Regular readers of the GGP Blog have met the organizations founder, Julia Lynch, and the girls who have taken part in the program. Now let’s meet GGP’s board of directors, starting with Mariana Reis, one of our newest additions to the board.
Mariana is an LA-based educator, dancer, performer and social activist, highly versed in Afro-Brazilian culture, music and dance. She has spent a good part of her career involved and actively participating in non-profit organizations. She began her involvement in social work and activism in college where, as the President of the Women’s Organization, she helped raise funds for her Capoeira (a Brazilian martial art) group to perform at the annual collegiate celebration of underrepresented groups on campus. From there, she began working with the drum and dance ensemble, Grupo Liberdade as their dance director. She worked hard to build the organization form the ground up, establish structure and assisted the group in becoming one of the most well-known non-profit organizations in Arizona, dedicated to promoting community, diversity and empowerment.
After several years of her involvement in Afro-Brazilian culture and social work, Mariana decided to delve into the heart and soul of it, relocating to Bahia, Brazil in 2007 to begin her studies in earnest. She would spend the next 6 years studying Afro-Brazilian Dance, specifically Samba Reggae, and she danced professionally with the largest non-profit organization and Bloco Afro Group, Olodum, in Bahia. She, also assisted with developing a non-profit cultural center dedicated to promoting peace, love and joy through the medium of drum and dance.
Some of Mariana’s professional credentials include a Professional Certificate of Dance and a Certificate in Silvestre Technique (an Afro-Brazilian Contemporary Dance technique) from the Cultural Foundation and School of Dance (FUNCEB) in Salvador, Bahia Brazil. She also holds certificates in Contemporary Dance Training from Ethnic Rio de Janeiro ‘Viva Dança’ International Festival in Bahia, Brazil, Contact Improvisation from Balé Teatro Castro Alves, and Capoeira Contact (a mixture of contact improvisation and Capoeira) from Viva Dança International Festival Company in Ladainha, France. She is certified inOríxa Dance from the Cultural Foundation and School of Dance at Bahia, Brazil, and is an Atelier of Contemporary Dance, as studied at the Company Linga in Switzerland.
Mariana has been featured on the Travel Channel with Jaycee Gassett in ‘Dance the World – Brazil’, and is also a Yoga instructor, having completed her training with a Yoga Teacher’s (RYT) certificate from the White Lotus Foundation, Santa Barbara, California. Her core beliefs are of promoting unity, community, non-violence, equality, peace, love and happiness through the performing arts, specifically drum and dance. When she is not dancing and sharing that life-affirming joy, she enjoys painting, making jewelry, cooking and designing dance and yoga wear in sunny southern California.