The Dance for All Bodies organization has recently conducted interviews with its instructors Alicia Langlais, Antoine Hunter, Janpi Star, Clara Rodriguez, Auti Angel, and Stephanie Bastos. Each instructor brings a unique perspective and experience to the world of integrated dance. During this 6 week series, the Dance for All Bodies blog will feature one instructor interview on Saturdays.
Stephanie Bastos is the daughter of Bernadette Chaves Nunes and Aluizio Ribeiro Bastos. She started her performance career as a child with the Miami Ballet and in her teens, became one of the founding members of the internationally acclaimed Isadora Duncan Dance Ensemble of Miami, Florida, directed by Andrea Seidel and featured in Isadora Duncan Dance and Repertory by Princeton Book Company. As a pre-professional, she was awarded scholarships to train at American Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow and Bates Dance Festival after losing her leg in a tragic car accident and subsequently retraining herself to dance with a prosthetic leg.
Since then, she has received her BFA in Dance from New World School of the Arts and has been performing, touring, and teaching Contemporary Dance throughout the United States, Germany, Poland, Argentina and Brazil. She has trained with master teachers; Martha Mahr, Thomas Armour, Andrea Seidel, Julia Levien, Peter London, Donald McKayle, Chuck Davis, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Reginald Yates, Tania Santiago and Mestre King among others. Winner of the 2011 San Francisco "Izzies” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance Ensemble with Ase West Dance Theater Collective, she has also worked with the Urban Bush Women, Axis Dance Company, Deep Waters Dance Theater, Aguas Da Bahia and Ron Brown’s/ EVIDENCE as a guest performer for the “Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth”, Soundsuits exhibit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF.
During an interview with Dance for All Bodies, in her own words, Stephanie Bastos describes her background with dance and utilizing dance as a means to communicate fiercely with the world.
“My name is Stephanie Bastos and I am originally from Miami Florida. I'm the daughter of Brazilian immigrant parents. I grew up dancing in Miami. Because everyone speaks Spanish here, I also speak Spanish. So I speak Spanish, English, and Portuguese.
I started dancing at 5 years old with classical ballet. My mother was concerned about my height and that I wasn’t growing. She took me to a doctor and they suggested ballet as a great way to get my bones growing and to also externally rotate my hips. My mom thought it was a good idea. My parents love to dance. They put me in a very strict Russian Ballet School here in Miami and I loved it from the very beginning.
What dance provides for me is another language that I can speak or that I can express. I love communication. I’m just a fierce communicator. So for me to have then again another language that I can pretty much design on my own; I can take agency for that language and I feel empowered by that language. I love to practice it and I love to learn always more about it. I also love to share it with everybody and I believe that it’s a language that we all have access to.
I was in a car accident when I was 18 years old at the brink of my professional dance career. Because of the injuries that resulted from this car accident, they had to amputate my right foot. So I had to learn how to not only be in a whole new body, but to learn how to walk again, and then essentially learn how to dance again because I wasn't willing to give up my whole passion for this art form because I lost a part of my body. But what I got to do is to utilize the creativity of dance and find a whole new way of dancing, specifically without my prosthetic leg. A lot of the time I don’t dance with it and I find all new creative ways, creative and different methods of going in and out of certain movements that already exist, but I’m trying it a different way. When I don’t have my prosthetic on, I dance on the ground a lot.
At Dance for All Bodies, come and take my class if you want to experience a fun, energetic, creative, challenging dance class that moves through different energy fields. We can all build community with each other: get to meet new people and connect with new people, practice some self-care, and be with our bodies exactly the way that they are, and be able to move through it and dance and feel ourselves with some nice music. I use some a lot of music from all over the world, very rhythmic and very percussive. It’s just really fun, connecting, grounding, and energetic.
We are all working together to dismantle all these systems that keep us from othering each other, so that we move closer to each other, and treat each other with respect and kindness and all of those things that make everybody feel safe.”
Thank you Stephanie Bastos for teaching with Dance for All Bodies. We appreciate your calm and expressive spirit, and the connection that we feel with you and with each other during your classes.