Benga is a Nigeria born international dancing sensation, with backgrounds in several African dances, ballroom dances, American dances, and latin dances. From Waltz to Tango, Makoussa to Kizomba, hip hop to west coast swing, and Irish dance to Bollywood. Benga has intensive dancing experiences all across the globe. An Afro Beats and Afro-cuban solo performer, and a latin dance instructor well known to many now as the Da Beatz. With 26 years of African Dancing and 6 years of professional latin dancing, Benga is teaching and promoting at every Latin events possible with his own vibrant style of Fun Swagness
Bruno and Olga started dancing together in November 2015 and have since taught and performed at numerous events around the country from local workshops to large international congresses.
In 2016 they took second place in the semi-pro division of the Zouk US Open with their now well-known choreography piece “Worth It” and shortly after got featured in the “Fences” movie, that’s currently in production stage.
Olga has a rich dance background in classical ballet, modern, contemporary and commercial jazz, as well as hip hop and heels choreographies. She is also an All-Star west coast swing dancer.
Once she discovered Brazilian zouk however, it has become her main passion, and these days she dedicates majority of her training time to perfecting her dance skills and broadening her knowledge base in this dance style. She currently teaches and performs around the US with her partner Bruno Miranda and co-directs Zouk team at Ivo Vieira’s Dance Company.
Bruno is trained in hip hop, salsa, kizomba, tarraxinha, semba, and of course brazilian zouk. He has been on the social dance scene of his hometown Braga, Portugal since he was 14 years old.
Since his move to the US he’s been mainly focusing on zouk and kizomba, training and teaching around the country with his partner, performing in ISDC dance company for a while, and currently co-directing the Zouk team at Ivo Vieira's Dance company and learning from the best dance professionals in the world.
Having combined their knowledge and experience as dancers and teachers, Bruno and Olga have built a unique and memorable style, which they are always eager to share!
From San Francisco, Bryon Stroud and Sammantha Arias have been teaching and performing all over the bay area. Known for there very smooth footwork and great musicality.
They have been taking the bachata scene by storm teaching at Reno bachata festival and also SF bachata festival this July.
Christina Montoya, who now lives in the East Coast, began dancing in middle school where she joined the jazz/ hip hop team. In high school, she joined the cheer team and continued to learn dance and tumbling as well as perform and compete. She also was a part of "Ohana Maoli", a Tahitian/ Polynesian style dance team that performed at her high school and local events. Shortly after, she began learning salsa and bachata with Aragon Dance Company. She has also trained with Latin Rhapsody, Omambo Dance Project, and has trained with various artists in Zouk. Christina are the director of Urban Flow in Los Angeles and have taught at festivals throughout the US including: BKS Festival (Los Angeles), Dallas Bachata Festival, Reno Latin Dance Festival, and LABF (Los Angeles)
Cymeone Mopao is a well known kizomba instructor based in Paris. He is one of the first instructors to have taught kizomba in France beginning in 2009. Born into a family of musicians, he was accustomed to lots of music and quickly adapted to the dance lifestyle. As he immersed imself into dance, he became proficient in African style dances such as ndombolo and coupé décalé. When he was 18, he joined a group of dancers called " les coeurs brisés ". From there he became interested in other Afro style dances like Zouk, Kompa and Kizomba. He gave his first Kizomba class in 2009 and became one of the most wanted instructors in international festivals.
In 2010, he was the first French instructor to teach Kizomba in the United States (New York).
In 2011, he brought Kizomba to Reunion Island and created the KIZOMBA EVENTS association in which he taught along side international instructors like Curtis Seldon.
In 2012, he began to learn other genres of dance like the LINDY HOP and STEPPIN. He began, after advanced training, to teach these dances in 2015.
Cymeone is a real world class instructor with an incredible enthusiasm for the dance which makes him one of the most wanted instructors for dance festivals and congress's worldwide.
