Betta Dance Theater is a project-based multi-disciplinary performance group that pushes the envelope on cultural, social, and gender themes by creating elegantly raw works that engage audiences to immerse themselves.
Sandra Portal-Andreu (Director/Choreographer) is a Miami native of Cuban/Colombian descent. She received an A.A. from New World School of the Arts, a B.F.A. in Dance from Florida State University, and a M.S. in Movement Sciences from Barry University. She has trained with Fernando Bujones, Suzanne Farrell, Gerri Houlihan, Roxane D’Orleans-Juste and Thomas Richards at the Workcentre of Jerzy Grotowski in Pontedera, Italy. Her performance experience includes: Arts Ballet Theatre of South Florida, Josee Garant Dance, Ballet Theater of Miami, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet’s “Lounge 2200”, Camposition, and TOC Project. Ms. Portal-Andreu is adjunct faculty of the Theatre Division at the New World School of the Arts where she concentrates on Movement for Theatre. Additionally, Sandra has taught at the Miami City Ballet School, Barry Univerity and FSUdanceSARASOTA. Ms. Portal-Andreu independently creates and presents work throughout the community with her project-based group: bETTA Dance Theater. Her unique style of mixing dance with dialogue addresses current issues that dive into women’s identities and roles. She has created original work for CityTheatre Miami’s Summer Shorts Festival, Gabo Pulido’s “Deep Surface: An Homage to the Sea”, “T.M.I. (too much information)” for Sarasota Contemporary Dance Company. Her choreography has been described as “striking”, “smart”, “chilling”, and “having a knack for the theatrical”. Her cinedance, “Labyrinth” in collaboration with filmmaker, Claudio Marcotulli, was acquired by South Florida PBS’s Film-Maker project which highlights film created and produced in Miami-Dade County. She has received support from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Miami-Dade Public Library System, NWSA Professional Development Program, MicroTheater Miami, Miami Light Project’s Here & Now 2016, and GrassStains. Her work has been supported by the NWSA Professional Development Program, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Miami-Dade Public Library System, Micro Theater Miami, and Miami Light Project’s Here & Now 2016. She gives a SHOUTOUT to her family, friends, husband, and her boys: Gabo and Julian.
Abi-L-ity (Composer) is a multi-genre cellist, producer, recording artist, composer, and dancer. She began her musical endeavors on the cello at the age of five. She has performed in various master classes for the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Janos Starker, Carter Brey, and Robert Cohen. In addition, she has performed for a number of prestigious events, most notably as a member of the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra for HBO’s “Robert Klein Comedy Special,” and “An Evening with Dave Grusin.” Abi-L-ity has worked in various capacities recording, writing, producing, and performing with Brittany Mullen, Leroy Sanchez, Stephen Swartz, Joni Fatora, Chris Petrosino, Arc & Stones, Dwayne Bennett, Daniel Landers, Eddy Bayes, Dayson, The Politix, Agape, CJ Tywaniak, Muir, Michael Piolet, Nick Hetko, 1st Floor Studios NYC, Alex Weitz, Chris Croce, Brian Raddock, Gabo, Ghetto Youths International, Black-Am-I and more! Abi holds a degree in Violoncello Performance, as well as Commercial Music Production & Composition, and a minor in Music Business from the Frost School of Music. In 2014 Abi-L-ity’s music was published in music catalogs for large media conglomerates, featured on strings for Muir’s Look Away ft. Justina Shandler (Audio Engineering Society medal 2013), on strings for a film by Pepper & Paul, strings for a trailer of Shaun Escayg’s Noka Keeper of Worlds, completed an album with Eddy Bayes, remixed and co-produced Nightrun with Muir (by Trifonic), toured with Joni Fatora, performed at Webster Hall, Mercury Lounge with Arc & Stones, Spike Hill’s, Sidewalk Lounge, and more. Abi-L-ity has worked exclusively for Irreversible Magazine at Art Basal and Green Art Fair, and has performed at events namely for Bernice Steinbaum and Kourtney Eugene Brown.
Liza Carmona (Performer)
Stephanie Fuentes (Performer)
Andrea Jonusas-Piedad (Performer)
Abby Lindenberg (Performer)
Claudio Marcotulli (Filmmaker/Producer) Venezuelan-born, Claudio Marcotulli received his B.F.A. in Communications from Emerson College in Boston and his M.F.A. in Film Production from the Miami International University of Art and Design. Parallel to his freelance work as producer and director of feature and independent films, he worked with Venevision Continental, producing and directing broadcast content. Claudio has over 12 years experience as ariel cinematographer and filmmaker, building and flying his own radio-controlled (RC) helicopters. He taught Film Production and other courses at Miami Dade College for 4 years. Claudio has also collaborated with Miami-based choreographer, Pioneer Winter, spoke work artists Oscar Fuentes, and theater director, Jose Manuel Dominguez, mixing film with other genres.
