“…a sort of Terpsichorean perfect storm” – Los Angeles Downtown News
Mission & Company Bio
Third Rail Projects, led by Artistic Directors Zach Morris, Tom Pearson, and Jennine Willett is dedicated to reframing dance and performance and bringing art to the public through an array of media and within a variety of contexts including site-specific performances, dance theater, installation art, video and multi-media projects, and immersive performance environments. Collectively, Third Rail artists have been granted commissions, support, and residencies from presenters, organizations, and foundations including: Arts Brookfield, Danspace Project, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation, Abrons Arts Center, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Dance New Amsterdam, Dance Theater Workshop, Topaz Arts, La Mama ETC, 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center, The American Music Center, The Lucky Star Foundation, and Materials for the Arts, among many others. Third Rail artists have also received numerous awards including three New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards – for Then She Fell (2013) and Vanishing Point (2008), a 2001 New York International Fringe Festival Award for Choreography from the Present Company, and others.
Third Rail Projects celebrates its Tenth Anniversary season in 2011/2012 as it continues to recontextualize art and performance in alternate formats. Third Rail began in 2001, originally founded by Pearson, Willett, and Brian Weaver as Third Rail Dance. In 2003, Weaver began pursuits abroad and relocated to Milan, and in 2004/2005, collaborator Zach Morris joined as Co-Artistic Director, maintaining the governing structure of Third Rail as a trio of collaborating Artistic Directors. In 2007, the company incorporated as Third Rail Projects LLC and broadened its mission to embrace performance and art-making possibilites beyond dance; however, the group has maintained a strong physical and movement-based vocabulary in all of its theatrical works and installation and immersive environments.
“major points for visuals, as well as for some very enthusiastic player.” – Sundance Channel
Third Rail Projects Staff
Third Rail Projects Artistic Directors
Zach Morris, Tom Pearson, Jennine Willett
Associate Artistic Director
Public Relations: Spin Cycle
Zach Morris (Third Rail Projects Co-Artistic Director) is a Bessie Award-winning choreographer, director, visual artist and Co-Artistic Director of Third Rail Projects. He is also the organizer and moderator of the NYC Dance Film Lab, a Movement Research teaching artist, an adjunct faculty member of the Florida State University School of Dance, and a professor of Shakespeare at Manhattanville College. He has previously served as the Co-Creator and Co-Director of the Westbeth New Works Program and as the Inter/National Program Associate at Dance Theater Workshop. Zach has a BFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University. Check out Zach’s full bio here.
Tom Pearson (Third Rail Projects Co-Artistic Director) is a Bessie Award-winning choreographer, director, performer, visual artist, and Co-Artistic Director of Third Rail Projects. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Florida State University School of Dance and has choreographed, performed, lectured and taught for more than a decade in New York and beyond. He is also a photographer, videographer/Editor, and writer whose work has been published in Dance Magazine, Time Out New York Kids, The New York Times, The New York Post, Dance Spirit and as the Editor of the Public Theater’s Native Theater Journal online and in filmed interviews for NYU’s Hemispheric Institute. Tom holds an MA in Performance Studies from New York University. Check out Tom’s full bio here.
Jennine Willett (Third Rail Projects Co-Artistic Director) is a choreographer, director, writer, educator, and Co-Artistic Director of Third Rail Projects. She has choreographed, performed and taught throughout Poland, Germany, Russia, and the U.S. and has served as an Associate in Performance at Swarthmore College and as a guest teacher at Sam Houston State University and the Limon Institute. She has also served as a contributing editor to Dance Europe Magazine and is a Medical Exercise Specialist and Personal Trainer with an MFA in Performance and Choreography from Florida State University. Check out Jennine’s full bio here.
