Meet the Presenting Denver Team

We’re committed to connecting artists, audiences and
amplifying the voice of our dance community


Marisa Hollingsworth

Executive + Artistic Director

Alexander B. Pankonin

Board Chair
board chair


Joanna Gezon


Laura James

Marketing Chair

Rachel Oliver Young

Board Member

Julia Rhine


Jenn Rudolph

Board Member

robert sher-machherndl

Board Member

hunter sydnor

Board Member


Board Member


Megan Clark

Emma Harding

JaNE Werle

Jamie Kraus

Emily Hoch

Courtney Ellis

Leslie Merrill

amanda tipton

Miriam Paisner

Ross Freeman


Marisa Hollingsworth began her training in Detroit, Michigan. She later graduated from Spelman College with a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Dance. Her summers were spent in New York City at the Dance Theater of Harlem. She danced five seasons with Ballethnic Dance Company in Atlanta, Georgia and later joined the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble for four seasons in Denver, Colorado. After Cleo, she danced with 7Dancers and then joined the Hannah Kahn Dance Company for eight seasons. She has also performed with Nu-World Contemporary Dance Theatre, New Breed Dance and Chadash Contemporary Dance Movement. She has taught all forms of dance throughout the Denver area as well as been a judge for the Ms. Colorado Parent and the Denver Bronco Cheerleaders. She is currently serving as a board member for The Children’s Museum of Denver, Presenting Denver and Davis Dance. She is a wife and a mother of two.

Alexander Pankonin

After relocating to Denver in 2008 from Northern Virginia, Alex has made Denver his home. As an urbanist who lives, works, and plays in Downtown Denver, he is community driven and focuses his energy to instill Denver with strong civic and cultural values. A lawyer by training, Alex brings a robust skillset to his work, his interests, and his passions.

Joanna Gezon

Joanna Gezon is the Assistant Vice President and Corporate Controller for Liberty Media Corporation. Joanna has been with Liberty since May of 2008, when she was hired as a Director of Accounting. Joanna graduated from the University of Colorado, and began her career at Price Waterhouse. Joanna serves as President of the Debbie Jackson & Darrell Pridemore Memorial Scholarship Foundation, which raises money through an annual golf tournament to provide college scholarships for high school seniors in Douglas County. The Foundation, which has provided over $150,000 in college scholarships, seeks to assist students who have overcome adversity in their lives.

Laura James

Laura James manages the external marketing and communications for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and their affiliate, the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation as the senior marketing and communications specialist.

During her time at the Chamber, she’s managed the strategic communications and brand development for the Chamber and the Leadership Foundation – including email marketing, social media and developing content for the Chamber’s blog and magazine, Business Altitude, along with event design. Prior to working for the Chamber, Laura interned for Versa Marketing Inc. and Karsh Hagan.

In her spare time, this Colorado native and University of Colorado Boulder alum can often be found skiing, traveling, enjoying Denver’s art and culture scene or spending time in the mountains with her friends and family.

Rachel Oliver Young

Rachel Oliver Young is the Education Director of the Classical and Contemporary Pre-Professional Dance Program at Denver School of the Arts, and a certified teacher through the Colorado Department of Education. Rachel holds an MFA in Dance, as an Arts and Sciences Fellow at CU-Boulder, and a BS in Dance and Biochemistry from Beloit College, having graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Rachel is an American Ballet Theatre® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum, in addition to an added teacher certification in “Progressing Ballet Technique,” in order to deepen her knowledge, and inform her instruction. As a dance maker, Rachel has created work for women’s prisons, public schools, outside spaces, multi-media performance spaces, and traditional theaters. Rachel’s choreographic work has been presented nationally and internationally, most notably being commissioned by Bare Bait Dance Company, Centennial State Ballet, and West Virginia Dance Company, sponsored by the Atlas Black Box Experimental Studio in Boulder, CO and selected for performance at WestFest Dance in New York and Performática in México, and presented at the University of Iowa, WV Wesleyan University, West Virginia Dance Festival, the Philly Live Arts & Fringe (PA), Dixon Place (NY) and Triskelion Arts (NY). She is so excited to be a part of the Presenting Denver team, in order to help support and bring together the Denver dance community

Julia Rhine

Julia Rhine is a shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, where she specializes in natural resource, land use and energy law. With notable experience in regulatory and environmental issues in the aggregate, real estate and oil and gas industries, Julia helps private and public companies find solutions to complex problems. She has successfully represented clients in litigation concerning oil and gas preemption, hazardous waste decommissioning, enforcement of oil and gas regulations, and zoning and development disputes. Prior to joining Brownstein, Julia was a federal judicial clerk first to the Honorable John L. Kane and then to the late Honorable Richard P. Matsch.

