What began as a small idea has now grown into a nationwide community of like-minded dancers who are empowered to give back to the world. We are deeply rooted in the U.S. and Panama and are now dancing Brazil! There is no better place to dance than Brazil—we are convinced! We admire your commitment to movement and global service and we look forward to witnessing how your individual perspective will enrich our time together. Below you will find information on Panama and what to expect during the dance exchange. With two consecutive years of hosting dancers in Brazil, we look forward to welcoming you to the Movement Exchange family.


General Information

Welcome to Brazil, the largest country in Latin America. With over 209 million people and 26 states, Brazil offers a rich cultural and environmental diversity. It’s perhaps most famous for its passionate soccer fans and lively Carnavales celebrations.


Brazil occupies a large area along the eastern coast of South America and includes much of the continent’s interior. It shares a border with every South American country except Ecuador and Chile. Its size, climate, and natural resources make Brazil geographically diverse.


The climate of Brazil comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a large area and varied topography, but most of the country is tropical. Brazil hosts five major climatic subtypes: equatorial, tropical, semiarid, highland tropical,
temperate, and subtropical. Rio de Janeiro has all four seasons and can be hot, cold, sunny, and rainy.


48% of the population described themselves as White; 43% Brown, 8% as Black; 1% as Asian; and 0.4% as Amerindian. Brazilian society is more markedly divided by social class lines, although a high income disparity is found between race groups, so racism and classism can be conflated. Socially significant closeness to one racial group is taken in account more in the basis of appearance (phenotypes) rather than ancestry, to the extent that full siblings can pertain to different “racial” groups.

Brazilian Dance Forms

Brazilian dance is a blend of European, African, and Indigenous influences. Brazilian dance traditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Samba
  • Forro
  • Frevo
  • Maracatu
  • Dances of the Orixas
  • Capoeira

Safety and Security

Safety is Movement Exchange’s main concern. Prior to departure, Movement Exchange will review travel safety and emergency procedures with each group. Upon arrival, Movement Exchange will review and update these safety measures as necessary. Participants should always travel in groups and safeguard valuables and cash while sightseeing, shopping, or dining.

Suggested Resources




  • Samba by Alma Guillermoprieto
  • A Death in Brazil by Peter Robb
  • How to be a Carioca by Priscilla Goslin
  • Captains of the Sands by Jorge Amado
  • Making Samba by Marc Hertzman
  • Negotiating National Identity by Jeffry Lesser

Videos and Movies:

  • Parts Unknown Brazil hosted by Anthony Bourdain
  • City of God
  • Central Station
  • Black Orpheus from 1959 (on YouTube)
  • Black Orpheus remade version from 1999
  • Pele: Birth of a Legend (on Netflix or YouTube)
Rio de Janeiro Brazil


International Dance Exchange in Rio

Travel Arrangements

Flights should be arranged to Rio de Janeiro International Airport – Galeão (Airport Code: GIG). Use an online booking site such as to find the best fares from your city to Rio de Janeiro and send your itinerary to Movement Exchange for approval BEFORE booking your flights. Participants should arrive in Brazil at designated times as there will only be one group pick up and drop off at the airport. If participants are unable to arrive during these designated times, Movement Exchange will arrange for a secure ride to or from the airport, but this expense will not be covered by Movement Exchange.

Visa Requirements

If you are a U.S. Citizen, you will need to apply for a visa. All U.S. Citizens can apply for an eVisa via VFS global. This is an online visa and application process that is much cheaper than a traditional visa. If you do not qualify for this visa, you should contact your local Brazilian consulate for details on how to obtain a tourist visa to Brazil. Please plan ahead to ensure processing time for your online application or available in-person appointment dates at the consulate.

International Health Insurance

All participants must have personal health insurance that covers international travel. Please check with your U.S. carrier regarding international travel coverage. International health insurance typically costs around $50 and is available for purchase online.

Vaccines/Shot Requirements

There are currently no required vaccinations to travel to Brazil. For more information, visit

Submitting the Program Donation

All dance diplomats must apply at and be accepted before submitting their $700 non-refundable and non-transferable deposit that ensures a space in the program. Program Donations can be submitted via Movement Exchange’s PayPal or via Move-Ex’s online fundraising platform. For more info, email

