COLUMBUS MODERN DANCE COMPANY: 2017-2018 SEASON
Chelsea Herbert is from Virginia Beach, Virginia and began her dance training at the age of 5 at The Starting Pointe School of Dance, under the direction of Lea Marie Ponessa. She later joined Virginia Regional Ballet, training under Heidi Robitshek, in Williamsburg, Virginia where she performed various roles in the Nutcracker over many seasons. During high school, she was given the opportunity to further her dance education by being accepted into The Governor’s School for The Arts. She trained under Todd Rosenlieb (TRDance), Deborah Thorpe, Kathy Brenner, and Lorraine Graves, to name a few. Chelsea attended Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance. While attending ODU, she was a member of the dance team, performed in and choreographed for the departments semi-annual concerts, and attended multiple college dance conferences. After completing her education at ODU, she went on to perform at Walt Disney World and eventually found a passion for teaching. Chelsea joined CoMo II with our 2018-2019 Season, starting with our fall performance "Formation: Dance Inspired by Public Art."
Ellison Luthy, or Elli, began her dance career around 3 years old when she began taking classes at Dublin Dance and Gymnastics Centre in Columbus, Ohio. While she was training in ballet, jazz, modern, and gymnastics for a number of years, as she got older she narrowed her focus to contemporary and modern. After graduating high school and taking a break from dance, Ellison rediscovered her passion when she was introduced to Dance Theatre, a student organization at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. In this company, Elli acted as a company member, served on the executive board, taught classes, and choreographed a number of pieces. Two of her completed works were selected by the company to perform in the East Central American College Dance Association (ACDA) festival. Outside of dancing, Ellison earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and is currently in the process of applying for her Masters in Counselor Education at The Ohio State University. Recently joining Como II in November, Elli is overjoyed to be back on stage and performing with such a wonderful group of women.
Tori Chu is from Hockessin, Delware, where she began learning ballet and jazz at the age of three. Tori continued her early dance studies by taking ballet classes at the University of Delaware. These classes with Tisa Della Volpe were a part of Tori's training as a competitive figure skater. At age 13, Tori returned to Hockessin Dance Center for ballet and pointe with Cindy Phillips. While attending the Case Western Reserve University, Tori pursued ballet and modern in the Mather Dance Department, led by Karen Potter and Gary Galbraith. Tori completed a Minor in Dance in 2011 and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. She is currently a software developer at Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, OH. Tori joined the Columbus Modern (CoMo) Dance Company in 2013 as a founding member. She has created original works Unveiling of Dawn (2013) and Acceptance (2016) for the company, and has presented her work at the Cultural Arts Center's Armory Show, the Columbus Invitational Arts Competition, the Columbus Dance Festival's Dance of Hope benefit, and CoMo's company performances. In 2017, Tori also began serving as a board member of the Columbus Invitational Arts Competition. In November 2018, she had the honor of performing Martha Graham's "Heretic" with CoMo under the direction of regisseur Miki Orihara.
Laura Comana Puscas (Executive & Artistic Director) was trained in St. Louis, MO by Todd Weeks and Jennifer Reilly of Modern American Dance Company (MADCO). While attending the University of Notre Dame, Laura completed the Saint Mary’s College Dance Minor program along with additional study in Notre Dame’s Film, Television, and Theater department. On campus, Laura founded an immersive student modern dance company culminating in her senior project, “Dante’s Inferno” at the Snite Museum of Art. In 2011, Laura earned a BBA in marketing from Mendoza College of Business, graduating Magna Cum Laude. After moving to Columbus in 2011, Laura served as a committee member and commissioned artist for the Locality 2012 Bus Tour Dance Festival, part of the city’s bicentennial celebration. In Fall 2012, she co-founded the Columbus Modern (CoMo) Dance Company with Kelsey Morozow Burbrink. Laura has produced numerous shows with CoMo dance at local venues such as the Idea Foundry, the Cultural Arts Center, Franklin Park Conservatory, the Topiary Park, German Village Meeting Haus, Blockfort, the Abbey Theater, and many more. Thank you to all of the local artists and musicians who have collaborated with CoMo. In December 2015, CoMo transitioned to a nonprofit corporation and was granted 501(c)3 status. Laura has set her choreography on the company with “Object” (2012), “Raven” (2013), “Please Advise” (2015), “Coffee Blues” (2016, Ten Tiny Dances®), along with restaging guest choreographer works, choreographing for private event bookings, and creating works on CoMo’s Adult Modern Dance Class. In November 2018, Laura danced as the soloist in a restaging of Martha Graham’s “Heretic.” During the day, Laura manages digital production operations for the Bath & Body Works website.
Caroline Martin (CoMo II Director) began her dance training at the age of three in Boston, MA. Upon moving to Georgia she danced with the Georgia Youth Ballet for 11 years, studying ballet and modern under the direction of Magdalena Maury. Caroline holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and World Religion from Agnes Scott College. Caroline's college career included dancing with David Dorfman Dance, being featured in the 2009 Gala performance at the Southeast conference of ACFDA, and studying Kuchipudi, a form of classical Indian dance, in Hyderabad, India. Caroline holds an Elementary Certification in Labanotation and is passionate about dance history. Since joining CoMo in 2014, Caroline has performed, choreographed, and directed for both CoMo and CoMo II. Outside of dance she works as a licensed massage therapist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Le Meridien The Joseph. She works primarily on the pulmonary unit at NCH. Her background in dance heavily influences her massage practice. She is also the Director of Camp Quest Smoky Mountains where she leads programs on movement and puppeteering. Caroline loves hanging out with her husband and their five cats.
