Maria Loreta Celitan

Maria Loreta Celitan 

Maria Loreta, founder/ director of Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Company, holds advances degrees in Art & Art History, Comparative Religions, and Gerontology. Besides Spanish dance and Flamenco, her professional field, Maria has extensively studied Ballet, Modern, Near Eastern and Classical Indian Dance. She also holds teaching certification in advanced Hatha Yoga, Cardiac Yoga, Creative Movement for Children, and Dance Therapy. As a professional Spanish dancer, Maria has made guest artist appearances at numerous colleges and art centers throughout the U.S. She has been a soloist with Estrella Morena's Ballet de Madrid, The American Spanish Dance Theatre, and Jose Molina's Bailes Espanoles with which she toured for many years throughout the U.S. and abroad. 

Maria has also taught dance for numerous institutions including the Connecticut Ballet, the Ballet of Puerto Rico, Suffolk County Community College, Hofstra University, Bridgeport University’s Regional Center for the Arts, Dowling College, and UGA’ s Department of Dance. For 20 years, Maria served on the faculty of SUNY Stony Brook 's Theater Dept. and Center for Dance, Movement & Somatic Learning. 

An avid arts-in-education exponent, Maria has worked for well-known arts-in-education programs such as The National Theater, Young Audiences, Arts Connection, and BOCES Arts in Ed Services for Upstate, Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau Counties. As a Lincoln Center Institute teaching artist, she worked in that capacity for the Tilles Center’s Arts in Education Program. She has also placed after school programs in dance for at risk youth in schools throughout Suffolk County through a NY State Assembly Legislative grant. 

Maria has been the subject of full-page articles in both the N.Y. Times and Newsday, and has been interviewed by National Public Radio. She was awarded a Distinguished Lectureship at the University of Georgia’s Arts & Humanities Center, and in 2019 was the recipient of the Harry Chapin Legacy Award in the Arts for her work in the arts on LI. 

Under her guidance, Sol y Sombra has been the recipient of numerous grants from the NY State Council on the Arts, Suffolk & Nassau Counties’ Offices of Cultural affairs, Suffolk County Legislator’s Community Service Initiate Grants, JP Morgan Chase, NYS Regrant, Dance NYC Covid-relief grant, and a NY State Assembly Legislature Initiative Grant. 

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