Packing List

  • Passport and two photo copies of passport
  • Visa to Brazil
  • Important documents: insurance information, photo ID, and reservation information, if applicable
  • Dance clothes and shoes (bring a variety of t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, and knee-length legwear)
  • Music on your iPods/iPhones to teach class
  • Bluetooth speakers if you have them
  • Games and activities to play with kids
  • A type N (or type C) power adapter
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Insect repellent in wipe form (>30% DEET)
  • Prescription medication/travel medicine (recommended: stomach soothers and anti-diarrheals)
  • Lightweight pants, light sweatshirt
  • Umbrella and/or raincoat
  • Closed-toed shoes
  • Hat, sunglasses, sunblock
  • Camera/video camera
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Shower sandals
  • Towel
  • Travel-size toiletries
  • Swimsuit
  • Journal to write down your thoughts
  • Spending money to convert to Brazilian reales (we recommend bringing about $200-$400 in U.S. dollars, but allocate enough extra cash for yourself to cover the designated dinners on your own, souvenirs, etc.)
  • Debit card to get money out of an ATM (be sure to call your bank beforehand to let them know you will be traveling to avoid your card getting blocked)

How to Pack

  • Rio de Janeiro is warm and pleasant, but it could also be cold and rainy. Be prepared with a bikini and umbrella.
  • Leave hair dryers and other such beauty products at home. You will not need them.
  • Pack light. A large backpack or duffle bag should provide plenty of room for everything that you need to bring. Try to bring only carry-on luggage.
  • Medicine: keep them in their original prescription bottles and always in your carry-on luggage. Be sure to follow security guidelines if the medicines are liquids.
  • Bring some plastic sandwich bags to keep your camera, wallet, etc dry.
  • Leave some room in your bag to bring presents home.

Preparing your Lesson Plans

Prior to an exchange, Movement Exchange will be sending you a teaching sign-up sheet where you an pick the dates and times you would like to teach. All participants should teach about the same amount of time. About 1 month before the exchange, we’ll be putting you in contact with your group in order to collaborate with other participants! If this is your first time teaching, don’t worry! You won’t be alone, and the Movement Exchange team is happy to give you advice and ideas for teaching.



All participants will be staying in shared room accommodations throughout the exchange. Participants will stay in a private apartment with Movement Exchange staff in Zona Sul. Participants will be notified of their exact accommodations in advance.

In-Country Transportation

Movement Exchange will provide daily transportation between activities. Transportation may include a combination of public transportation, private shuttles, and walking depending on the location of the activity. Participants are not responsible for transportation within the Movement Exchange itinerary. If participants wish to participate in nightlife or travel throughout the city during free time, Movement Exchange team members will help them travel safely to and from their destination, but this will not be covered by the program donation.

Teaching and Learning

Learn more about the places you will teach and take dance class on our partners page.

Contacting Home

Dancers will have access to internet upon arrival. Access to internet is not guaranteed every day of the program. However, Movement Exchange will ensure that participants are in touch with family via wifi at least once during the program. We recommend downloading the application “WhatsApp” for communicating over wifi. You may wish to purchase an international cell phone plan prior to your arrival.

Life in Brazil

Welcome to Brazil! Throughout the exchange, you will be participating in a variety of activities and all of them will include music, dancing, and culture. The itinerary is subject to change, but we promise you will never be disappointed. There is always something to do in Rio!

Emergency Contacts in Rio de Janeiro

24 hour emergency assistance:

(21) 3823-2000 during Consulate’s working hours (8:00 AM to 5:00 PM)
(21) 3823-2029 after hours

Extending Your Stay

If choosing to extend your stay, you are required to sign a separate Release of
Liability form. Movement Exchange is not responsible for you during your extended time as a tourist. Movement Exchange is not responsible for your airport transportation if your travel dates extend beyond the program dates or
if you arrive outside of the set time frame. Feel free to ask the Movement Exchange team for suggestions on what to do and see during your extended time in Brazil!

Christ in Rio de Janeiro


Founder and Executive Director Movement Exchange

Anna Pasternak


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.

Dana Vanderburgh, Executive Director

Dana Vanderburgh

Executive Director

Dana was introduced to Movement Exchange in 2014 as an undergraduate student at Indiana University right at the moment she decided to stop pursuing her professional ballet training due to a series of chronic injuries. Getting involved with Movement Exchange, as both a member of the IU chapter and as a contracted member of the organization's administrative team, helped her discover how to translate her passion for dance into a passion for exploring and advocating for the power of dance to empower individuals and communities. During her time with Move-Ex at IU, Dana attended three international dance exchanges to Panama and became highly involved in leading the chapter's local dance service initiatives in Bloomington. All of these experiences led Dana to pursue an integrated BA/MA degree in International Studies at IU where she did research on the role of dance in generating social change. She is now a PhD student of Social-Cultural Anthropology at Indiana University where she hopes to continue her academic research on themes of dance, reconciliation, and environmental justice. She is thrilled to return to Movement Exchange as its Executive Director and looks forward to bringing her expanded knowledge about dance service and empowerment back to the organization that started her on this life changing journey. Move to change!


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