The South Bay's premier youth circus network
Presented by CPAA

Bailey Givens
Hunter Way
Noa Sasson

Our staff

Please note that not all staff members are present at every week of camp or class. 

Cheryl Taylor - Director


Following in her mother's “dance steps”, Cheryl is a second-generation dance and acrobatics teacher. Musical theater is in her blood! At age 20, Cheryl moved to Las Vegas and began her career as a professional dancer and acrobat. She performed in several shows at the major hotels including the Tropicana, Shara, Original MGM Grand, Circus-Circus and others. She also toured with Ray Binney Productions, Tor-Man Productions, and Ashton Productions, as well as performing in a duo which played as an opening act for such stars as Henny Youngman, Norm Crosby, Jackie Leonard, Jackie Gayle, and Jack Carter. She also appeared on the Merv Griffin Show, sharing the stage with the later Danny Kaye. After being on the road for many years, Cheryl moved back home to San Jose to raise a family, and opened up a Sports Acrobatics and Circus School. She co-coached an acrobatic team which produced over 100 National Champions in Sports Acrobatics, including some who have gone on to earn medals in international competitions. She also coached the award-winning Sundance Vaulting Team (acrobatics on horseback) for eight years. Cheryl is now the Artistic Director for Cirque San Jose, and in her “spare time” she has worked on many musical theater products.


Allison “Alela” Turner


Allison joined Cheryl Taylor’s circus family in 2005 when she attended one of Cheryl’s circus camps. Over the years, Allison went from being a camper, to a counselor in training, to a counselor, to her current role as a master teacher. She specializes in poi, Aerial Silks, Spanish Web, acrobatics, and contortion, while she also coaches rolling globes, tumbling, juggling, and plate spinning. Since 2009, Allison has assisted in Cheryl’s circus lessons and classes throughout the year. In 2010, Allison joined the Magique Bazaar as Alela, one of the magician’s assistants. The Magique Bazaar and Cheryl’s circus group collaborate to create Cirque du Magique, a wonderful blend of circus and magic that delights audiences and performers alike.


Allison’s passion for circus and magic surfaced as a toddler, when she demanded daily to be taken to her circus, regardless of its temporary fictional status. Since then, she has promoted the healing aspects of seeing, experiencing, and practicing circus arts. Allison completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation at San Jose State University in 2015. Circus was her inspiration for this degree when she noticed the many emotional and physical healing benefits of circus. Allison’s goal is to use circus arts as a modality for therapy.

Allison is also a classically trained musician in voice and upright bass. In her orchestral career, she won a total of eleven music awards, went on a tour of New York that included Ellis Island and the United Nations, and premiered several symphonies. In 2009, as a member of the San Jose Youth Chamber Orchestra, Allison had the honor of performing for His Holiness The Dalai Lama at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in San Francisco.


Jeanne "Magic Genii" Perry


Genii has been teaching gymnastics and acrobatics for over 25 years.


Competing in high school artistic gymnastics, she was a two time Northern Peninsula League all-around gold medalist.
In acrobatic gymnastics (women’s pair, mixed pair and women’s trio), she is a three time U.S. National gold medalist.
Following her retirement from competition, she joined Cirque San Jose as a performer and teacher and is currently a master instructor for their developmental program as well as a professional magician’s assistant.  She continues to perform throughout the United States and abroad.

Teaching circus is an extreme pleasure and she enjoys being a part of the next generation of performers.
Hobbies outside of circus and magic include dance, yoga, board games, and playing with her two adorable aquatic frogs, Tristania and Steve:)


Ian Ballard


Ian was ranked fifth in the world in sports acrobatics in 1986.


Garin Ballard


Both my parents were in the Cirque San Jose with Cheryl since before I was born. I was raised in a family where I heard “let me spot you” or “there’s a better way to do that” rather than “no” when I asked to do something crazy. I grew up with mats in my house, so I could roll all over the place. I love to tumble and use all of the props. I especially love the diabolo, and I love to keep learning and improve myself, hoping to be a master one day. Performing Circus Arts is always tons of fun, but teaching it to others and seeing them learn and excel gives me even more joy! Outside of Circus, I’m also gifted at sports and music: playing trumpet, French horn, and mellophone for the Branham High School Royal Alliance Band, and playing tennis for Branham High School as well. I also enjoy a variety of other physical activities including fencing, archery, and airsoft/paintball. I have been attending classes with Cheryl since I was 4, and I have been teaching those classes since 2014. While I love to teach Circus Arts to kids, it’s the implicit life lessons that they learn in the process that inspires me to keep teaching. Many kids learn more than just how to spin a plate or climb a rope; they learn how to cooperate with one another, how to appreciate others around them, and to always be supportive of others in their endeavors. On a more physical level, they learn better hand-eye coordination and gain a stronger sense of balance. In short, it can tremendously change their life for the better. I look forward to teaching your child and watching them as they excel at what they learn here at Cirque San Jose!


