-- Matthew Wilson, Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy, Kazakhstan
A contemporary repertory dance company, dance education and interdisciplinary arts organization based in the U.S. Capital City of Washington, DC emphasizing international collaborations with the great choreographers, dancers. composers, film-makers and artists at work today.
Company | E builds its art through engagement with the diplomatic missions from nations around the globe, all based in Washington, DC, seeking out the greatest choreographic, musical and interdisciplinary artists in their fields, with an emphasis on the next generation of brilliant, cutting edge art, and with the U.S. missions abroad, to present that work on the domestic and international stage.
The Company seeks to create, perform, educate and engage in environmentally sustainable ways.
A Company of eight dancers and four artists-in-residence under the Artistic Direction of Paul Gordon Emerson and Kathryn Sydell Pilkington, Company | E does not adhere to a particular dance technique or philosophy of movement, seeking instead dancers and artists able to perform at a world-class level regardless of the technique and demands of the artists whose work is coming to the stage or the screen.
Company | E is led by a small team of artist/managers. The Company believes that leadership in the arts requires partcipation in those arts, and to that end all the members of the management team are also practicing artists. Learn more about them below.
Paul Gordon Emerson is a native New Yorker transplanted to Washington, DC while waiting for his posting to the U.S. Foreign Service. That path was interrupted by a series of Presidential, Senate, Congressional and Gubernatorial campaigns which led him to a long stint as a Legislative Director on Capitol Hill.
Mr. Emerson is a Guest Lecturer at the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Service Institute - the training center for U.S. Diplomats. His writings on cultural diplomacy have appeared in the New York Times and his imagery has been published in the Times, the Washington Post, Dance Magazine, and in publications throughout the world.
As a choreographer his work appears regularly onstage at home and around the world, garning praise from the Post ("heartstopping") to Ha'aretz in Israel ("breathtaking work"). His belief in the power of art to speak to the issues of our times has led Company | E to create evening-length works on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King (commissioned by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities), on the Kennedy - Khrushchev years (commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), 9/11 (in a project featuring 80 dancers from Central Asia in Astana, Kazakhstan, with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Astana) and others.
He directs Company | E's film division, Ciné and its experimental work in Augmented Reality and interdisciplinary collaborations between film and stage-craft.
Mr. Emerson was the founder of CityDance Ensemble, an organization which he led variously as Executive and Artistic Director for the first 15 years of its existence before he, Ms. Pilkington and Ms. Compton formed Company | E. During his tenure at CityDance the organization won five DC Mayor's Arts Awards, to date the most ever awarded to an organization.
He was Co-Host of the Addy-Award-Winning "Performance Moves" cable television news magazine for four years, and has been, at points in time in his life, a radio disk jockey, news director and free-lance photographer.
He dabbles in sculpture, illustration and design. Alongside his responsibilities at Company | E, Mr. Emerson was also the first Executive Director of the Dance Loft on 14, in which he oversaw the design and renovation of the former movie house into a four studio facility. He has designed dance studio spaces and theaters in DC, Maryland and overseas.
If you'd like to reach him, please contact him here.
Co-Founder, Co-Artistic Director and dancer, Ms. Pilkington is originally from North Carolina. She received a BFA from The Juilliard School. In DC, she has worked with local dance companies such as DanceSmith, Karen Reedy Dance, and CityDance Ensemble. She co-founded Company E with Paul Emerson in 2011, where she has been fortunate to dance work by international artists such as Ohad Naharin, Rachel Erdos, Thomas Noone, and the great Paul Taylor, to name a few. Her choreography has been seen in spaces such as the Grand Foyer of the Kennedy Center, the streets of Havana, Cuba, and opera houses in Kazakhstan. Kathryn is an adjunct faculty member at George Mason University and an ACE certified personal trainer. She resides in Annandale, Virginia with her husband, Geoffrey, and sons, Gavin and Colin.
If you'd like to reach her, please contact her here.
Tara Ashley Compton is a native of Louisville, Ky. After dancing through elementary and high school, Tara moved to Tampa, FL where she received a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of South Florida. Tara has choreographed and performed with multiple dance companies around the world, including residencies and debuts in Paris, New York City, Kazakhstan, Spain, Los Angeles, among others.
She is Managing Director and Director of Education for Company E, traveling internationally through the US Department of State for the past seven years teaching contemporary dance in countries such as Algeria, Spain, Kazakhstan, Uruguay, Russia and more.