Marissa Nielsen-Pincus (Associate Artistic Director) has worked in a wide variety of contexts including site specific performance, aerial dance, interactive media, and film. She is a founding member of Third Rail Projects (2001), and currently serves as its Associate Artistic Director. Her own choreography has been presented at The World Financial Center, Chashama, and La Mama E.T.C., and her dance film, BeWing, is slated to premiere in 2012. Marissa studied contemporary dance at the London Studio Centre, is a certified Somatic Movement Educator through the School for Body Mind Centering®, and teaches yoga and anatomy around NYC. She lives in Brooklyn with a man and two cats.
Elizabeth Carena (Managing Director) is a performer, installation artist, and arts administrator. Since 2007, she has served as Third Rail Projects’ Managing Director and has worked as a collaborator and performer in Strangers on Tong Chong Street, The Drifting Encyclopedia, Undercurrents & Exchange, The Steampunk Haunted House, Looking Glass, and Then She Fell. As an administrator, she served as Capital Associate at Theatre for a New Audience from 2007-2012. As a musician, she performs and records with the NYC pop cock-rock band Mother Feather: motherfeather.com. She studied at Fordham University at Lincoln Center (BA in Theatre), the British American Drama Academy in London, and HB Studios in New York. She lives in Brooklyn.
Brittany Crowell (Production Manager) is a theater artist and administrator. Brittany has worked as a Producer, Production Manager and Stage Manager with many companies, including: The TRUF, The Bower Group, Tinker’s Collective, Oscar + Lottie, [CENSORED] Collective, and Anthill Productions. Administratively, she has worked as the Management Coordinator at the revitalized Bucks County Playhouse and as Executive Assistant to Producer, Jill Furman. She currently serves as the Managing Director of Crashbox Theater Company and is thrilled to be working with the wonderful team at Third Rail Projects.
Edward Rice (Finance Associate), originally from the suburbs of Chicago, holds a BS and MFA in Dance from Illinois State University and the University of Iowa, respectively. He has performed with Jennifer Kayle + Company, The Brian Brooks Moving Company, Stone Depot Dance Lab, Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects, Amber Sloan, Elizabeth Dishman, Laura Peterson Choreography, Benn Rasmussen’s Ardent August, Alexandra Beller/Dances, and in Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More. He has taught throughout the Mid-West, at Dance New Amsterdam, The New School, The International Dance Festival in Bytom, Poland and The Open Look Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. His choreography received honors at American College Dance Festival, and has been performed throughout the Mid-West, in NYC at Dixon Place and as part of Synethesia by Electric Pear Productions. He is Producer of RoofTop Dance and Company Manager for Alexandra Beller/Dances.
Niko Tsocanos (Development Associate) received his BA in 2011 from Bennington College where he concentrated his studies in dance and literature. He is now based in New York working as a choreographer, performer, arts administrator, technician, writer, and tutor. Since 2011, he has had the pleasure to perform with Elizabeth Dishman/Coriolis, Boom Bat Gesture Performance Group, alex/xan: the Median Movement, Ardent August, and Annette Herwander. He is a co-founder of Atalyr, a magazine for commentary and essays on dance. Current projects include The Emergent Improvisation Film Project directed by Elliot Caplan and Susan Sgorbati, and new works with Boom Bat Gesture Performance Group, and Ardent August.
Joshua Reaver (Marketing Associate) lives as a dancer and freelance technologist. As a graduate of FSU with a BFA in Dance, Joshua has had the opportunity to perform with Third Rail Projects, Amalgamate Dance Company, Kinetic Architecture, and various other projects since moving to New York. His alternate lifestyle has enabled him to collaborate with such people as Shen Wei, Shen Wei Dance Arts, ZviDance, Ariane Reinhart and the Pema Chödrön Foundation on projects including website construction, video editing, and projection design. For more information visit joshuareaver.com. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys playing guitar, building computers, and spending hours in the kitchen creating elaborate dishes for others to enjoy.
Third Rail Projects Advisory Board
Founder and President, Burke & Company LLC
The Lucky Star Foundation
Mary Ellen Obias
Freelance Development Consultant
Attorney At Law
Vice President, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council