Thrive Movement Studio opened in the summer of 2014 and is a dream come true for Heidi Kirchofer and Joel Melendez. It represents years of dreaming and scheming by the dynamic duo and lots of hard work by Heid, Joel and Heidi's dad Charles Kirchofer. The studio was designed and built mostly by the trio. It was constructed with local wood milled by Charles and finished with eco-conscious products and materials. After so many years of performing and teaching all over the place (and world), they are thrilled to have a home studio in which to train and share their passions with their local community!!
Heidi and Joel have been performing, training and teaching together since 2000. To see more about their performance work see:

We are located at 221 Burlington Rd. Harwinton, CT


Heidi Kirchofer

A performing and teaching artist since 2000, Heidi has traveled internationally performing, collaborating and training. She is inspired by the moving body and it's vast capabilities. She loves the synthesis of creativity and physicality that circus explores. Circus, movement and aerials for her are creative outlets, a medium for healing the body and building strength, working though vulnerabilities and moving forward. As a teacher she focuses on alignment, building strength and flexibility and finding one's creative voice.
She has studied aerials at the New England Center for Circus Arts since 2007- with so many amazing coaches. She has also done Aerial Teacher Training. She is particularly interested in alignment, technique and longevity of physicality. She studies bio-mechanics and anatomy for fun.
She is also co-founder of the touring duo, Matica Arts, whose focus is on Circus, World Music, and the Moving Arts. Matica can be found performing at many festivals, events, and schools in the North East. She is also the creator of Whole Body Math, a curriculum infused kinestheic moving math program-both for young learners and as a Professional Development for teachers. She is a teaching artist on the Hartford Performs and Arts For Learning CT/Young Audiences rosters. She has completed Yoga Teacher Trainings in Power Yoga and Taoist Yoga. see

Joel Melendez,
 Co-founder of the touring duo Matica Arts, has traveled the Americas performing, collaborating and training. He is a gifted performer known for his unicycling, clowning, improvisational, and acrobatic skills. Joel is a “physical artist” who loves exploring the vast capabilities of the human body. For many years he was the director of the Advanced Circus Program at the Children’s Circus of Middletown and teaches at many awesome organizations including Oddfellows Playhouse, Green St Arts Center, and ASAP among others. He is also a Capoeirista and has been practicing 1999. He is a student of Mestre Pinga Fogo of Sao Paulo, BR and Austin,TX. When Mestre Pinga Fogo moved to TX, he bestowed the honor of taking over his students to Joel. Currently, Joel teaches Capoeira at Plus 1 Defense in West Hartford and at Thrive.

Allison McDermott
 is a circus artist born, raised and trained in Middletown, Connecticut. She first learned to stilt, tumble and clown at the Oddfellows Playhouse Children’s Circus of Middletown. As an adult, she discovered her love for aerial arts and went on to graduate the New England Center for Circus Arts’ Professional Track Program, performing in both The Flying Nut and Gathered Safely In. She has since toured with ARTFARM’s Circus for a Fragile Planet: Submerged and performed in Soviet Bloc Party’s Missed Connections. In 2015, Allison co-directed and performed in Special Relativity, a full-length circus production in New Haven, CT. Most recently she choreographed and performed the aerial pieces in ARTFARM’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Allison currently resides in Middletown, CT where she teaches and performs aerials, stilt-walking, juggling and acrobatics throughout the New England area.

Chelsea Barrett:

Chelsea hails from the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest where she spent 8 years performing on trapeze, rope, Spanish web, cloud swing and fabric.  Her multidisciplinary background in classical music, ballet, theater and sewing have greatly influenced her performance art and teaching style. In Bellingham and Olympia Washington, Chelsea has performed in multiple productions with the Bellingham Circus Guild, The Lookout Arts Quarry, The Mt. Baker Theatre, Fairhaven's Holiday Port Festival, in Olympia with The Tall House Arts Consortium and The Airbound Underground. She loves to collaborate with live musicians and tour with her music and circus arts. Chelsea has completed Intro through Intermediate level professional teacher training, injury prevention and aerial rigging courses with New England Center for Circus Arts (VT), Versatile Arts (Seattle) and My Aerial Home (London UK). Chelsea spent the 2016/17 year in intensive study in the NECCA pro-program.

Now residing in Seattle, WA, Chelsea is excited to share her love for circus arts at Thrive Movement Studio in Harwinton, CT.
860 309-0306