ABOUT MOVEMENT EXCHANGE

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.

MISSION

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

VISION

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

VALUES

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

JOIN THE MOVEMENT. MOVE TO CHANGE.

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IMPACT

Since 2010…

1,838
dance diplomats
3,656
dance classes
20,620
youth participants
38,463
volunteers hours

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.

SUSTAINABILITY

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

UNITED STATES

Our network of university chapters provide free, accessible dance education in their own communities throughout the U.S.

PANAMA

We organize international dance exchanges and year-round classes at orphanages and foundations throughout Panama.

BRAZIL

Our international dance exchanges to Rio de Janeiro provide the opportunity to explore and discover Brazil through dance.

TEAM

Anna Pasternak

Founder & Executive Director

Movement Exchange is the culmination of Anna Pasternak’s desire to integrate her passion for dance, public service, and international experiences. Anna’s work has been featured in the Harvard Magazine, as a young artist on National Public Television, among other international publications. Anna has danced professionally in an array of styles, although her most outrageous dance experience to date was dancing on tour in Japan with a samba company from Rio de Janeiro alongside Kenyan human pyramid makers and a Japanese mariachi band. Her work with Global Brigades in the rural and indigenous regions of Panama connected Anna to the dance community of Panama, and subsequently inspired her vision for Movement Exchange. Anna received her BA from Harvard University. She previously studied dance at the San Francisco High School of the Arts, the National Arts School of Cuba, and received her early training with Shely Pack-Manning. In 2011, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico City. You can currently find Anna surfing the Northern California coast and dreaming of the days when she lived in places where she didn’t need to own a wetsuit.

anna@movementexchanges.org

Adele Switzer

Program Director

Adele attended her first exchange to Panama in March 2013 and returned feeling inspired and amazed by the idea that dance, as a universal language, can unite anyone despite cultural or linguistic differences. Adele has been dancing since she was two years old and believes that without dance, she would not be the person she is today. Through dance, she learned how to be confident, creative, hard-working, passionate, and persistent. Adele co-founded the Movement Exchange chapter at Florida State University and after graduating in 2015 with her BFA in dance and minors in Biology and Chemistry, she joined the Movement Exchange team in Panama. She enjoys the adventure of living in tropical Panama and is constantly inspired by the dance diplomats who she meets on international dance exchanges. Move to change!

adele@movementexchanges.org

Kimberly Choi

Panama In-Country Coordinator

Kimberly Choi was born and raised in Panama and considers art to be a big part of her life. Kimberly strongly believes that art is the fundamental basis to the everyday life, whether it is conveyed in a physical or abstract method. She is currently working to obtain a BA in Psychology. Intrigued and inspired by human behavior mainly with what and how people convey their intrinsic motif to the external world and potentially creating unity in a movement. Kimberly is proud to be forming part of a team that benefits a variety of communities (locally and internationally) by embracing a harmony between unity and individualism for a holistic perspective such as dance.

kimchoi@movementexchanges.org

Andrea Gonzalez

Ballet Instructor

Andrea is Movement Exchange’s ballet instructor at Malambo Orphanage. Andrea began dancing when she was 11 years old. She began her training at the National Dance School and has participated in a number of notable works by both Panamanian and foreign choreographers. She is currently working independently, teaching and performing with a variety of dance projects in Panama and developing herself as a dancer and choreographer. Andrea believes that the Malambo community benefits greatly from dance as the majority of the girls come from dysfunctional families, domestic problems, and self-esteem issues. More than just learning technique or discipline, dance can help these girls find a sense of community at Malambo and provide them a sense of purpose and importance. Andrea’s favorite part about teaching dance is watching her students evolve both in and outside of the studio.

Adrian Morales

Contemporary Instructor

Adrian is the current contemporary instructor at Aldea SOS Orphanage in Panama City. Adrian began dancing at the age of 7 thanks to his parents and his passion for movement. In 2016, he participated in HIp Hop International in Las Vegas and auditioned for Cirque Du Soleil where he was selected as one of the top 35 finalists among a group of 600 people. Adrian’s main purpose when teaching dance is to bring dance to the children and youth who want to learn, but for whatever reason do not have access to dance education. He believes that dance changes both body and soul and within these communities, there are children with lots of potential to grow through the arts. He hopes that these children will continue to help their peers, ultimately creating a better country and society for the future.

Hernan Grimon

Breakdance Instructor

Hernan is the Move-Ex breakdance instructor at Malambo Orphanage. He began dancing in 2005 when he saw a group practicing breakdance outside of a school. The movements he saw that day had a huge impact on his life and from that moment, he decided to start dancing. At first, breakdancing was a hobby, but after a few years of training, it became a part of his way of life. He believes that dance provides an opportunity to keep children away from drugs and violence, while also giving them tools for personal growth and development. He enjoys watching his students perform choreography and movement that they once saw as difficult and impossible. He is inspired by seeing his students learn, grow, and evolve.

Maybe Henriquez

Breakdance Instructor

Maybe is the breakdance instructor at Aldea SOS Orphanage in Panama City and Barrio Activo in El Chorrillo. Maybe began dancing at a young age and discovered her passion for breakdance and contemporary dance. She is currently studying dance at the University of Panama and has participated in a number of productions, including “Our Creators” choreographed by a Panamanian choreographer. She identifies as an cultural activist with the Hip Hop culture and is the founder of Nosotras Somos Hip Hop and Barrio Activo. She believes that dance can serve as a tool for children to strengthen their sense of self, become more proactive in their daily lives, and release their energy.

Advisors

Kimberly Lucht
Hannah Crane
Rasiel Rodriguez
Adriana Pineiro
Maria Jose Sucre

Board Members

United States:
Lider Sucre
Zachary Jones
Alan Sussna

Panama:
Lider Sucre
J Michie
Anna Pasternak

PARTNERS & SPONSORS

U.S. Embassy in Panama

The U.S. Embassy has been a supporter of Movement Exchange since its conception. With the support of the U.S. Embassy, Move-Ex organizes yearly performance starring over 100 at-risk youth at theaters throughout Panama.

Learn more →

Malambo Orphanage

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.

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Aldea SOS Orphanage

The Aldea SOS Orphanage receives weekly classes from Movement Exchange’s Panamanian team in addition to classes from our international volunteers during dance exchanges. Over 60 youth live at Aldea.

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Barrio Activo

Barrio Activo provides classes and workshops in hip hop culture including breakdance, rap, and graffiti. Barrio Activo works mainly in and around Panama City, serving children in El Chorrillo and Curundu.

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University of Panama

Movement Exchange teaches and takes class with the dance department at the National University of Panama. The dance department offers concentrations in ballet, modern and Panamanian folklore.

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National Dance School

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.

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Escuelita del Ritmo

Escuelita del Ritmo in the historic town of Portobelo 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 folklore classes from their pupils.

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Viva Rio - Brazil

Viva Rio works in underserved communities throughout Rio de Janeiro providing health and education services. Movement Exchange provides free dance classes to the community of Pavao/Pavaozinho.

Learn more →

PRESS

General Press

University Chapter Press

WE ARE CHANGING LIVES THROUGH DANCE AND SERVICE. WILL YOU JOIN US?

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TESTIMONIALS

“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.”

— Rae, 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