Meet Jen, Art in Motion Pittsburgh Owner & Instructor:
JANIM, Jen Gallagher, (the Steel City Bellydancer) is a professional performer, instructor, and Director of the Pittsburgh Bellydance Academy.
Jen has dedicated herself to the study of Middle Eastern Dance, its traditions, nuances and deeper meaning and expression through performance, instruction, and continuing education in order to give her students the best possible experience in class. Her love of the dance can be seen in her dynamic performances and within her thoughtful instruction of her students in both workshops and classes where she presents the fundamentals of bellydance as well as the nuances of zilling and veil work. Join her to discover the love of the dance!
As an experienced, personable, and respected performer and instructor, “Jen infuses classical styles with individual grace and charm, expressing the essential feminine in dance,”- Angele Ellis, Pittsburgh PA. Her understanding of dance movement and technique and her training in Egyptian, Lebanese, and Turkish Oriental styles as well as American Cabaret lends spirit, spontaneity, and heart to her dancing, captivating audiences where ever she performs. To round out her dance education and to infuse a special twist, she currently studies ballet, hip hop, and samba.
Jen is the director and founder of Troupe Faraatha which can be found performing around the city! Jen also organizes events in town. When not performing, organizing, or instructing, Jen is a landscape architect and partner at Studio for Spatial Practice.
Cynthia is a second generation dancer and performer, growing up the daughter of Betty Love Gibbs. Dance was a natural part of life as her mother was a professional dancer. Cynthia started formal training with her mother at the YWCA Downtown when she created the dance department in 1971. Cynthia is trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, Baton, International Latin Ballroom Dance and Brazilian Samba, but has a particular passion for Tap dance. Cynthia twirled baton for the Blue Flames Baton & Drum Corps of Monroeville and the Golden Triangle Baton & Drum Corps of Swissvale in the summers through high school. She also twirled baton for Gateway High School Marching Band and was a member of the University of Pittsburgh’s Golden Girls in the Varsity Marching Band.
Cynthia remained a student and teacher at the YWCA until 1985 when the family owned Love’s Academy of Dance opened. Love’s Academy of Dance trained dancers from the age of four and up in ballet, tap, jazz and pointe. Cynthia was the competition team director, winning many awards for dance and choreography.
Cynthia is one of the original members of WAMO’s Hot Tracks Dance Team and was a featured “jitterbugger” in the movie An American Dream: The Making of the Jackson 5. Performing credits also include Xpressions Dance Company, Art & Style Dance Studio, Kuntu Repertory Theater (Sophisticated Ladies, Bubblin’ Brown Sugar and Jelly’s Last Jam), Greer Reed (Cotton Club), Joy School of Dance, and the Father Ryan Arts Center. Cynthia is currently a performing member of the Pittsburgh Samba Group under the direction of Luciana Brussi Constantino.
Simon Phillips is inspired by the nature or sensation and physiological responses of the human body, Originally from Macon, Georgia, Phillips began dance training primarily for recreation. He attended Kennesaw State University, where he graduated with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and dance. His career brought him to Pittsburgh in 2017, where he has since worked as a dancer and teaching artist for organizations within the community.
“There are infinite possibilities and purposes in dance. I am empowered by the sense of personal control over these factors. Dance allows me to experience ideas holistically with body and mind. It connects me to the natural elements of this world and physical properties of my own present body. Dancing can be as grounding as it is transcendental.
Life functions as a dance, even in ways we can’t perceive. I love sharing dances, creating new dances with friends, and exploring the dances that thrive around us every day.”
Emily expresses her passion for dance by performing, teaching and continuing her dance education. She has studied intensively with Janim and has also had training from other instructors in the Pittsburgh area. She currently studies and performs Tahitian, American Cabaret belly dance, and other styles of Middle Eastern dance.
