Dance Program Therapists
Dance Therapists who provide Dréa’s Dream programming
Ed.D., BC-DMT, LCAT, CMA, LMHC
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY
Dr. Suzi Tortora, Ed.D., BC-DMT, CMA, LCAT, LMHC, has been providing Dréa’s Dream to our patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) for the last 15 years. She is responsible for making our program at MSKCC internationally respected and is a model for pediatric dance therapy programs for children with cancer worldwide. With her vast exposure to patients, dance therapy and medical professionals, and teaching throughout the world, we are proud to announce that she is now the International Medical Creative Arts Spokesperson for the Andréa Rizzo Foundation.
Suzi Tortora, EdD, BC-DMT, LCAT, LMHC holds a doctorate from Columbia University and serves as consultant to the “Mothers, Infants and Young Children of September 11, 2001: A Primary Prevention Project” in the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University under Dr. Beatrice Beebe.
Dr. Tortora has a dance/movement psychotherapy practice, in New York City and Cold Spring, NY. She created and is the senior dance/movement therapist in the Integrative Medicine Services Department at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the pioneer Dréas Dream dance/movement therapy program for pediatric patients, since its inception in 2003.
Dr. Tortora has published numerous papers about her therapeutic and nonverbal communication analysis work and her book, The Dancing Dialogue: Using the Communicative Power of Movement with Young Children and is used extensively in dance/movement therapy training programs. She has been featured on “Good Morning America”, “Eyewitness News” ABC -TV and Malcolm Gladwell’s book, What the Dog Saw.
Dr. Tortora received the 2010 Marian Chace Distinguished Dance Therapist award from the American Dance Therapy Association. She holds a board position at NY Zero to Three Network. Dr. Tortora teachers her Ways of Seeing international training programs in Europe, South America and Asia and holds faculty positions in the USA, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Argentina and China. She also offers international webinar-based Ways of Seeing training programs for dance/movement therapists and allied professionals.
Lori Baudino, Psy.D., BC-DMT – Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, has been a practicing clinician for over a decade. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology and Masters in Creative Arts Therapy – Dance/Movement Therapy, the therapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual. Through The Andrea Rizzo Foundation, Dr. Baudino brought the first Dance/Movement Therapy Programs to UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where she provides bedside therapy to children with cancer, special needs and terminal illness.
Dr. Baudino has specialized in supervising, facilitating and providing treatment for children with special needs and their families. Additionally, she has worked in psychiatric hospitals and at rehabilitation centers for trauma, addiction and pain management. Dr. Baudino coordinated both DIR-based and Behavior Intervention Programs within the home/school setting.
In her private practice, she works with children and their families, to support the developing child and the integral relationships between parent, child and siblings. Understanding the “premise that the body, mind and spirit are interconnected” and that life is experienced through movement – Dr. Baudino’s approach allows the child to put words into action, understand individual sensory and motor preferences, express emotional needs, and support overall integration and well-being.
Specialization in (some but not limited to):
- Child Development
- Medically Fragile & Chronic Illness
- Special Needs/Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Differences
- ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, & additional Learning/behavioral challenges
- Addiction, Trauma
- Early Intervention/Parent Support
- New parenting/infant attachment
Check out Super Flyers: A Parent Guidebook for Airplane Travel with Children by author, Dr Lori Baudino.
Jennifer Whitley,MS, BC-DMT, LCAT, CMA, is a board-certified Dance/Movement Therapist (DMT), Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT), a Ways of Seeing practitioner, Reiki trained, and Certified as a Laban Movement Analyst (CMA) from the Laban Institute of Movement Studies.
Ms. Whitley also began working at John Street Elementary School in Fall of 2013, providing group DMT sessions for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, among other special needs in the therapeutic school setting, also funded by the foundation.
Before working as a dance/movement therapist with the foundation, she was a fundraiser for the Dréa’s Dream program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centerbeginning in 2007.
Additionally, Ms. Whitley has been a DMT at Dancing Dialogue since 2014 working in private practice with children and families using Dr. Tortora’s Ways of Seeing psychotherapeutic multi-arts approach.
She specializes in providing DMT for children who have ADHD, anxiety, family separation, eating disorders, learning differences and issues with disruptive behavior, also providing parenting support.
She has taught as interim instructor in The New School’s Creative Arts Therapy Certification Program, worked as DMT/Choreographer for Angelight Films, and presented workshops locally, nationally, and internationally.
