2021-2023 Board Elections

Hello NEADTA – it’s election year! The current NEADTA Board feels as though we have planted some wonderful seeds these past two years, and is excited to welcome fresh perspectives, new voices, and energetic souls into the 2021-2023 term.

The elected-Board will be introduced and celebrated on Friday, June 11th.

All current Professional, Associate, and Student NEADTA members are welcomed to vote! Voting is anonymous. Learn more about our nominees below.

The link to vote will be emailed to membership on June 1st. If you are a member and didn’t receive the link, please let us know at helloneadta@gmail.com.

President Nominee

Stefanie D. Belnavis, LMHC, BC-DMT

Stefanie wears many hats as a Jamaican-born Board-Certified Dance Movement Therapist, Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Clinician, Disability Advocate, Adjunct Professor and Independent Photographer. Stefanie is also the Founder of A Bucket For the Well LLC, a creative arts psychotherapeutic private practice that centers attachment and early relationships through embodied movement-based practices, trauma-focused generational healing and creative wellness for BIPOC young children, their families and adults with a deep commitment to social justice and racial equality. Stefanie specializes in multicultural mental health advocacy for children, families, community educators, and community partners within the US and Caribbean Diaspora, with a focus on the culturally affirming parent-infant mental health and intergenerational trauma within communities of color, particularly immigrant families. An immigrant herself, Stefanie’s work is charged by seeking to create intersectional and decolonizing dialogue around diverse, inclusive and equitable mental health and creative forms of healing, namely dance movement psychotherapy, within underserved/marginalized communities that marry culturally empathetic social emotional practices, creative arts therapy interventions, and intergenerational studies within these communities. 

Stefanie has worked as a Creative Arts Therapist and Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Clinician and Consultant in Boston Massachusetts wherein she provides clinical and experiential movement-based services to young children, their parents/caregivers and their extended community supports. Stefanie has served as a mental health consultant to local preschools, childcare centers and public schools in the Boston area, providing teacher and staff consultation, parent and teacher trainings, school-based play and dance movement therapy, classroom and student observations, feedback sessions, and crisis intervention services when needed. 

Stefanie’s is also fueled by her passion as a creative in which she is an avid advocate for sustainable creative health for all. Stefanie is the Founder of The Diahann Project (TDP) and The Diahann Project Births (TDPB). Both photography collaboratives are centered around elevating the intersectional stories of BIPOC communities. TDP focuses on BIPOC visual storytelling through portrait photography while TDPB is similarly aligned with a larger focus on celebrating the perinatal journeys of BIPOC families inclusive of successful and adverse child birthing stories/experience and perinatal inequities. Stefanie is also the Founder and Lead Photographer of Foresythe, a print photo journal that chronicles the visuals and stories of BIPOC communities.

Stefanie is an Adjunct Professor at Lesley University and a Fellow in the Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship through Jewish Children and Family Services. Stefanie is a member of the American Dance Therapy Association’s Multicultural and Diversity Committee (MDC) and has served as a member of the MDC’s Shared Space Curation Committee and their Black Magic Affinity Group. Over this past year, Stefanie has engaged with the NEADTA as the New England ADTA’s Multicultural and Diversity Committee Liaison.

“Over the past year, I have had the humbling opportunity to engage with the NEADTA Board and our larger membership as the first Multicultural Diversity Committee Liaison. Within this role, collaboration and co-creation have been pivotal. Being inc community with the NEADTA Board in their growing efforts to re-build/build up the NEADTA student and professional community at a time when the world was quite literally and rightfully ‘on fire’ was timely. In centering multiplicity, our communities intersecting social identities and how these factors impact our ability to be in community was a necessary shift for this Chapter. It was my honor to collaboratively guide and support these harder conversations/encounters to further establish a shared leadership and shared accountability collective within this unique ADTA Chapter, which spans over 6 states, with the collaborative intention of amplifying diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice causes that are representative of our vast multicultural membership. It is my hope that this DIESJ initiative can continue under my leadership as the 2021 – 2023 NEADTA President.”

Vice President Nominee


Treasurer Nominee

Ashley N. Abesamra, LMHC, BC-DMT, MA

Ashley Abesamra is a licensed mental health clinician specializing in group and individual therapy with infants/toddlers, children, adolescents, and adults. Her counseling approach is strengths based, client centered and goal oriented. Her work is rooted in dance/movement therapy and expressive arts theory. Her work has primarily focused on anxiety, parenting support, trauma/PTSD, ADHD, adjustment challenges, Autism, Intellectual Disabilities, depression, and challenging childhood behaviors.

Ashley Abesamra received her B.A. in Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University. She received her M.A. in Expressive Therapy with a concentration in Dance/Movement Therapy and Clinical Counseling from Lesley University. She has worked in residential treatment, a day treatment program, early intervention, a school based setting, and most recently in outpatient therapy.

Personally, Ashley enjoys dancing, exercising, walking outside, going to the beach, cooking/ baking, and spending time with her husband and daughter. 

“I am passionate about dance/movement therapy and leadership. I have experience serving on a board of directors, and I would value the opportunity to apply my skills to support the dance/movement therapy community. This seemed like the ideal time to get involved, as I would like the opportunity to continue with some of the work that was emphasized by the previous board members around diversity, equity, and inclusivity. I would also like to continue to work on creating opportunities for connection and peer support. As treasurer, I know I could support the board in making important collaborative financial decisions that would benefit the mission and priorities of the NEADTA community.”

Secretary Nominee


MDC Liaison Nominees

Iyit Benusia, MA, R-DMT

Hi, my name is Iyit Benusia, and people here usually call me IB. I am a recent graduate of Lesley University. I am originally from Indonesia and have been living abroad for 8 years now. I am relatively new to the US, but my experience living abroad for the past years has boosted my passion for serving the marginalized population in my clinical practice.

“My biggest aspiration in joining the NEADTA board members is for the story of my people to be heard by the larger public! My identity as a Chinese-Indonesian has taught me to live in the dark for a long time. Chinese-Indonesian has such a long and dark history of racism and discrimination, even in our home country. And I think the most realistic way to achieve that is to start from something small, such as contributing to the NEADTA committee, where my voice is heard and my contribution is valued. Joining the NEADTA board also gives me the chance to give back to this beautiful Dance/Movement Therapy community that has guided me through my journey. I wish that my voice and service can be an inspiration to other people no matter how small the impact is. Every small thing counts!”

Jasmine Tynae Dowery, MA, R-DMT, SAC

Jasmine Dowery is passionate about healing and holding spaces to facilitate such. As a descendant of Yoruba ancestry she has come to the work of Dance/Movement Therapy as an additional tool to enhancing the collective’s awareness of self, healing repertoire, and connection to our divine calling and ancestry. Jasmine believes we all can learn best practice when we listen to understand (heart) and not just to learn (mind). Jasmine is a 2020 graduate from Lesley University, served as a student representative for the ADTA, and awarded the 2020-2021 Norma Canner Scholarship for her passion and excellence in Dance/Movement Therapy. Jasmine combined all aspects her of her identity and passion for healing the diaspora in her Capstone Thesis entitled: (Re)humanizing: A Culturally Informed Approach to Coping with the Manifestation of Super Woman Schema in Black Women with Trauma Exposure.

“I, Jasmine Tynae Dowery, am interested in serving as your MDC Liaison for the NEADTA with a promise to speak tactfully, authentically, and eloquently to amplify all voices that tremble when their truth is being expressed. I will utilize my active listening skills, intuition, passion and compassion for the human experience to create safe spaces for all of our members.”

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