Vanessa, our newest addition to the Art in Motion Instructor Team, teaching Tropic Tone on Saturdays at 10am.
Tropic Tone: Tone up and get fit to the vibrant tunes of the tropics. Raise your heart rate and have fun learning easy-to-follow dance moves that range in style from Salsa and Kizomba to Dancehall and Reggaeton. A no-pressure, laid-back environment for music, dance, and fitness lovers alike, and of all levels! Extinguishers up, this dance floor is about to be set on fire!
Vanessa has always been enchanted by the sounds of African and Latin rhythms. Since a very small girl, Vanessa felt it in her blood, yet yearned for the right outlet to fully embrace and express this part of her. Starting formal training in ballet, tap & jazz at 9 years old, Vanessa would snatch any and all opportunity that came her way to explore this passion. From being a Cheerleader and taking Hip Hop dance classes, to 4 years in her high school show choir, she was not going to let mere geography stand in her way. At age 18, Vanessa made a bold move to New York City where her quest for discovery began, and which propelled both her dance and musical careers into action.
Training with various companies and groups in an array of genres, Vanessa performed frequently throughout NYC and the tri-state area. She began her journey dancing with Mestizo Dance Company, where she learned and performed traditional Latin American dances, focusing heavily on those of Afro-Colombian origin, and quickly became one of the integral members of the company. Soon after, she went on to train and perform at the dance department of her alma mater, Hunter College, and with other independent dance professionals whose expertise ranged in style, with those most predominantly being: Traditional West African, Afrobeat, Congolese Ndombolo & Soukous, Salsa Caleña and Afro-Cuban rhythms. While her focus has always been on African & Afro-Latin Rhythms, she eagerly expanded to include more styles such as Modern, House, Praise, and Performance Art.
In 2009, Vanessa visited the birthplace and capital of Salsa Caleña, Cali, Colombia, and took a class at the Swing Latino Dance Academy, which had been a desire of her’s for many years, and in 2021, realized her ultimate goal of traveling to Africa with her unforgettable trip to Ghana. It was the first time of many she intends to experience in Ghana and Africa at large.
Vanessa has had the privilege to teach workshops & classes at locations such as Cumbé Center for African and Diaspora Dance in Brooklyn NYC, Hunter College Dance Department, Univ. of PITT, Dance Alloy, and Havana Night Club on Ellsworth Ave in Shadyside (…once upon a very long time ago!)
She’s also had the fortune to perform on notable stages like GlobalFest at Webster Hall, El Museo del Barrio (Spanish Harlem Museum), World Music Institute, the NYC French Alliance, NYU, and Pittsburgh’s very own, Kelly Strayhorn Theater.
After years of performing in musical groups, in 2020, Vanessa ventured into the realm of solo musicianship, with the release of her first single “Lost in You.” In it, she channels the dreamy, tropical vibes of Zouk and Kizomba. Check it out on Spotify and Apple Music, and stay tuned for more of her work and projects coming soon!
Vanessa is so excited to share her love of music and dance at Art in Motion Pittsburgh, and she can’t wait to join you on the dance floor. It’s a vibe!