Cirque San Jose was founded by Cheryl Taylor in 1996.
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 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. And in 2017, Allison took over Cirque San Jose's after-school classes under the Taylor and Turner TnT Circus!
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.
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. 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!
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!
Guest artist/instructor from Hiccup Circus in Hawaii.
Guest artist/instructor from Cirque 'Ohana on the Big Island