What Moves You? @ Sarah Pilger

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Sarah Pilger: Dancer
San Francisco, CA

What Moves You? 
“Humans. Our grand varieties, the things we make, the emotions we feel, and our ever-changing identities.”

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I grew up just outside of San Francisco, in a small town called San Anselmo. I just graduated from the University and Pennsylvania and decided very last minute to move to New York and pursue my passion for dance. Penn has a very pre-professional culture that seems inescapable and unavoidable. I was set on applying to grad schools, but decided I couldn’t live in regret if I didn’t step outside of my comfort zone and try to dance professionally.

Photo Credits: (black and white): Jason Lau; (arabesque): Araba Ankuma; (overall white with blue fabric): Jason Lau; (blue smoke): Kevin Wang; (pink background): Carson Kahoe; (red background): Christian Hopkins

What Moves You? @ Javier Padilla


Javier Padilla: Dancer/Choreographer
San Juan, Puerto Rico

What Moves You?
“The stories that unfold right in front of us each and every day!”

Javier Padilla is a movement based artist from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Starting his training at School for the Performing Arts under Waldo Gonzalez and Olaya Muentes in Puerto Rico, he then continued his studies at Mason Gross School of the Arts pursuing a BFA in Dance. During his time at Mason Gross, Javi had the opportunity of working with artists such as Jessica Lang, Keith Thompson, Netta Yerushalmy, Joe Goode Performance Group, Meghan Frederick, Randy James and Bereishit Dance Company. His choreographic work has been presented at venues such as Dixon Place, Open Source Gallery, The Secret Theater, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Triskelion Arts, The Salvatore Capezio Theater, Battery Park, Judson Memorial Church and the Inside/Out Stage at Jacob’s Pillow. Javi is also the Artistic Director of The Movement Playground, an emerging movement collective that has been performing and touring in the New York Tri-State Area since 2014 and are excited to premiere their first commissioned works with Ballet Forte (NJ) and Bucknell University (PA) in the upcoming year.

For more info: www.jpmovementplayground.com

Photo Credits: Whitney Browne, Brayden Donnely, Hayim Heron

What Moves You? @ Alissa Johann


Alissa Johann: Dancer/Choreographer
West Chester, PA

What Moves You? 

Alissa trained in classical ballet, modern and jazz at the Brandywine ballet in West Chester, PA. She later went on to earn a B.A. in Dance and a B.A. in Media Studies from Cedar Crest College in 2016, while also furthering her technique at Muhlenberg College. She has received several scholarships and awards and has attended summer intensives at the Joffrey Ballet School and American Ballet Theater. Alissa is a professional dancer, choreographer, and instructor in Philadelphia, PA.

For more: http://alissajohann.wixsite.com/alissajohann

Photo Credits: Brian Mengini, Anna Bonacci, Amico Studios 

What Moves You? @ Nadia Naomi


Nadia Naomi: Dancer
Third Culture Kid

What Moves You?
“Opportunities for healing and understanding.”


Nadia Naomi is a dancer, choreographer, model, photographer, poet & scholar. Born to New Jersey to an Afro-Guyanese mother & a Afro-Tanzanian and Indian father, Nadia Naomi grew up in Tanzania, Malawi, Trinidad, Switzerland & France. Both her art & scholarship draw on her life experiences as a Third Culture Kid as her research focus is on transnational racial identity and embodied knowledge. Nadia Naomi earned her B.A. in Africana Studies & Dance from Barnard College of Columbia University in the City of New York. Her artwork focuses on women’s empowerment, destigmatizing (dis)ability & mental illness, as well as, highlighting the cultural diversity within the African diaspora.

For more on instragram: nadianaomi.inc

Photo Credits:
Modeled by Nadia Naomi Mbonde (me)
Sari from Asha Ahuja Mbonde (my grandmother)
Shot by Bobo Matjila
Make up by Annya Serkovic
Sari tied by Neja Nataraj
Note: In the image where Nadia is holding a picture frame, the picture is of her grandmother as a little girl in Zanzibar, Tanzania doing a fairy dance.

What Moves You? @ Quilan Cue Arnold


Quilan Cue Arnold: Dancer, Choreographer, Scholar
Germantown, MD

What Moves You?
“Creativity, Unity, and Empowerment.”

Quilan “Cue” Arnold (MFA) is a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer based out of Baltimore, Maryland and New York City, New York. His research considers identity and representation of the black male in American society through a Hip-hop lens. Quilan’s process has inspired him to form the organization, onC.U.E, which uses dance to educate students on the impact of Hip-hop culture beyond its music. Quilan’s recent credits include a guest artist residency at University of Memphis, performing for the NY Philharmonic, and holding faculty appointments at Towson University and Gibney Dance Center.

For more, cue4christ.wordpress.com.

What Moves You? @ Shannel Resto

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Shannel Resto: Choreographer, Dancer, and Photographer
Boston, MA

What Moves You? 
“The interaction of all artists and how they effect the world through showing different perspectives and sharing it with the world.”

