After touring with the internationally acclaimed youth performance troupe Circus Smirkus, eight friends held onto a dream to create their own powerful circus shows that would connect audiences to each other, the stage, and the world. With support from family, friends, coaches, mentors, and the greater circus community, Doug Stewart founded Cirque Us in 2016. Based in New England, the Cirque Us team now draws performers, directors, educators, technicians, and choreographers from all over the United States. Our circus collective seeks to bring the most passionate, committed, and talented circus artists to the hearts of local communities, whether it’s through a performative or educational lens.
We choose to tell our stories through circus because this multidisciplinary approach to performance not only inspires our audiences, but also inspires our company members. Training and performing circus requires immense discipline, commitment, and passion. Every member of the Cirque Us team embodies these characteristics, which helps fuel a collectively strong work ethic to create content of the highest caliber. Circus enables us to express ourselves both physically and artistically. Through this unique medium, we are able to emphasize the necessity of human connections and relationships in order to uphold community. Moreover, through circus we demonstrate that the impossible is possible, that through trust and communication we can hold one another up literally and figuratively, and that with an open mind and heart, we can be the best versions of ourselves, both on and off stage. Circus has profoundly impacted our lives, and we want to spread the “circus magic” wherever we go.
Doug graduated from the New England Center for Circus Arts, the longest running professional training program in the United States. As a performer he has worked for Circus Smirkus, Chicago’s Midnight Circus, Diamond Family Circus, AIDA Cruises, Live305Entertainment, The Vampire Circus, Westchester Circus Arts, Cirque Dreams and has performed in 6 of the 9 Cirque Us tours. Doug holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business of Live and Performing Arts with a concentration in Touring Productions from Columbia College Chicago. At age 20, Doug founded Cirque Us.
Justin is a handbalancer, aerialist, acrobat, and dancer based out of Chicago where he started circus at the age of 3. Deciding to pursue circus as a career, Justin attended the National Centre for Circus Arts in London where he graduated with a BA Honours in 2017. Since then, he has been jumping between a variety of contracts across the nation including a string of Cirque Us tours, Cirque Dreams national tours, Midnight Circus in the Parks in Chicago, The Legend in New York, and 305 Live Entertainment in Miami. Internationally, Justin has performed with Circus Aotearoa in New Zealand, AirOtic Soiree in the Caribbean, AIDA Cruises in the Mediterranean as well as corporate performances in Europe and the Middle East.
Jeremy Cifonie is a circus artist based in Chicago who specializes in aerial rope, German wheel, and clown. His circus career began when he connected with the Gamma Phi Circus at Illinois State University where he trained, performed, and graduated before starting work as a high school English teacher. He spent his nights and evenings working as a circus artist before leaving the school system to pursue circus full time. Most recently, Cifonie has worked and performed with Cirque Dreams, Cirque Us, Westchester Circus Arts, and The Vampire Circus. Away from work, Cifonie often spends his time listening to true crime podcasts, making coffee, playing video games, and wearing mismatched socks.