Julia believes that dance is for everyone and that Presenting Denver, through its outreach programs, lives that belief. She is thrilled to be a part of Presenting Denver and hopes to see you at a show or other event soon.

Jenn Rudolph

Jenn Rudolph is a global marketing and operational leader with 15 years of experience in marketing and operations management. She helps organizations build, grow, and manage their brands and creative production operations, which include graphic design, content creation, digital marketing and video production. Jenn creates efficient organizational structures that drive results and help build and grow teams that thrive through talented people, effective processes, excellent execution and sound strategy.

Jenn holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Colorado State University, a master’s in business administration from University of Colorado and a Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification.

Starting at age 3 and continuing throughout high school, Jenn enjoyed ballet, tap, jazz and modern dance as her extracurricular focus. She is passionate about supporting the growth of dance as an accessible and celebrated part of the Denver community and delighted to be a part of Presenting Denver.

Robert Sher-Machherndl

Internationally recognized choreographer Robert Sher-Machherndl is a US ‘Alien of Extraordinary Ability’. A former Principal Dancer with Dutch National Ballet, Bavarian State Ballet, Nederlands Dance Theater. He’s created works for Vienna State Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, Bavarian State Ballet, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, Salzburg Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Denver Arts & Venues, “…a highlight of the program” The New York Times. He’s been named ‘Dance Person of the Year’ by Denver Post, a four time winner of the prestigious New York Ballet Builders Award, and featured on MTV’s MADE. Robert is artistic director and choreographer of the critically-acclaimed Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet in Boulder CO. Read full biography HERE Visit Lemon Sponge Cake website HERE

Hunter Sydnor

A true Southerner, growing up in Virginia, Hunter Sydnor has lived in Colorado for over 30 years. She has been on the Board of Presenting Denver for 5 years. A graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Hunter recently retired from the construction industry having worked for Kiewit Infrastructure for 17 years.

Hunter can’t dance herself but loves watching dance and supporting dance in all forms.


Jennifer Howard is a graduate of The Juilliard School, and had an extensive professional dance career, touring and performing as a member of Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, Twyla Tharp Dance Company, Eliot Feld Ballet, Sarah Michelson, Lucinda Childs Dance Company, Liz Gerring Dance Company, and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. After her performing career, Jennifer has dedicated herself to teaching, including as Director of Dance at St. Paul’s School, Concord, NH, Director of Summer Programs at Colorado Conservatory of Dance, and as a visiting artist at Dartmouth College, Next Generation Ballet, Tampa, FL, and Denver School of the Arts. While still in New York, Jennifer began teaching with Jacques d’Amboise National Dance Institute, then with Kansas City Ballet’s Reach Out and Dance, and once she moved to Colorado, with Celebrate the Beat. Working with elementary school children, and often exposing them to dance for the first time, became a passion for Jennifer. Most recently Jennifer took on the role of Managing Director of Celebrate the Beat.

As a board member of Presenting Denver, Jennifer brings over 25 years of experience in the arts as a performer and 13 years in arts education. Jennifer was recently named Managing Director of Celebrate the Beat, a Denver based nonprofit which provides, often in marginalized communities, dance programs for children to improve their physical health and well-being, inspire them to believe in themselves, and establish a standard of excellence that impacts all aspects of their lives. Jennifer’s husband, Erik Langner, has worked in public media for nearly twenty years and is currently the CEO of Information Equity Initiative, a nonprofit that delivers high quality educational resources to families that lack access to broadband. Jennifer and Erik are longtime supporters of the arts in Denver, as well as Colorado Public Radio, Rocky Mountain PBS and KUVO.