Philip Ellis Foster was introduced to dance through Authentic Movement and then discovered Contact Improvisation and The Underscore. Philip developed an interest in performing and has taken many workshops in dance and choreography, participated in several performances, and created choreography for himself and others. Philip also paints, plays and composes music, and writes haiku poems. He is the founder and Executive Director of Open Dance Ensemble.
Philip Ellis Foster, Executive Director and Dance Maker
Sara Pizzi, from Italy. She started her career as a commercial/hip hop dancer. Now, it has been 4 years since Sara moved to New York with a scholarship from the Academy Peridance Center where she graduates from the Certificate Program this summer 2020. She worked with international choreographers finding her new voice as a contemporary artist, now working as a freelancer in her projects S|R|P|Z and dancing with several NY artists and dance companies. She is Dance Captain of and Choreographer for the Open Dance Ensemble.
Dance Captain and Dance Maker
Catherine Messina, a graduate of Emory University, trained with the Bates Dance Festival, BDF Winter Intensive, and staibdance on scholarship.
She has performed with the Atlanta-based company Kit Modus, Greg Catellier, Sarah Hillmer, George Staib, Niv Sheinfeld, Oren Laor, John McFall, and the Trisha Brown Dance Company, and created her own choreography in Atlanta, Richmond, New York City, and Philadelphia. Catherine created a semi-annual outdoor dance festival - Fall for Fall, a summer dance class series, and volunteered for DanceATL and Dance/NYC. She has received grants from the Puffin Foundation and the City of Atlanta. Catherine currently dances with Yuki Ishiguro, Thistle Dance, and Animus Movement
Catherine Messina, Dancer
Mayu Nakaya is a dancer born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She started ballet when she was 3, learned contemporary dance and choreograph at the Tokyo Metropolitan High School of Arts and the Dance Laboratory at University of Tsukuba of Physical Education. She received awards in several competitions in Japan from 2016-2019. After graduation she moved to New York City where she studied at The Ailey School for 2years. Since 2021, she started working with Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. During the pandemic, she presented work online through the White Wave company.
Mayu Nakaya, Dancer and Dance Maker
Anna Paterson is a Brooklyn based Performer, Choreographer, and Educator. Paterson graduated from Hofstra University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Dance Education. During their time at Hofstra, Paterson choreographed 12 pieces that were performed in a variety of venues in and around the University. In 2019, Paterson began an internship with Robin Becker Dance that became an Administrative Assistant position with the company. Paterson is the Head of Dance at Rutgers Preparatory School in New Jersey and continues their choreographic and performance pursuits as Artistic Director of Anna Paterson Dance which premiered “French Me” at the Fertile Ground Arts Festival in Long Island City in 2021. Other recent credits include a dance film, and live performance at the Coney Island Art Dance Festival.
Anna Paterson, Dancer and Dance Maker
Dancer and Dance Maker
Rachel is a dancer, choreographer, scholar, teaching artist, and multiple award recipient based in New York. She received a BA in Dance from SUNY Buffalo State College and an MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Temple University. Rachel has presented her work nationally and internationally, at the biennial Decolonizing Bodies: Engaging Performance conference at UWI Barbados, the 2018 NDEO conference in San Diego, the 2019 NDEO conference in Miami, DaCi’s 2020 special performance series, the Institute of Dance Artistry, Mark Degarmo’s NYC Salon Series, Philadelphia Youth Dance Festival, and other places. She has performed the premiere of works by Dr. S. Ama Wray, Meriàn Soto, Awilda Sterling-Duprey, Megan Bridge of “Fidget”, Carlos R.A. Jones, and was a principal dancer for Enya Kalia Creations. Rachel has been commissioned to create works for the UN’s World Water Day, Utah All-State Dance Ensemble, Manhattan High School of the Liberal Arts, the Buffalo State Dance Theater Company, Lawrence Public Schools. She is currently Assistant to the Director of the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program at CUNY Hunter College, and a dance artist for Dancewave NYC. In addition, Rachel founded and directs her own multi-medium, multimodal, dance performance company RACHEL:dancers.
Claire is a Brooklyn-based dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist. She completed her dance education at Barnard College under the tutelage of Ashley Tuttle, Robert LaFosse, and Allegra Kent. Claire is currently on faculty at the School at the Mark Morris Dance Group, and choreographs for schools and theaters throughout the tristate area. Recent choreographic credits include Urinetown (Wingspan Arts), The Addams Family (Locust Valley High School), Mamma Mia! (AfterWork Theater), and Speechless (National Queer Theater).