Saione began his dancing career way back in the 80s after entering a primary school talent quest and doing the robot and the cool new ‘bop dance’. He doesn’t remember if he won it but the teachers and other kids sure loved his dolphin dive!
Fast forward to the 21st century and Saione is now Director of Viva Dance and a handful of other dance organisations including the NZ Salsa Open, the NZ Salsa Congress and Viva Street. Although Latin dance has become his personal choice of dance these days, Saione has been known to still do the odd dolphin dive at parties, and loves seeing people from all walks of life coming together to enjoy a smorgasbord of dance styles on offer at Viva.
2iC at Viva, Julie started dancing at the ripe old age of 30 and, despite a lack of natural talent, fell in love with the thrill of social Latin dance. So much so that she persevered to the point of performing and teaching and has danced all over the world.
Apart from the buzz of dancing with a stranger in perfect harmony, she loves being able to use her experience of having done everything wrong to put students at ease and help them to enjoy the journey of learning to dance.
Irina began her dance career with Rhythmics Gymnastics and Ballet in Moscow at the age of 6. She then tried Ballroom, but stuck with Ballet and Jazz. Since then she has also picked up Salsa, Argentine Tango, Russian Folk, Gypsy and has explored Modern Dance and Contemporary, Hip Hop, Modern Jive, Burlesque and others. She has completed Polestar Pilates and Zumba/Zumba Toning Courses. She has studied papers in Anatomy, Physiology, Biomechanics, Dance studies, and Choreography at AUT. Irina has performed Nationally and Internationally, she has choreographed and produced her own dance shows, taught all over New Zealand and has been involved in numerous National events as an organiser and lately also as a judge. Irina and her teams have won numerous placings in competitions for all sorts of dance styles.
Viva Admin Guru & Events Manager
Sylvia is from the Netherlands and has been in New Zealand since 2013. She’s always loved dancing and after coming to Auckland she really submersed herself in the dance scene, taking classes, doing workshops and a number of performances as well. Dance is her passion.
At Viva Sylvia works behind the scenes doing administration tasks and organising events.”
INSTRUCTOR: Vintage Jazz
Akriti is a multi-passionate creative with over 12 years of dance and teaching experience. In that time she has travelled all over the world to learn and expand her awareness of dancing and teaching. She absolutely loves dance and all that it has to offer the mind, body and spirit. Specialising in swing dancing, particularly the Lindy Hop and authentic vintage solo jazz dance, she loves to focus on rhythm and body awareness to develop your own individual groove. All with a massive dose of joy.
Akriti has won and placed in numerous competitions in the Swing Dance world and has extensive experience teaching workshops for kids, teens and elderly dancers of all levels. This includes assisting in dance and movement therapy for special needs adults and young adults. These days she is regularly giving private lessons and choreographing for competitions, performances, events, learning focused classes and wedding dances. She loves the the rich history, inspiration and joy that comes with Swing dancing and looks forward to any opportunity to share that with the wider community.
INSTRUCTOR: Commercial Street Dance, Bounce, Jazz
From a young age, Alice was part of Stephen Knights Street Troupe in the UK. She won a scholarship in 2009 and trained professionally at Expressions Academy of Performing Arts. She received Trinity Guildhall distinctions in Musical Theatre, Speech and Drama and IDTA Freestyle Dance Teaching. She has gone on to work for numerous commercials, music videos, cruise ships, short films, plays as well working for the BBC and ITV. Whilst training she also Modelled for over 5 years working on hair, fashion, editorial and commercial shoots.
Alice has taught at several academies in London providing Jazz, Commercial and Street Dance classes for a variety of ages. Since moving to Auckland in 2016, Alice has set up her own dance company called ‘Commercial Dance Auckland’ and runs her own classes based in the city centre. Alice aims to provide relaxed, stylised and dynamic lessons for dancers of all levels and welcomes anyone into her class.
INSTRUCTOR: Pole fitness
Due to a dislike of team sports, and a lack of motivation to go to the gym, Amanda took up pole as a way to get fit and improve her strength. She finds the energy, enthusiasm and support in the pole community amazing and that pole class is the one thing she always looks forward to.
She’s also looking forward to sharing her journey and inspiring new polers at Viva!
Anabela likes dance and music best when it’s “groovy.” You’ll know her on the dance-floor by her graceful, feminine style and musicality. Starting young, she has over 10 years experience across Ballroom, Latin, Ceroc, Street Latin, Bellydance and Brazilian styles. In the past she has competed in the professional category of both the NZ Salsa championships and NZ Ceroc championships, and been previously selected for a Salsa cabaret team to represent NZ at the Las Vegas Salsa congress.
She has studied under many world renowned teachers both locally and overseas. However, she believes that in the end, the social dance-floor is always the greatest teacher. Anabela has performed Samba no pe, Salsa, Bellydance and Argentinean Tango for Television and many various public events. Her personal favourites are Rumba, Cha cha and Salsa on 2.