Emily is also a member of Troupe Faraatha, who perform classic cabaret belly dance at festivals, fundraisers, and various other events. In addition to these performances, Emily has also performed at restaurants, galas, and other private events. Whether she is learning, teaching, or performing, Emily loves being able to connect with the music and share dance with others.
Emily currently teaches Bellydance Brunch in Sundays and Bellydance Level 2 on Monday evenings.
Tricia Grace is a dance artist who specializes in performance and choreography. Tricia Grace earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts from her combined studies at Slippery Rock University and the University of Hawaii, Manoa. While her studies heavily focused on modern dance, Tricia spent time abroad focusing on Afro Colombian dance technique; she co-directed Slippery Rock University’s Afro Colombian Dance Ensemble during her last year of undergraduate schooling, and continued to work professionally with the company hired on as an assistant director for a year post her graduation. Tricia interned with Now Next Dance in Washington, DC and DanceWarehouse in Brooklyn, NY during her academic studies. She also took on teaching roles as an undergraduate. Tricia developed Slippery Rock High School’s first academic dance course as alternative choice for physical education. Since earning her degree, Tricia has been on the dance faculty for Just Dance by Justine Alberts teaching all techniques and age levels. Tricia also teaches beginner movement studies and practices to Jeanette’s High School Winterguard ensemble. Creative movement is a passion for Tricia; she works on outreach Arts Education programs as a teaching artist for ATTACK Theatre, Pittsburgh. Armstrong Community Theater hired Tricia Grace to choreograph “Kiss Me Kate” a musical production that was presented in the Summer of 2018 at the Casino Theater in Vandergrift, Pa.
Tricia continues to perform in her second season as contracted company member of COURdance, a Pittsburgh based contemporary dance company, under the direction of Kaitlin Flynn Goodwin and is new company member of the Pittsburgh Samba Group. Tricia has performed professional works at the August Wilson Center, Carnegie Museum of Art and History, Union Project Pittsburgh, the National Aviary Pittsburgh and Chicago Emergence Dance Theater. Tricia has opened herself up to other artist and performance opportunities. Tricia trains as a bikini competitor for the NPC body building circuit; she has competed twice at the Carnegie Music Hall and placed 4th both times. Tricia has also booked work with Pittsburgh photographer Richard Frost in which editorial pictures were presented and sold in a Gala in Lancaster, Pa in January of 2019. Tricia Grace is a passionate and driven dancer with hopes of one day beginning her own outreach dance company in the Pittsburgh area.
Bailey Zembower Borrow is a master’s level therapist, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Registered Yoga Teacher, and HoopYogini™ Certified Instructor. Bailey’s mission is to create safe spaces for individuals to express themselves through creative, trauma-informed movement while having fun and feeling good. Bailey is passionate about movement and its benefits on our minds, and has published several research projects connecting the two. Bailey believes movement is an important part of self-regulation and aims to inspire and empower students to know their bodies and feel accepted as they are.
Bailey is an ERYT at the 200 hour level and Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider with over 7 years of experience teaching yoga to ages 3 and up in many environments. After completing Schoolhouse Yoga’s Teacher Training in 2014, Bailey went on to pursue certification in Mindful Resilience for Trauma Recovery Yoga Teacher Training through Veterans Yoga Project and added hoops to the mix when becoming a HoopYogini™ Certified Instructor in 2020, blending hula hooping, hatha yoga, and mindfulness meditation. Bailey has over 5 years of experience teaching trauma informed family yoga, kids yoga, and private sessions for yogis with trauma or physical limitations in the Pittsburgh area.
Bailey is the creator of Shanti & Sunshine Wellness (shantisunshinewellness.com), a wellness business focused on customized healing through private pay trauma therapy and movement as well as fun events like Build Your Dream Retreat, HoopYogini™ in the Park, and monthly wellness subscription boxes. When she’s not moving & grooving, Bailey spends her time creating, meditating, upcycling, getting into nature, and working as a therapist.
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!