staff & production
Artistic & Executive Director
Caroline Calouche, her dancing roots began in the small town of Gastonia, North Carolina (12 miles outside Charlotte) and branched out Texas Christian University for two BFA degrees in Ballet and Modern Dance. From there she studied in Europe in Rome, Brussels and then completed a postgraduate program in choreography at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance.
Finally home sick, Caroline returned to her hometown and saw that Charlotte had a stronger arts scene then when she left for college. So she founded the contemporary dance and aerial company Caroline Calouche & Co. in 2006. She is known for blending contemporary dance with aerial arts as well as merging ballet, partner acrobatics and contact improvisation to create her own style in floor partnering.
She has created over 70 choreographic works for the professional stage. Notable works are 'Carmina Burana', 'Lingua', 'Star Gazer' and 'Clara's Trip'. She continues to push herself physically as a performer and mentally as a choreographer.
Many people have inspired her along the way in the dance and circus field. Some influential teachers are Li-Chou Cheng, Elizabeth Gillaspy, Mary Cochran, Susan Douglas Roberts, Kerry Kreiman, Susan Quinn, Joao da Silva, Andrew Harwood, Libby Farr, Keren Levi, Elsie and Serenity Smith, Molly Graves, Susan Murphy, Nancy Smith, Nicole Merman, Christine van Loo, Aimee Hancock, Amanda Lynch, Rodleigh Stevens and Tanya Burka.
Indira Vaddi, Development Director, is an experienced digital marketer, fundraiser and grant writer for more than 10 years. She did her Masters in Non Profit Management from India and takes pride in community engagement work through various development projects she has undertaken over the years. As the Director of Development, her goals include developing effective fundraising strategies, building donor relationships and achieving organization’s fundraising goal. In addition to her primary job functions, Indira runs a small business - Rustic Art LLC, that promotes and supports rural and tribal artisans by bringing their handcrafted eco friendly products at the forefront. In her free time, Indira likes to spend time with her family, explore outdoors and occasionally enjoys a good Netflix binge.
Stephany Ridgell is originally from Panama City, Panama and I have had the opportunity to travel and live abroad; however, I have lived in North Carolina the majority of my life. My military roots have provided me with the experience of interacting with people from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds.
I received my bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Winston-Salem State University in 1998 and just recently earned a Master’s degree in Communication and Leadership from Park University in Parksville, MO. Most of my work experience has been in education and I have taught at all levels of the education spectrum.
I gained an appreciation for the arts and dance as a child and knowing how it impacted me and my view on life, I am thrilled at the experience to work with Caroline Calouche & Co. / Charlotte Cirque & Dance Center as the Director of Community Engagement, to help bring circus arts and dance to the Charlotte community!
Community Engagement Director
Charlotte Cirque & Dance Center School Manager
Kristin Bridges is from Winston-Salem, NC and discovered her passion for the arts through community theatre. She attended UNC Greensboro for Theatre and The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York for Musical Theatre Performance. While in New York she worked with HHC Marketing, Telsey Casting, and was Marketing and Creative Director for Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. She moved to Charlotte in 2016 and discovered her love of Aerial Arts with Aerial CLT. She is a professional petsitter and also a volunteer for the Humane Society of Charlotte and Blumenthal Performing Arts.
Shaun Wilson comes all the way from sunny Melbourne, Florida (where NASA is located), and is a cheerleader gone dancer gone aerialist. With over 12 years of performance experience under his belt, he has trained in ballroom, jazz, hip-hop, gymnastics, and aerial arts. With a passion for teaching and sharing, Shaun has coached dance and tumbling at various dance centers, with students ranging from kindergartners to adults. Shaun joined the production team at Caroline Calouche & Co. in January of 2022.
Jennifer O'Kelly, enjoys regional work with inventive theatre and dance companies and has been the lighting designer for CC&Co. since 2008. Regional credits from classics to experimental include; Rooms and AESTUO-Dogma Engine, Clara’s Trip, A Goddess Tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bus Stop, Dracula, Angels, Charlotte Dance Festival, Nutcracker, Mysterioso, A Christmas Carol and The Scarlett Pimpernel for NC Shakespeare Festival, Alban Elved Dance Co., Caroline Calouche & Co., Clarence Brown Theatre, Winston-Salem Festival Ballet, and Triad Stage. She also enjoys art direction and production design for film and television including Shuffleton’s Barbershop, The Shunning, The Confession, Juwanna Mann, Having Our Say and Home of the Giants. Jennifer earned her MFA at UNCSA and operates Muse Scenic Studio in Winston-Salm, NC.
Lighting and Scenic Designer (12th Season)
Production and Stage Manager
Valerie Wheeler has served as a Production Stage Manager at opera companies and festivals across the US, including New York City Opera, Portland Opera, Opera Carolina, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Wichita Grand Opera, Wolf Trap Opera Company, Opera Cleveland, University of Southern California/Thornton Opera, Opera Santa Barbara and Chautauqua Opera. With over 25 years of experience in the field, among her additional roles and credits, she served as Production Manager for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival from 2010-2017.
Cassandra Brower, holds a bachelor of science in dance and is a licensed massage therapist. She has worked in administrative support for the last three years. During this time she assisted with concert production, data entry, customer relations and more. Cassandra has a strong background in ballroom dance and has trained in a variety of genres including modern, aerial and ballet. She is a versatile performer and has been a member of the ballroom companies at both Utah Tech University (UTU) and Utah Valley University. She has also performed and choreographed concert dance works at UTU and the Red Rock Dance Festival.