not at then studio, they live in Quality Hill with four kitties and are most likely planning their next Disney adventure.


Ann Shaughnessy

(Dancer, Choreographer)

Ann received a BFA from UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance with a focus in Modern in 2002. She has supplemented her training by taking workshops and intensives in New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and here in Kansas City. She performed with City in Motion Dance Theater for eight seasons, and also with Dramatic Truth Dance Theater, aha! dance, Reach...a movement collective, and Gurukul Dance. She has over 20 years experience of teaching dance to all ages and in a variety of styles including Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Swing, and Creative Movement. She has taught at UMKC, Metropolitan Community Colleges, Kansas City Ballet School and Studio Division, City in Motion, Kansas City Young Audiences, Community Music and Dance Academy, and at several other local dance studios. Ann's choreography has been performed at concerts produced by UMKC dance and opera divisions, City in Motion, a-ha! dance, Reach...a movement collective, and at recitals and competitions associated with the dance studios she has taught at.

Ann is available for private instruction in Dance.


Samantha Davis


Photo by Brent Holzapfel, 2016.

Photo by Brent Holzapfel, 2016.

Nicky Purtle

(Social Media, Coach)

Born and raised in Lee's Summit, Nicky has always loved performing. She cheered for fun and competitively for 10 years, dabbled in theater, took boxing classes and started exploring hip hop dance before a coworker convinced her to try an aerial silks class. She was hooked after her first class, practicing the new knots on bedsheets when she wasn't at the studio. A few months later she took a trapeze workshop and fell in love all over. Four years later, she performs silks and trapeze with Lucia's Performance Company and loves teaching and helping others learn what they are capable of through aerial arts.

She proudly calls Kansas City, Missouri, home, and loves exploring the city and hanging out with her best friend, her pepetual puppy Lucy.

Morgan McBride

(Assistant Coach)

Morgan McBride was born and raised in Olathe with an older brother by her parents (mom Gina is an artist). She began studying dance at age 3 and later added Gymnastics at age 10. Middle school and 9th grade were dominated by being a member of Drill Team. Having no familiarity with aerial, Morgan attended the Free Intro class at Lucia in August 2014 and made her performance debut at our student showcase the next February as a performance company member. She attended visiting Cirque artist Rachel Walker’s aerial masterclasses and has tried Flying Trapeze twice in Florida. She balances co-teaching Beginner Lyra and Trapeze Levels 1 and 2 with a heavy course load of AP Science and Math courses. She was accepted to a week-long summer intensive at Univ. of Mississippi for Crime Scene Investigation and plans to continue pursuing aerial post-graduation while studying Forensic Psychology or Criminology.

Photo by Alyss Puhr, 2016.

Photo by Alyss Puhr, 2016.

Russ Puhr

(Assistant Coach, Production Team)

Carol Webb

(Production Team)

Carol grew up in a small farm town in eastern North Carolina spending her time playing tennis, basketball, soccer, riding ATVs on the river, and going to the beach. She graduated college from UNC-Charlotte with a double major in English and Sociology. She worked various jobs throughout college including a day care teacher, video store assistant manager, group home administrator and one-on-one paraprofessional. After graduation she worked as a counselor for a youth crisis shelter. She moved to Kansas City in 2010 and started working in medical education and currently works on cancer academic and research related projects. In 2013 a co-worker introduced her to aerial and immediately fell in love and fulfilled her lifelong dream. Carol attends lyra and trapeze classes on a regular basis and takes detailed notes in all of her classes.