Rachel Bobbitt has a passion for storytelling through dance and exploring themes of faith and social justice. She began her early training by studying classical ballet for 11 years at Angela's Dance Studio and O'Connor's Dance in Cleveland, Ohio. Rachel attended the Ohio State University where she studied modern, ballet, and hip hop in their prestigious Dance Department. Rachel joined CoMo as a founding member in 2013. She has created original works Mademoiselle (2013) and Long Walk Home (2017) for the company. Rachel In 2012, 2015, and 2018 she performed as a part of the national Urbana Student Missions Conference performing arts team, debuting her 40-person ensemble work "Lanterns" at the 2015 conference. In 2016 Rachel was a performer and lead choreographer at the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering in Jakarta, Indonesia. She currently works for Cutler Real Estate and enjoys time with her husband and their fluffy dog, Dylan.
Jessica Wheeler is from Knoxville, Tennessee and began her dance training at the age of 12. She danced with her school’s dance team and was trained in jazz, modern, ballet, and pointe at the Academy of Dance Arts studio. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts in both dance and mathematics from Radford University. While at Radford, she performed in various department shows, including the Nutcracker and Cabaret. She also had multiple choreographic opportunities while in college, including directing and choreographing an honors capstone project. She then moved to Columbus to earn her Master’s degree in mathematics from OSU. Jessica joined CoMo II in 2016 and CoMo in 2017. CoMo has given Jessica the opportunity to continue performing as well as to choreograph pieces for Play! and Formation. She currently works at OSU teaching math and supporting TA’s. She enjoys exploring other areas of dance such as ballroom, salsa, and zouk!
Alicia Hann began her dance training in Columbus Ohio at Dublin Dance Center at the age of 4. Not long after that she discovered her love for movement, studying ballet pre-professionally and was introduced to modern dance. Alicia pursued her study of modern dance at Ohio University and earned her BFA in modern dance performance and choreography in 2013. Studying modern dance expanded her definition of dance beyond codified movement vocabularies and opened up a whole new world of possibility and ideas. After graduating from college, Alicia began teaching dance to children and teens. Sharing this passion brought so much joy. Alicia is also a choreographer/performer for The Movement Mission, a nonprofit company that raises money for melanoma research in an annual benefit concert. This has been a unique opportunity to develop work and collaborate with women in all walks of life. Alicia’s journey brought her to the Dancing Mindfulness community where she was introduced to dance as a healing/therapeutic practice. Dancing Mindfulness was created by Dr. Jamie Marich. She became a certified facilitator in March of 2016. Dancing Mindfulness is a form of conscious dance which incorporates meditation, improvisation, music, and community.Alicia has facilitated groups in recovery groups and in yoga studios. Dancing Mindfulness focuses on the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical practice that is dance. Alicia began dancing with CoMo for the company's 2017-2018 Season.
CoMo II: 2017-2018 Season
Bio coming soon! Casie joined CoMo II in our 2019-2020 Season starting with the Mother's Day Tea in the Topiary Garden performance.
Bio coming soon! Christa joined CoMo II in our 2019-2020 Season starting with our Hops! performance.
Bio coming soon! Desiree hails from the Netherlands & joined CoMo II starting with our Hops! performance in the 2019-2020 Season.
Bio coming soon! Keera joined CoMo II in our 2019-2020 Season starting with the Mother's Day Tea in the Topiary Garden performance.
Kelly Hernandez began her modern dance training at age 18 in San Diego, CA where she spent the next 10 years performing. She earned her BA in Dance from San Diego State University in 1997. Kelly has performed as a guest artist for Isaacs, McCaleb & Dancers in San Diego and in Mexico. She has been dancer and choreographer for The Movement Mission in Columbus, OH since 2013. She has also performed in various worship dance ministries in both San Diego and Columbus over the years. She is passionate about movement as a form of expression and worship and loves to share her passion with others.
Tia DiRienzo (Preprofessional) joins CoMo II for our 2019-2020 Season. Bio coming soon!
Bridgette Rawlins (Academy Director) is from Zanesville, OH and began her early dance training at BalletMet in Columbus. During high school, she attended the Virginia School of the Arts in Lynchburg, VA, training under Petrus Bosman, David Keener, and Martha Faesi. She attended her freshman year of college at Wright State University where she also was a member of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company II. Later transferring to Miami University of Ohio, she continued to dance and perform in Miami’s dance company on campus, which gave her opportunities to teach, choreograph, and hold several executive positions. Bridgette graduated with a B.S. in Medical Laboratory Science and a B.A. in Microbiology and currently works for Ohio State's Hospital. Bridgette joined the Columbus Modern (CoMo) Dance Company in 2013 for our founding Season. She has created works Black Tambourine (2014) and Promenade (2017) on the company.
Kelsey Morozow (President, Board of Directors) started her dance training in ballet under the Royal Academy of Ballet syllabus at a small studio in the Las Vegas Valley. Kelsey moved on to attend the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) where she studied Modern, Ballet, and Jazz along with dance history, pedagogy, music theory, production, lighting, and choreography. Kelsey graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance and a minor in Human Services Counseling. After moving to the Columbus area in 2012, Kelsey performed in the Locality 2012 Bus Tour Dance Festival. In Fall 2012, she co-founded the Columbus Modern (CoMo) Dance Company with Laura Puscas. Her work has been shown at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center, Franklin Park Conservatory, the Columbus Invitational Arts Competition, Gallery Hop, the Columbus Arts Festival, and Whetstone Park of Roses.