Shannel Resto born in New York City is a choreographer, dancer, artist activist, photographer and costume designer. Resto grew up in Boston, MA and graduated from the performing arts high school Boston Arts Academy. She is graduating with her BFA in dance at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts. She has also trained at Trinity Laban Conservatoire for dance and choreography in London. Resto as a photographer is currently sponsored by an umbrella of companies in London including Studio 101, AVIT Clothing Brand, and Beyond the Pages Publishing Agency as an ambassador. Her photography company SJR Photography was founded in 2013 and has build a network of clients from the performing arts world to capturing memorable moments for people. As a photographer I use my skills to influence my choreography and approach to dance in a different way. Shannel’s choreography has developed into a unique style and borrows from ranges of techniques. She see’s her dancers as clay that can mold and furniture that can play around with in a space. She ask’s her dancers most of the time to fill their movement with passion and punctuation, but to also always find their individuality. Her goal is not to entertain the audience, but to connect with them viscerally and gain a reaction through her art. She has performed her work at Rutgers University, Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts, and Trinity Laban in Boston, London, New York, New Jersey and many more places. She has also worked with Matthew Bourne, Kevin Wynn, Ronald K. Brown, Randy James, Paul Ocampo, Fernadina Chan, Kieth Thompson and many more. The message she communicates through her art is the freedom to explore the possibilities of the impossible. She hopes to broaden different communities minds through showing different perspectives through her dance and artistry.

For more, http://sjrestophotography.wixsite.com/sjrphotographs.

What Moves You? @ Anna Mayta


Anna Mayta: Dance improviser/choreographer and teacher
Santiago Chile

What Moves You?
“Let you’re vision be world embracing…” Baha’u’llah

Anna Mayta is a dance improviser, choreographer and teacher. She graduated from Empire State College in June 2001 with a BA in Dance in Education. November 2008 she got a certificate to teach yoga from Svyasa Swami Vivekananda Yoga University in Bangalore India. In 2006 she was awarded a dissemination award from the Dutchess County Arts Council in Poughkeepsie NY.  She has been teaching, performing and choreographing for 12 years. She has traveled for her work to India. Taught for the National Ballet of Zimbabwe in Africa. Baha’i dance camp in England and all over the greater Boston Area. Now she is currently working in upstate NY Hudson Valley area.

For more, https://www.facebook.com/Annamaytadancefusion/.

Photo Credits: Barbara Todd

What Moves You? @ Angelique Laurin


Angelique Laurin: Dancer
Washington D.C. Area

What Moves You? 
“The power in the possibility is what moves me.”


I am originally from metropolitan area where I spent most of my training at Duke Ellington School of The Arts, Dance Institute of Washington, and Dance Theatre of Harlem Residency Program. Upon college, I was not accepted into the dance program and thus took on an Communication Arts Major and Photography minor. Four years later, I graduated on top of my class with honors. With diverse experience from internships and even my dance background, I was still unable to find a job. I worked retail for two years and worked my way up the corporate ladder and became an executive. At the end of my 5th year and without a job or plan, I quit. A week later, I took an Advanced Ballet Class at Brooklyn Ballet because I simply wanted to do something I love. It was there, three weeks later, that the director asked me to come and audition for the upcoming Nutcracker with the Company. Upon quitting my corporate job, I also landed NYFW show, a MAC promotional commercial and a 5 page spread in ESSENCE Magazine. Currently, I am still with Brooklyn Ballet, modeling, and taking classes to maintain my technique and skill. I look forward to the future and all that is to come of my leap of Faith!

Photo- Justin Reid 
Stylist- Londyn Douglas 
Photo (subway)- Eva Zar @evazar
Photo (w/ jeans)- Ike Slimster 

What Moves You? Ash Lee


Ash Lee: Dancer
Budd Lake, NJ

What Moves You? 
“When you don’t make moves, everyone loves you; you are no competition. However, when you do, you’re suddenly the threat…or a reflection of what someone else wants to be. You are on the way to success. What moves me is this constant idea of trying to perfect an art that is near imperfect. There is no one way to dance, no final destination; it is an ongoing progress that is never completed. The learning is infinite, and so are the opportunities. This is how I grow. This is why I dance.”

Ashley Wiedow was born and raised in New Jersey. She started dancing at a young age, growing into what is now the expansive dance world. Within this time she furthered her career by attaining a BFA in Dance, dancing with companies, performances, and choreographing. She is currently sharing her knowledge with the newer generations through teaching, but her passion is for performance.

For more: www.youtube/exactlymypointe.

Photo credit in doorway: Vanessa Gonzalez- Bunster

What Moves You? @ Mariana Orozco Arango

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Mariana Orozco Arango: Mover
Bogotá, Colombia

What Moves You?
“My body, my brain, my passion, my soul.”

Mariana grew up surrounded by Latin American music, dance, and sports, and became a prominent figure in my local soccer and gymnastics clubs. Then she started dancing through Bellydance, Bollywood, Traditional Indian Dance and Tribal Fusion. It wasn’t until later on in life that she started studying Ballet, Modern, and Jazz; but fell in love with Modern dance, which lead her to move to the USA, to Israel, and now back to the USA through various movement studies. Mariana have also been studying different types of yoga for the past few years, which has heavily influenced the way she moves. Now she is focusing on researching movement in various settings, and discovering what the word dance really means.

Read more here: http://www.marianaoa.com

Photo Credits: Carlos Bocai, John Evans, Noel Valero, Dani Blake