Nashville Circus Center

Step Right Up to the Art of Circus!

Circus arts are so unique and have such a passionate following they truly do stand alone at Expression City in our Nashville Circus Center. As proud members of American Circus Educators and American Youth Circus Organization, we offer an integrated course schedule from beginner to professional with circus education, outreach, performance opportunities and elite training.

Meet Our Talented Instructors

Ileen Gruchot

Favorite Quote
“Push yourself; No-one else is going to do it for you.”

Hidden Talent
Eating a whole pint of ice cream in one sitting.

Ileen Gruchot

Aerial Silks Instructor

Ileen is an ACE-certified aerial fabric instructor who’s been teaching at Expression City since 2019. She teaches Intro and Level 1 Aerial Silks in both kids and adult classes. Ileen has a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences: Ultrasound, an Associates of Applied Sciences in Radiologic Sciences: X-Ray, and she is CPR, First Aid, and AED certified.

Aerial silks are Ileen’s passion outside of her day job as a high-risk OB ultrasound technologist. But, her true escape is going home and playing with her beloved Australian Shepherd, Knox.

She loves that her students always come ready to put in the work and have fun. But what impresses her most about Expression City is that all of their Circus teachers must be certified, which requires taking safety and rigging courses. Not all studios do this, and with professional circus artists from Beyond Wings Circus that train and teach here, our students learn from the best of the best.

“The best feeling in the world is seeing my students climb to the top of the silks for the first time. Aerial Silks is great conditioning, and it’s fun! You’ll see muscles in your arms and abs you never knew you had. Get yourself (or your kid) to a class! You won’t regret it!”
Ileen Gruchot

Meredith Combs

Dance & Aerial Instructor

Meredith, who’s been with Expression City since 2018, has multiple teaching roles. She’s a Certified Aerial Instructor (CAI) teaching aerial skills and lyra, as well as contemporary and jazz dance for the Homeschool Performing Arts Academy students.

Meredith enjoys hanging out with her puppies during her free time. What she loves most about working at Expression City is helping students to reach whatever level of success they aim for!

“We have a wide range of options for training at a very reasonable rate; I train here too for aerial! It’s such as supportive community and I appreciate that all aerial instructors are certified. It gives me peace of mind.”
Ileen Gruchot

Favorite Quote
“You have the power to create your own reality!”

Hidden Talent
It’s not so hidden, but I am a fire eater and fire-breather.

Ally Ashman

Aerial & Circus Arts Instructor

Ally is an aerial and circus arts instructor who’s been with Expression City since 2019. She has a business management degree from Columbia State College and performs professionally as an aerialist, hula hoop artist, and fire entertainer. When Ally is not teaching at the studio or performing, she loves spending time in nature and going on adventures.

Ally loves sharing her passion for aerial and circus arts with her students and watching them succeed in their own goals. She encourages students to try new things, even if it scares them at first, saying, “You will be sure to have the experience of a lifetime!” Ally professionally performs everything she teaches. What impresses her most about Expression City is the amazing community of students and teachers.

“You will have an incredible experience by coming to the studio and trying any of our aerial or circus arts classes! Anyone can do it!”
Ileen Gruchot

Favorite Quote
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” — Thomas Edison

Hidden Talent
I make the world’s best fruit pie. It’s not even up for discussion.

Jessica Webster

Aerial Instructor

Jessica is an aerial silks and lyra instructor. She has been teaching at Expression City since 2019 and is certified to teach beginner aerial fabric by the Circus Arts Institute.

Jessica loves that Expression City offers classes to a wide variety of ages and skill levels and notes that there is a place for everyone. She encourages students to try new things and enjoys working with such a fun and talented staff. Jessica’s other loves include making art and working in her yard.

“I love watching people learn to do things they never thought they could do. I particularly love teaching people with no prior dance or gymnastics experience because they begin to see themselves in new ways.”
Ileen Gruchot

Rebecca Hellemans

Aerial Instructor

Rebecca has been with Expression City and the Nashville Circus Center since
we first opened our doors and has spent 14 years in Circus and Aerial Arts.
Rebecca loves how Expression City and Nashville Circus Center fosters a
culture of community, growth, professionalism, and excellence in all
students. One of her favorite things about teaching is to see individuals
bust their own beliefs of what they can do and who they are. It brings her
so much joy to see their confidence grow as she helps them achieve
superhero status. When she’s not teaching our students, you may find
Rebecca traveling, sewing, woodworking or cooking.

” Together we Rise”. “Beyond Fear lies Freedom”, “She believed she could, so she did”, “Slay that dragon”

Circus Camp

For ages 6 to 12, learn real circus skills from professional performers including aerial silks, trapeze, hooping and more.

Youth Aerial Arts

Learn varying circus skills such as aerial silks, trapeze, juggling, hooping, balancing and plate spinning in these weekly group classes. Our instructors engage and encourage you while providing the opportunity to have fun, get fit and expand your horizons by learning something new.

Adult Aerial Arts

Take part in a fun and unique learning experience in these weekly group classes guided by qualified, skilled instructors. No experience necessary for beginner classes. Gain strength as you learn!

Private Lessons

If you’re ready to dive right in, consider weekly, private lessons with one of our expert instructors. Our goal is to spur your curiosity and allow students to learn at their own pace in aerial silks, trapeze or lyra!