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 when we move the world, we move to change.
Movement Exchange unites dance and service through its network of university chapters, international dance exchanges, and year-round programs in underserved communities.
We envision 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
• Cross-cultural understanding
• Civic engagement
• Social equity and inclusion
• Creative expression
• Sustainable dance education
Movement Exchange: More Than Dance
Check out this short documentary showcases Movement Exchange’s mission to unite dance and service and facilitate cross-cultural understanding. Dance is a universal language and we are all born as dancers and movers! Featuring our 10th Annual Show and our 2019 Open International Dance Exchange in Panama City, we see how dance and movement can facilitate connection between people of different cultures and backgrounds and be a driving force for social justice.
Producer & Cinematographer: Katy Scoggin
Editor: Taj Kokayi
State of the Movement Address
Each month, Movement Exchange releases video updates featuring recent events, interviews, international dance exchanges, and news on our university chapters.
Annual Theater Shows in Panama
Movement Exchange organizes annual performances at the National Theater of Panama and Teatro Anita Villalaz for over 80 students. Guest performers from the community are also invited to dance on stage with our students. Shows are free to the public, further supporting our mission to make the arts accessible to all.
Movement Exchange creates a sustainable impact through dance and service by supporting year-round, locally staffed dance programs. We have dance programs at two orphanages and an at-risk youth foundation in Panama. Additionally, Move-Ex university chapters provide free weekly dance classes at various institutions in the U.S. including domestic violence shelters, youth programs, nursing homes, and refugee centers.
WHERE WE SERVE
Our network of university chapters provide free, accessible dance education in their own communities throughout the U.S.
We organize international dance exchanges and year-round classes at orphanages and foundations throughout Panama.
Our international dance exchanges to Rio de Janeiro provide the opportunity to explore and discover Brazil through dance.
After graduating in 2019, Isi returned to Movement Exchange as Communications Manager and has since been working for the national organization. She had the interesting and inspirational experience of working with Move-Ex through the beginning of COVID-19, and has witnessed the need and importance of Move-Ex’s mission to spread dance education to all communities, evident through the organization’s success in surviving the hardest months of the pandemic and continuing to provide free dance education to our partners throughout the US and Panama.
Isi is excited to continue her work with Movement Exchange as Interim Executive Director, and to help implement Move-Ex’s belief that dance is universal and for everybody! Isi currently lives in Colorado, and continues to dance, practice & teach yoga, rock climb, and get outside with her pup, Atlas!
Move to Change!
Most recently, Jessica taught on faculty at the University of Utah School of Dance, teaching Authentic Pilates™ to ballet majors. Currently, Jessica is on faculty at the Ballet West Academy, teaching in the professional training division.
Jessica attended Panama exchanges in 2017 and 2019 and interned with Movement Exchange in collaboration with the UC San Diego chapter.
She has received additional training from: the Festival of Contemporary Dance and Physical Theater (Colombia, Bogotá), and completed summer intensives with the University of Panama, the New York City Ballet, and the Finish Ballet (in residency in Las Vegas, Nevada). She loves dancing because it is a way to express herself and experience the creative process with her body and she loves Movement Exchange because it gives her the opportunity to use dance to serve!
PARTNERS & SPONSORS
Movement Exchange teaches weekly dance classes at Malambo. Dance diplomats also teach at Malambo during international dance exchanges. 95% of the orphanage are Afro-Panamanian or Indigenous girls, many of whom have been sexually or physically abused. Over 100 children live there full-time.
The National Dance School offers affordable dance education to children and teenagers in Panama City. They offer classes in an array of dance styles including Panamanian folkloric, flamenco, ballet, modern, and more. Movement Exchange offers classes to, and takes class from the school.
Paninka School is an elementary school in Panama West, which serves kids ages 4-12. Since March 2020, Move-Ex has worked with the school to provide weekly virtual and in-person classes to the students in breakdance, ballet, and contemporary.
