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 equity and inclusion
• Creative expression
• Sustainable dance education

JOIN THE MOVEMENT. MOVE TO CHANGE.

APPLY

IMPACT

Since 2010…

2,495
dance diplomats
5,550
dance classes
33,887
youth participants
60,798
volunteers hours

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.

Child dancing during volutneer program

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

Map of USA
Map of Panama
Map of Brazil

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.

Movement Exchange Impact Approach
Founder and Executive Director Movement Exchange

TEAM

Isi Owens

Isi Owens

Interim Executive Director

Isi became involved with Indiana University’s Movement Exchange chapter in 2017 and was immediately drawn to the organization’s goal of fostering community engagement, social outreach and cross-cultural understanding through the language of dance. Isi’s involvement with IU’s chapter fell closely in line with her studies at IU as an International Studies major, along with minors in Dance and Spanish. She has had the incredible opportunity of doing dance service in the Bloomington community as well as to have participated in the December 2017 exchange to Panama.

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!

isabel@movementexchanges.org

Jessica Baynes

Jessica Baynes

Communications Manager

Jessica Baynes is a contemporary dance artist based in Salt Lake City, Utah. A former TEDx speaker and United Nations Civil Society presenter, Jessica is a passionate advocate for accessibility and inclusion in dance education. Baynes holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. In 2016, Jessica founded an arts in medicine initiative called Healing In Motion Dance, which offers rehabilitative ballet classes to patients with neurological conditions that impair movement such as Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke. Jessica's work in dance adaptability and diplomacy have been featured by platforms such as TED.com and National Dance Education Organization.

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.

jessica@movementexchanges.org

LMU University Chapter Exchange 2019

Violeta Martinez

Panama Country Director

Violeta Martinez joined the Movement Exchange team as our Panama Country Director in 2019. She has Bachelor degrees in Dance (Classical Ballet) and Psychology from the University of Panama. She began her dance studies at the National School of Dance in Panama and was part of the university dance company called “Coraza.” Violeta has participated in dance congresses in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Guatemala and has danced for contemporary dance companies in Panama, The United States, and Italy. She also represented Panama at a conference entitled “Female Hip Hop Dancers in Latin America" in Guatemala in 2012.
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!

violeta@movementexchanges.org

Founder and Executive Director Movement Exchange

Anna Pasternak

Founder

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

Jose Breakdance Instructor

Jose Graterol

Breakdance Instructor

Jose is the breakdance instructor for Barrio Activo in El Chorrillo. Jose began dancing breakdance in 2011 after seeing a group of bboys. Since he began dancing, he has participated in a number of competitions in Panama City, such as “507” and “Back to the Scene.” He is continually striving to improve and evolve in breakdance and he enjoys working with Movement Exchange because he believes that accessible dance education is a wonderful resource. Working with the children in El Chorrillo, where there is a lot of hostility, dance can be an alternative and an exit to all the problems that are present in their daily lives. He believes that dance is a means of artistic expression that allows you to peacefully release all the negativity we carry with us.
Ballet Dance Instructor in Panama

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.
Breakdance Instructor in Panama

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.
Angel Modern Instructor

Boris Angel Alvarado

Modern Instructor

Boris Angel Alvarado, beginning his first dance steps at the age of 14, is a lover of improvisation and choreography, currently belongs to la chants dance groups (house dance), Lid dance company, and is a student majoring in fine arts with a concentration in dance and specialization in modern dance at the University of Panama. He is excited to join the Movement Exchange this year, 2021.

Board of Directors

United States:
Zachary Jones
Alan Sussna

Panama:
J Michie
Anna Pasternak

Advisory Board

Blair Brown

Andie Duong

Alice Lu

Kimberly Lucht

Megan Maggi

Angie Pan

Alyssa Quicquaro

Adele Switzer

Kirsten Torchalski

Dana Vanderburgh

Xiangdi Zhang

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.

Learn more →

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.

Learn more →

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.

Learn more →

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.

Learn more →

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.

Learn more →

Paninka 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.

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?

APPLY

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.

— 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