Hey! We are the American Youth Circus Organization’s Hup Squad –  a group of circus obsessed teens from around the USA. We are instigators of circus in our local communities and national youth circus ambassadors. Our blog is filled with exclusive interviews, reviews of circus shows, circus history, and more – all authored by us.

In circus, ‘Hup!’ is the word we use to indicate that we are ready, that it’s time to go, to do the trick. It’s a mode of communication and a piece of culture that is present all over the world in circus.  With this blog we aspire to connect and activate our youth community!

Interested in joining us? We are open for applications at the beginning of each calendar year. Applicants are required to be 13-18 years old and a current American Youth Circus Organization member! Sign up here for the AYCOgram, our monthly circus newsletter for youth, so you’ll know when this year’s exact application dates are announced. And you can become a member of the American Youth Circus Organization here!

And with that … Hup!

-The AYCO Hup Squad


Meet the 2019 Hup Squad
Tessa Wallington
tessa bio pic

Tessa, 14 years old, lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. She has been doing circus since 2015 and fell in love with apparatuses such as lyra, Chinese pole, globe walking, hammock, and many more. Now a freshman in high school, she was an original member of the Aerial Angels, a youth performing troupe based out of her home studio of Trapeze Las Vegas. Her team performs in many events around the city at various venues. The group’s founder and studio owner, Lisa Cote, also serves as a circus inspiration and mentor as her knowledge and style helps to drive Tessa’s passion for circus. Tessa’s younger sister, Tally, makes up the second half of the duo TNT, which performs and competes various acts. Studying under some of the circus world’s best, Tessa has learned how to be a performer both in the air and on the ground from instructors appearing in Cirque du Soleil, traveling companies, and other shows in the Entertainment Capital of the World. When she is not studying for a career in broadcast journalism, Tessa cheers on her hometown UNLV Rebels in all sports.

Maia Castro-Santos

Version 2

Maia is 16 years old and lives in Gill, MA. She has been training at the New England Center for Circus Arts for the past 6 years, and she is very excited to be joining the Circus Smirkus 2019 Big Top Tour this summer! She began her circus training in aerial silks, but since then her focus has shifted to lyra. She is also a self taught hula hooper! She attends Northfield Mount Hermon school, where she dances 6 days a week. When not doing circus, she loves to draw, paint, play the piano, and pet her cats!

Carleigh Saberton


Carleigh is 15 years old and lives in Fort Thomas, Kentucky while going to school with her best friend from circus. She has been doing circus for 4-5 years with My Nose Turns Red and has so much fun learning awesome tricks while becoming great friends with the other students and coaches. Her favorite circus activities are German wheel and aerial silks and lyra but she also enjoys all of the other skills at MNTR such as acrobatics, juggling, unicycling, wire walking and hooping. Outside of circus you will find her volunteering at the Cincinnati Zoo, playing cello in her high school orchestra, or competing on her school’s archery team.

Julaine Hall


Julaine  is from Seattle Washington. She will be 15 in March. She was a Circus Smirkus trooper in 2018 and will be attending the 2019 San Diego master youth intensive this year. Her specialty is Chinese Pole, but she also enjoys rope, straps, tumbling, juggling, trapeze, handbalancing and more! She is excited to write for the Hup Squad! Julaine loves circus because it allows her to keep bettering herself in all aspects.

Nathalie Morton


Nathalie is 16 years old and a junior at Mamaroneck High School in Westchester county, NY. She currently trains at Westchester Circus Arts in Tarrytown, NY. She has been studying circus arts for five years and trains about 7 hours a week. She discovered her love for the circus at her summer camp’s circus department. It was a giant warehouse filled with a full-size flying trapeze and dozens of other circus aparati. It was there she further fell in love with Lyra and silks, which remain her favorite aparati. If she had to choose, however, her all time favorite of the two would be Lyra. She’s really look forward to being a part of Hup Squad in 2019!

Cora Williams


Cora is a circus-obsessed 13 year old who has been doing circus for four and a half years. She was first introduced when she, her grandma and her little brother went to see a Circus Smirkus performance. Since then she has mainly focused on fabric, acro, Lyra, tumbling and unicycling. Circus Culture in Ithaca, New York is her 2nd home. When she’s not circusing, you will find her either rollerblading, cooking, watching Netflix, or eating ice cream.

