picturepicture picture

Artistic Director


Jannelle Cortes, Creative Director and Founder of GrooveFit

Jannelle Cortes

Official Biography

Artistic Director Jannelle Cortes is a multi-talented choreographer, instructor, and performer with expertise in various dance forms including Ballet, Middle-Eastern, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Afro-Caribbean, Salsa, and Samba.

She began dancing with the Academy of Theatrical Arts in her hometown of Washington, DC at the age four. Exposure to different cultures and art forms in her upbringing nourished a passion for dance and anthropology that brought her to New York in 1997 where she studied Political Science at Fordham University: taking full advantage of their affiliation with The Ailey School. Her years studying in the epicenter of dance allowed for a deepening of her knowledge; not only technique, but of the culture and stories behind ethnic dance forms. Jannelle’s diverse repertoire was the foundation for the creation of Groovefit, a dance school and cultural and commemorative performance company.

Groovefit was conceived in 2006 and it stemmed from Jannelle’s desire to fuse her technical experience as a dancer with her appreciation for the accessibility offered by aerobics classes. She started teaching the Groovefit format at the Bronx Dance Theatre and has since taught for Alvin Ailey, Broadway Dance Center, New York Sports Club, Equinox, Reebok and Asphalt Green. She has also implemented the use of dance as exercise in such prestigious institutions as Maimonides Medical Center, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Mt. Sinai and various public schools in New York City, and has created partnerships with their respective Type II diabetes prevention programs. Jannelle’s strength lies in her unique skill of preserving the integrity of dance while offering it as a wellness tool to her students.

She is the creator of the five star DVD: The Belly Dance Workout for Every Body inviting women of every size and shape to enjoy the feminine art and exercise of Middle Eastern Belly Dance.

As a charismatic teacher that inspires students of all ages and brings the art of dance to a wider audience, Jannelle has been featured on Telemundo, Univision, and New York Public Access programming. She has also been mentioned by several fitness and lifestyle publications and was featured in Daily News Egypt in 2007.

Jannelle’s performance credits include Dances for Venus, 2011; Journeys of the Shimmy, 2010; Aleo Sponsor My Shimmy 2 Cabaret Show, 2010; Vday Belly Dance Against Domestic Violence, Lang Theatre, 2009; M2 Ultra Lounge Sponsor My Shimmy, 2009;Woolworth Tower Kitchen Cabaret Belly Dance Production, 2007; and Lafayette Grill Student Showcases, 2006, 2007, 2008.

In November of 2011, Jannelle and the Groovefit Dance Company were invited to perform at The American History of Belly Dancers of Color Gala Show.