Headshot of Cecilia Fontanesi

Cecilia Fontanesi




Cecilia Fontanesi is a dancer, choreographer, performing artist, certified movement analyst, neuroscientist, and dance/movement therapist. She graduated from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, LIMS in New York, and holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from CUNY, The Graduate Center. 

Her recent research paper “Beauty That Moves” (2021) has been published in Frontiers in Psychology and investigates the effects of elements intrinsic to dance for Parkinson’s classes, like music, metaphorical language, and art-partaking. Her research explores the intersection of dance performance, neuroscience, movement analysis, neuroaesthetics, improvisation studies, perceptual decision-making, dance and health.

She co-founded a dance modality, Parcon (Parkour + Contact Improvisation), dedicated to challenging our connection to the environment and social relationships through movement. Since 2016, Parcon NYC created 12 original dance productions, site-specific performances, flash mobs, and community engagement events. The short film “Subway stops” won the Silver Award at the Contact Dance International Film Festival 2017

Cecilia also collaborated with New York choreographer Jody Oberfelder on the production of the experimental dance work "The Brain Piece," which premiered in 2017 at New York Live Arts and included the award-winning short "Dance of the Neurons" selected by the Film Society of Lincoln Center (Dance on Camera Festival 2016).

Cecilia is the Associate Artistic Director of IDACO (Italian Dance Connection), a platform for Italian artists living in New York and for New York artists who want to be in dialogue with Italian culture. Since 2015, IDACO has produced five dance festivals, selecting and presenting over fifty dance artists who work between Italy and the US. 

Teaching credits include the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Marymount Manhattan College, Sarah Lawrence College, CUNY’s City College, and the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. 

Cecilia has been a Parkinson's Foundation community grant recipient since 2020, with the project "Shakespeare for Parkinson's." She is the elected Chair of the Research and Practice Committee of the American Dance Therapy Association. She joined the Barnard faculty in 2022.