Ayana Strutz (formerly Freeman) is a trained dancer, circus artist, singer, and actress tucked into a 5-ft tall frame. Not to be fooled by her petite size, she is known for her explosive energy and athleticism. She is of Japanese and African-American descent, and is able to speak, write, and read Japanese. Thrilled to call Chicago her new home, she is currently represented by Big Mouth Talent Agency.
Ayana was born in Japan and raised in Hawaii. She attended the Mid-Pacific Institute School of the Arts and was actively involved in her high school's 4-year Theatre Arts program. She left the island to attend The Ohio State University, graduating in 2015 with a BA in Sociology and Dance minor.
Ayana moved to Chicago in 2016 and attended the Actors Gymnasium's 9-month Professional Circus Training Program, where she trained 27 hours a week in various circus disciplines. Upon graduating circus school in June 2018, she has been working professionally as a dancer and circus artist. Regionally she has worked with the Goodman Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, Skylight Music Theatre, Music Theater Works, Short North Stage, Cocodaco Dance Company, and Diamond Head Theatre.
She most recently traveled across the US (and Canada!) with the First National Tour of The Spongebob Musical as Ensemble/Sandy Cheeks understudy. Outside of performances, you can find her hanging from the ceiling as an aerialist, bending in half as a contortionist, teaching youth dance and youth circus classes, doing commercial work, or performing as Disney Princess Moana as a princess performer.
No matter where the unpredictable twists and turns of life take her, she will always be an island girl at heart!