What Moves You? @ Adriana Santoro


Adriana Santoro: Artist/Dancer/Choreographer/Pilaterra
Montgomery, NJ

What Moves You?
“Movement, in and of itself, is a passion of mine.  It is an essence of life.  I move to feel alive and better understand what it means to be human.  I create to explore and nuance the infinite possibilities of movement through dance.  I teach to share the refreshment and generosity I have found through dance and Pilates with the community.  Movement to me is a needed breath of fresh air, of which I am allowed to fall in love with and express daily.”


Adriana Santoro is a Dancer, Choreographer, and Pilaterra from New Jersey.  She graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University with her BFA in Dance.  Prior to college, she received her training at the Princeton Ballet School in the Pre-Professional Program and American Repertory Ballet Workshops. During her summer and winter seasons, she also trained with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Carolina Ballet, Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet, New Jersey Youth Theatre, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, STUFFED: d.a.n.c.e., Tiffany Mills Company, Washington School of Ballet, and 10 Hairy Legs.  Santoro has recently performed works by Sherry Alban, Brian Brooks, Randy James, Bill T. Jones, Alex Ketely, Graham Lustig, Ohad Naharin, Paul C. Ocampo, Javier Padilla, Julia Ritter, Bobbi Jene Smith, Chien-Ying Wang, Micayla Wynn, and Netta Yerushalmy.  Through the Polestar Pilates Teacher Training Program mentored by Kim Gibilisco at Rutgers University, Santoro is additionally a Polestar Pilates graduate and PMA® Certified Pilates Teacher.

Adriana Santoro & Artists enjoy choreographing highly articulate, richly dynamic, and thoughtfully collaborative works that present to diverse audiences in New Jersey, New York, and beyond.  Current collaborating artists include dancers, composers, and musicians.  Upcoming projects also encompass dance film and site specific productions. Repertoire has performed at The Actors Fund Arts Center, Hudson Guild Theater, Loree Dance Theater, Mark Morris Dance Center, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Ritz Performing Arts Stage, Triskelion Art’s Muriel Schulman Theater, Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater, and Vorhees Chapel at Rutgers University, with shows this fall at Gibney Dancer Center, Judson Memorial Church, and The Landmark Loews Jersey Theater.

What Moves You @ Lindsey Silvera

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Lindsey Silvera: Dancer
South Orange, NJ

What Moves You? 
“What moves me is the NEED to move. Anytime that I’ve ever lost touch with dance, I always had this energy that pulled me back and I think that really means something. When I dance I feel I am completely and truly myself. It encompasses everything around me. It makes me deal with personal issues, challenge myself, and most importantly enjoy every minute of life I am given. It gives me this feeling of purpose that we all search for, and that it is a feeling that I won’t let myself give up.”


More about Lindsey
“I am a graduate from Rutgers University. After graduating I went into a corporate job and quickly found that dance is what I should be doing. I’ve been pursing dance in New York since then. I’m part of an afro-brazilian modern dance company, teach dance and work at dance studio in the city. I’ve been dancing in local studio since the age of 5. I then studied dance in college and started training at studio in the city.”

What Moves You? @ Anna Maria Johannes

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Anna Maria Johannes: Dancer/Choreographer/Artist
Landsberg am Lech, Germany

What Moves You? 
“As a dancer I tell stories through movements with my body, no words needed. I just dance everything that I want to express. Those who see, will understand and feel it. This is what is fascinating…this is my passion. For me dancing is as important as breathing is for a non-dancer.

-‘The instrument by which the dance expresses itself is also the instrument by which life is lived: the human body!’ – Martha Graham”

Anna Maria Johannes was born in 1990 close to Munich, Germany. Between the ages of 5-18 years she passed all of the R.A.D. (Royal Academy of Dance) examinations with the highest result “distinction”. In 2012 she graduated with a master as a professional contemporary dancer by “CobosMika Company” in Barcelona. Before that she trained with “Iwanson International” in Munich and “Danseuddannelsen” in Copenhagen. That same year she received an important culture award for “excellent achievements in contemporary dance” and soon after she got her first job as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and show manager in Switzerland. Since January 2014 she lives in New York City to carry on with intensive training in order to improve her dancing skills and continue working on her professional dancing career. She is a member of the Mad about Dance Company, MJM, CeDan Dance Company and works with known choreographers and in different projects. In between in 2016 she got a new Engagement in Spain as a dancer and choreographer.

