The CDE Dancers
Originally from Arizona, Jade Cole began her dance training in Phoenix before moving to California to study dance at the University of California at Irvine. Three years later, she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Choreography and Dance Performance. There, she trained in ballet, modern, and jazz under experienced faculty including Molly Lynch, Loretta Livingston, Diane Diefenderfer, Tong Wang, Sharon Wray, and Jonathan Alsberry. Ms. Cole also had the opportunity to perform in the annual faculty-choreographed show, Dance Visions, as a dancer in Chad Michael Hall’s Closer Orbits. After graduating, she performed with Kairos Dance Company and Jess Harper and Dancers before relocating back to Phoenix to engage with and explore her original dance community. In addition to apprenticing with Center Dance Ensemble, she is following her passion to educate and give back to our thriving dance community by teaching children’s dance classes at studios in the Phoenix area.
A modern dancer at heart, Rosy Ferguson strives to master as many styles as she can–everything from belly dance to ballet. She applies all of these styles to her own work as Artistic Director of Ignite Collaborative-a Phoenix-based performance company with the mission to build community through art. In addition to dance performance, Rosy runs a program called Jubilee Restorative Movement that uses mindfulness and movement to help people of all ages and abilities let go of anxiety and reach their fullest potential. The Jubilee program is life-coaching set to music for corporate retreats, wellness centers, and special education classrooms. This is Roy’s seventh season with Center Dance Ensemble.
Mexican dancer, Gina Garrido, received a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Dance from the Universidad Veracruzana and a Development Master Academic Skills for Higher Normal Education from Simon Bolivar University. Her graduate studies include a Body Wonder Diploma in Dance Pedagogy and a Teacher Training Diploma in Yoga by the International Association of Yoga Yoghismo. As a dancer, Gina has performed with Modulo Contemporary Dance, Barro Rojo, Scenic Art and Independent Ballet. She has received many prestigious awards and scholarships, including: Best Dancer in the XVII International Festival of Contemporary Dance; DIF Waldeen; San Luis Potosi SLP. First Place in the Video Documentary Eternity is Barro; Young Artists Scholarship, (Veracruz, 1997-98); and grants from the State Fund for Culture and Arts, (Veracruz, 1999-2000 and 2006-07). She has served on the Theatre and Dance Faculties of the College of Arts of Veracruz and Universidad Veracruzana and on the Faculty of Arts in Contemporary Dance at the Autonomous University of Chihuahua, Mexico. This is her fifth season with Center Dance Ensemble.
When she was eight years old, Samantha Head learned dance at Creative Edge Dance, formerly Leap of Faith Dance Plus. She has trained and competed in many styles such as ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, pointe, acro, contemporary and modern. Samantha was the principal artist for Repertory Ballet Ensemble for five years, dancing in various roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy in Nutcracker, the Firebird in Firebird, Peter Pan, Swanhilda in Coppelia, and most recently The Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. She is also a member of CDE’s touring school show, performing The ABC’s of Dance and From Ballet to Beyoncé.
D. Daniel Hollingshead
This is Daniel Hollingshead’s twentieth season with Center Dance Ensemble! With a BFA in Performance and Choreography from Arizona State University, Daniel has performed in Arizona and Colorado with Desert Dance Theatre, A Ludwig Co., The Dance Connection, Boulder Jazz Dance Co., and the Jan Justice Dance Company, and many others. In addition to performance, he is an award-winning costume designer, hair and make-up designer, and an accomplished cutter/draper for both theater and dance. As a costume and theatre technician, he has worked with many local and national dance and theatre companies throughout Arizona and the Southwest. Daniel is currently Costuming and Wardrobe Director for Childsplay in Tempe, Arizona, and is an artist, designer, healer, and energy practitioner- holding Level II certification in the Spontaneous Transformation Technique as well as training in Conscious Creation.
Katherine “Katie” Hughes
At the early age of five, Katie Hughes discovered her passion for dance. She enrolled at Dance Theater West (DTW) at the age of seven and trained in ballet under the direction of her beloved friend and mentor, Susan Silverman. With ten years at DTW and six years dancing with Storybook Ballet Theater, she performed lead roles in several ballets, including: Coppelia, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and portrayed Odette in Swan Lake. After graduating from Arcadia High School in 2007, Katie attended Arizona State University. She was a member of CDE’s school touring group for eight years, performing over 240 shows, including The ABC’s of Dance, Poetry N’ Motion, More Poetry N’ Motion, Science is Art, and From Ballet to Beyoncé.
Kelsey is a dance instructor at Creative Edge Dance, Scottsdale School of Ballet, and Cannedy Performing Arts where she teaches a variety of dance styles. In 2016, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Chapman University studyig under many great instructors/choreographers including Sean Green, William Johnson, Liz Maxwell, and Amanda White. In 2015, Kelsey was inducted into the National Honor Socieity for Dance Artrs and graduated with honors from the National Dance Education Organization. She will begin her tenth year with Center Dance Ensemble and wishes to thank her family and friends for all their love and support which has made it possible for her to follow her dreams and pursue her career throughout the years.
