Andrea Russell

Andrea Russel PhotoCanada/Thailand

No one who knows Andrea is the least bit surprised to find out that she has run away with the circus– it was kind of expected actually !! Andrea has been the director and ringmaster of Spark! Circus( formerly Laughing for Life) for about five years. She spins poi, and also performs with palm candles and fans, though she considers herself far more of a behind the scenes organizer than a true performer!( Luckily, the kids aren’t too picky! ) She loves bringing the smiles to the faces of the children, and witnessing how the experience with this volunteer circus stimulates beautiful growth and awareness in all the performers. It is like watching people bloom like flowers…. She is deeply honoured to spend her time with such an amazing group of people each year

Martin Sun Nielsen

grounded pose

A Danish social worker and anthropologist, Martin has worked over 5 years with refugees and asylum seekers for the Danish Red Cross in asylum centers, as well as for quite a few NGOs around South America. Since he came home from his Spark! and other circus adventures in Asia last spring, he has decided not to return to the Red Cross, but instead focus full power on his circus acts, fire shows and street music. Having lots of experience teaching, performing and organizing events, he is now one of the Spark Team Leaders for the 2014 tour.

Martins practice of poi, staff and other props has flourished for many years now, and coming from a musical family he plays both percussion, guitar and sings. Now earning his keep as a street musician and performer, he also teaches poi for a university sports organisation in Copenhagen.

His mostly tribal performance style is one of improvisation and emotional connectivity with both his props, instruments, audiences and the living flame when it is on. His love for the flow arts clearly reflects in his instinct to share it with others and is also that which brought him to join Spark! in the first place.

Shelley Poplak

Shelley ran away with Spark! Circus in 2012 without being able to juggle or even hoop.

While she was once cast as a flowerpot in a primary school play, she is better at putting out fires, filling in gaps, and improvising. Bringing her networking and logistic skills to support the mission of this incredible group of volunteer performers, she tries to juggle care and compassion to be a positive human being in this one precious crazy world.

Shelley lives on Koh Samui where she coordinates a volunteer organisation Samui Mala, which has helped fundraise for Spark! Circus for some years now.

Jenni “Jeximé” Longo

Jenni “Jeximé” Longo has been a classical dancer and musician since the age of 4 and a performance artist since the age of 6. A New York City native, Jeximé has performed and choreographed with numerous dace and theatre companies, choreographed and performed with the nationally renowned Monsignor Farrell Marching Band/Drum Corp, placing 1st and 2nd in the national drum corp dance competitions. Jeximé competed in various forms of Korean and Japanese Martial Arts, concentrating in Fan Dance for ten years as well as performing in countless competitions and shows as a ballerina consistently throughout. She has attended Wagner College’s prestigious Dance & Theatre Program, as well as performing as a member of the programs ballet company. After moving to Philadelphia in 2006, Jeximé discovered the Philadelphia Experiment burner community and Philadelphia Fire Arts, where she performed in the 2008 and 2012 Philadelphia Burning Man conclaves and 2012 Mid-Atlantic Core Project. She has also had the privilege of performing as a member of the international conclave Pyronauts in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and in the 2009 Temple of Poi Union Square Fire Show in San Francisco, merging together her passion for dance and theatre with a passion for fire, circus arts, and object manipulation. Jeximé now performs with Iconic Fire (2010), a fire/dance/object manipulation duet, Lux Arati, a belly dance/fire art fusion troupe (2009) and Setu Tribe, a modern/tribal dance company born early 2012. Jeximé is also the co-founder of The Russian Roulette Variety Show (2011), a Philadelphia born theatrical show that acts as hub for established performance artists and has performed in Side Show and Fringe performances within Philadelphia and New York City. Jeximé has taught various workshops at flow art festivals all over the country and is proudly the co-founder of the Mid-Atlantic’s first Flow Arts Festival, Fahrenheit and is also working with Philadelphia’s Ploome Studio, to bring flow arts to the community. Jeximé has since taken her love of performance art and molded it into a unique form of movement “play” therapy, for children of ages 2-6. Her love for these beautiful souls has inspired her to push her theories forward and is currently focused on furthering her education in these respected fields while still performing and teaching her heart out!