Meet the Instructors

When it comes to circus, who you're learning from is a important as what you're learning. Circus School of Arizona brings together some of the most revered instructors and guest coaches in the industry with decades of combined experience. Find your next teacher here.

Rachel Stegman

Skills: All things aerial – aerial acrobatics, trapeze, silks, lyra


Classes: Youth & Adult Aerials All Levels; Private Instruction

Rachel is the owner and founder of Circus School of Arizona. She teaches Master Private Classes and other aerial classes. Her lifelong passion for aerial acrobatics led her to become a performer and teacher. A highly sought-after coach, Rachel has played an integral role in the careers of many renowned aerialists, including performers in Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus.

When she’s not helping students perfect techniques on the silks or trapeze, you can find her orchestrating elaborate events for CSA Arts & Entertainment, or chasing after her two young children.

Merle Harlan

Skills: Ground acrobatics, lyra, tight wire


Classes: Youth Circus, Youth Circus Troupe, Teen & Adult Mixed Aerials

Merle co-facilitates the Youth Circus Troupe and teaches various ground & aerial acrobatics classes. Having discovered her love of circus in a musical performance of “Barnum,” she delivers well-rounded expertise in gymnastics, performing arts and a passion for lyra and tight wire.

Between her degree in elementary education, experience as a Waldorf teacher and 30 years of motherhood, Merle naturally provides a safe space for children to stretch their limits and learn new circus skills.

Brian Foley

Skills: Clowning, juggling, physical theater

Classes: Youth Circus Troupe

Brian is an award-winning clown and physical theatre artist who teaches the Youth Circus Troupe at Circus School of Arizona. When he's not helping our students hone their skills, you can find him teaching clowning classes at ASU and Chandler-Gilbert Community College or entertaining all around the valley.

Fueled by his desire to make people laugh, Brian's expertise has carried him around the world and even across the stage of Sesame Street more than once. If you have a chance to participate in any of his classes, it's an opportunity you don't want to miss. 

Samantha Kaskel

Skills: Mixed aerials, ground acrobatics, conditioning


Classes: Youth Mixed Aerials, Mixed Aerials & Circus Taster Level I, Mixed Aerials Levels II & III, Teen & Adult Trapeze Levels II & III

Samantha is a sought after coach at Circus School of Arizona. She started training at CSA as Rachel’s student in her preteen years. She now performs and teaches both youth and adults in aerial and ground skills, conditioning, and more.

Presently on leave of absence.