Tena’s love for the circus started as a young child living in a circus town. Sarasota, Florida was the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus and the Sailor Circus, the oldest circus school for children in the US. When she was accepted into their program, she was thrilled to be learning tumbling, Spanish Web (similar to Rope) and trapeze. Unfortunately for Tena this experience was short lived when her parents moved to St. Louis where there was no circus school at that time.
Expressing herself best through movement, Tena studied dance for many years. Every Christmas was spent performing the Nutcracker with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. She also would dance other contemporary styles anywhere and everywhere, from street festivals and army bases to riverboats and clubs. She loved to perform as a way of transforming her introverted-self into a bigger than life character on stage.
Tena went on to earn a BA in dance and began teaching children and adults alike. She loved sharing this passion with students, helping them find their body connection and expression through dance. Tena was inspired to work with deaf children when she learned sign language. She would have them feel the beat on a djembe drum as a means to connect with the rhythm of dance. And they loved it and thrived, which as a teacher, is the best reward.
On a different path of training, Tena earned her black belt in Tae Kwon Do. The focus of her passion then became empowering students with skills and inner strength to do things they never thought possible. To realize they were capable of much more than they initially believed of themselves.
Tena’s journey came full circle when she found Bumbershoot, an incredible place where a middle aged woman could fulfill her circus dream. Now reminding herself, as she coaches others, to have fun, to do their best without comparing themselves to others, to face their fears and let them self soar. As Journey would say “Don’t Stop Believin”.