Movement Exchange unites dance and service.

We are a growing community of Dance Diplomats—movers and shakers, activists and global citizens, dreamers and achievers, teachers and learners, volunteers and friends. We believe that sharing movement creates more joy in our world.

MISSION

Movement Exchange unites dance and service through its network of university chapters, international dance exchanges, and year-round programs in underserved communities.

VISION

Movement Exchange envisions a world in which:

  • Dance education is accessible to all
  • Dance is synonymous to service
  • Dance enables all to achieve their optimal mental, social, and physical well-being

VALUES

  • Cross-cultural understanding
  • Civic engagement
  • Social equality and inclusion
  • Creative expression
  • Sustainable dance education

OUR STORY

Anna Pasternak, founder of Movement Exchange (Move-Ex), was 25-years-old and working in international development when she dreamed of a way for dancers to make a difference in the world. She asked, “how can we create a dancer’s version of Doctors without Borders?” Like many young dancers, Anna spent endless hours in a dance studio and thought she was on the path to becoming a professional dancer. However, her interdisciplinary studies at Harvard and years living abroad allowed Anna to look at dance from a different perspective. Intent on the idea of creating a global community of like-minded dancers passionate about service and social justice, Anna founded Movement Exchange in 2010. Click here to see Movement Exchange’s Five-Year Report.

IMPACT

Since 2011, Movement Exchange has:

  • Engaged over 300 dance diplomats in 6,900 hours of international service and 2,700 hours of domestic service
  • Expanded the chapter model of Move-Ex to 21 universities in the United States. Chapters commit to domestic and international service work year-round while uniting their campus’s community through dance.
  • Created year-round and locally staffed dance programs at 3 orphanages and in 2 rural communities in Panama, and provided dance scholarships for students at 2 underserved youth foundations in India.
  • Organized various dance performances at the National Theater of Panama and flash mobs starring hundreds of youth involved in the Move-Ex dance program.
  • Nurtured over 1,500 young minds to think creatively and critically, become agents of change, and dream for a better future

We are changing lives through dance. Will you join us?

 
BECOME A DANCE DIPLOMAT

SUSTAINABLE IMPACT

Movement Exchange created year-round, locally staffed dance programs in the communities where we work internationally. We currently have dance programs at three orphanages in Panama and support two foundations in India. Move-Ex university chapters are also continuously involved in dance outreach in the U.S.

DANCE DIPLOMAT noun

1: a person who uses their talent and passion for dance to influence positive social change

2: one who encourages others to dance to allow for cognitive, creative, and social growth

WHERE WE SERVE

UNITED STATES

Join the growing network of Movement Exchange university chapter members and alumni who return home to serve in their own communities. Dance Diplomats in our university chapters are engaged in dance outreach year-round throughout the United States in addition to international service. Chapters partner with other community organizations, such as Boys and Girls Clubs and Girls Inc., to host weekly or monthly dance classes. Dance Diplomats are advocates for using dance as a vehicle for social change.

JOIN OR START A CHAPTER

PANAMA

Movement Exchange currently runs year-round, locally staffed dance programs at orphanages in Panama City, Arraijan and Colon. Move-Ex University Chapters also travel to Panama as part of their international service trips. Panama is home to an interesting mix of Afro-Panamanians, Afro-Antillieans, Indigenous groups, Chinese, Middle Easterners, East Asias, and Europeans. Woven into this cultural diversity is an equally diverse arts scene.

JOIN AN EXCHANGE

INDIA

Movement Exchange organized a dance exchange to India in 2015 working with the Society for the Education of the Crippled, Ek Prayaas school, and various dance studios and dance companies. Movement Exchange funded two new dance programs for at-risk youth foundations in Mumbai and Kolkata in 2015.

Movement Exchange’s newest program will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in July 2017. You can apply now for a spot in our inaugural program!

APPLY TO GO TO BRAZIL

PARTNERS & SPONSORS

U.S. Embassy of Panama

The U.S. Embassy has been a supporter of Movement Exchange from its conception. With the support of the U.S. Embassy, Move-Ex has held various performances starring over 100 at-risk youth at the National Theater of Panama.