Jeison Aguilar has been in the Latin dance scene for 20 years. He has been a big name when it comes to bachata music and bachata festivals. DJ El Guapo is one of the best bachata DJ in the world. He has DJ'd at San Francisco Bachata Festival, Reno Bachata Festival, San Francisco SALSA Congress, Los Angeles SALSA Congress, Hawaii Bachata Festival and more. Currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, he DJs at Impala, Bachata Addiction, Bachata con Coco, Bachata Cravings, and pretty much a partner in all or Rodchata Enterprise Events.
DJ Guelas (pronounced “Geh-Luss”) is one of the most prominent personalities in the African immigrant entertainment community, with fifteen years of experience in spinning music. His collaborations are a who’s who list of the Afro-zouk and Kizomba world of celebrities. Some of these notable names include Kaysha, Nelson Freitas, Ali Angel and Susana Lubrano. Guelas is an award nominated international DJ. From Lisbon and Rome to San Francisco and Washington, D.C., Guelas has attracted fans from across the globe with his diverse and exciting DJing sets
Recently voted as the best DJ for 2012, DJ Kenny has been in the dance scene for quite a while. He had done everything; competed, performed and taught. These days he is the Main DJ of several popular club venues in Los Angeles, GRANADA,HACIENDA, just to name a few. DJ Kenny is responsible for bringing Bachata artists to Los Angeles; Kiko Rodriguez, Cojunto Afro Son, just to name a few.
Ron Palma, aka DJ Ron, He has been influenced by the music he's heard as child (Cuco Valoy - El Brujo, Oscar D'León, Lalo Rodriguez, Tommy Olivencia, etc.) and from listening to the radio, the best of the 80’s Hip Hop (Eric B. & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul, Gang Starr, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, EPMD).
Started DJing after a good friend, saw the passion he had and suggested he try it. It has been a few year now and loves it. Watching people react to the music he plays is what makes him want to continue DJing. Has a strong passion for music and dance.
Currently he is a member/performer/resident DJ of Northern California's, Inessence Dance Co. Also is the resident Dj at Hot Bachata Nights (San Francisco) at HUE and Dance Fridays (San Francisco) at Space 550. He has participated in many of the West Coast dance festivals.
DJ Super Chino (AKA Jairo Aguilar) hails from Nicaragua and has been a DJ in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2001. Formerly a competitive dancer, DJ Super Chino has an intimate understanding of the music and history of salsa and bachata.
He is well known for his extensive collection of rare and hard-to-find tracks, and has been a featured DJ on the Hard Salsa radio show, as well as the San Francisco International Salsa Congress, San Francisco Salsa Festival, US Salsa Open, International Reno Bachata Festival, International San Francisco Bachata Festival, and the Reno Salsa Festival.
In addition to his reputation as a salsa DJ, Super Chino also plays Hip hop, Reaggeton, Top 40 Bachata, Salsa, Merengue, and Cumbia.
He has been invited to DJ at:
The Yemaya Salsa Dance Company was founded by Emelie Andagan & Heather Wong-Xoquic in October, 2000.
Emelie learned to dance salsa after only a few years due to her extensive dance background of over 20 years and many years of experience as a ballet and jazz student, and later a teacher at the Ballet Theatre of Dover Dance Conservatory. The troupe started as a small group of only four couples that rehearsed twice a week in various garages and practically anywhere with a smooth surface.
She owns and manages Yemaya Dance Studio in sacramento, and is the main director of Yemaya dance Company.
The best kept secret in the California valley for many years now is Gabi Pineda on salsa and bachata classes. He has a versatile style of Latin dancing. He has taught in Seattle, Reno, Las Vegas, London, Latvia, Mexico and other dance festivals in the world. New York Style On2 and Bachata is his expertise and had been teaching workshops all over the country. Recently, he has been featured teaching bachata dance on TV.
