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SoMar Dance Works

Solveig & Mark Santillano, Directors

Solveig Santillano

Solveig Santillano, originally from Sioux Falls, SD holds a BFA from the Juilliard School of Dance, and an MA from Wesleyan University. She spent her early years delving into the performing arts via such theatre programs as Circle in the Square (NYC), Northwestern University (NHSI) and set off for a decade of performing with a variety of modern dance companies that bridged the gap of theatre and dance including Anna Sokolow's Player's Project, Ruby Shang and Dancers, Prometheus Dance company, and Spencer/Colton culminating in six years of touring internationally with MOMIX dance company. With MOMIX, Solveig was a soloist and choreographic collaborator, who appeared in Italian television specials and an IMAX film for the Korean Film Festival. In addition to performing, Solveig headed the dance department at Salem State College in Massachusetts, taught numerous master classes, and served on faculty at Springfield Ballet, Inner Balance Pilates, Success Naturally Yoga Center, and the Missouri Fine Arts Academy. Currently Solveig is an

assistant professor of dance at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania and she is a certified yoga instructor. Solveig is deeply grateful for the rich tapestry of teachers that are woven into her life, and she feels blessed with a fabulous group of students and supporting faculty. Solveig extends heartfelt gratitude to her husband, Mark, for his endless support and creativity, for their partnership at home and on the dance floor with SoMar Dance Works. She is especially thankful for the gift of their fifteen-year-old daughter, Ella, whose presence sweetens their journey with the constant reminder of the bounteous gifts of the universe.

Solveig is also the proud recipient of the inaugural Erie Arts & Culture Artist Fellowship made possible by community contributions to the annual Arts & Culture Campaign and the Erie Arts Endowment. 

Mark Santilano

Mark Santillano has enjoyed a rich and varied career in the arts. With a background of gymnastics, martial arts and music, Mark earned a BFA in Dance and BS in Communications from Southwest Missouri State University, and his Masters from Wesleyan University. As a dancer he has performed in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. While a member of Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Mark was dance captain, soloist, choreographic collaborator, danced at the Olympics, appeared in commercials, on television, and won an Emmy. He was also a company member of Indianapolis’ Dance Kaleidoscope. As a member of Actor Equity Association his credits include lots of dinner theater as well as national and/or international tours of The King and I, West Side Story, and A Chorus Line. As a teacher, Mark has served as an Artist-in-Residence at SMSU (his alma mater) and is currently an Assistant Professor at Mercyhurst University where he’s worked since 2000. Along with his wife, Solveig Santillano, Mark is co-director and co-founder of SoMar Dance Works. Established in 1999, SoMar has received numerous grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and ArtsErie. The company is in-residence at Mercyhurst. As a choreographer, Mark has had his work presented by/at/in Gothenburg Sweden; Regional Dance America; Austria’s Young! Tanzsommer dance festival; Zodiaque Dance Company (Buffalo, NY); Beef & Boards Dinner Theater (Indianapolis, IN); Grand Valley State University Dance Ensemble (Allendale, MI); Dancing Wheels (Cleveland, OH), Lake Erie Ballet (Erie, PA); Erie Dance Conservatory Company (Erie, PA); Firehouse Dinner Theater (Omaha, NE); Point Park University’s Playhouse Dance Company (Pittsburgh, PA); Instinct DanceCorps (Scottsdale, AZ); Inertia Dance Company (Springfield, MO); Geneseo Dance Ensemble (Geneseo, NY), and the San Diego Civic Dance Company (San Diego, CA). When not in the studio, Mark serves on the board of directors for the American College Dance Association, and the Erie Dance Consortium.

Mark is also the proud recipient of the inaugural Erie Arts & Culture Artist Fellowship made possible by community contributions to the annual Arts & Culture Campaign and the Erie Arts Endowment.