What Moves You? @ Ashley Zelano

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Ashley Zelano: Choreographer
New Castle, DE

What Moves You? 
“Being an artist means forever healing your own wounds and at the same time, endlessly exposing them.”

Ashley Zelano is a full time dance instructor and choreographer. Her work has been featured in music videos and performances across the country. Today, Ashley is responsible for creating dynamic pieces that have won numerous awards, and for teaching dancers from beginner to advanced to fall in love with the art form.

Ashley’s passion for dance began at an early age and continued all through her adolescent and teen years. Ashley studied dance at Cab Calloway School of the Arts, a highly sought after performing arts high school in Delaware, and then continued her training in Dance and Education at the University of Delaware, where she graduated in 2014 with a degree in Elementary Education, Special Education, and Dance. Today, Ashley is the founder and director of Fierce Dance Academy, and focuses on bringing the best training and creating artistry to all of its dancers. Her students have gone on to work in the industry as dancers, choreographers, and teaching professionals.

Ashley’s choreography has been featured in music videos such as up-and-coming artist, Tailor’s, Shaped Like A Gun, and has won a number of awards in competitions at both the regional and national level. Her most recent awards include placing as a top ten finalist in the Artist Simply Human project creation choreography competition, choreography awards, Judge’s Choice awards for multiple numbers, numerous regional and national title holders, receiving encore performance recognition, and a two time winner of the overall high score for the entire competition. Ashley’s choreography also received the honor of representing the state of Delaware in a world dance competition. Recently, Ashley was an instructor for Delaware’s National Dance Day convention, and was responsible for teaching dance to over ten thousand participants. She was also featured as a teacher and choreographer in Dance Teacher Magazine in Spring 2016. Ashley’s students have gone on to join professional dance companies in Los Angeles, and have been signed by some of the top talent agencies in the industry.

For more, www.fiercedanceacademy.com.

Photo Credits:

What Moves You? @ Shilpa Darivemula


Shilpa Darivemula: Choreographer/Dancer
Vienna, VA

What Moves You? 
“I am moved by the stories I see in the communities around me. Kuchipudi has always been about the community and about sharing narratives and as a medical student, narrative is the core of our profession. We take histories and physicals to determine the cause of illness. The parallels between both fields excites my imagination constantly and it is what drives my choreographies in the Aseemkala Initiaitive. These stories of medicine–of healing and illness–have been told for centuries in so many dance forms and mythologies. It is time we revive and juxtapose the past with the present through global, indigenous traditional dances, empowering them to see the potential that lies within. ”

Shilpa Darivemula is both a scientist and an artist. A fascination for science and a love for conversation directed Shilpa towards medicine while her training in Kuchipudi and her exposure to various traditional dances drove her towards movement. Kuchipudi is one of seven classical dances from India, a form that requires exquisite footwork, hand gestures, and facial expressions to narrate stories of Hindu mythology.

Shilpa began training in Kuchipudi at the age of 8 with Ms. Sasikala Penumarthy at the Academy of Kuchipudi Dance and performed her solo debut recital—her Rangapravesham—in 2011 with Ms. Anuradha Nehru and Mr. Kishore Mosalikanti at the Kalanidhi Dance school.

Captivated by the power of dance, Shilpa developed projects to use it as a tool for community development, spending her summers in college teaching dance to inner-city youth in Schenectady, interning in Dance Movement Therapy at Ellis Hospital, and teaching refugee women to share their traditional dances in a weekly women’s group at RISSE in Albany. In her senior year at Union College, she directed and choreographed Anamika, a mixed-media piece that combined ballet, praise dancing, and Kuchipudi, to serve as a call to action against the harms of human trafficking.

She was the recipient of a 2013-2014 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study the connection between traditional dance cultures of the world, their healing systems, and their current states of healthcare delivery. She has performed at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (2014) and at the International Dance Festival in Fes, Morocco (2015).

