Our Mission

Bahia In Motion values the importance of a healthy body, mind and spirit and the integral role the arts play in remaining balanced. Bahia in Motion is committed to building community and enriching the lives of individuals and families through dance, Capoeira, travel, and the joy of Afro-Brazilian culture.

Past collaborations include:

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet
  • Spectrum Dance Theater
  • Cornish College of the Arts
  • Seattle Children's Hospital
  • Fremont Arts Council

Meet Our Instructors

Daniel Nery Dos Santos Filho (Mestre Pitta)
Creative and Artistic Director

Daniel was born and raised in Salvador, Brazil where he studied Capoeira and Afro-Brazilian dance for 18 years before moving to the U.S. in 2008. Daniel began training Capoeira Regional under Mestre Washington and at the age of 17 became the Regional Capoeira Champion of Salvador. In 2003 Daniel co-founded the Capoeira group Bantos Brazil teaching and performing extensively in theatres and festivals. With partnership and funding from UNESCO, Bantos Brazil provided Capoeira instruction to over 350 under-privileged youth. Daniel also appeared on several Brazilian local and national television and radio programs speaking about and teaching Capoeira. In 2011 he earned the highest rank of Mestre on a visit back to Salvador, Bahia.

Daniel studied dance at Universidad Federal do Bahia and Federacao Cultural do Bahia in Salvador and performed throughout the state of Bahia with professional Afro-Brazilian dance and Capoeira groups such as Arte Bahia, Joao de Barro and Axe Bahia.

With much enthusiasm, Daniel joyfully shares his native Afro-Brazilian culture through Capoeira and dance, two of the most significant artistic expressions of Black Brazilian culture. Daniel also teaches Zumba throughout Seattle and at Balance Studio. Daniel's extensive professional training and ability to transmit the vibrant energy of Bahia, Brazil produce fun, creative and invigorating classes.

Aileen Panke
Creative and Executive Director

Aileen’s background is rooted in the healing and performing arts. She holds a nursing and master’s degree in cross-cultural community health. As a native New Yorker, Aileen began her dance training at an early age and advanced her studies at Broadway Dance Center, Steps and Phil Black. She performed and choreographed with local theatre productions and expanded her studies to include Afro-Cuban, West African, Salsa and Tango in New York, Seattle, Brazil and Argentina.

In 2005 Aileen moved to Salvador Brazil to study Brazilian culture, music and dance. There she strengthened her technique in Orixa Dance Movement, Afro-Brazilian, Samba de Roda and the Silvestre Technique. She also taught dance to children from the city's favelas (poorest urban areas) at Diaspora Art Center and co-directed a children's production. Her teachers and mentors from Brazil include Vera Passos, Nem Brito da Silva, Marilza Olivera, Rosangela Silvestre, and Nilginha Fonseca. In 2008, Aileen moved to Seattle with her husband Daniel to focus on wellness, prevention and community- building through Brazilian arts for individuals and families.

The combination of Aileen’s experience, education and passion in the healing and performing arts brings a grounded yet dynamic energy to her teaching and performance style. Her charisma and enthusiasm radiates her belief in dance as an art form which allows expression, joy, balance, and the cultivation of cross-cultural understanding through a common corporal language. Aileen teaches Bahia In Motion’s Orixa Dance Movement class and co-teaches Afro-Brazilian dance classes and youth Capoeira classes.

Cami Anthony (Guerreira)
Aluna Formada

Cami Anthony’s first encounter with Aileen and Mestre Pitta was through their Afro-Brazilian Dance class at Cornish College of the Arts in 2009. The following spring she began her first Capoeira beginner series. Originally Cami was drawn to Capoeira as a fun way to stay in shape. However, as she continued she realized it aligned with her own philosophical beliefs and it has helped her find strength during difficult times.

Cami has danced since childhood and has also trained in movement techniques such as Suzuki method, bio-mechanics, and clown for theatre artists. She holds a B.F.A. in theatre from Cornish College of the Arts. Cami is thrilled to be a part of Grupo de Capoeira Moringa de Barro. She currently co-teaches the adult beginner and youth Capoeira classes and is Bahia In Motion's Assistant Manager.