Jennifer Benavidez, now residing in London, England, is a Latin dance instructor/performer/ choreographer who is the co-owner of Extremos Salsa Dance School based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands for the past 8 years. Dance, especially SALSA has been her passion for over 20 years. Born in San Antonio , Texas , USA , her Mexican heritage has given her dancing rico sabor (good flavour). She discovered 'partner' dancing in 1992, and has enjoyed training, teaching, performing and just plain dancing salsa all over the US , Europe and the Middle East .
You can see her in numerous TV/film projects such as VOC, Alleen Nog Een Man, Life and Cooking, I Love the 80's, Hoe? Zo!, Alternative Love, TMF, So You Think You Can Dance, The Way She Moves, and The Life of David Gayle. She has given workshops and performed for a diverse range of companies (ABN-AMBRO, National Geographic, ING, Martin Air, KLM, Belegger.nl, Unilever, Expatica and Amsterdam Police Department) , organizations (BBC, BNN,RTL5, The Music Factory TV) , and festivals (Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade, UIT Markt, Latin Village, Vondel Park Summer Breeze, Rotterdam Summer Carnival, Roots Festival, ContraBanda, and Dansen Op Het Leidseplein)
In addition, Jennifer co-organized the Amsterdam International Salsa Festival for over 3 years, has judged numerous dance competitions and loves working with student showteams!
Jo Quinones has Latin Rhythms flowing through her vains. Having a mother from the Dominican Republic and a father from Puerto Rico she was raised being surrounded by different dance forms all of her life beginning with Ballet, Puerto Rican folklore and jazz at the early age of 5.A versatile artist, Jo continued her study of dance by training in ballroom and Latin dance forms before becoming a professional in 1997. Soon after becoming an instructor, she managed the studio for two years. After leaving Arthur Murray Dance Studio she became an independent instructor holding group and private lessons all around the Inland Empire. Her passion for acting also led her to become a member and graduate of the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts.She is currently an Assistant Director in the Otero Dance Co. directed by the world renowned Gloria & Claudio Otero. In June of 2002, she formed Afeenix Dance Co., an energetic group successfully dominating the Inland Empire and currently Southern Ca. Her stage and television credits include Salsa congresses in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Puerto Rico, and special appearances at the Asian International Telecommunications Expo, China, Telemundo, Univision, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Singapore and CBS. She has been an invited guest performer at Cancun’s Club Med and South Carolina’s Sea Brook Island.Jo is one of the few performers who can thrill an audience and leave them wanting more. Her blend of charisma, sensuality and style entertains and inspires.
John Narvaez and Liz Rojas are world-class ground-breaking Salsa dance artists and directors of the Salsamania Dance Company, which they founded in 2000. Their story tells us of how a dream, fueled by passion and foJohn Narvaez and Liz Rojas are world-class ground-breaking Salsa dance artists and directors of the Salsamania Dance Company, which they founded in 2000. Their story tells us of how a dream, fueled by passion and focus can change lives. Salsamania is a non-profit corporation with a mission to develop the best training programs and performance teams in the world. The company is based in the San Francisco, Bay Area.
As a powerful force in the industry, John and Liz in just five short years have proven themselves to be equally effective on the business, as well as creative side. They are among the most accomplished competitive Salsa dance couples in the world, having also taken their company – which includes both the Salsamania, professional team; and Son De Mania, semi-professional team to the top of the world’s Mambo dance scene. Having won numerous accolades for their many achievements, Salsamania is highly visible as a current top ranking champions of the 2005 and 2006 World Salsa Championships.
John and Liz came to the U.S. from Colombia at the ages of 11 and 10 respectively. Drawing upon the rich heritage of rhythm from their Columbian roots — a musical universe in its own right, John and Liz bring an undeniable love and intelligence to their approach of Salsa Dance. They have evolved a deep appreciation for the beauty of Latin dance into a clear vision of sharing their passion and knowledge of Salsa throughout the world. In 1997, they began an intensive approach to Salsa involving many hours of study, choreography, performing and competing. They began to build their skills and credibility through teaching and performing in such local competitions as MTV’s Telemundo and Alberto’s Night Club events, where they won top spots.