Malambo Orphanage

Movement Exchange works and sometimes lives with the youth of the Malambo Orphanage during exchanges. Malambo also receives dance classes throughout the year with Movement Exchange’s Panamanian team. There are over 100 children at Malambo, and a special team to care for their HIV positive youth.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Legal representation.

Fundación Danilo Pérez

Danilo Pérez is a Panamanian Grammy winning musician and UNESCO Artist for Peace. His foundation provides outreach music programs to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Escuelita del Ritmo

Escuelita del Ritmo in Portobelo, Colon, Panama is an after school music program created to preserve the Afro-Panamanian traditions of the Colon region. Movement Exchange teaches dance classes at the foundation and takes fun Passa Passa classes from their pupils.

Aldea SOS

The Aldea SOS Orphanage in Colon and Panama City receives weekly classes from Movement Exchange’s Panamanian team in addition to classes from our international volunteers during dance exchange weeks. Over 60 youth live in their houses.

Fundación San Felipe

Movement Exchange works with the youth of Fundación San Felipe, a foundation that teaches over 60 at-youth children in the neighborhood of Chorrillo.

The National University of Panama

Movement Exchange teaches and takes class at the National University of Panama.

The Ministry of Arts and Culture

Movement Exchange volunteers teach classes at the National Dance School of Panama supported by INAC.

View our U.S. university partners in the university chapters section.

IN THE NEWS

MEET THE TEAM

Anna Pasternak

Founder & Executive Director

Andrea Gonzalez

Malambo Orphanage Instructor (Panama)

Kimberly Lucht

Program Director

Tinna Hernandez

Country Coordinator (Panama)

Adele Switzer

Panama Fellow

Hannah Crane

Marketing Coordinator

Corps du Movement Exchange

  • Lider Sucre (board member)
  • Heather Cleary
  • Andrew Eisberg
  • David and Mimi Pasternak
  • Dr. Julio Godoy
  • Adriana Pineiro Coen
  • Rasiel Rodriguez
  • Zachary Jones (board member)
  • Alan Sussna (board member)
  • Kasia Cieplak-Mayr V B
  • Audrey Brittingham
  • Rachel Curley
  • Mark and Roberta Murray
  • Dana Vanderburgh
  • Nick Huster
  • Kirsten Torchalski

Movement Exchange is an equal opportunity employer. To learn more about our non-discriminatory policy, contact us at info@movementexchanges.org.

TESTIMONIALS

"I came to realize how universal some things are in this world and, of course, dance is one of those things. This trip has done so much for me. It cleared my mind. It helped me become wiser. It made me more mature. It brought the explorer out of me. It gave me a new start. It gave me a break. It helped me love. It helped me laugh. It helped me smile. It tested me, yet it also relaxed me. It helped me get away, yet it also made me realize things about myself that I never knew."

− Ken, Move-Ex Dance Diplomat

"It is a privilege to be part of a group with such steadfast participation who also carries the vision of social change through dance. This experience upholds the title because it will move you in so many ways and will immerse everyone involved in an exchange of culture, ideas, and lasting friendships."

− Dr. Jenn, Move-Ex Dance Diplomat

"I strongly believe that boosting confidence and self-esteem in one area of your life (dance, for instance) greatly improves these qualities in other areas as well. I will continue to support this program because it is one of the few times in my life I have felt like I have the ability to help others directly. Witnessing what this program provides first-hand makes it impossible to remain inactive or apathetic."

− Audrey, Move-Ex Dance Diplomat

"Anytime you put a group of generous, talented people together who have the desire to give and grow something magical happens. And, that magic can’t truly be translated unless one experiences it for themselves. It’s a beautiful thing and I’m so fortunate to have been a part of an adventure that has, hands down, been one of the best experiences of my life."

− Nikki, Move-Ex Dance Diplomat

"I cannot sufficiently explain what this experience has opened my eyes to, or the impact it has made on my life. Over the course of this past week and a half I have gained a new family in my fellow volunteers and have left pieces of my own heart in the hands of young girls at Malambo Orphanage."

− Robyn, Move-Ex Dance Diplomat

"I feel like all dancers can be activists everyday.
It nourished me as a human being. I was hooked."

− Lynn, Move-Ex Dance Diplomat