Vania Deonizio, Founding Director - is a dancer, choreographer, and an advocate for cultural change fighting for hospitals to treat humans as individuals who benefit from having access to creative and expressive arts during hospitalization. Born in Rio de Janeiro and raised throughout Brazil, Vania founded Dancin Power in the spring of 2006, while living in the United States. Thanks to her passion and determination, today, more 16,000 hospitalized children and their families at eight children’s hospitals across the United States have been positively impacted by the power of music, movement, mindfulness, and dance. After years of seeing the practical impact of her work, she decided to delve into the academic perspective and has been pursuing a graduate degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Expressive Arts Therapy. Vania has been featured by NBC, NowThis, and The Huffington Post, where a video of her work went viral, garnering the attention of millions of viewers worldwide. She has been awarded the Front Line Scholar Award from TEDMED and was recently named by the British Medical Journal as their International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare 2018’s Artist-in-Health Resident.
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.
Janene Kuan - Teacher - Born and raised in Berkeley, California, Janene began dancing at the age of five through her local ballet school following the footsteps of her older sister. There she grew to love dancing due to its balance between physical and artistic expression. When she began college at UC Berkeley, she desired to expand her horizons and joined various groups in the Berkeley Dance Community, which pushed her to choreograph in ballet and lyrical jazz and explore new styles such as hip-hop/urban and tap. When Janene heard about Dancin Power while volunteering at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital - Oakland, she could not wait to train, and become a teacher because it integrates her passions of dance and caring for patients!
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.