Part Three: Meet the Company Directors & Choreographers
Now that you've met our beautiful dancers, we'd like to introduce you to the group of individuals who build the foundation to make it all possible. Our endlessly creative choreographers, as well as our directors who ensure we have a strong and entertaining performance for our guests.
Katie Mann, Founding Executive Director (and Choreographer): Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, Katie is a pharmacist. In her free time, she’s a super nerd, loving all the fantasy and superhero books and tv shows. She would never leave the house without a small pharmacy of over the counter medicines in her purse at all times and a fun fact about her is that her family is from Ithaca, Greece and loves to visit as much as possible. Her piece, “No Exit”, is very different than anything She has ever done before since it includes rap artists; she really tried to reach outside of her comfort zone to embody the fresh vibe of “Equinox.” To realize that theme the piece centers around the feeling of starting from a place of vulnerability and introversion and learning to interact outside of yourself with the world around you. As she has grown as a choreographer she hopes that her piece can demonstrate growth through movement. Check out her and her pets on her Instagram @katiejdamann and @two.cats.and.a.dood.
Lea Fosbenner, Artistic Director (and Choreographer): Lea is from the first state – Delaware, and works as a digital product manager at PNC Bank. In her free time, she really loves to travel and experience different cultures, people, and food. She also loves to organize, it’s her true passion. She would never leave the house without mascara on and a fun fact about her is that her wingspan is longer than her height, aka she has long monkey arms. The inspiration behind her piece are her dancers. She’s using their life experiences, struggles, goals and turning that into the driving force of her piece, instead of pulling from her personal experience. Each person has their own story and that story is constantly evolving. We will never stop learning and to her it’s dangerous to stop that personal growth. With a small cast it has really created a sense of family and a space where she can work through these sometimes difficult to process emotions to find strength and freedom. Check out Lea’s journey and travels on her Instagram @lelehana1.
Gordon Mann, Technical Director: From Pittsburgh, PA, is the event production coordinator at Chorus Call, which provides conference calling, data collaboration solutions and webcasting to corporate, government, and medical institutions. His role is to oversee onsite operations. In his free time, he enjoys kayaking and powerboating at the family cottage at Deep Creek, playing with his dog, and directing a children’s Croatian tambura music ensemble. He would never leave the house without Nivea chapstick and a fun fact about him is that he owns over 30 brass string and ethnic wind instruments and loves playing all of them. Check out how Gordon spends his time on his Instagram @gordoniusmaximus.
Anastasia Markiw, Production Director: Anastasia, from Pittsburgh, PA, is a healthcare project architect at DesignGroup. In her free time, she enjoys architecture, lighting design, and bowling. She would never leave the house without starting her car remotely while inside and a fun fact about her is that she actually did Ukrainian folk dance for 15 years and plays three instruments. Check out how Anastasia spends her free time on her Instagram @thelostprincess6.
Ebony Cunningham, Choreographer: Ebony is from Dallas, Texas, and is an Ophthalmic Technician at UPMC. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, crafting, and searching for the perfect taco. She would never leave the house without chapstick and her phone and fun facts about her is that she was on Its Showtime at the Apollo and was a junior Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. Her piece is about the highs and lows of depression and the internal struggle people go through. Check out Ebony searching for the perfect taco on her Instagram @just_ebzz.
Stephanie Frey Anderson, Choreographer: Stephanie is from Cranberry Township, PA. She is a dance teacher at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School and is also a wife and mom too! In her free time, she loves spending time with her favorite guys (husband and 2 sons), serving in the children’s ministry at her church, and any time she can get on the beach! She would never leave her house without her phone and snacks and a fun fact about her is that she loves interior design – she’s been watching design shows since middle school. Her piece is inspired by a spatial design that happened in one of my modern classes that she was teaching. Her students were assigned to work on choreography and their placement in space and the various relationships that arose inspired me to create a work around the idea of connection--how we interact with people we know and how we interact with people we don't know. Typically, when she creates a piece, she starts with something really vague and small, like this image of people and spatial relationships, and let the dancers and the music guide the rest! Check out Stephanie’s family and dance life on her Instagram @stephfreyanderson.
Nicole Monville, Choreographer: Nicole is from Lancaster, PA, and is a dance teacher who also works at a bakery with her mom. She also enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, Robert, and their dog, Tycho. In her free time, she loves organizing, cleaning, drinking coffee, listening to music, playing Design Home, and shopping. She would never leave the house without her keys, other than that she enjoys disconnecting and sometimes leaves everything else behind, and a fun fact about her is that she is an adjunct dance professor teaching ballet at a local college in Lancaster. Her piece, Avalanche, is about overcoming suffering, searching for healing or redemption, and realigning with power or belief. Inspiration for the dance comes from the line “Silver white winters melt into spring..” in My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music. She is inspired by the idea of things that were once frozen and lifeless and regain or be reborn into life. For the movement she was inspired by the ballet “Afternoon of a Faun” choreographed by Vaslov Nijinsky, Pina Bausch’s “Rite of Spring”, “The Eight Efforts” from Laban Movement, and the choreography of Easton Payne. Check out how Nicole spends her time on her Instagram @nicolemonville.
Alyssa Bradley, Choreographer: Alyssa is from Pittsburgh, PA and is a videographer for Showbiz National Talent dance competition. In her free time, she enjoys playing drums and painting and would never leave the house without her headphones. A fun fact about her is that she studied in London, England for a semester. The meaning of her piece is based one someone overcoming a personal struggle. She also plays with the idea of floating versus flying. Check out Alyssa’s artwork on her Instagram @lyss_bradley.
Jake Casey, Guest Choreographer: Jake hails from the Queens borough of New York City. He teaches and choreographs professionally but when he’s not doing that he enjoys playing basketball, eating pizza, singing, gymnastics, videography, and watching Game of Thrones. He would never leave his house without his backpack and a fun fact about him is that he lives in Estonia and danced for one of the National Theaters. Learn more about Jake's piece in our upcoming show here. Check out more of Jake’s choreography on his Instagram @jd_casey.
Victoria Messino, Choreographer: From the South Hills of Pittsburgh, Vicky is a fitness instructor, restaurant manager, and event coordinator. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, collecting vinyl records, and learning to DJ. She would never leave the house without checking the weather and a fun fact about her is that she unknowingly rented Jidenna’s house on AirBnB and got to talk about music with him. Her piece is about the desire to overcome internal conflict. It reflects constricting feelings of doubt, self-evaluation, societal expectations, and facing the unknown. Check out how Vicky spends her free time on her Instagram @victoriaxrenee.