Tania was born and raised in Salvador, Bahia, Tania Santiago grew up in the heart of African Brazil. In Brazil she has taught, danced, and choreographed for many well-known companies including Olodum, an arts group famous for its Carnaval parade performances and credited with developing the music style known as samba reggae. While her specialties are folkloric and contemporary Afro-Brazilian dance, Santiago is also conversant in jazz, ballet, West African, Afro-Cuban and modern dance forms. Santiago has resided in California since 1997, and has taught packed classes regularly at ODC School & Rhythm and Motion Dance Program since 2005. In 2001, Santiago received a three-year grant from the California Arts Council to teach young people throughout the San Francisco Unified School District. In addition, Santiago performs with her own company Aguas (formerly known as Aguas da Bahia), the Ramon Alayo Dance Company, and Deep Waters Dance Company. Santiago's choreography has also been performed by many local groups including Loco Bloco, Axe Abada, Kuumba, Quimbanda Grupo Carnavalesco, and Abada Capoeira. Each year in San Francisco, Santiago teaches a performance workshop in the Bahian Carnaval tradition. The workshop culminates in the annual Carnaval parade in May. Santiago also leads annual dance intensives in Salvador, Bahia as part of her cross-cultural work.