A former faculty member at Towson University Community Dance Department she also serves as a judge at Dance Masters of America.
She Co-Founded the Company | E Movement Center at the Dance Loft on 14, serving as its Teen Program Director from 2015-2016.
Ms. Compton is the Director of Education at Company | E, overseeing the Company | E Movement Center and the Company | E dance education programs in the DC Public School System.
Hannah Wojszynski grew up in Northern VA and received her BFA in Dance and Choreography and a Minor in Nonprofit Management and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017. She has been working administratively with Company | E since 2018 and has also performed with the company in Memphis Sky and Boundless Sea.
Now living in New York City, Hannah has performed with BABEL Movement, Spark Movement Collective, Alison Cook Beatty Dance, and Michelle Thompson Ulerich’s Movement of Intimacy and works with a woman with special needs to increase movement through Conductive Education. Hannah loves working for Company | E because she believes in the mission and the artistic minds behind the work.
Fabian Andres Koss - Chairman
A native of Argentina, Fabian Koss was a Senior Specialist in the Office of External Relations at the Inter-American Development Bank, with 24 years of experience in international development. Currently, Fabian is a Principal at KC Social Impact Lab and is the founder of Many Hats Institute, a non-profit organization that works to improve the conditions for children worldwide.
Matt Jones - Vice-Chairman
Matt Jones has been an ardent supporter of modern dance in the Washington, DC area since 1982 serving as an accompanist, song writer/composer and board member for a range of performing arts organizations. Matt started playing piano for modern dance in 1980 while pursuing a BA in Theater at Temple University. While taking an introductory modern dance class, he was struck by how the accompanist could almost levitate the dancers on a cushion of music. He began accompanying classes, adding hand percussion to his instrumental toolbox, and has enjoyed collaborating with dancers and choreographers ever since.
As a musician and composer Matt has performed original works with a variety of choreographers, dance companies, and music groups. These include live performances at venues including Blues Alley, the Dance Place, Strathmore Hall, and the Kennedy Center; and with groups such as the Sisters of One Eye dance/theater troupe, D.C. Contemporary Dance Theater, CityDance Ensemble, the Matt Jones Trio, Dahjay, Bottomland, Chopteeth, and most recently as host and performer of the "R Street Sessions" house concert series.
He is the recipient of the 2008 Metro DC Dance Award for Excellence in Sound Design and Original Composition, and served on the Board of Directors of CityDance from 2009 to 2011. Matt is also a government relations director for Boeing and a resident of Washington, DC.
Aaron worked for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey in infrastructure finance, exploring public private partnership opportunities and securing federal credit assistance for regional transportation projects. Prior to joining the Port Authority, Aaron's work included projects for the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the World Bank with a focus on foreign direct investment in emerging markets.
Aaron received a Master's degree in Public Administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in 2004 and currently serves on the school's Alumni Council Executive Committee. In 1999, Aaron graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service and Certificate of Latin American Studies.
While in Washington, DC, Aaron danced with Paul Emerson and Tara Pierson Dunning (co-founders of CityDance Ensemble), at Georgetown University before joining City Dance Ensemble for its founding year. After living in Chile, she rejoined the company from 1999 to 2001. Today, she practices and teaches vinyasa yoga in Toronto, Canda where she lives.
Teri Jo Brown - Secretary
Teri Jo Brown, biologist, received her academic training at Washington State University in animal science and research. Her career began at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center and transitioned to the National Institutes of Health, which spanned 30 years. In 1984, Ms. Brown joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and contributed to the development of detection technologies for HIV. In 1992, she transitioned from the laboratory to establish a career in research management, bioinformatics, and administration. In 2002, she moved to the National Cancer Institute. From 2008, until her retirement, she and her colleagues established strategic planning program activities and partnerships for the Office of Latin American Cancer Program Development.
Lawrence Prograis, Jr, MD
Dr. Prograis formerly served as an Affiliated Scholar in the Center for Clinical Bioethics (CCB), Georgetown University Medical Center. At CCB, his research interests were research ethics, ethics consultations, and the role of culture in ethics. His most recent publication is as co-editor with Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, entitled “African American Bioethics: Culture, Race, and Identity."
