Getting to Know our Choreographers: Catherine Messina

Over the next few months, we are turning our blog over to our choreographers, so that you can get an “Inside Look” into the artists we are working with this year! Our 1st choreographer, Catherine Messina has actually been part of Dance Canvas in other ways before applying to choreograph. Catherine first worked with us as a Dance Canvas ‘Collegiate Ambassador’, and assisted us with sharing our performances with college dance students. Some of you might also recognize Catherine from the Dance Canvas stage. Last year, she performed in our 2019 Performance Series as a dancer in Jessica Bertram’s piece, ‘Wink’.

We love to see artists grow and blossom in their careers, and we are pleased to be part of Catherine’s journey!


Hi everyone! My name is Catherine Messina, and I am a creator for Dance Canvas this year! I’m originally from Philadelphia, but came down to Atlanta to attend Emory University and never left. 

Photography by Daley Kapperman

As an Atlanta based artist, I currently dance for staibdance and Kit Modus. I have worked with choreographers Jessica Bertram, Mark Caserta, Greg Catellier, Jillian Mitchell, Sarah Hillmer, Sean Hilton, and Kristin O’Neil as well as Niv Sheinfeld, Oren Laor, John McFall, and the Trisha Brown Dance Company. I have studied at the Bates Dance Festival in Maine, staibdance Summer Intensive in Italy, and Bates Winter Intensive in New York and performed the Modern Atlanta Dance Festival, the American College Dance Association, and the Women in Dance Conference in Philadelphia, my hometown. 

As a choreographer, I have shown my work at festivals including femmefest, play.risk.research, Immerse ATL Creates, Dance Canvas, the Yes! Dance Festival and Emory University. I also have experience in arts administration, teaching, and technical production. 

Synapse Photography

My work for Dance Canvas centers around the intersection of strangers lives: both at big moments in history and small moments in personal lives. I’m fascinated by the seemingly random moments of life that drive people together or apart, depending on how they handle a shared experience. There were certain stories in my life that inspired me to research this idea further. As a choreographer, I work very collaboratively and often combine empirical research with personal stories. These trends will come to light in this work where I am able to use the variety of stories, backgrounds, and experiences of my larger cast dancers.

When I am not dancing, I love being outside. I was born and raised on the beach, but I have come to love hiking. My first summer job was working on the boardwalk in New Jersey. I also love cooking and exchanging recipes (we love a good crock-pot).


Stay tuned to learn more about Catherine’s work as it develops for the Dance Canvas 2020 Performance Series on March 20th & 21st at the Ferst Center for the Arts.

Tickets on sale now: https://tickets.arts.gatech.edu/Online/Article/DanceCanvas2020

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