The Salsamania Dance Company has touched and transformed many lives throughout the world. The company is the #1 Bay Area Dance Team – known for its hypnotic performances marked by high levels of grace, speed and technical difficulty. The international interest in and influence of John and Liz’s teachings is spread across several continents. Each year, the couple is invited for an extended-teaching stay in Beijing China. They are regularly invited to perform, along with their professional dance team in many parts of Asia, Europe and South America. The company has a reputation as a major launching pad for the development of well-rounded and technically skilled Salsa talent. With four performance teams and over 80 members, Salsamania dancers follow a structured dance education program that allows them to move through several levels — while focusing on core values such as teamwork, professionalism, musicality, competition, the social aspects of dance and grace. The outgrowth of this teaching success are the Salsamania Dance Company training programs, devoted to well honed teaching techniques that use a building block approach to learning, thus enabling students to learn and progress rapidly.
John and Liz promote their local and international activities as a means to enhance awareness of the tremendous beauty and benefits of Salsa Dance, and the many opportunities to learn and perform on a world-wide scale.
cus can change lives. Salsamania is a non-profit corporation with a mission to develop the best training programs and performance teams in the world. The company is based in the San Francisco, Bay Area.
Kathy Reyes grew up developing an incredible passion and talent for dancing. She began her dance training at El Camino College in 2007. It was within this program that she discovered the intensity and adrenaline transmitted through her performance. In 2008 she became a member of Tropical Rhythm Dance Company directed by Luis Aguilar. He assisted Kathy in improving her skills and expanding her ability as a performer. During her involvement as a member of Tropical Rhythm, she had the opportunity to tour for various salsa congresses and competitions. The following year, she began to express herself with the passionate and tender feeling that Bachata transmits throughout her soul. Kathy went full force and began to acquire national attention after winning her first Bachata competition in Los Angeles, and obtaining second place in Bachata at the World Latin Dance Cup, 2010. She truly captivates the hearts of many when she sets foot onto the dance floor and is defined as “Short, Smooth and Sexy” [SSS]! No doubt that her talent is a true gift from God and a blessing for others: dancing with the feet is one thing but dancing with the heart takes one to a whole different level.
Leo da Paixao started dance, theater and music at an early age in Salvador, Brazil. By age fourteen, he was dancing and performing in community events. Leo has had the opportunity to study a wide range of dances with master teachers including Jonathas Firmato and Ilmar Santos for Brazilian ballroom dances. Leo studied samba da gafieira with Sandro Guedes, a student of one the best known instructors in Brazil, Jimmy de Oliveira. He studied forró with Edj Braga and salsa with Alexei Ramos, a disciple of the famous Shaka Brown. In 2005, Leo began dancing the style of zouk with Adilio Porto. In the United States, Leo has taught workshops and performed at the O'Shaughnessy, University of Minnesota, Concordia College and Northwestern College (Orange City, Iowa). Leo enjoys teaching and sharing his passion with people who want to learn how to dance. He currently teaches in Minneapolis at Four Seasons Dance Studio and Jawaahir Dance Studio.
Giselle Mejia has been dancing zouk with Leo Paixao for less than a year, though their chemistry on stage is nothing short of miraculous. Giselle is a professional dancer who earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from SUNY Purchase College in New York which brought her dancing around the world; including Spain, South America, China, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Egypt, and across the United States to perform at principal theaters and study with national dance companies including Luna Negra Dance Theater of Chicago and world-renown technology-driven dance company iLuminate who were finalists on America’s Got Talent. She has performed with national dance companies, Broadway shows, television, film and full-length productions in the fine arts and commercial dance industries including IBM, BMW, Lenovo, Roche, Simon Malls, and many local businesses. Giselle has a Master’s degree from Peck School of the Arts at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, with a concentration on contemporary dance, somatic studies, improvisation and dances of the African Diaspora.
