Italy Bianca is a multimedia/sacred artist raised in South Carolina but currently living in New York. She received a B.A. in Dance Education and Dance Performance and Choreography from Coker University. She has also trained at the Joffrey Ballet School in their Jazz and Contemporary dance program.
She has collaborated with various dancers, community leaders, groups, organizations and programs in NYC. She was also nominated for a Bessie award for Outstanding Performer in 2017 and appeared in Crystal Waters’ “I am House” video in 2018.
Italy has chosen to use her artistic energy to shine light on what it means to give your creativity, passion and raw emotion the freedom to explore and expand. Through her brand and platform, transformational experiences can be found by journaling movement, healing through creative release, and being open to self-expression. Join the MOVEment and #VibeWithItaly. Learn more about Italy at www.italybianca.com, along with finding her on Facebook and Instagram
Heidi Cruz-Austin is a choreographer and professor of dance. She studied at the School of American Ballet and received an apprenticeship in 1994 with The Pennsylvania Ballet. After one year, she was invited to join the company as a member of the Corps de Ballet. In her years in the company, she danced numerous featured roles for various choreographers, including Val Caniparoli, Ben Stevenson, Alvin Ailey, Christopher d’Amboise, and Matthew Neenan, and many soloist and principal roles in George Balanchine ballets. Heidi has also danced with the Philadelphia-based company Ballet X and has performed as a guest artist throughout the United States and Europe. In 2019, Heidi received her MFA in Dance from the University of the Arts.
Heidi is Co-Director of a Trenton-based Contemporary Ballet company called DanceSpora, the resident dance company of the Passage Theater Company in Trenton, NJ. In addition to local performances, DanceSpora has been invited to perform at many prestigious festivals and events including Jacob's Pillow Festival in Massachusetts, NYC10 Festival, Koresh "Come Together" Festival in Philadelphia, The Outlet Dance Project at the Grounds For Sculpture, and the Independence Seaport Museum's Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River exhibit opening, among others.
Currently, Heidi is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Muhlenberg, where she serves as the co-director of dance recruitment and the associate school director of the Muhlenberg Community Dance Center.
Elba Hevia y Vaca, Artistic/Executive Director and Founder of Pasión y Arte was born in La Paz, Bolivia. She began her study of classical Spanish dance at the age of five. She later studied and danced with the Ana Martinez Flamenco Dance Company and with Raquel Peña Spanish Dance Company, both Washington D.C. based companies. She has appeared as a soloist at the Kennedy Center, Jacob’s Pillow, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and the Wilma Theater, and at numerous venues and universities across the U.S. Since moving to Philadelphia, she has continued her study of modern dance, jazz, and contact improvisation, and her study of flamenco through annual visits to Spain. In 2000, Hevia y Vaca founded Pasión y Arte out of a strong and intensely personal conviction that highly stylized traditional Spanish flamenco dance is a perfect vessel to empower women.
These values have been reflected in the nine original, critically acclaimed works she has created for PyA, and in the numerous grants, fellowships and accolades awarded to Hevia y Vaca and PyA. She presented two city wide Flamenco Festivals in 2012 and 2014 featuring Israel and Pastora Galvan, Rosario Toledo, and Dani De Moron, and has hosted residencies with such flamenco icons as Belen Maya, Alejandro Granados, Raquel Heredia, Carmen Ledesma and many more. She conducts master classes throughout the US, teaches various levels of Flamenco at her West Philadelphia studio, as well as being a Senior Adjunct at Franklin & Marshall and an Adjunct at Temple University.
Learn more about Elba at www.pasionyarteflamenco.org. She can be found on Facebook at ElbaPasionyArte, Instagram: @pasionyarte & Twitter: @PyA_Flamenco.
Sinta Penyami Storms is a traditional Indonesian dance artist who is also known as a strategic, visionary, and community-based leader. As an artist, Sinta uses traditional Indonesian culture for activism to connect, collaborate, and start conversations with members of the Indonesian community in Philadelphia and beyond to discuss the important issues and challenges that they face. In 2011 Sinta started Modero & Company to provide a safe space for the Indonesian community members to freely expressing themselves through dance despite their background, identities, social or immigrant status & religious differences. Sinta is also experienced in different dance disciplines and has created new work using traditional Indonesian dance movements such as Burung Sekar Girang (Balinese) and Ganda Ngkatuwu (Central Sulawesi/Pamonian). Learn more about Sinta at www.sintapenyami.com or www.modero.co. Connect to her on Instagram @sintastorms & @moderocompany.
David Austin was born and raised in Trenton, NJ. After being exposed to hip hop culture as a youth in the late 70's, he quickly discovered he had natural dance talent and soon became one of Trenton's best and well known B-boys . In the late 80's, in the dance clubs of NJ and NY, he continued to hone his skills, dancing to the soul classics and house music rhythms which inspired the distinctive self-taught dance style he is known for today. After graduating from Trenton Central High School he attended Temple University. During this time between 1987 and 1992 he played a major role in ushering dance style into Philadelphia's underground club scene, influencing a generation of dancers behind him. While at Temple, he performed as a featured dancer with many hot underground acts.
In 2003 he was invited to tour, nationally and internationally, as a featured dancer with world renown Hip Hop dance theater troupe Rennie Harris Pure Movement. He was a lead dancer in Harris' production of Facing Mekka from 2004 -2007. Since co-founding DanceSpora in 2008 he has been teaching dance classes and workshops in Trenton and the surrounding areas and continues to develop educational and social engagement projects.