By Ann Fain | Photos: Tony Maesto and Carla Villela

This Brazilian-American girl started dancing samba when she was still a baby with the help of her parents. Her dad helped her since she was a baby by moving her hips and exposing her to Samba. Her mom helped her by signing her up for ballet and hip-hop classes and always encouraging Gisella to perform and teach. Gisella says, “I have loved dancing ever since I can remember. Dance has become my life.”

Born in Santa Cruz and living in L.A for a while now, Gisella is a professional dancer, choreographer and certified zumba instructor. Generally she practices dance everyday for 2 to 4 and she loves baile funk (Brazilian funk), hip-hop, zumba and samba. If we add her teaching classes at the Brasil Brasil Cultural Center in Culver City it can goes up to 6 hours. “Dancing is a way of life. It is a way to heal and renew my spirit and by the others. It is a workout for your mind, body, and soul.”

In addition to dancing, Gisella loves singing, hiking and yes, like Brazilians, going to the beach! She also enjoys dining on Moqueca de Peixe (Brazilian Food) and Pineapple Curry (Thai Food). In the future she is planning to dance and travel more and she is working towards building a foundation to help abandoned and disadvantaged children in Brazil. Her motto is “Go! Be. Love. The world needs you!”

Her advice for being happy is “to allow yourself to enjoy every moment no matter what”. Gisella feels that “happiness is a choice, it’s time to let go of all suffering and be present to joy and abundance”. She recommends practicing meditation to learn to control the mind and free yourself from negative thoughts and patterns. “A controlled mind is a happy mind and through meditation we learn to have a virtuous mind of love and compassion”.

The perfect man for Gisella is one that is genuine, present, happy, and comfortable in his own skin. He must also be kind, honest, trusting, spiritually attuned, passionate, humble, hard working and won’t give up even when things get difficult. Gisella says “He would be a best friend I can laugh with and share my life with. He would put love and family above all else”. Peace and happiness for “Gi”! www.gisellasambista.com

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