Vania Deonizio, Founding Director - Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to a family of musicians, Vania was introduced to various rhythms of music and dance very early. Growing up she faced a major childhood trauma that almost took her life. She found in dance a way to escape from a horrible situation, found freedom and hope for a better life. Vania started Dancin Power to help kids who, like her, also find themselves stuck in difficult situations they didn't ask for. Dancin Power gives these kids a way to express themselves in a safe welcoming environment. It provides them with an outlet to experience joy and laughter, and most importantly, it reminds them that even though they are sick and in a hospital room, they are still kids and have the right to be happy!
Sarah Reiwitch, Co-founder - Born in Chicago, Sarah is passionate about dance and loves sharing it with others. At age four she was introduced to ballet and has been hooked on dance as a means of self-expression ever since. Until her teenage years, she trained to become a professional ballet dancer, studying in many major ballet schools in SF and Chicago. After college, she studied several martial arts, finally discovering and dedicating herself to the Afro Brazilian art-form, Capoeira. Through Capoeira, she traveled to Brazil frequently to deeply study the culture, music, language and numerous folkloric dances, including Samba. She has taught Capoeira, Samba and Maculelê to middle-school students through the OUSD in East Oakland. She is one of Dancin Power’s co-founders.
Rachel Baird - Teacher - Born in Canada, Rachel began dancing at the age of five and trained extensively in ballet and contemporary dance. At the age of sixteen, she moved to New York to pursue a professional career. Rachel attended the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School and Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program. She completed the Pushing Progress Professional Development Program and is now a freelance dancer working with various choreographers in NYC. Rachel is inspired by the feelings of empowerment, joy, release, freedom and human connection that dance brings, a reason why she joined Dancin Power.
Chantal Nathalie - Teacher - Born in South El Monte, California. Chantal's dance aspirations began with Ballet at the age of 3. While attending high school she indulged herself in performing. As the years passed her dance experience ranged from Hula Dance, Lyrical, Cheerleading, Modern/Contemporary, Stomp, Belly Dance and Hip-Hop. Dance has always been an art of expression for Chantal. She strongly believes that children are the key to the future. Therefore, motivating her to join Dancin Power to enrich the lives of children in time of need.
Monique Ferris - Teacher - Monique began movement practice as a young child, classically training into her adult years. She has studied many forms of dance, including ballet, tap, jazz, modern and classical Indian dance to name some. Her lifelong passion is experiencing and sharing the joy of expressive movement and she is delighted and honored to be a part of Dancin Power. She believes that all children facing serious disease and life-threatening illness benefit greatly by having access to sharing dance with their caregivers through Dancin Power.
Angela Kim - Teacher - Born in Alameda, California, Angela grew up taking various styles of dance, from ballet to hip hop, Korean-pop to Korean Traditional Dances, which has been passed to her by her mother, who studied Korean Traditional Dance Performance in Seoul, Korea. Dance has been a powerful source of confidence and strength building in Angela’s life; she was able to become comfortable in her body and love her body through the self-expression of dance. She wants to provide the same outlet for the children who experience the heartwarming essence of Dancin Power and is ecstatic to be a part of Dancin Power.
Nicoya Hudson - Teacher - Born in Big Sur California, Nicoya has experienced dances and cultures from all over the world since very early age. She has studied Middle Eastern Dances, Traditional Brazilian, West African and Tahitian. After being exposed to Brazilian Dances, she followed her long time dream to go to Brazil and learn more about the culture. She has an eagerness to continue embracing the various movements of these dances. Dance has been her personal tool for healing, self-exploration, and self-expression. Dancing has provided a pathway for infinite human connection, and Nicoya has been a part of Dancin Power for this very reason.
Sheila Soto - Teacher - Born and raised in San Francisco, Sheila began her journey into the world of dance at the age of 5. She began with Ballet, Modern, and Tap dancing, and then ventured into Hula and Tahitian dance at the age of 10. For her, sharing the joy of movement and music through Dancin Power’s work is the most rewarding and empowering thing she has ever experienced.