Inspired by the traditional dances and stories of women facing illness and health, Shilpa started the Aseemkala Initiative. This initiative–which is Sanskrit for “arts beyond boundaries”–uses traditional dances to narrate stories of women in medicine from all cultures around the world. These are stories of physcians, healers, patients, and their families as told through the mudras and movements of Kuchipudi and Bharata Natyam and hopefully, in the future, more traditional dance forms.

Shilpa was selected to be the Artist in Residence for 2016-2017 for the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). During her time as AMWA’s Artist-in-Residence, she published an article on using art in waiting rooms to decrease wait time perception, performed at the International Human Rights Arts Festival in NYC, and was selected to perform at the Fertile Ground Showcase. Shilpa also collaborated with the Global Initiative Against HPV and Cervical Cancer (GIAHC) to create a dance piece promoting cervical cancer screening which was shared by Dr. Shobha Krishnan at the 31st International Papilloma Virus Conference.

Shilpa is a third year medical student at Albany Medical College and plans to pursue a career in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Shilpa continues as Founder of the Aseemkala Initiative, a project aimed at transforming medicine through traditional dance, along with Rohini Bhatia as co-director. Her work can be seen at http://www.aseemkala.org.

For more: www.aseemkala.org; May 14th-Green Space: The Incubator of Art in Queens; Fertile Ground Showcase performance in NYC

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? @ Christina D’Amico

With knowledge comes power – and I’m so impressed with the information that Christina, this week’s feature, is sharing! As a strength coach, she is making the next generation of dancers smarter, healthier, and more informed about their bodies. I’ve known Christina for a few years now. I’ve always loved watching her grow as a performer and artist, but I’ve recently been blown away by the creativity she brings to her training. She is playing such an important role to the health and vitality of the dance community. I’ll let her speak for herself! Let’s see what moves her…


Christina D’Amico: Strength and Nutrition Coach/Dancer
Utica, NY

What Moves You?
“Aw man, this is a fully loaded question! I was actually thinking about this question the other day while driving (long drives create a lot of new ideas for me-is this good or bad, I am not quite sure yet!). I was trying to pinpoint what gives me that sensation of fullness. That feeling I get in my stomach when something is so incredible that it truly “moves” me from inside-out. I often get this sensation when I see musicians jamming out or when dancers can feel the energy from one another during full-bodied exploration. It’s almost like a natural high. It’s the moment when you can say, ‘I get it.’

I get this same feeling when I work with people and help them change their lives. For example, when I work with a dancer and they finally understand the connectivity we’ve been working hard on developing. It’s not just about how their body looks or how big or small their muscles are. It’s about being able to train their bodies and utilize them to move in whatever direction, intensity, and manner they want. Having the freedom to do so because they are confident, athletic, and strong. This sensation is what has ‘moved’ me to work with dancers and create Enhance4Dance.”


Christina D’Amico is a native to Upstate NY residing in Utica. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance Science and Exercise Physiology from The College at Brockport.  She also holds a Masters’ Degree in Clinical Nutrition through New York Chiropractic College. In 2014, Christina and her boyfriend Ryan Obernesser opened a functional training facility in Utica called O.B. Training & Sports Performance where they coach athletes and adults guiding them to “taking back their lives.” Christina’s passion for dance and wellness has inspired her to create a program specific to dancers called Enhance4Dance. Her program aims to educate dancers how to become stronger and better dancers through resistance training, mobility, and stability.

Christina continues to develop her own dance career with Vanessa Van Wormer, Heather Roffe Dance, Bill Evans, and The Brockport Dance faculty.  She has had the opportunity to work with various artists and companies including Kate Weare, Camille A. Brown, Diane McIntyre, Keigwin & Company, Mariah Maloney, and Doug Varone. Christina also attends seminars with Harkness Center for Dance Injuries and International Association for Dance Medicine and Science to continuously grow.

Read more about and follow Christina’s work on the obtaining website and social media!

Photo credits @ John Latini (headshot) and @ Adam Brockway (subway shots)