About Água Doce Dance


       Água Doce Dance is a contemporary dance company inspired by the fundamental brilliance and vibrancy of Afro-Brazilian Dance, for people to experience, decipher, and discover. Creating thought provoking work that inspires an open-mind, and enthusiasm for dance, while bringing light to the beautiful artistic expression of a foreign culture blended in a contemporary unique style. Creating cross-cultural communication through the universal language of dance.


       Stephanie Emmanuela, the artistic director and choreographer of Água Doce Dance was introduced to Samba and Afro-Brazilian dance over 10 years ago in and fell in love. These rhythms and dances intrigued her spirit so deeply that it led her to experience Brazil at the roots themselves. For almost 5 years, she fully immersion herself in the local Bahian dance styles. She completed the professional dance training program at FUNCEB, and trained closely with the Balé Folclorico da Bahia (which just won an award for Best Brazilian Dance company presented by Fiat), Vera Passos and Rosangela Silvestre.


       In Salvador, Stephanie performed with various Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Dance companies, such as Norma Santana CIA de Dança, under the artistic direction of Norma Santana. She danced with Norma for over 2 years and appeared on local television twice representing Norma's work. Norma Santana was selected with one other dance artist for a Correio's artist grant and was selected to tour all of Brazil showing her work entitled "Sorria Voce Esta na Bahia", but later lost the grant due to beaurocratic issues. Thereafter Stephanie danced for nearly a year under the artistic direction of Anderson Rodrigo with Attomos CIA de Dança. She also danced with an Afro-Brazilian Folkloric Dance Company for almost a year called Diaspora Dance Company under the direction of Nem Brito, performing in all of Salvador’s finest Hotels, and Convention Centers.


       Throughout her time in Salvador, she performed many works by notable choreographers from Salvador such as Rosangela Silvestre, Vera Passos, Paco Gomes, Nildinha Fonseca, and Augusto Omolu. Stephanie was invited by Nei Sacramento, the artistic director of O Kontra, an Afro-Brazilian Jazz Band, to perform 2 solos, one for Iansã in 2012, and for Yemanja in 2015.


       Stephanie became exposed to the Silvestre Technique in 2007, and thereafter started training closely with Rosangela Silvestre and Vera Passos. Stephanie became a certified Silvestre Technique instructor in 2010, and began teaching the Silvestre Technique in Salvador at FUNCEB, after professor Vera Passos asked her to teach for her while she travelled to the US to go on tour with Viver Brasil Dance Company. In 2011, 2012, 2014 & 2015 Stephanie translated and was the primary teacher's assistant to Vera Passos and Rosangela Silvestre at the acclaimed annual Silvestre Technique Intensive. Administering over 250+ students, the intensive is an international encounter which happens for the whole month of January in Salvador, and in August (2011&2015).





       Upon arriving in Santa Cruz, she danced with Yabas Dance Company, under the direction of Dandha da Hora. After that she joined Diaspora Dance Company, under the direction of Micha Scott and Shawn Merriman. In February of 2014, she was invited to be apart of a filming of a music video for the band Fialta, dancing for their song ‘Dawn’. She has choreographed and performed for Ozomatli, Sambada, and numerous original works at Cabrillo College, at local community dance events in the Bay Area, and internationally in Brazil, Gabon, and Mexico. Stephanie has performed in works by Rosangela Silvestre, Vera Passos, Paco Gomes, Norma Santana, Nildinha Fonseca, Augusto Omulu, Anderson Rodrigo, Nem Brito, Tanya Santiago, Micha Scott, Shawn Merriman, Dandha Da Hora, Marsea Marquis, Casandra Owen, Robert Kelley, David King, and Cid Pearlman.


Stephanie is currenty an MFA candidate in choreographic practice at Saint Mary’s College of California, and is a lecturer there teaching Afro-Brazilian Dance.  


Stephanie founded Agua Doce Dance in October of 2015, and has performed with her dance company all throughout the Bay Area, and is currently a sponsored artist by the Santa Cruz Arts Council.