Ph.D., LPC, BC-DMT
Levine Children’s Hospital
Leslie Armeniox, Ph.D., LPC, BC-DMT, has practiced Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) for over 30 years with people of all ages and in a variety of settings.
She has a master’s degree in Dance/Movement Therapy from Hahnemann Medical College (now Drexel University), and a doctorate in Counseling and Counselor Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Leslie is a Licensed Professional Counselor in North Carolina and a Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist. She serves as Secretary for the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) and as the ADTA’s Professional Relations Liaison to the Profession of Counseling.
After relocating from Hawaii where she directed Counseling Services at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Leslie wanted to return to DMT and was grateful to get a call from The Andrea Rizzo Foundation.
She is excited to now be working for Dréa’s Dream at Levine Children’s Hospital Oncology Center in Charlotte, NC, bringing the joy and healing power of Dance/Movement Therapy to children recovering from cancer.
Sharon O’Neill Mulcahy
MS, MA, R-DMT, CLM
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center
Memorial Elementary School
East Hampton, CT
Sharon O’Neill Mulcahy,MS, MA, R-DMT, CLM, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford, CT, Memorial Elementary School East Hampton, CT, is a Dance/Movement Therapist working with a diverse population, including children with autism and special needs in public schools in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
She also works with Cancer pediatric patients at The Connecticut Children’s Hospital on a weekly basis.
She spent 37 years as an Elementary school teacher.
For 20 years she owned and operated her own Studio of Dance.
Hasbro Children’s Hospital
Melissa Sabatini, MA, R-DMT – Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Providence, RI is a Rhode Island based Dance/Movement Therapist who works with pediatric patients at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, RI and with special needs children at Narragansett Elementary School, RI.
Her work in the public school setting has been a front page feature in the Narragansett Times newspaper.
In addition to her work through the Andrea Rizzo Foundation, Melissa is also a full time Expressive Arts Psychotherapist at another RI hospital.
As an Expressive Therapist Melissa employs dance and movement, along with other arts based activities, to therapeutically support adults in acute treatment for substance abuse and patients who are dually diagnosed.
PhD, MA, BC-DMT, LCAT – Ronald McDonald House, New York, NY
Jocelyn Shaw, PhD, MA, BC-DMT, LCAT – Ronald McDonald House, New York, NY, is a dance/movement therapist and licensed clinical psychologist.
As a proud member of the Andrea Rizzo Foundation team, she has been facilitating dance therapy groups for families at the Ronald McDonald House in NYC for over ten years and previously at Memorial Sloan Kettering’s pediatric dance therapy program.
She also has a private practice in NYC and Long Island for dance therapy and clinical psychology.
Visit her web site at drjocelynshaw.org to learn more.
Riley Children’s Hospital
Breanna Davis, MS, R-DMT is a Registered Dance/movement Therapist from Indianapolis, Indiana and has a Master’s in Dance/Movement therapy (psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual, for the purpose of improving health and well-being.)
Through The Andrea Rizzo Foundation, Breanna brought Dance/movement Therapy back to Riley Children’s Hospital where she provides therapy services to inpatient and rehab units. Breanna works to help connect the mind and body of each individual child through mindfulness, meditation, dance facilitated imaginary play, therapeutic talk and dance instruction while also promoting an outlet for emotional expression.
Breanna also continues to work with dancers focusing on dancer specific goals such as: performance anxiety, body image, confidence, etc. At her home studio, The Dance Refinery, Breanna has started an Adaptive Dance Program that is geared toward people with disabilities who are looking for an outlet to make friends, work on gross motor skills, and have fun!
Specialization (But not limited to):
Depression and Anxiety
Outlet for emotional expression
Mindfulness and Meditation
People w/ Disabilities
Dancer Specific Goals
Physical and Mental injury prevention
Targeted movement goals
M.Ed., MA, R-DMT
Primary Children’s Hospital
Salt Lake City, UT
Sara Schmidt, M.Ed., MA, R-DMT, has a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling with an emphasis in Dance Movement Therapy from Lesley University and is a Registered Dance/Movement Therapist.
The Andrea Rizzo Foundation provided the opportunity for Sara to bring Dance Movement Therapy to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sara uses movement and mindfulness to facilitate emotional expression, create opportunities for choice and control, and to bring awareness to the mind/body connection for kids with complex medical diagnoses.
Sara also facilitates movement groups for kids with behavioral diagnoses at Primary Children’s Wasatch Canyon’s Behavioral Health Campus in day treatment and inpatient programs.
It takes two flints to make a fire
-Louisa May Alcott