Yolanda Demetrio

Yolanda Demétrio is the Founder and Director of Espaço Aberto Art Studio, the 1st Dance school of Art, Culture and Children's Literature in the Rocinha Favela in Rio de Janeiro.

Having been born to a family with limited financial resources but abundant riches in the form of immense heart and culture, she did not have many opportunities. Despite her challenges, she discovered art, which is her lifelong passion.

At the end of her adolescence she went to live in Favela da Rocinha which was full of the dance forms of Classical Ballet, Jazz, Afro, Samba etc. Dance led her to discover the world through training and professional dance in Barcelona, Spain. She has participated in several courses and workshops in Guinea, Bissau, Africa, Morocco and France.

After returning to Brazil she opened a Dance School in Rocinha, Espaco Aberto to rescue her students who were involved in the favela in drug-trafficking, prostitution and drug use. Over the years, she has been developing her work and has always had the need to have her own space to create. Her mantra is: “Breathe, sleep and wake up with dance.”

In 2015 she met Melissa Michaels through her mentor Celia Macedo. Through her exposure to SomaSource and 5Rhythms®, she learned to deconstruct all of her professional education, and felt reborn in her dance.

“I have been so inspired by being a part of this wonderful Golden Bridge Community! I feel adopted by Melissa Michaels and all her team. I feel safety, solidarity and family. I have been making my dreams come true and today I am a mother. I am a blessed woman. My life is filled with light. I am a teacher, a director and an advisor. I thank God and the Universe for directing me every day, so that I, as a community leader. I can transform lives and bring dreams to reality for the marginalized communities in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”