RahDanceWorks Turns 8!

It was in March, 8 years ago, that I started some movement projects and formed a dance company. That was 8…years…ago! Wow!

It’s been a crazy ride. I’ve changed the name 2x, some years I haven’t even presented work, and I’m still figuring it out. There have been (and still are) so many times I felt like a failure…But my success doesn’t look like your success. And yours shouldn’t look like mine. Because that would be boring.

There is room for all types of art and artists, in all shapes and sizes and durations. Art reflects life, and I love variety. So, I’m gonna take a moment to celebrate!

I’ve met and brought artists together from around the world, self-produced events to showcase new work, been asked to present my own choreography in a solo show, and helped foster creative aging projects. But it takes a village and I’ve been blessed to work with some of the most inspiring dancers, artists, and arts admin (I really love you all so much). And now I’m solo traveling and sharing dance in some pretty dope locations. 8 years strong. So here’s to 8 more.

Please enjoy this little montage I created of some site-specific improvs over the last year or so:

Keep movin’,

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? @ Jen Roit

Lament NACHMO2

Jen Roit: Choreographer
San Jose, CA

What Moves You? 
“Emotions and stories.”


Proud of her West Coast origins, Jen Roit received a BFA at NYU Tisch, working with Karole Armitage, Bill Young, and Dwight Rhoden. She continued a diverse career with Jennifer Archibald, Nathan Trice, Daniel Holt, Mark Dendy, Randy James, Transcendance Group, and the Park Avenue Armory. She received mentorship from Camille Brown and Jennifer Edwards through the Breaking Glass Project and Stephen Petronio through NYU’s Alumni Choreographic Workshop. With her company, Armada Dance, she has produced work for BalaSole Dance Company, MaD Circle Dance, Moving Beauty Series, Amalgamate Artist Series, Equilibrium Danceworks, WAXworks, and has been presented at HATCH, Spoke the Hub, RAW Artists, Dixon place, The Actor’s Fund, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Triskelion, and Ticino in Danza (Switzerland). She currently serves on the Artist Committee for NACHMO, is editor of the Dance Magazine College Guide, manages projects at TERP Corp, and dances for Dances for Solidarity. She has choreographed for short films and music videos, including “You and I and You” presented at the Outlet Dance Project’s International Film Festival, Dance Film Day in Portland, OR, and for Triskelion’s Dance Film Festival. Founder of the Broke Dancer, a weekly newsletter for inexpensive dance and fitness classes around NYC.

For more: http://www.jenroit.com

Photo Credits: Stephen Delas Heras; Massimiliano Rossetto; Oje Ihonvbere; Eric Bandiero/BalaSole Dance Co.; Jen Jones Photography

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? @ Anna Mahalia Rose


Anna Mahalia Rose
Accord, New York

What Moves You? 

Anna Mahalia Rose hails from the Shawangunk Mountains of Upstate New York where she received her early training in classical modern, release technique, percussive, ballet, and world dance, and toured professionally across the United States with The Vanaver Caravan Dance Company, appearing in a myriad of venues and festivals including Symphony Space, Jacob’s Pillow, The Egg, and the Lincoln Center Outdoors Festival.

Anna received her BFA in dance at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she choreographed extensively and performed in the works of Netta Yerushalmy, Gregory Dolbashian, Vita Osojnik, Kay Cummings, and Elizabeth Coker. During her time at NYU, Anna also performed at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, Triskelion Arts Comedy in Dance Festival, and at the Florence Dance Festival, where her own choreography was presented.

Over the years, Anna has expanded her training at Bates Dance Festival, B12, White Mountain Dance Festival, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Toscana Dance Hub, and at the New England Center for Circus Arts. At these festivals and others, she has had the pleasure of training with numerous companies and choreographers including Johannes Wieland, Doug Varone, Monica Bill Barnes, David Dorfman, Annamari Keskinen, Tomislav English, Brian Brooks, Shen Wei, Mark Morris, Jodi Melnick, Shannon Gillen, Sidra Bell, Batsheva Dance Company, and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, among others.

Currently, Anna is freelancing in New York as a performer and is in the process of forming her own company. She is currently in the midst of choreographing and co-directing a dance film, which will be released in early 2018.

What Moves You? @ Sarah Starkweather


Sarah Starkweather: Dancer
Houston, Texas

What Moves You? 
“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.” — Kurt Vonnegut

Sarah Starkweather is a freelance dancer and fitness professional based out of New York City.

Since 2009, Sarah has performed over 100 times with professional dance companies from Texas, Missouri, and New York. Sarah has worked with choreographers such as Jennifer Archibald, Matt Luck, Ashle Dawson, Amanda Selwyn, Ashley L. Tate, Jennifer Medina, Stefano Nappi, Katelyn Halpern, and Ashley McQueen. Sarah has presented her own work in Texas, Missouri, as well as at The Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, New York.

Sarah holds a BA in Psychology from The University of Texas at San Antonio, which during this time she also began her classical training with Catalina Garza, Ernesto Quenedit and Esther Mayer of The Cuban National and Royal Ballet, respectively. Sarah is a founding member of the San Antonio Dance Fringe, and continues to teach technical and leadership workshops across the United States through MA Dance, for whom she also adjudicates regional and national dance competitions.

