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Photos: Dancers at Sunset on the Secluded Strand of Martin's Beach

Founder and director of Movement Exchange — a volunteer service where dancers travel abroad to empower at-risk youth — returns to Martin's Beach in Half Moon Bay where she grew up.

She was one of the kids who grew up at Martin’s Beach in the 1980s and '90s. She was taken home there straight from the hospital and only moved away to attend Harvard when she was 18 years old.

She attended Hatch Elementary, then Cunha and a public arts high school in San Francisco, the School of the Arts, before heading to Harvard to get a degree in Anthropology and a citation in Portuguese.

She’s Anna Else Pasternak, 27, who started her dance training at Shely Pak Dancers in Half Moon Bay and now is the founder and director of Movement Exchange, a non-profit organization that provides an avenue for dance artists to participate in an international exchange that fosters cross-cultural understanding, self-confidence, leadership and community building through movement and service.

Movement Exchange currently runs 8-10 day dance exchange programs to Panama focused on service by holding open calls and customizing programs for established university groups, dance companies, and studios. Participants teach, learn, and perform dance through collaboration with at-risk youth and local professionals.

Recently back from Panama, where she founded Movement Exchange two years ago, Pasternak is currently living in San Francisco but spending a lot of time at Martin’s Beach these days. Her parents still live there and recently she and some members of the Movement Exchange team took some spectacular photos on an iPhone of their dancing silhouettes against the Martin’s Beach skyline.

“Perfect light and naturally beautiful background at Martin's produces some pretty great photos,” said Pasternak, who is now running Movement Exchange out of California with Panama and hoping to expand to other countries soon as well.

Here’s what else Pasternak has to say about Movement Exchange:

“What sets Movement Exchange apart is our effort to make the dance education programming in Panama sustainable. Movement Exchange and participants provide the funds necessary to bring local Panamanian professional dancers back to the same orphanages that the international volunteers serve, once the volunteers have returned home. Therefore, not only does Movement Exchange work hard to provide a culturally enriching, service-based experience for U.S. dancers, but we ensure that the impact goes beyond temporary, by supporting the dance education for the at-risk Panamanian youth year-round.

"We are a non-profit organization currently in need of funding to help support our dance outreach to over 200 at-risk youth and orphans in Panama, and also to help our expansion to other countries in Latin America. We are starting a movement centered on service and dance-empowering dancers to serve locally and internationally and supporting dance education in disadvantaged communities.

"We have a lot of people involved in the organization. Lots and lots of dance volunteers that volunteer in Panama throughout the year at the orphanages and at-risk youth foundations. Plus, we have local Panamanian dance instructors that teach for Movement Exchange throughout the year at orphanages in Panama reaching 200 plus at-risk youth. We partner with the University of Panama's Dance Department, the National Dance School of Panama, many orphanages and at-risk youth foundations, and the U.S. Embassy is one of our main sponsors.”

If you are interested in donating to Movement Exchange, here are some examples of what your generous donation can offer: 

• $10 buys one pair of dance shoes for a child
• $20 buys 2 hours of dance class with a local instructor
• $200 buys one large mirror with installation for a dance space
• $3,000 rents a theater to be used as a final performance space for over 150 children

You can send your tax-deductible donation or program contribution via check made out to Movement Exchange to 350 Martin's Beach, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019.

 

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Beatrice Karnes February 18, 2013 at 03:57 PM
These photos are stunning! Thank you for sharing.
Martha Lucht February 19, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Awesome sunset and wonderful jumps Anna and Kimberly. Thank you for sharing!

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