Safety Consultants


ACE’s Safety Program is made possible by the ACE Safety Consultants. The consultants are industry professionals with a passion for the continuing evolution of best practices in the circus arts. They come from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of experiences, but share a set of values that include the following:

  1. No single person has all the answers when it comes to best practices; in fact, there are no final answers in how we deal collectively with risk management as it relates to circus arts
  2. Education, not exclusion, is the key to improving practices in the circus arts in the US
  3. Experts should be paid for their expertise and improving the safety practices in our sector is an urgent need

ACE Safety Consultants are staff of AYCO who are paid on a freelance basis when they take on an application, perform a site visit or consult on their area of experience.

Meet the Safety Consultants

Jonathan Givens

Jonathan Givens is a multi-faced entertainment professional. A member of  the Actor’s Equity Association as well as IATSE Locals 477 and 500, he is  an ETCP certified rigger, both in theater and arena rigging. He has designed and installed rigging systems for cruise lines, major motion pictures, television shows, circuses, and theatrical productions. He also designs and builds custom aerial apparatuses, scenery, and performance props. Based in South Florida, Jonathan offers rigging classes to aerialists and technicians alike, and even offers a variety of pro bono services to schools and performers in his area. He is the author of the award-winning book Dance Across the USA, and as well as a Master Photographer, exclusively working with performers out of his one-of-a-kind photography studio. He lives in Lauderhill with his two puppies and his amazing wife Leigh-Ann, who is WAY cooler than he is.

Elena Brocade

Elena Brocade has parlayed her career in circus and varieté theater as a performing artist, rigger, coach/choreographer and costume designer.

In 2002 Elena Brocade became part of the Chicago circus community training in a broad range of aerial acrobatics. She developed and refined her skills with Shayna Swanson (Aloft Circus Arts), Elsie Smith (Gemini Twins), Nourbol Miermanov (MSA Circus Arts) and Helene Turcotte (Duo Mouvance, SF Circus Center). Elena soon became a key member of the performing company, Aloft Circus Arts, founded by Shayna Swanson and helped the growth of the associated training facility, the Aloft Loft, as the Studio Manager and part of the coaching staff. Now in Los Angeles, Elena Brocade is one of the head coaches working predominantly out of Cirque School LA.  

Elena Brocade’s interest in the expansion of the circus community has motivated her work as a coach, where her students were seen in the recent VIVA Fest in Las Vegas and Seattle’s Moisture Festival, as well as, making her a part of the ACE safety consultant program. Her skills as a choreographer has expanded over the last few years to music videos (Alex Charm, Bria and Chrissy) and full productions (Oscillation Arts).

Zoë Sheppard

Zoë is abundantly proficient in both the creative, performance side of circus arts as well as the technical and management skills of operating in the circus business. She specializes in Cyr wheel, aerial silks, and aerial rope.

Zoë began her circus training at Aloft Circus Arts in 2008, predominantly under the instruction of Shayna Swanson. In 2010, Zoë joined the teaching staff at Aloft and quickly became one of the most beloved and trusted instructors. Two years later she was invited to become a senior company member of the Aloft performance ensemble. Simultaneously, she was promoted to studio manager and head rigger at Aloft Circus Arts in Chicago. 

She has performed at numerous events and in ensemble shows throughout the United States. Most recently she performed, toured, and was the head rigging and costume designer for Aloft’s newest immersive circus show, Brave Space. 

She successfully combines her athleticism, artistic voice, and enterprising business savvy into an excellent representative of the new circus world.