Luis Aguilar debuted in 2000 with the Salsa Mania Dance Company in San Francisco. Since then, he performed with such giants in the Latin music industry as El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, the Tito Puente Orquestra, Celia Cruz, Ray Barretto, Jose "El Canario" Alberto, Oscar de Leon, Eddie Palmieri, the Spanish Harlem Orquestra and Sonora Carruseles. In addition to his impressive performance credits, Luis has taken 1st place in many Latin dance competitions and Congresses such as The San Francisco International Salsa Congress and the Bay Area Salsa Dance Competition.
Since joining forces in 2007, Luis and Anya have become the ON2 WORLD SALSA CHAMPIONS for the second year in a row, along with having become two time undefeated San Francisco Congress Salsa champions in '09 & '10, undefeated two time New York Congress champions in '09, '10, Puerto Rico Hustle and Salsa champions '09, and are currently the North American Salsa Champions and two time winners of the NY/NJ salsa open. They can also be seen in the upcoming film La Epoca, La Epoca Part 2 and Dancing Scared. Within their short time together Luis and Anya have already graced the stages of many events including Mambo City London Congress, Rome Salsa Congress, San Francisco Salsa Congress, New York City Salsa Congress, International Hustle and Salsa Congress, Puerto Rico Hustle and Salsa Festival, Korea Salsa Congress, Antwerp Salsa Congress in Belgium, Toronto Salsa Congress, Montreal Salsa Festival, Costa Rica Salsa Congress, Ecuador Salsa Congress, San Diego Salsa and Bachata Festival, St. Louis Salsa Congress, Seattle Salsa Congress, Romania Latin Fever, toured Milan as well as televised productions such as Sabado Gigante, Good Morning America and Univision.
With their combined backgrounds, Luis and Anya make a dynamic duo that brings a fresh new element to the salsa dance floor. The right balance between flavor and technique, Luis and Anya's teaching and performing methods are second to none. Successfully teaching and performing worldwide, Luis and Anya are often referred to as the future of salsa. With their combined backgrounds, impeccable musicality, & elegant yet intricate style, they are the fusion that takes salsa to the next level.
Orlando Valle had been dancing, competing, DJing, teaching salsa and bachata for over a decade! He currently hosts a successful weekly bachata social in San Francisco.
Aside from being the first organize to bring Bachata Festival in the USA, Rodney is also the co-organizer of the very first Dominican Republic Bachata Festival in Santo Domingo.
A top organizer of bachata festivals all over and with over 150,000 subscribers in his newsletter and over 30,000 friends combined in myspace, twitter, tribe and facebook, Rodney Rodchata Aquino is a popular Latin Dance instructor, promoter and lecturer in the world. He was the first man in history to ever organize the very 1st international bachata festival in USA (Reno Bachata Convention, SF Bachata Festival), and co-organize Lithuanian Bachata Festival, DC Bachata Congress, and soon in Hawaii, Seattle and Puerto Vallarta. Solely responsible for revolutionizing bachata dance in USA, RODCHATA, as bachateros intimately calls him, has been in the Latin Dance scene for over 15 years and is considered the foremost authority in the bachata dance, both Dominican and Modern styles. He recently launched his much awaited dance DVD line up, Latin Dance Stimulus, a 5-volume of dance instructional DVDs of bachata, salsa and merengue.
A certified instructor, his dance background includes Latin International Ballroom, salsa (on1, on2 mambo, and Cuban son, Casino), cumbia, chachacha, merengue and bachata. His first encounter of the bachata dance was in the New York area in the 90’s. He embarked himself into dancing bachata and studying the culture and since revolutionized bachata dancing in USA and the world.
