2017 Performers


The IJA festival will feature these Special Guest performers, as well as many others, at the Welcome Show on Tuesday and the Cascade of Stars on Saturday.

Cascade of Stars

Gena Shvartsman Cristiani


Cascade of Stars – Gena Shvartsman Cristiani was born in Russia on March 2, 1983, and immigrated to the United States in 1991. Her father, Eugene Shvartsman, taught her to juggle when she was almost six years old. Gena is a fourth generation circus performer. Gena is our 2017 Award of Excellence Winner, has put together a special performance, and will be conducting a free workshop for the 70th Anniversary of the IJA Festival!

Paul Ponce


Cascade of Stars – Paul Ponce’s act has been a hit in practically any type of venue around the world, from New York to Tokyo, Melbourne to Monte Carlo, Berlin to Los Angeles. One success after another has led this 6th generation performer to a magnificent career starting at age 7, and leading him to perform at some of the most prestigious stages around the world. A high energy act loved by all and seen by millions around the globe.

Jay Gilligan


Cascade of Stars – Jay Gilligan has performed in 30 different countries, touring solo work and collaborating with companies such as The Gandini Juggling Project, Cie Jérôme Thomas, Les 7 doigts de la main, Cirkus Cirkör, and Cirque du Soleil. He is the head teacher of juggling at the Dans och Cirkushögskolan in Stockholm, Sweden, and has recently published a book about contemporary juggling titled “5 Catches.” www.fourthshape.com

erik åberg


Cascade of Stars – Erik Åberg explores new juggling and the connection between circus and other artistic fields. He has researched how to translate origami paper models to wood and then explored patterns of repeating, mirroring and connecting wooden cubes to form larger structures, that could be manipulated and combined. The collective name for the sculptures is ”Ghostcube” and his film with the same title has been viewed on youtube over one million times. www.erikaberg.com

Kevin Axtell


Cascade of Stars – Kevin Axtell‘s fire shows are an artistic and athletic blend of juggling, music, dance, and emotion. Kevin will be presenting an act that is a dynamic combination of fire juggling, spinning, and magic. Dramatic, precise, engaging, and original, Kevin is a winner of multiple international awards and medals, including 2x winner of the Judy Finneli award for most inspiring juggler.

Known around the world as a FireDancing master. Kevin is also a globally recognized firewalking teacher and is currently serving as the General Manager for the FireDrums Festival, the country’s premier fire and flow arts festival.


Alexis Levillon


Cascade of Stars – Alexis Levillon is a diabolo artist who specializes in the ‘vertax’ technique. Vertax, also known as ‘excalibur’, is the way to play the diabolo vertically. Alexis was the first the play more then one diabolo in this technique.  Furthermore he developed the way to play one diabolo horizontally and one diabolo vertically in the same string. this is called ‘Galexis’, after Alexis.

In May 2016, he went to Taiwan to the MHD school. He shared his knowledge and learned the Taiwanese body movement. During this journey, Alexis improved his skills and discovered new horizons.

Bob and Trish Evans


Cascade of Stars – Bob and Trish Evans are a married pair of juggling acrobats. They are international school teachers and coaches, currently living/working in northern Thailand. They like to move, play, create, encourage, empower, and explore. They’re consistently asking themselves, “How might we empower ourselves and others to live more fully and love more truly?”

Welcome Show



Welcome Show – Owen Morse and Jon Wee of The Passing Zone join with The Danger Committee for a one-time IJA exclusive!

The Danger Committee


Welcome Show – The Danger Committee’s Bald Guy, Reynaldo, and The Other One join with Owen Morse and Jon Wee of the Passing Zone for a one-time IJA exclusive!

Chloe Somers Walier


Welcome Show – “Chloe walks in sparkling high heels across the tops of bottles…. It was quite impressive and Chloe’s bright personality continued to shine as she scooped up her bottles and playfully exited the stage.” – eJuggle

Flow, Glow & Diabolo Show

Matt Hall


Flow, Glow & Diabolo Show – Matt Hall began his juggling habit at the tender age of 27, after he purchased Charlie Dancey’s Encyclopaedia of Ball Juggling and vowed to learn every trick in the book.

Known as the “Juggle Sensei”, he has garnered several awards, including the International Jugglers’ Association Individuals silver medal, the IJA People’s Choice Award, IJA Individual Prop Champion, and IJA Bobby May Award. He has performed, taught workshops, and emceed all over the U.S., as well as in Scotland, England, Australia, Israel, Canada, The Netherlands, Mexico, Germany, New Zealand and Denmark. Matt went on tour with Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam show as a paid instructor. Matt has also been a full-time high school Japanese teacher for 16 years.

For videos, pictures, and resume, please visit Matt’s website at: http://jugglesensei.net

Emily Perkins


Flow, Glow & Diabolo Show – Emily Perkins, better known as Perkulator, is an artist, producer, and performer from Chicago, Illinois. She is best known for her artistic and dedicated exploration of hoop dance.

Athletic and artistic expression have always been fundamental to her being — but separate. In 2011, she found hoop dance, and these worlds finally collided.
Her practice has expanded to include acrobatics, contact staff, levitation wand, fans, and a multitude of other props. She regularly performs with both LED and fire, creating whimsical, primal, and often otherworldly spectacles. Her specialties include a wide array of foot hooping and multi-hoop manipulation.

You can find her performing throughout the Chicagoland area, nation, and world — both on her own and with Pyrotechniq Fire Troupe.

Elise Vanpraet


Flow, Glow & Diabolo Show – Elise stared to juggle when she was 13. She trained with her brother during the local juggling meetings in Ieper, Belgium. When she was 20, she was in a first creation ‘Stipt!’ This was a trio of juggling, fun and mushrooms. The paths separated and Elise wanted to continue to perform. For her this was the occasion to create a solo act, combining her two juggling passions: club juggling and umbrellas.

Duo par Deux


Flow, Glow & Diabolo Show – We are Victor De Bouvère and Alexis Levillon, and we are ‘Duo par Deux’.

Victor graduated at the circus school CRAC in France (Lomme), and Alexis is a self-taught diabolist. The ‘Duo par deux’ act was created in March 2015. The act came together by our two very different performing styles. One a clown-diabolist, the other one a diabolo performer.