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In what ways can dance be used to strengthen, elevate, and heal the voices of a community? What processes can I bring to explore the needs and desires of those I am working with? These are questions I ask myself as an artist.

My name is Rosalina, I was a professional performer for many years and in 2005 founded a of a non-profit called Santa Barbara Dance Institute. Through direct programming and professional development, we have reached 25,000+ children, 80+ teachers, and 30,000+ audience members.

I have worked as a community artist with public elementary school students, teachers, fire fighters, businesspeople, city council members, and community center staff since 2005. Artistically, I love the challenge of working with folxs who do not have a “dance background.” As an artist working in community, I believe anyone can dance and I work to break down pre-conceived notions of what dance is, what it should look like, who can dance, and who gets to dance. My strength in working with community is my ability to see, hear, and embrace others, allowing them to take risks.

My artistic work ranges from working with a few, to working with over 400 participants. I have brought movement and dance experiences to business leadership trainings, office teams, as well as global online self-development programs. In addition, I produce, write, perform, and present original dance theatre pieces involving adults and many elementary age students. I bring together and work with folxs from different socio-economic backgrounds and cultures of origin.

The relationship between those participating in my work and the audience is that both walk away with a deeper understanding of any issues at hand. As someone coming into a community as an outsider, I prioritize listening, reflecting, and creating space for sharing. My intention is to use dance as a vehicle to develop our unique voices, our understanding of others, and build bridges. Through dance I believe we can advance individual self-expression and community self-determination. I believe that dance has a unique ability to inspire us to express ourselves in ways that reveal and heal things in us that may not yet have words.

My work is founded in the belief that dance can inspire individuals to be more compassionate human beings and in turn create a more loving and just world.

Priorities in my work are to create significant human connections, deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us fostering connectivity and resiliency.

Macisco Matthies
Santa Barbara Dance Institute
Executive Director, Artist
Arts / Culture & Humanities, Bilingual, Education, Employment, Families, Recreation & Sports, Seniors, Youth Development

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