Danidu began dancing in 2005. His Zouk Journey began at a Zouk workshop in 2011, where he instantly fell in love with the flow, connection and musicality of the dance.
Danidu started with Rio Style Zouk lessons in Auckland, and has since learned from many international artists. In late 2012 he moved to the USA and was introduced to other styles of Brazilian Zouk, including Lambazouk, Soul Zouk and Zouk Flow as well as Zouk Love and Kizomba. This allowed him to build his own style which takes elements from every branch of Zouk and focus on musicality and connection.
When he moved to San Diego there was a small but dying Lambazouk scene which prompted him to try and promote the dance he loves, eventually leading to being asked to teach Zouk at the Queen Bees Arts and Cultural Centre, and Later at Studio K Dance. Apart from this he has taught classes and workshops in Los Angeles and Washington DC.
Donna is one of the regular Salsa teachers at Viva Dance. She learnt to dance Latin Styles in London with the likes of Dessy and Orod Ohanians, Super Mario, Susana Montero, Shaan Shaan, Tony Lara, Inaki Fernandez, Leon Rose and a host of other respected International teachers. She has been dancing on and off since 2007.
Emily loves to dance, and loves to work with kids. She began dancing at the age of three, and has trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, and hip hop burlesque dance styles. Emily has also done cheerleading for the Canterbury Rams and varsity rugby. She has several years experience choreographing and teaching dance to children and pre-teens.
Overall, Emily believes that dancing should be fun and accessible for all children, and aims for all children to enjoy themselves, feel comfortable, and experience a sense of success!’
INSTRUCTOR: Pole fitness
Eriko started taking pole classes in late 2011 and has competed 3 times in the New Zealand Amateur Pole Performer Competition, twice being placed in the finals.
Unlike many pole artists, she has no background in dance or gymnastics but always loved watching circus shows, especially the aerialists and contortionists, so this is where she takes her inspiration from.
Like many pole instructors, she started pole as an adult and likes to help students believe that anything is possible and that anyone can achieve whatever they put their mind to.
INSTRUCTOR: Jazz, Lyrical, Kids classes
Freshly arrived from France, Eva started dance classes at the age of 4 and hasn’t stopped since. She started with Ballet and then Modern Jazz. During her training to become a dance teacher she had different experiences as a dancer, working in a Cabaret for example.
At the age of 20 she got her dance teacher diploma in Modern dance and left France for the United States where she started teaching pole ballet, flexibility and lyrical dance for beginners. She also learnt aerial dances with silks and hoops. A year later back in France she taught Lyrical, Commercial, Cardio dance, Flexibility, Aerial (Lyra and Silk) and also a lot of Kids Classes
INSTRUCTOR: Hip hop & Burlesque Viva South
From the age of 8 years old, Ezra entered her first ever dance talent quest in primary and ended up winning the competition with her best friend, from then on, she knew she had a passion for dance.
In high school she had led/choreographed many dance competitions such as Bring It on, Stage Challenge and Polyfest where she molded her love for different styles in Dance. Outside of school she had entered SDNZ Hip Hop Regionals/Nationals here in New Zealand from 2011-2016 where she had joined different Hip Hop dance crews such as Dziah Dance Academy and Identity Dance Company. In 2014 she represented New Zealand at the Hip Hop International Championships held in Las Vegas where Identity Dance Company placed 2nd in the Mega Crew Division from over 40 countries.
After High school Ezra had studied for three years at the Manukau Institute of Technology where she received her Bachelors in Creative Arts in which had covered all three departments; Dance, Acting and Music. She has also danced for X-Factor New Zealand, Christmas in the Park, Big Gay Out and Tempo Dance festival. Ezra has a very bubbly and vibrant feel to her classes and enjoys seeing people come out of their shell and be whoever they want to be when dancing.
Francisco is from Puerto Montt in the south of Chile. Co-Founder of Puerto Montt Salsa in 2010, the first Salsa school in the city with more than 250 students who enjoyed different styles like Cuban Salsa, Rueda, Bachata, Salsa LA style, Tango, Cueca, Arabian Dance, and Zumba. Rueda was one of the favourite styles due to its fun, happy and dynamic nature.
In 2014 Francisco decided to embark on a new personal project and left Chile in search of new challenges. In October 2014 he arrived in Auckland and in January 2015 discovered Viva Dance where he was taken on to teach, bringing his special brand of contagious fun to all of his classes. Francisco with his partner Javiera taught the first ever Viva Cuban Salsa team, which recently performed at the NZ Cuban Festival.
Over the last 4 years Hayley has danced within the commercial hip hop and the underground scenes. She has studied dance in NZ, Los Angeles, San Diego and at the Broadway Dance Centre in New York, training in Street Jazz, Jazz Funk, Hip hop and Contemporary Styles to name a few.