Ava Kapelczak


Ava is  a 15 year old San Diego Aerialist currently training at San Diego Circus Center. In the past she dabbled in dance classes, trained and traveled with a competitive cheer team and was on a Hunter/Jumper Horseback Riding Team as well but nothing held her interest and made her feel as alive as when she’s performing in the air. So funny how nervous she gets to perform and as soon as she hears her music or she is given her cue, everything fades away and it’s just her apparatus and her doing all they can to dazzle the crowd.

Ava’s circus adventure began at 10 years old with youth spin pole and soon thereafter all things aerial took over her life and she couldn’t imagine life without it! She continually trains and performs Silks, Static, Dance and Duo Trapeze, Hoop, Corde Lisse and Spanish Web, Hammock, Contortion, Tumbling and just started training Handstands. She’s been blessed to perform in a diverse range of venues such as expos, corporate, charity, school, competitions and festival events; outdoors with a variety of different aerial rigs and indoors in different aerial facilities, theaters, under big tops, even an airplane hanger.

This year Ava is looking forward to performing and competing at Viva Fest in Las Vegas for the 3rd time, some intense training over the summer and attending AYCO Festival at San Diego Circus Center.

She very thankful to all of the instructors, coaches, mentors, family and friends that believe in her and continually push her to create her own circus style.

Bronyn Mazlo


Bronyn Mazlo is a 15 year old aerialist, hand balancer, contortionist, and wire walker who lives in Souderton, Pennsylvania. She first found out about circus when she was 11 years old and watched an artist perform aerial silks on tv. Since then it’s been her dream to pursue circus as a career. She is passionate about trying all things circus related. Ever since her first aerial silks class, she’s been adding on more disciplines. Her current favorite is wire. In addition to circus, Bronyn is also a world traveler. She has been to 18 countries (soon to be 21 in May) and 5 continents in her lifetime. She loves to travel and explore new places, and now she takes circus with her wherever she goes! Bronyn loves circus because even thinking about it makes her feel like she can do anything. Her goal is to inspire others to go for their dreams, even if they seem scary and unreachable.

Chelsea McIntosh


Chelsea McIntosh is fourteen years old. She has been doing circus for two and a half years with My Nose Turns Red. While with My Nose Turns Red she earned her level one German Wheel coaching certificate. This is her second year as a Hup Squad member.  Chelsea lives in Kentucky with her parents and two sisters. Outside of circus she enjoys reading and listening to music.

Nola Millet


Nola is fourteen years old and lives and practices circus in Tucson, Arizona. She’s been an aerialist specializing in silks for about nine years. Along with silks she also does trapeze, lyra, and sling, as well as a bit of contortion.

Jenara Kim-Prieto – bio coming soon!

Tajimere Roundtree – bio coming soon!


  1. Tres cool, you guys. One thing occurred to me looking over this blog is, how might someone become a Hup Squad member? What are the criteria and what’s the process? Just thinking of the circus youth out there that you are undoubtedly inspiring who might want to join the ranks at some point. Making this piece transparent would help, I’d think. My 2 cents!

    Thanks again and thanks for blogging. Great to hear your voices, boo yeah.

    ~ Jackie

  2. Dear hup squad.

    I think it would be amazing if two of you visited the camp frenchwoods circus. This summer
    The main number is 845-887-5600 leave a message for mike and browyn. Baker
    You should call them and request to be able to visit and see the show on the first or second visitors day. The couple who run the circus is mike and browyn. Baker. This is a large camp 500 campers ! But. The hup squad. Should check it out. The campers are 7to. 17. And they have spin fire. Juggling. Magic. And trapeze plus silk. Lyra. Etc….
    Also check out Camp keystone. It Was probably. The first camp to have a kid circus. The owners went to FSU. And were in flying high circus… This is a small camp north of Tampa Florida Burt Reynolds was an instructor there…

    Might make an interesting blog

    I wish this. Was around when I was in a kid circus. The flying pirates. From Tampa fl

    Thanks. Donna. Scrabbleladyz@yahoo.com

  3. We are super proud of our Aerial Angel Tessa Wallington for making the Hup Squad. Hopefully she is the first of many. Trapeze Las Vegas looks forward to hearing from all the members in the future!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.