He is the founder of the Salsagang.com (MySalsaNetwork), a dance website that revolutionized salsa dancing in the Bay Area. He also founded iBachata.net, and Rodchata.com that produces successful events such as Annual Reno Intl Bachata Convention, Annual San Francisco Bachata International Festival, Club Bachata and Havanisimo events. He had the opportunity to teach the Latin Dance at major events all over Europe, Asia, Australia, USA and beyond. Aside from teaching all over the world, he also teaches regular bachata and salsa classes all over the Bay Area.
Rodchata has MA in Counseling Psychology and is presently a PhD student. He is a certified Personal Fitness Trainer and holds a 4th Degree Black Belt in the Martial Arts. His experience in the Martial Arts for 20 years and his background in Fitness Training plays a vital role on his effectiveness as a dance teacher.
SANDRO SONCINI is a dancer, choreographer and dance instructor from Florianopolis, Brazil. He has studied and trained in dance for over 10 years. Sandro is experienced in many partner dance styles, and has intensively studied the concepts of body movement driven by his training in tango. In 2010 Sandro moved to Argentina to continue to develop his dance skills and education at DNI tango school.
Sandro has participated in various congresses and competitions, including BAILA FLORIPA DUO, where in 2012 together with his partner he placed 3rd. In the same year he was invited to dance and teach at KIRINUS dance School team, where he started focusing extensively on ZOUK, developing performance skills and his own methodology for teaching ZOUK that focuses on the contrast of flow and sharpness influenced by hip hop movement.
Sandro has taught in zouk throughout Canada, United States and Brazil. Currently Sandro is living in Vancouver, Canada with a focus on promoting zouk in the Pacific North West. His goal is to help augment and strengthen the global zouk community.
Zeke Ruvalcaba is a Mexican/Chicago native who has maintained the spirit of Bachata alive in Chicago for the past 5 years. Thanks to Latin Rhythms Dance Studio where Zeke is a full-time instructor/studio manager, he has been able to create an extensive Bachata curriculum that has taken Bachata to a whole other level. His creative approach in teaching has much to do with his degree in Dance and Secondary Education. Zeke has trained in Ballet, Modern and Jazz and specializes in choreography/instruction, in addition to spinning, styling and body movement. One of his strongest assets apart from his energetic and humorous personality is his ability to follow as well as he leads. On the dance floor, Zeke captivates people with his unique flamboyant style no matter what the role hes takes on the floor. Zeke has been the artistic director of his pride and joy, Estilo Dance Company and his high school group A.B.C of Lane Tech H.S. for the past five years. In addition, Zeke currently founded the Bachata All-Stars, the first Bachata dance team in the Mid-West. If teaching and directing all three groups isn't enough, Zeke's is also an aspiring Costume and Evening Wear designer having created many costumes for local and national dance teams and couples. Soon, Zeke hopes to launch his Phy-Zeke collection.
The Bachata All-Stars originated out of the student-base at Latin Rhythms. The first Bachata team of Chicago is led by their Artistic Director, Zeke Ruvalcaba. Zeke has been very instrumental in creating and pioneering the second largest and most popular dance curriculum at Latin Rhythms, as well as sparking the huge Bachata movement throughout Chicago.
Forming in the spring of 2009, the Chicago Bachata All-Stars of Latin Rhythms have wasted no time making a name for themselves locally and internationally. Since their recent conception, Bachata All-Stars of Latin Rhythms has already represented Chicago in the San Francisco Bachata Festival, DC Bachata Congress, Reno Bachata Festival, Chicago Salsa Congress and are set to be at the New York Salsa Congress, San Diego Salsa/Bachata Congress, Hawaii Bachata Festival, Sexy and Sensual Festival in London and Acapulco Salsa/Bachata Congress.
Zeke has set the goal to take the Bachata All-Stars of Latin Rhythms and Bachata to a different level and demonstrate that like Salsa, Bachata has no limits. To date, Zeke has created numerous choreography’s that have shocked audiences for its originality, while still preserving and appreciating the true essence of Bachata.