Sarah Atenhan (she/they)
Founder and Artistic Director | Multi-disciplined Professional
Hello, I'm Sarah. I was raised in Oak Park, Illinois – home to Iman Shumpert, Betty White, and Ernest Hemingway, to name a few! I studied Flamenco, Ballet, Modern, Jazz, and Hip Hop in my early years and progressed to Aerial Dance after I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 2008.
In 2009, I began my professional career choreographing, performing, and teaching throughout the Chicagoland area and beyond. (Have you ever heard of Jackpot, Nevada?!) Simultaneously, I developed my career as a Producer for Video, Live Events, and Digital Communications, where I also traveled throughout the country. (Now, I'm sure you've heard of Las Vegas, Nevada!)
While I always carried a passion for adaptive movement (I have a family member with Cerebral Palsy and took great interest in her journey), it wasn't until I sustained a severe cervical spine injury that I learned to rely on adaptive aerial and dance practices for recovery and continuation of my art. This process inspired my family and me to move to Nashville in 2017 and start a program focusing on movement expression, exploration, adaptation, empathy, and fun for various abilities and ages. This program eventually became Satellite Dance, receiving its 501(c)(3) status in April 2020 (GREAT timing).
Shortly after we started the program, I noticed that many youth and adult participants experienced hypermobility, neurodivergence, and other hidden/not-so-hidden disabilities. Their vulnerability and openness, combined with the observation that I was creating a conducive space for them, led me to my diagnosis of hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and ADHD. These diagnoses have only empowered my work, ensuring that I and others like myself have a place in the performing arts.
When I'm not in the studio, producing, or diving deep into continuing education courses, I am with my wonderful child, hilarious husband, and playful puppy. We love to watch movies, go on adventures, and play music. I am eternally grateful to them for encouraging me and participating in my work.
University of lllinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lou Conte Dance Studio
Aerial Dance Chicago
Chicago National Association of Dance Masters
AIR® Aerial Fitness
The Kaivalya Yoga Method®
American Crane & Safety
Hall Rigging Academy
American Circus Educators
2004 - 2008. Bachelor of Science in Psychology.
Extensive coursework in the Department of Dance and Geology.
2008 - 2017. Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Modern. (Adv/Pro Level)
2008 - 2012. Silks, Rope, Bungee, and Lyra. (Adv/Pro Level)
2009. Dance Instructor Training.
2011. Fundamentals of Gymnastics.
2016. Aerial Yoga Teacher Certification.
2017. Aerial Fitness Teacher Certification.
2017. Continuing Education for Aerial Yoga.
2017. Continuing Education for Aerial Fitness.
2020. 200 Hour Teacher Training Certification.
2023. Qualified Rigger Level One.
2023. Aerial Rigging Safety.
Continuing education workshops: aerial coaching, biomechanics in aerial arts, grant funding, nonprofit management, dance conditioning, and more! I am ALWAYS learning and relearning.