Hayley has competed in freestyle competitions such as “Waack it Out” 2013 Waacking division winner and “Treason” 2014 Krump female winner. Hayley is also a member of Rina Chae’s all female dance company Street Candee and is studying dance at the University of Auckland.
Originally from Brazil, Janete began dancing at the age of five, and has trained in ballet, jazz, flamenco and contemporary. For more than 10 years performing as a dancer, participating in concerts and festivals, she has pursued her passion for dancing. In addition, she has studied Physical Education in order to unite the passion of dance with expertise in fitness. She believes that the care of the body has to be pleasurable and enjoys sharing her journey and inspiring new students. She has experience teaching dance and Zumba for children, pre-teens and adults. For Janete, life is better when you move!
Javiera is from Puerto Montt in the south of Chile. Co-Founder of Puerto Montt Salsa in 2010, the first Salsa school in the city with more than 250 students who enjoyed different styles like Cuban Salsa, Rueda, Bachata, Salsa LA style, Tango, Cueca, Arabian Dance, and Zumba. Rueda was one of the favourite styles due to its fun, happy and dynamic nature.
In 2014 Javiera decided to embark on a new personal project and left Chile in search of new challenges. In October 2014 she arrived in Auckland and in January 2015 discovered Viva Dance where she was taken on to teach, bringing her special brand of contagious fun to all of her classes. Javiera and her partner Francisco taught the first ever Viva Cuban Salsa team, which recently performed at the NZ Cuban Festival.
Jenifer has trained Classically for 16 years, majoring in Classical Ballet and Contemporary. She became a soloist in the ILT Theatre Company and the Youth Ballet Company, earning major roles in Gisele, Don Quixote and the musical Cats. She fulfilled her full-time training at the New Zealand Performing Arts, receiving a Diploma in Dance and Theatre Arts in 2015. Alongside performed with the Kiss theatre Company and ILT Variety shows showcasing her acting and singing as well.
Her repertoire is influenced by RAD, NZAMD and ISTD. Her classes are welcoming and bubbly, covering the foundations of Ballet. They run at a pace that is engaging, sociable and beneficial for everyday life. Come along and experience a change of mindset and physical power.
Jess loves to dance, and loves to work with kids. Dancing since the age of 3, Jess successfully passed Jazz exams (JDNZ) up to Advanced level. Not only has she trained in Jazz, Jess has also completed training in Hip Hop, Ballet, Contemporary and Lyrical.
From a young age participating in dance performances and teaching from 16, Jess has found her true passion in teaching dance. She already has several years of choreographing experience and teaching dance to kids and young adults. To further her passion, Jess is studying a Bachelor of Dance Studies at the University of Auckland and is aiming to pursue a profession in primary and secondary dance education.
Julia, originally from Chile, has grown up around music and dancing and continues to enjoy the art of dance, “dance is a beautiful way to express deep and hidden feelings”. Julia started studying classic techniques and modern dance at the age of 11. She has been a dancer with a leading Latin American dance company in Chile. Julia has also specialised in teaching children. In 2003 Julia began to study Belly Dancing and has been performing in New Zealand since 2006.
Kelly hails from the UK and has over 15 years experience as a personal trainer and fitness instructor under her belt
After relocating to New Zealand, she took up Pole dancing and fell in love with the combination of physical challenge and musicality that it offers. With her bubbly, welcoming personality she aims to make her students feel good about themselves in her classes, which focus on combining dance moves and Pole moves into routines that are achievable for everyone.
INSTRUCTOR: Burlesque, Hens Parties
Recently joining the professional dancer scene, Layla has performed as part of Rina Chae’s all-female dance company, Street Candee as well as lead female in Three Houses Down music video and as a model in the World of Wearable Arts shows. Layla is also part of New Zealand’s Waacking crew The Jaackers, though which she is involved in the Street Dance scene. She trains in Jazz Funk, Hip Hop and Waacking and loves incorporating different styles into freestyle.
Layla believes everyone has the ability to dance in their own individual way. She aims for her classes to bring out your confidence to enjoy each movement while growing in an encouraging environment.
Lorraine graduated from Excel performing Arts school in 2004 with a Dance Major, she then went on to do a Bachelor of Dance at Auckland University of Technology, graduating in 2007. Lorraine has done a range of styles and also ran a performance team called “ELEV8” from 2007-2009 which performed at various locations and events.
In 2008 she taught Hip Hop at an organization called StarJam, which focuses on teaching children with disabilities. In the past few years Lorraine has also gained office and reception experience in New Zealand as well as in Canada.
INSTRUCTOR: Pole Flow
With a backround in dance, Marie took her first pole dance class in August 2014 and she fell in love with it straight away.