In 2000, Erica Lizotte received a BFA in Dance Performance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After graduation, she relocated to Chicago to pursue her passion for dance and has toured nationally with Zephyr Dance and the Cindy Brandle Dance Company. Erica taught dance in the Chicago Public Schools and for numerous afterschool programs. She moved to Arizona in 2006 where she has danced with the Dulce Dance Company, Desert Dance Theater and Center Dance Ensemble. Erica presently serves on faculty at Southwest Ballet Theatre in Goodyear and teaches jazz and modern dance. She is thrilled to return for her tenth season with CDE. She resides in the west valley with her husband and three children.
Born and raised in Venice, Italy, Emilio Minto has always possessed a passion for the arts. It was not until Emilio moved to Phoenix that he discovered his passion for dance, when he needed a PE credit to graduate and took an introductory dance class. Shortly after high school, Emilio progressed quickly in his training and worked as a performer both on and off the main stage for several years in musicals, with local artists, at industrial events, and for several local dance companies. Today, Emilio directs his own dance company, WMW Productions, for local artists. This is Emilio’s twelfth season with CDE.
Chelsea Rose Neiss
Phoenix native Chelsea Neiss attended Scottsdale Community College and received a Bachelor of Dance from Cal State Fullerton where she danced for Disneyland Resorts, Embark Dance, Fuse Dance, and in the film Waiting in the Wings; Still Waiting. In the Midwest, Chelsea danced for Attack Theatre, Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. New to Center Dance Ensemble this year, Chelsea also dances for Scorpius Dance Theatre and Epik Dance Company in Arizona. Chelsea’s passion for dance includes teaching, choreography, and performance. Her original works have been showcased at the Beta Dance Festival. She most recently choreographed for the Desert Foothills’ production of Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights. In addition to dance, Chelsea works for the “Be Kind People Project” in Arizona.
(Outreach Program Director)
Raised in Oklahoma City, LaTonya Pentzer began dancing at the age of two. She attended Oklahoma City University where she majored in Dance Performance and was a member of the prestigious American Spirit Dance Company. LaTonya continued her education at the University of Central Oklahoma for Dance Education and is classically trained in the Cecchetti Method of ballet. As an educator, she holds grade one through five teacher’s certificates with eighteen years teaching and choreography experience in all dance styles. She continues to work with dance studios, elementary schools, pageants and high school dance teams throughout the Midwest. As a performer, LaTonya has danced with Ballet of Oklahoma, Radio City Rockettes and Silvertree Productions. She has performed with CDE since 2014, where she also serves as Outreach Program Director and as Dancers’ Representative on the CDE Board of Directors. She is excited to continue to bring the lecture/demonstration Poetry in Motion, The ABC’s of Dance along with the newest show From Ballet to Beyoncé to children in schools throughout the Valley. To LaTonya, dance is the language of the soul. She believes it moves us to feel and experience something greater than ourselves and is blessed to share her love for dance to touch, motivate and inspire dancers and audiences alike
A lifelong student of dance, Amber Robins started her dance training at age six. She attended Glendale Community College and studied under Lenna DeMarco. While attending ASU, as a student, dancer, teacher, and choreographer she worked with many high schools and colleges throughout the Valley and danced for Parke and Dancers. After graduation, she moved to Savannah, Georgia and danced the corps de ballet earning soloist roles at Ballet South. When Amber returned to Arizona, she discovered her true home at Center Dance Ensemble. This is her eighteenth season with CDE and is now CDE’s ballet mistress and principal dancer. She has danced many lead roles at CDE including Anne Frank, Ophelia, and Snow Queen and also dances under Diane McNeil Hunt with Elevate Danceworks which performs in Phoenix, Las Vegas, California and Chicago. Amber is now teaching at Creative Edge Dance and Mesa Community College as well as performing her own work whenever and wherever she can!
Arizona native Priscilla Vasquez discovered dance in her childhood with Folklorico. It wasn’t until her introduction to ballet and modern, under the tutelage of local dancer Nicole Olson, that she found her passion. She has gone on to dance with both Scottsdale and Glendale Community College dance companies, studying under Angela Rosenkrans and Andrea Hansen, as well as local companies such as Ignite Collaborative and Classical Fusion Dance. Priscilla has also participated in local dance festivals and showcases such Blaktina, BetaDance, RAW Phoenix and Celebration of Dance. Although she enjoys a diversified dance experience, her home is with Center Dance Ensemble and she is thrilled for her fifth season with the company.
Lisa Gray Young
Phoenix native Lisa Gray Young grew up studying various genres of dance, as well as acting, voice, piano, and flute. After graduating from South Mountain Center for the Arts High School, Young went on to Arizona State University, graduating with honors and receiving a BFA in Choreography/Performance. She has performed, taught and choreographed for a myriad of dance companies, theaters, schools, studios, and churches around the Valley, including Center Dance Ensemble (dancing the principle role of “Gerda” in “The Snow Queen,” ’98-’00), The Movement Source, Inc., Dance Arizona Repertory Theater, Stageworks, MesaYoutheatre, East Valley Children’s Theatre, Greasepaint Youtheatre, The Mesa Arts Center (co-founded/co-directed Step to This Dance Company), Grand Canyon University, Mesa Community College, Phoenix College, and Paradise Valley Community College. She has received numerous ariZoni Theater Awards of Excellence nominations for her choreography in the theater community and has won twice for her work in “The Orphan Train” and “The Jungal Book,” both with MesaYoutheatre. This is Young’s ninth season with CDE.