Sarah has been an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor since 2014 and currently teaches barre, flexibility, and kickboxing conditioning classes for Equinox Fitness Clubs. Sarah is also a PMA Pilates Mat Certified Instructor.

For more, http://www.starkmoves.com.

Photo Credits: Krysteen Villarreal, Optik House, Locale Magazine, Stephen Delas Heras, The Movement

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? @ Sandra Kluge


Sandra Kluge: Tap Dancer
Bremen, Germany

What Moves You? 
“What moves me is sound. As a tap dancer, I identify more as a soundmaker than a mover. But still, movement is essential for what I’m doing. In order to achieve the best sound quality I can – and to play in a deep pocket, I need to be aware of all my movements. Being intentional with the way I move makes me concise in the way I want to express myself musically. Movement is the preparation for the sound. Music is dance, and dance is music.”

About Sandra
Sandra “Sunny“ Kluge, tap dance musician and visual artist, was born in 1996 into a musicians’ family. She started tap dancing at the age of 10 under the direction of her Mom. From then on, she was influenced by many different teachers and mentors, such as Barbara Duffy, Sebastian Weber, Pia Neises, Derick Grant, Sarah Petronio, and Heather Cornell, to only name a few. She graduated from the tap dance apprenticeship “S.O.N.T.I.” by Daniel Luka with magna cum laude. Her musicianship is heavily shaped by playing in numerous jam sessions around Europe and New York City. Sandra has performed in distinguished productions such as Thomas Marek’s show NOLA at Kampnagel (Hamburg), the sound art/tap performance Homöostep, or the tap ahead festival at tanzhaus nrw (Düsseldorf). She is the author of the tap dance/art blog Eclectic Grounds and has been a guest writer for Dance Advantage. Sandra considers herself a musician, and the tap shoes are her instrument. Her style is deeply rooted in the aesthetic of jazz music, however, her art is not tied to a specific genre. It is merely a tool to create the most genuine and sophisticated expression possible. A catalyst to explore the extension of the human experience through art.

For more, https://www.sandrakluge.com/

What Moves You? @ Dorian Rhea


Dorian Rhea: Choreographer/Dancer
Chicago, IL

What Moves You? 
“Movement is very philosophical to me. The wonder of having agency over your body. The gift of being able to feel and create forces in the universe is powerful. I move to honor that gift and inspire others to find that undeniable power within themselves. What moves me? Breath. ”


About Dorian
My name is Dorian Rhea. At age 22, I have been an active artist in the Chicago community for the past seven years. I’ve performed and choreographed pieces for musical festivals like Lollapalooza, television shows like Windy City Live, Broadway’s West Side Story, Disney’s Mag Mile Lights Festival, Common’s AHH! Fest, Chance The Rapper’s TipFest & even for President Obama himself. My works have been featured at venues such as The White House, The Chicago Theater, The Harris Theater, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Previously an instructor for Gallery 37’s After School Matters hip-hop program (Chicago’s leading organization in providing job training for the arts to teens), The Joffrey Ballet, & The American Rhythm Center, I have taught workshops at Roosevelt University, Chicago State University, & Wilbur Wright College, to name a few. From working with charitable arts programs in high schools across the city, to facilitating performance training with the non-profit organization ‘The Happiness Club’, I continue to push for universal art education in as many ways as I can. I am currently teaching Hip-Hop Culture and Creative Movement classes at the Brooklyn Music School. I have studied ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, & aerobic dance fitness, with tap being my longest trained principle, and I continue to train as a developing teaching artist whenever possible. My goal is to make the transition from homebound artist to borderless philanthropist during my time in New York. The arts and social activism are very important to me and I feel that my extensive training and research in these fields have best prepared me to continue down the path of educating and enlightening, while simultaneously being educated and enlightened.

What Moves You? @ Sarah Nagle & Justin Ross

Sarah Justin Duet 2

Sarah Nagle & Justin Ross: Dancer/Choreographer
New York, NY

What Moves You? 
“I’m alive. Life force and creative energy are the same thing.”

Sarah Nagle & Justin Ross have worked together professionally since 2013 with Jessica Taylor|DAMAGEDANCE and UrbanHumans. In the 2016/17 Season, Nagle & Ross launched their own original performance project: Chair|Bell|Tape. Chair|Bell|Tape is a performance art installation that is never repeated. Each performance simultaneously stands as a continuation of the previous study as well as an isolated work. C|B|T has been shown through the Creators in Residence program at EARTHDANCE in Plainfield, MA; with the Creators Collective as part of the curated event “Wander” at Open Source Gallery in Brooklyn, NY; as a durational installation at “All Over Westbeth” at WESTFEST in New York, NY; as a site-specific work for IDACO at the Baruch Center for Performing Arts in New York, NY; with the Sans Limites Dance 2017 Spring Season at the Hudson Guild Theater in New York, NY; and will be featured as a moving installation at the chashama Spring Gala 2017.

For more:
@justjamesross @sarah_nagle
All Over Westbeth at WESTFEST April 29th and 30th; IDACO Site Specific at Baruch Center for Performing Arts on June 2nd, Sans Limites Dance Spring Season at the Hudson Guild Theater on June 2nd; chashama Spring Gala on June 8th

Photo Credits:
Sarah Nagle, Justin Ross, duets – Matthew Polis