- Dance Spirit – We’re Obsessed with this TEDx Talk on Dance Diplomacy (January 6, 2019)
- Instituto da Criança – ONG Movement Exchange leva a dança para instituição da rede do Instituto da Criança (August 16, 2018)
- La Prensa – La unidad que da la danza (July 19, 2018)
- The Breakfast Show with Gerry D – Movement Exchange (July 12, 2018)
- Giving Compass – Movement Exchange Changes Kids’ Lives Through the Power of Dance (March 28, 2018)
- La Prensa – Cuando la danza une a dos países (June 30, 2017)
- Newsroom Panama – Talent in Movement an Inspirational Dance Experience (June 22, 2017)
- La Estrella de Panamá – La Danza que Transforma al Mundo (February 11, 2017)
- Half Moon Bay Review – Coastside dancers make strides around world (March 7, 2013)
- Half Moon Bay Patch – Founder of Movement Exchange Returns to Martin’s Beach (February 18, 2013)
- Dance Magazine – Making it Happen: Dancing to Change (December 1, 2012)
- La Prensa – Danza Para Niños (July 22, 2012)
- La Opinion – Movement Exchange Dicta Taller de Danza (July 20, 2012)
- Sport and Dev – New Dance Organisations (September 21, 2011)
- Napa Valley Register – Napa Man Brings Dance to Panama Orphanage (August 21, 2011)
- La Prensa – Niños: Danza y Expresión Corporal (June 19, 2011)
- The Visitor/El Visitante – Inter-Cultural Dance Week Culminates on July 4 at Teatro Nacional (July 2010)
- Saint Louis University (SLU) – Making the Spirit Move Them: SLU Group Uses Dance, Culture to Connect with Kids (January 10, 2019)
- Western Herald (WMU) – RSO Spotlight: Movement Exchange (November 17, 2017)
- Fairfax County Times (GMU) – ¡Bailamos! (May 12, 2017)
- The Finer Points (Utah) – Panama Movement Exchange: School of Dance Students Engage in Arts Advocacy (May 3, 2017)
- @theU (Utah) – Empowering Youth Through Dance (March 27, 2017)
- The Daily Utah Chronicle (Utah) – U Students Travel to Panama to Teach Orphans to Dance (March 23, 2017)
- Her Campus (FSU) – Adele Switzer: Moving Feet and Feelings (October 7, 2016)
- Western Michigan University Magazine (WMU) – Moving to Serve, Page 28 (September 2016)
- The Fine Print (WMU) – The Power of Dance (June 30, 2016)
- FSU News (FSU) – Students Travel to Panama to Teach Dance to Orphans During Spring Break (March 2, 2016)
- IU Newsroom (IU) – IU Students Share Universal Language of Dance in Panama with Movement Exchange (February 8, 2016)
- Indiana Daily Student (IU) – Students dance in worldwide movement (February 15, 2015)
- Studio (Utah) – Dancers Without Borders, Page 16 (March 27, 2014)
- The State Press (ASU) – Students Plan to Help Children through Dance Group Movement Exchange (March 2, 2014)
- The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah) – U Dancers Raising Money for Panama Exchange (January 29, 2013)
“This exchange has reignited my passion for dance and I understand so much more how it can be used as such a healing tool, and a way for people from all around the world and from all walks of life to find connection and move together. I feel the importance of dance so much more after this experience.”— Nashalah, Movement Exchange Dance Diplomat
“For me, dance is a way to express my feelings from the inside and show them outwards. When I dance, I feel like I forget what is around me and I only dance for myself.”— Jennifer, Movement Exchange Student from Aldea SOS Orphanage
“I came to Panama only to discover that dance also possesses the incredible ability to bring people from all walks of life together. It is a peace-builder, that not only provides a sense of purpose, but also a sense of community across borders and cultural divides.”— Jessica, Movement Exchange Dance Diplomat
“Dance is a way of communicating and expressing myself. With Movement Exchange, dance has become a way for me to give others that same form of expression and communication. I’ve grown as a dancer in the way that I don’t want my dancing to be just for me now. I’ve realized that what really brings me joy is sharing this beautiful art form and language with others, be that through performing, choreographing, teaching, or service.”— Kami, Movement Exchange Dance Diplomat
“I’ve always said that I dance for the people who can’t. When I see people with visual or auditory disabilities, I ask, if they wanted to dance, how would they do it? When I dance, I try to do it for these people who, for whatever reason, cannot dance. I dance for this.”— Adrian, Movement Exchange Contemporary Instructor
“I came down with the mindset that I was going to teach dance classes to both the Aldea and Malambo orphanages. Instead, I have become the student, learning so much more than I could have ever expected. I feel like I now have a greater appreciation of my life because of this hands on experience.”— Julia, Movement Exchange Dance Diplomat