Samantha Pazos (Performer) is a dancer, choreographer and vocalist from Miami, FL. She is a proud graduate of Florida State University’s School of Dance with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance and Choreography. She previously earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami in Theatre Arts and Dance, with a focus in musical theatre. She has had the opportunity to perform in various musicals including Cabaret, Hello Dolly!, A Chorus Line, as well as, perform with the University of Miami Salsa Orchestra and Miami Dade College’s Jazz Ensemble. Her dance training stems from The Ailey School, Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, Ballet Concerto and Patricia Penenori Dance Center. Most recently, Pazos has explored dance through the use of installation and interdisciplinary work. She has performed alongside performance, art-folk band, Glitter Chariot, has collaborated with poet, Oscar Fuentes, choreographers Pioneer Winter and Katie Wiegman. Her current work has been presented at the 2014 DUMBO Dance Festival and the Ailey Citigroup Theater, as part of Breaking Glass: An Emerging Female Choreographer’s Project, in NYC. Currently her work is deeply influenced by her Cuban-American and Miami roots, touching on issues of exile, displacement and identity.
Lize-Lotte Pitlo (Performer) graduated with a B.A. in Dance in her native country The Netherlands. She then moved to New York after receiving a merit scholarship at the Merce Cunningham Studio. While living in NYC, she had the pleasure of working with various choreographers and dance companies. She currently resides in Miami and works as a dance artist with TOC-Project/Lara Tinari as well as Karen Peterson and Dancers, and teaches dance to special needs students.
Damian Rojo (Filmmaker) born in Santa Clara, Cuba, Damian Rojo and his family fled the turmoil and repression of the Cuban Revolution in 1971. His artistic talent quickly became apparent when he was recruited for Miami’s first public school gifted program for the arts. He later went on to study fine arts at Miami Dade College and LACC. In the 80’s, Rojo was art director for Artifacts, a group of artists, designers and creative trailblazers who pioneered the cultural explosion of South Beach. Working as an independent artist, filmmaker and designer, Rojo’s versatile and wide-ranging creativity would lead him to exhibit his work globally, work as art director for MTV U.S. and to create video, stage sets and ad campaigns for such music and fashion icons as Grace Jones, David Byrne, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein.
Fernando Sosa (Animator) is a 3-D Animator and Graphic Artist that attended the University of Central Florida. He majored in 3-D Animation with a minor in Traditional Studio Art. Born in Mexico, Fernando immigrated to the states in 1996 and has been working with many different art mediums since he was a child. In addition, he is prolific in video editing, 3-D modeling, and 3-D printed artwork. His design has been featured in games such as Madden 2010/2011 for Playstation, Xbox and Wii. Fernando’s claim to fame was for his 3-D printed political art satire that included President Putin.
Merzili Villabueno (Performer)is a Colombian-Filipino-American multidisciplinary artist. She began dancing pre-professionally in her hometown, Miami, FL; and, after a 15-year departure returns to dedicated arts practice in process of gestalt. She is an alumnus of the New World School of the Arts High School Dance Division directed by Daniel Lewis; the University of Florida, where she and earned her Minor in Dance, and B.A. and M.Ed. in Elementary Education with an Interdisciplinary specialization and endorsement to teach English speakers of other languages; The School at Jacob’s Pillow Modern Traditions Program; and the American Dance Festival Six Week School for graduate studies. Merzili has studied technique and repertory with former members of companies directed by modern, contemporary, and ballet dance legends including José Limón, Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, Edward Villella, Lar Lubovitch, Bill T. Jones, Twyla Tharp, and Merce Cunningham. Her teaching credits include Chicago Public Schools teacher of students identified as gifted, talented, and/or creative; and Assistant Teaching Artist with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Education and Community Programs. Merzili currently freelances as a dancer while completing her Ph.D. in Gifted and Talented Education at the University of Connecticut. She credits those who have supported her re-emergence as an artist, especially her arts angels.
Katie Wiegman (Performer) began her dance training at a young age in New Mexico. She moved to Miami in 2006, and graduated from New World School of the Arts in 2010 with Summa Cum Laude honors in dance performance. Since her relocation to Miami, Katie has worked with several independent choreographers and performing artists including Pioneer Winter, Fernando Calzadilla, CircX, and Natasha Tsakos while also developing her own work. Katie has studied with several choreographers, and has performed as a soloist in original works by David Dorfman, Walter Kennedy, and Larry Keigwin. As an active artist in the Miami community, she has choreographed and performed commissioned site-specific works for the Miami’s Lotus House Womens’ Shelter and the Mobile Micro Theater in addition to commercial corporate clientele. She has explored extensively within the parameters of interactive dance, including a commissioned participatory work for the Miami River Art Fair during Art Basel 2013 and her current large-scale, Knight Foundation-funded audience-interactive project “On Board” taking place during Art Basel 2014. Katie is also exploring several non-traditional avenues of dance including long-distance co-choreography and dance on film, notably having been selected for two consecutive years by Tigertail’s Screendance Miami as a presenting artist. She has traveled both domestically and internationally for both festival and large productions as a performer. Within the realm of arts administration, she was the director of scheduling, vendors, and printed materials for the National High School Dance Festival held in Miami in April 2014. In addition, Katie is a certified Pilates instructor and is currently completing a certification in Biomechanics structural assessment.