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.

West Liberty
Assistant Manager

West Liberty (they/them) is a multi-disciplinary artist, graduate of the Cornish College of the Arts Dance program and founder of the Body as Teacher, a movement workshop for people of varying ages and abilities who are looking to have a healing conversation with their bodies through dance.

West has also danced professionally, most recently in 'How to Become a Partisan' (choreographed by Alice Gosti) which premiered at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle in 2015. They have also presented choreographic works for and performed in numerous shows and festivals including Velocity Dance Center’s 'The Bridge Project' & Next Fest NW and On the Boards' Northwest New Works Festival.

West is deeply invested in teaching and learning with others how to source wisdom from the body as a resource in humanity's efforts toward liberation for all beings.

Naomi Skoggin
Dance Company Coordinator and Assistant Teacher

Naomi began dancing at the age of 3 and has extensive training in Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern, & Lyrical. As a professional Salsa dancer, Naomi taught, performed and competed locally and internationally for 15 years and was one of Salsa Salvage's lead dancers for 10 years.

Naomi started taking Afro-Brazilian dance with Bahia In Motion at Balance Studio in 2014. In 2015 she began training Capoeira again with Bahia In Motion's Capoeira group, Moringa de Barro after taking a 10-year break due to a knee injury. Shortly after discovering Bahia In Motion as she began performing with their company and continues to train and perform in Seattle. Naomi's passion for Brazilian dance and Capoeira drives her to continue to go deeper into the culture and language of Brazil including a long awaited trip to Salvador, Bahia this past Summer of 2019 for a dance intensive trip.

Dance has always been Naomi's form of passion and expression, and it is truly what she lives to do. Naomi will forever keep a place in her heart for the art form.