Noa Sasson


I’ve been participating in circus at Cirque San Jose with Cheryl since 2006 (ever since I was going into 3rd grade). I started out as a shy little camper in the summer camp, after having decided to try circus out because it looked fun and awesome, then joined as a student in the year-round circus classes, improving upon my skills. I continued to participate in camp and classes, and began to perform in some professional shows with Cirque San Jose such as Cirque du Magique. In middle school, I became a counselor-in-training/assistant circus teacher, beginning to learn how to teach the skills that I’d been taught while continuing to learn new tricks. I then became an official counselor/teacher in the summer of 2015. My favorite circus skills are floor gymnastics, silks, and Spanish web, but I also love to spin poi, walk on circus balls, and juggle. I also have a background in music and dance, having played the piano since I was seven and having taken dance classes and performed in my school dance show. I fell in love with circus ever since I started, as not only did I get to learn many cool tricks that I can show off to my friends, but I also built up my sportsmanship and self-confidence. I love that circus highlights each individual’s strengths and avoids competition, fostering friendships and a sense of teamwork. Also, in addition to having improved my flexibility and strength, circus has definitely helped me to break out of my shell and discover my potential, and I’m hoping to pass these aspects on to my students through the art of circus. I love teaching circus, and watching students' growth, and I especially love to see the excited look in the students’ eyes when they learn a new trick and grow!


Hunter Way


Guest artist/instructor from Hiccup Circus in Hawaii. 


Bailey Givens


Guest artist/instructor from Cirque 'Ohana on the Big Island

What they're saying about our programs

February 15, 2010

To whom it may concern, 

Cheryl has been our daughters' gymnastics, circus and summer camp instructor for more than 3 years. 

Cheryl is an inspiration to us all with her love for the profession, love for the kids, and her extremely positive can-do attitude.  Cheryl puts her heart and soul into her teaching and we are all very thankful for that. 

Cheryl is sensitive to the kids' needs and is extremely supportive as well; our oldest daughter is a shy girl but with Cheryl's support and dedication she is now a confident young gymnast who is eager to perform and show her talent.  Cheryl has been a true asset for building our daughter's self confidence and self-esteem. 

Our family has is a member of the Addison-Penzak JCC Center. We had first come to know Cheryl while watching the JCC summer Circus camp's performance and were very impressed with what she was able to do with the children in a very short period of time.  After watching the performance our daughter Noa insisted on joining the program and has been very happy since. 

Cheryl works with different ages extremely well, and is able to identify the potential in every child. 

We are truly thankful to Cheryl for teaching our two daughters, and bringing out talents that we didn't even know existed. 

Our two daughters are ready to join the circus! 

Sincerely, 
​Hava and Modechai Sasson
April 18, 2001

Dear Cheryl,

I have wanted to write to you for a very long time. I want you to know what a long-time impact your Circus programs - both classes and summer camps - have had on the development and maturation of my four sons.  Your programs were the highlight of my children's childhood.  Not only did they have fun, they developed poise, confidence and skills that they have used in undertakings as they have grown. 

Our family still mises the five years we spent with Taylor's.  Friends that took classes at Taylor's with us still ask, "When will San Jose have a Circus Camp?". When Taylor's closed, our community lost a great service to children, that has not been replaced in all this time.  We sitll wish that we could be attending circus classes and camps. 

Thank you for your great heart, talent, commitment and energy that you gave to the instruction of not just my children, but to the hundreds of children that took part in the Taylor's Acro-Gymnastics programs and camps. 

​Thank you for your kindness, patience and generosity that you gave to John, Luke, Andrew and Nathan.  We miss you. 

Sincerely, 
​DeeLynn Fields

Garin ballard
Sylvie eisips
Ian Ballard
Allison Turner
Magic Genii
Cheryl Taylor

Our staff

Cirque San Jose was founded by Cheryl Taylor in 1996. 

Cirque San José