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Entrepreneurs and Innovators — Corey Cheval

Corey Cheval PhD’15, Anthropology

Owner/operator of S-Connection LLC, which offers: Gainesville Circus Center, a dance school and studio emphasizing aerial dance and circus arts; performance groups AscenDance and Flores do Samba; costumes for circus and aerial performers; the band Maca Reggae Samba; and a cultural tour experience called Make Your History in Bahia.

How has your study of anthropology influenced your academic and professional career?

Anthropology has provided me with a global perspective and drive to seek ways in which my professional projects can positively impact my community and/or support other agencies or individuals in bettering theirs. I am particularly concerned with conservation and social equality/human rights, and have a number of ongoing projects that speak directly to those issues.

What’s great about Gainesville to you and for your business?

I’ve lived in a number of major urban areas — NYC, Oakland, San Diego, Salvador, and Rio de Janeiro — and despite all of the culture that a big city has to offer, it cannot compare with the serenity of a smaller city like ours. Gainesville is somewhat of a paradox in that it possesses a strong international community, making it culturally dynamic, but is small enough that you don’t feel the anxiety — some would say pulse — of a big city. I literally breathe easier in Gainesville. There is no shortage of green spaces and waterways to connect with nature. It is worth noting that our green spaces and springs are in constant threat of development, so there is an ongoing struggle here to manage growth without destroying those things about Gainesville that make it so special. As for running my business here, I’ve experienced a warm reception from both local and student residents. I have also developed solid working relationships with the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, Santa Fe College, the University of Florida, and the media. For that, I am grateful.


– Rachel Wayne

Many of our innovative alumni have used their degrees from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as a launching pad for beginning their own business. In each issue, we will focus on self-starting alumni. Our inaugural issue includes a Gator from Gainesville. If you have suggestions for future inclusions, email us.