About Manya Lasagna

Over the last 20 years Manya Crippen has been leading creative movement sessions as Manya Lasagna,  in Montessori, Waldorf,  public school, social circus and gymnastics programs around the country.  Manya is a Circus performer and SAG/AFTRA stunt woman. She has a background in Aerial circus disciplines, equestrian vaulting, dance, Bharatanatyam, Tae Kwondo and Gymnastics. She has over 15 years of experience coaching youth gymnastics and circus. In Evergreen, Colorado she built and sold a youth circus program and also coached the High school Gymnastics team to win their first state championship. Manya and Aaron Crippen ( SAG/AFTRA stunt man and rigger), have two sons and a family circus show together. One of Manya’s greatest strengths is being able to engage with children, she has a special knack for inspiring kids to want to participate and learn more. 

Creative Action Adventure consulting team

Spacial Dynamics expert and Waldorf teacher
Julianna Lichatz BA,MA
20 years’ experience as a Waldorf Movement teacher. Her background covers everything movement, from circus arts, dance, athletics, gardening and outdoor education. Ms. Lichatz has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic, a Master of Arts in Education and Waldorf Certification from Antioch University and is a graduate of the Spacial Dynamics Institute, where she now serves as a Level III Trainer.

Early Childhood Education expert
Che Chenall
20 years as an early childhood educator (public and private), dual licenses in Elementary Ed and ECE, Colorado level 4 credential

Pediatric Occupational Theripist
Sara Gimarc MA, OTR/L
15 years experience in Pediatric Occupational Therapy.

Editor and concept consultant
Andrea Silver LCSW, MAT, RYT
Andrea Silver has 35 years in private practice as a holistic psychotherapist, she also is a yoga teacher and a laughter yoga leader.

​How this show came to be

I have always felt that movement was so important to human development. But I got my first glimpses of the medical and scientific practice of movement and its connection to the developing brain in the NICU at Hinsdale hospital when our first son Colt was born 2 1/2 months premature. I don’t think most people think much about the incredible advancements in Neonatology that have happened in the last 50 years until you are there, peering in through the plexiglass of an incubator at your tiny undeveloped newborn son. He was 3 lbs and looked like an unfinished work of clay. It was a very intense time, now that he is 5 and an incredibly healthy and happy boy, I can find more fascination in the experience. It was a very eye opening view into the world of the developing reflexes, and how they each systematically lead to the many developmental milestones that can foster or inhibit our greater abilities to, crawl, walk, talk, eat, speak, read and write. Colt was rigorously evaluated for the first 3 years of his life. What struck me the most was that the Cognitive, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Receptive Language, Expressive Language, Social Emotional and Sensory Processing milestones he was being assessed for were all measured from movements in the body. A simple evaluation of a movement that may seem like an isolated skill was really a building block for so much more. Interestingly enough our second son Koa Kai was also born premature. Koa was born at 32 and a half weeks and while he did spend 3 weeks in the hospital, his birth gestation did not qualify him for any… not one… developmental check up other then normally scheduled pediatric visits. We were grateful for this because he was healthy and happy and apparently his development was of no abnormal concern. But the information I received, and the milestones I saw Colt achieve because he was specifically being evaluated on them, and the awareness that it brought to his father and I as parents compared to what we received at normal pediatric checkups is incomparable. I am not suggesting that all babies and children need to be vigorously screened by a team of medical professionals for their developmental milestones in the same way that premature babies under 32 weeks do. What I do want to do is bring education and awareness about integrating the reflexes and the importance of sensory development through movement to mainstream childrens programing. 
All children and adults can benefit from the functional movement in this show and I want to bring it to them!
 - Manya Lasagna