If asked two years ago where Elliana thought she would be at this point in her life, the answer might have been attending Columbia College in Chicago studying American Sign Language (ASL) not being shot out of a cannon! Elliana deferred her entry to Columbia College after she was accepted into Ecole de Cirque de Quebec in Quebec City, Canada, where she spent a semester continuing her circus education before returning home to the United States to serve as a coach for Circus Harmony. As she was considering one more time about heading to college Elliana heard about the search for the next Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Human Cannon Ball. Now at the age of 20 years-old, she is currently the youngest female cannon ball in the world.
Elliana made her circus debut at just two weeks old, when she played The Baby in Circus Flora's theatrical one ring 1992 production. Her mother, Jessica Hentoff founded Circus Harmony, a social circus school that uses circus arts to motivate social change. Elliana made guest appearances with Circus Harmony's St. Louis Arches when she was as young as two and became a regular member of the famed youth circus troupe when she was five.
Growing up in Circus Harmony, she has appeared in numerous acrobatic, aerial, and balancing acts. Elliana performed in a duet presenting the double Lyra and the double trapeze acts. She and her brothers, Keaton and Kellin, also performed together as The Circus Siblings. One of five children, she was homeschooled and grew up around animals including four dogs, three parrots and a monkey.
Elliana has traveled to Israel twice in 2007 and 2010, as a young performer for Circus Harmony's Peace Through Pyramids collaboration, an exchange program with the Jewish/Arab Galilee Circus. According to Elliana, it was the most amazing experiences of her life and she hopes to someday go back to Israel.
While at Circus Harmony, Elliana coached and taught a variety of classes with students ranging in age from five-years-old to 83 years-old. As she begins her adventure with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Built To Amaze!SM, Elliana is excited to build her professional career while honing her craft to eventually teach circus skills for those with special physical and social needs. "I want to be able to communicate and teach, no matter what kind of barrier there may be. I want to take that barrier down and share my knowledge and love of circus with anyone who wants to learn," says Elliana. "I want to be able to use my experiences and up-bringing to cross over different lines and make it so even if you are deaf or in a wheel chair or live in the poorest neighborhood you can still present yourself in the circus ring and be proud of who you are and what you can do."
A young woman who grew up with her foot planted in the "circus" world and in the "town" world is remarkably confident living among mixed cultures. Elliana is excited about her opportunity to expand her circus experience and tour as the next Human Cannon Ball with The Greatest Show On Earth!®