Marissa was quoted in her interview as a featured teaching artist in the PBS documentary, Art & the Mind: “I was born to dance…my calling is to teach.”
Marissa firmly believes in using art as a tool to empower youth to be a voice in addressing personal and social issues affecting their communities.
One of her goals is to nurture young artists to build personal, artistic and global relationships in order to build community through art, professionalism (on and off stage), and love- for their work, themselves and each other.
A native Angeleno, Marissa continues to be Visionary and leader in the professional world and community. She is the CEO/Founder of De Mi Alma Productions: Sharing the stories of the American Latino experience creating work for stage, film and TV as well as continuing to work as a choreographer and actor. She strives to connect us and tells the stories of the human experience.
Marissa has over 20 years of experience working as a professional in the industry and a leader in Arts Education. She is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of 4C LAB, a nonprofit organization providing quality programming beyond access in Arts Education. Marissa has led workshops internationally and has written, choreographed, produced and directed many projects. She created the Dance Choreography and Production Program at Inner-City Arts in the Skid Row section of Los Angeles. She is also the co-founder of The Heart and Soul Collective- a cross-discipline of young artists using their art to empower personal and social transformation. She was the Artistic Director for the short film “My L.A.” which was featured in the VC L.A. film festival “Breaking Barriers, Crossing Cultures in May 2012. Marissa is the founding Artistic Director and choreographer for the Inner-City Arts Repertory Dance Company who performed for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate, in Los Angeles in 2011. Marissa was a delegate to La Habana, Cuba where she taught dance and participated in cross cultural workshops with Danza Moderna de Cuba and completed a collaborative project with her students and youth in England sponsored by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Marissa is also a published writer with contributions to “Middle School Dance,” and “Critical Media Literacy,” by Jeff Share published in 2015.
Marissa Herrera began her professional career as an artist at the age of five, performing with the Ballet Folklorico de Aztlan Dance Company. Feature credits have included Romeo & Juliet-Zoot Suit Style with Tony Plana’s East L.A. Classic Theatre, Selena Forever National Tour, Luis Avalos’ Paquitos’ Christmas, as Lupe Reyna in the 25th Anniversary Tour of Luis Valdez’, Zoot Suit, with El Teatro Campesino, and the premiere production of Riot/Rebellion with Watts Village Theatre Company. Film and television credits have included, Something Lost, The After, The Importance of Being, Rapunzel Jackson, Bones (FOX) and a principal dancing role in Sony Pictures’ You Got Served. As a choreographer, feature credits include Grammy Award winning artist, Macy Gray, and the Tony Award winning musical, “In the Heights (ITL Award for best choreography)” at the Candle Light Pavilion Theater.
Darci grew up in Southern California where her love of dance began at the local community center. While focusing primarily on classical ballet, and training in jazz and hip hop, Darci found the art form of flamenco and has never turned back. Dance opened up opportunities of a lifetime, allowing her to work with world renowned artists, musicians and choreographers. After graduating from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnology Anthropology and Political Science; Darci continued her professional dance career, performing and teaching around the world with Holland America Cruise Line, Bloc Agency, Universal Dance Association, Lake Arrowhead Classical Ballet Company, Oxygen Jazz Dance Company, and Orange Coast College. Most recently, she was featured as a principal dancer for the San Diego Opera and continues to perform throughout Los Angeles.
As an advocate for the arts, she has created programming and events focusing on community access and equal opportunity to experience the arts. Her professional career includes over ten years of program and event development for youth arts organizations and experience working with several renowned museums, nonprofit organizations including Sundance Institute and Sundance Film Festival, Americans for the Arts, Kidspace Children's Museum, Inner-City Arts, ARTS (A Reason to Survive), and The New Children’s Museum.
Raised by educators and changemakers, Darci is continuing the work of her family legacy to provide youth with the opportunity and support to grow into positive community members and self aware individuals. The work of the 4C LAB is dedicated to using the arts as a vehicle for self expression and overall well being.
Dancing since before she was born, Rappaport's versatile background spans hip hop, modern, jazz, house, contemporary, African dance, ballet, waving, popping, improvisation and partner dance. She has worked with noted choreographers Adrienne Hawkins (Impulse Dance), Jimmy Locust (Paula Abdul, Michael & Janet Jackson), Kathryn Posin, Sarah Elgart/Arrogant Elbow, Billy Siegenfeld and Jeannie Hill (Jump Rhythm Jazz Project), Thelma Goldberg (The Dance Inn), and Kim Elliott (New York University). She has performed at venues such as Dance New Amsterdam, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, World of Dance NY and The Hatch Shell in Boston. In 2014, Rappaport worked on the world-famous dance/cardiology piece, "Heartbeat," composed by sound-artist Christopher Janney and choreographed by Sara Rudner (former principal dancer for Twyla Tharp Dance.)
In recent years, Rappaport has been awarded grants from Brooklyn and Queens Arts Councils to produce, choreograph and perform in multidisciplinary performances involving dance, poetry, music and visual elements. Her choreographic work has been shown at New York City venues including LaMama Experimental Theatre, The Alchemical Theatre Lab, Figment Arts Festival, New York University, and Bushwick Open Studios.
A strong advocate for dance & arts education, Rappaport has taught dance and arts workshops for the past 10 years in New York City, California, New England and internationally. She has worked with after-school programs, dance studios, summer camps, community arts centers, senior centers and prisons. In 2010, Rappaport received her B.A. from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she designed her concentration in Community-Based Arts Education in order to further deepen her understanding of the transformative power of dance and the arts.
Rappaport currently resides in Los Angeles where she performs, choreographs and teaches.