Marcel Baaijens (MSc, M.A.A.E., LVB Cert.) is a professional dance teacher, choreographer, art educator, researcher, documentary maker, designer, and artist. He has 30 years of international experience in dance and art education. He worked in Australia, New Zealand, Slovakia, The Netherlands and the U.S.A. He is a Dutch-born, New Zealand citizen but works globally.

He studied architecture at the Technical University of Delft, The Netherlands (MSc), Art and Art Education at the School of the Art Institite of Chicago (MAAE), completed 'International Folk Dance Teacher Training' with the LVB, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (LVD, Cert.), and Dementia Essentials Training in South Australia.

Marcel is a Nontropolite, somebody who has lived in many places around the world, and feels at home anywhere. He was born and raised in the medieval city of Amersfoort, The Netherlands. He started travelling on his own from the age of 16, and never stopped since. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1988, and is now a New Zealand citizen. He also lived and studied in Chicago, U.S.A., lived for short periods of time in Canada, Slovakia, Nepal/India, and recently travelled for 2 years around Australia  in a small van that was his transport, home, and office.


Marcel started working as an International Folkdance tutor in The Netherlands in 1986. He moved to New Zealand in 1988 where he created sitdance. Sitdance became an overnight hit in the aged care sector. Below you can see a TVNZ item on sitdance from the early days (1989). He has worked with community groups, dance schools, the New Zealand School of Dance, disability groups and the aged care sector.

He introduced sitdance to the rest homes in the Wellington area and trained aged care professionals nation-wide to enable them to teach sitdance independently.

In 2015 he brought Sitdance to Australia and created the Sitdance Downunder DVD programme, a complete sitdance course resource for lifestyle staff. With over 400 copies sold, and streaming sitdance through Web2TV, more than a quarter of a million aged care residents have access to sitdance in Australia.

In 2017 he will produce more sitdances courses, including one specifically for our elders living with dementia.

Art Education

Marcel studied art education at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago (M.A.A.E.). He specialised in working with artists with intellectual disabilities and those on the autism spectrum. He pioneered art programmes for people with intellectual disabilities in Chicago, U.S.A , Wellington New Zealand at community and tertiary levels. He conducted research into an inclusive tertiary art education methodology and pioneered the first fully inclusive tertiary art education programme in the world (see videos below).

Sitdance on TVNZ (1989)

Sitdance Downunder Trailer

Creative Process

Mentoring artists with intellectual impairments.

Sample Tutorial and Dance:

Sitdance Testimonial

The Empty Teacup Party

Award winning documentary (30 Minutes)

Inclusive tertiary art education research

Oline Publications

Artist-in-Residency, Slovakia