Dr. Prograis obtained his BS degree from Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1970. He received his MD degree and Master of Medical Science degree with a concentration in Immunology, M.M.S. in 1975. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Meharry Medical College in 1978. In 1983, he completed postgraduate training in complement immunology at the National Institutes of Health. From 1978-1981, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in molecular immunology and a postdoctoral clinical fellow in allergy and immunology at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation. In 1991, he completed the Senior Managers in Government Program at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. From 1989 to 1991 he was the Chief of the Asthma and Allergy Branch in DAIT.
Dr. Prograis began his career at the National Institutes of Health, (NIH) in1989 as a biomedical researcher and science administrator at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, (NIAID). In 1991, he became a Deputy Director at the Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation (DAIT) and from 2002 Dr. Prograis served as Senior Scientist for Special Programs and Bioethics until his retirement in 2016.
Charles (Chuck) Brown....
Meg Booth is the Chief Executive Offer of the Society for the Performing Arts in Houston, Texas. Prior to taking the helm at SPA she was Director of Dance Programming at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Michael was appointed Executive Director of Washington National Opera in July 2011 upon its affiliation with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Prior to his affiliation with Washington National Opera, Michael worked for nearly five years for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) as Vice President of the BSO at Strathmore. In addition to overseeing the BSO at Strathmore’s Development, Marketing, Public Relations, and Community Outreach, Mr. Mael was the orchestra’s main liaison to Montgomery County and key to introducing the BSO at Strathmore’s new brand to the Greater Washington, DC area.
Michael worked for several technology companies, including Focal Communications, a nationwide telecommunications carrier, where he was President of the company’s data communications subsidiary and later became Senior Vice President, responsible for all product, channel and field marketing activities. Mr. Mael served as Vice President of Applications and Web Services for PSINet, a leading global Internet Service Provider, and managed the company’s global web hosting business, turning it into an industry-leading service. Mr. Mael came to PSINet, having worked 5 ½ years at MCI Communications as one of the team leaders that created and launched MCI’s commercial Internet products. He also held positions in MCI’s finance and marketing organizations.
Besides his extensive experience in the technology industry, Michael has also consulted for symphony orchestras and was involved in assessment and planning projects for the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic. Additionally, he worked for 3 ½ years as Director of Government Affairs for the American Symphony Orchestra League.
Michael received his AB from Brown University and his MBA from Stanford University. A more than 25 year resident of Montgomery County, he lives with his wife Judy, and two children in Potomac, MD.
Eliot Pfanstiehl is the CEO and founder of Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc., which operates and presents programming at Strathmore, a multi-disciplinary arts center, including the Music Center and the Mansion at Strathmore, in Montgomery County, Maryland. Mr. Pfanstiehl has held this position since 1983 and led the successful effort to build the world-class Music Center at Strathmore which opened in 2005.
Born in the District of Columbia and a graduate of George Washington University with a B.A. in Psychology, Mr. Pfanstiehl's career is a mixture of arts management, education, leadership training and organizational development.
Mr. Pfanstiehl has been a founder, president or chair of Montgomery County Arts Council, the Round House Theatre, the League of Washington Theatres and Strathmore. His past board service includes the Friends of the Kennedy Center, Round House Theatre, Black Rock Arts Center, Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, Maryland Association of Non-profit Organizations and chair of both the Maryland State Arts Council and Maryland Citizens for the Arts.
He was the founding President of Maryland Leadership Workshops and is the program facilitator for Leadership Maryland, Leadership Montgomery, Leadership Allegany, Leadership Washington County, Leadership Southern Maryland and a graduate of the inaugural class of Leadership Washington.
Mr. Pfanstiehl has led over 300 board and strategic planning retreats for a range of non-profit civic, arts and social service organizations, government agencies and businesses.
Mr. Pfanstiehl was named 2000 Washingtonian of the Year, and the Washington Business Journal named him one of the “People to Watch” in 2005.
Eliot and his wife, Cynthia, an anthropology professor at Montgomery College, are the proud parents of four children. They live in Silver Spring, Maryland.
"The MC builds and supports whole-child learning...instilling the values of self-discipline and team building."
- Roseanna B. MC Parent
The Company | E Movement Center for Dance Education teaches the next generation both the technique and the joy of movement.
"...exactly the kind of work we had imagined when creating the Performances for Young Audiences series, elegantly combining multiple art forms including modern dance, classical music, storytelling, visual arts, and theater."
--David Kilpatrick, Director, Education Programs and Productions. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.