Mariella Morales, a San Francisco native was introduced to dance at the age of 7 when she would accompany her mother to her dance classes. Her formal dance training began at the age of 16 at School of the Arts in San Francisco (SOTA). Her love for dances of the African Diaspora was due to her attendance at SOTA, where she was introduced to Dunham Technique and African Haitian dance.
Ms. Morales' academic credentials are: received an A.A in Dance from City College of San Francisco (CCSF) in 2004; completed a B.A. in Dance from San Francisco State University (SFSU) in 2007; and earned a M.S. in Kinesiology at SFSU in 2012. Ms. Morales is also a Certified Dunham Technique instructor (2012). She teaches the following dance disciplines: African-Haitian, African-Brazilian, Dunham Technique, Salsa, Yoga, Zumba and Hip Hop.
Ms. Morales has studied extensively under the direction of some of the great pioneers in African Haitian and other African derived dance forms. Among them are: Katherine Dunham, considered a matriarch of Black Dance in the United States and dance anthropology. She attended the annual Katherine Dunham Seminar in East St. Louis from 1999-2011. In 2000 & 2002, she was awarded scholarships to participate in the New York City Board of Education Dance Institute, based on the Katherine Dunham Model. Jean Leon Destine, a great dancer, choreographer, historian considered a Haitian national treasure, the father of professional Haitian dance. In 2004, she received a full scholarship to attend the Cultural Traditions Program at Jacob's Pillow under the direction of Jean Leon Destine. In 2010 and 2011, she traveled to Salvador, Bahia, Brazil for a month long dance intensive with Rosangela Sylvestre, choreographer, dancer, instructor and creator of the Sylvestre Dance Technique and Augusto Omolu, master of Orixa dances from the Afro-Brazilian traditions of Condomblé.
In 2018, Chabot College hired Ms. Morales as part-time dance faculty. Since 2013, Ms. Morales has been a part time dance faculty at City College of San Francisco. In 2012 and 2011, she was a guest instructor in African-Haitian dance at San Jose Sate University. During a visit to Brazil in 2010, the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) and Escola de Danca da Fundacão Cultural do Estado de Bahia invited Ms. Morales as a guest instructor, to teach Dunham Technique to both dancers-in training- and professional dance students. She is currently the Co-Artistic Director of Alafia Dance Ensemble (ADE), which was founded in 1995 by Valerie Watson to showcase the beauty of African Haitian dance and culture. Ms. Morales would like to acknowledge her mentor Valerie Watson as the most influential women in her life.