Michael Rice: Executive Producer/ Creator of the VIVA Fest
Michael got his start in the Circus Arts as an Original cast member of Mystere by Cirque Du Soleil. He founded Inversion Entertainment in 1998 and has since created acrobatic entertainment worldwide for companies including the NFL, NBA, Disney World, Six Flags, Sea World, Universal Pictures, and was Circus Producer for NBC's Celebrity Circus. He also owns Gymcats Gymnastics Center in Henderson NV.
Chris Lashua: VIVAFest Steering Committee/ Cabaret Director
Company founder, Chris Lashua was discovered by Cirque du Soleil in 1992, for whom he created and performed a BMX bike and a German Wheel act that were entirely his own, cementing his reputation as a visionary of circus gadgetry. In 2004, his engineering chops and creative energy led him to 'run away' with his own circus company, Cirque Mechanics. His innovative machines interact with acrobats, dancers, jugglers and contortionists on a 1920's factory floor (Birdhouse Factory), a gold rush era town (Boom Town), accompany world renowned symphonies (Orchestra Project) and now, in a place inspired by his roots in cycling (Pedal Punk). Cirque Mechanics has been hailed by The New York Times as "exceptional, evocative, eye-catching and grossly entertaining...in a word, excellent" and by Spectacle Magazine as “the greatest contribution to American circus since Cirque du Soleil.”
Carly Sheridan: Executive Director VIVAFest
Carly Sheridan holds a Bachelor Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance from Montreal’s Concordia University. She has performed with Cirque du Soleil, on Broadway, in a variety of European cabarets, and contemporary circus and television productions. She has coached at numerous circus schools in North America including the Ecole National de Cirque. Currently working with local partners such as the Public Education Foundation, the LGBTQ Center of southern Nevada and the local school district, Carly manages a large social circus program that aims to improve the lives of at-risk youth in the Las Vegas valley.
Cassie Rice: VIVAFest Steering Committee
Cassie Rice has been working with youth sports for over 2 decades. She is the Owner and Head Coach of Gymcats Gymnastics where she was coach of Olympian Tasha Schwikert. She has been recognized as USECA International Coach of the Year and TOP's Coach of the Year. Gymcats trains over 1500 students and 500 off site students. Along with her sports work she is also actively involved in many charitable institutions including, Shade Tree Shelter, M-Lisada, Brooklynn Mae Mohler Foundation, and Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT).
Al Light: VIVAFest Steering Committee
A lifelong lover of all things circus, Al Light got his start in the circus arts from Florida State University’s Flying High Circus. After college Al had a career as a performer working with some of the greats of the circus world, such as Tony Steele, performing a variety of circus acts. After attaining his Master’s Degree in Sport Management and Coaching he has had a varied career in all levels of acrobatics and circus arts as the Director of Illinois State University’s Gamma Phi Circus, Associate Director of the Florida State University Flying High Circus, and the Head Coach of Acrobatics for Cirque Du Soleil’s Ka. Currently, he holds the position of Head Coach of Acrobatics for Cirque Du Soleil’s Ka, Zumanity and Mindfreak.
Shannon Pates Xhola: VIVAFest Registration Coordinator/Steering Committee
Jill Crook: VIVAFest Seminar
Coordinator/ Steering Committee
Steve Gale: VIVAFest Rigging
Coordinator/ Steering Committee
Steve Gale's career in entertainment began at DisneyLand in 1994. Since that time, he has grown to be a sought-after professional in many areas of the acrobatic industry. Steve has worked as an acrobatic performer, rigger, creative consultant, director and stunt coordinator among other titles. His knowledge and experience have taken him all over the world working for corporate clients including Cirque Du Soleil, the NBA, the NFL, and the Olympics in 2000 and 2002. Steve has also been involved in several television projects including NBC’s ‘The Cape’ and ‘Celebrity Circus’ where he was the cirque coordinator. Most recently, Steve has been welding and creating new acrobatic props for the industry with his entertainment company Radiant Productions.