Her favourite thing about pole dance is the supportive and amazing community that comes with it. She loves the fact that there is a thousand ways of dancing on a pole and that you can create your very own style. She believes that pole dancing is one of the most creative ways of expressing yourself and can be inspired by almost anything. She started teaching in 2016 to share her passion and help people find their own style.
Originally from France, Michele grew up around music and dancing, After a few years of ballet, she progressed into jazz and modern dance. She moved to New Zealand in her late 20s and took up dancing and competing in Latin American disciplines.
in 2010 she qualified as a Zumba instructor and has been teaching regularly ever since. She loves Zumba fitness as it is “exercise in disguise” a fantastic work out that never gets boring!
As an instructor she follows the basics of delivering a real authentic Zumba fitness experience with a strong Latin influence. You don’t need to be a dancer, just come to the class, enjoy the music, the vibes and the flavour and start moving.
INSTRUCTOR: K-pop, Zumba
Michelle believes that a day without dance is a day wasted. Starting with ballet at a young age she eventually ended up specialising in Zumba and K-pop and has travelled widely both participating in dance events and teaching.
Recognising that dance is a force which has the power to improve people’s health, motivation, energy and social life, Michelle is passionate about sharing her love for dance with others. She has taught people from all over the world and is excited to be running the first ever K-pop classes at Viva!
INSTRUCTOR: Stretch & Limber
Phyllisann has performed professionally and internationally in multiple styles of dance. Particularly in contemporary and acrobatic dance (touring with The Tanzanian Fire Tumblers). Other companies she has danced with inlclude CAPAB Ballet company, Outline, Burst the Box, Freeflight Dance, TV work for Andrew Timm Productions and the South African Broadcasting Company, Anastasis Ballet and Contemo Co.
She has a qualification with the International Dance Teacher’s Association in contemporary and modern dance. She is also a qualified NZAMD examiner.
Pyllisann is currently developing her aerial silks, lyra and contortion skills along with Samba, Zouk, Bachata and Salsa.
Ricardo Grecco is a Brazilian who has a passion for dancing and has learnt many different styles. Just 7 months after he took up salsa, he placed as 1st runner up in the NZ Salsa Nationals, which led to more national and world titles.
“Salsa is a great way to have fun, socialize and interact with ohers, and the best is that dance is a world-wide language, you can do it anywhere you go!”
With his infectious personality and great leading technique, Ricky has taught classes to all levels from beginners to advanced dancers and can’t wait to see you dancing real soon!i
Rina is a Kiwi dancer who graduated with a Bachelor of Performing Arts at Auckland University (2005). As a dance major, she was heavily involved in the NZ dance scene as co-choreographer and dancer for the NZ Breakers Cheerteam, Auckland Blues Cheerteam, as well as being an active member of the Triple8Funk hip hop crew and various corporate companies.
She was also busy inspiring and training young dancers teaching in High Schools as well as artistically directing and choreographing at Glenfield Jazz Studio. Her dream however was to set an example for fellow Kiwi dancers, so in October 2009 she set out on a 5 year journey to LA. There she trained, danced and competed with the most elite dancers from all over the world. She has performed alongside some of the billboards top artists including Beyoncé, Neyo, Chris Brown, Pitbull and Justin Bieber and was a soloist in the New Years show at Las Vegas Aria resort.
After non-stop performing on stage and screen for 5 years, Rina decided it was time to head back home to Auckland, NZ – To inspire, motivate and grow the next generation of dancers
INSTRUCTOR: Ballroom, Wedding Dance Lessons
Scott is a former NZ Ballroom & Latin national champion and Dancing With The Stars professional in 2015 – partnering Teuila Blakely. A very experienced performer and teacher, Scott knows his stuff and is right at home with all ages and levels – from beginner to competition or wedding dance. He knows how to make anyone feel comfortable and look at ease on the dance floor and above all you are guaranteed a good laugh in his lessons!
Tia Marie started her career at the Shiamak Davars Institute of performing arts in contemporary and afro-jazz for 3 years before she moved to New Zealand where she continued her passion for dance in various Latin styles. She spent 6 years travelling to Japan, Australia, the US, India and around New Zealand learning and dancing. Her main passion lies with Brazilian dances where she has dabbled in performing and teaching Samba no Pe and Zouk Lambada.
Her style of Zouk is an earthy soulful flavour. She brings energy and laughter to her classes and loves nothing more than for her students to walk away feeling great.
Tisha found her passion for Pole Performance when she started classes at Viva in 2012. She is now a Pole Fit instructor and loves to share her passion with new students.
She is known for her positive, encouraging, and patient teaching style.
Zed (aka Zee) picked up his street dance foundation growing up back in the Philippines during the 80s. He moved to NZ in the 90s and carried on his love for dance here. Primarily a Hip Hop freestyle dancer and a Popper, Zed has also picked up other forms of dance styles living in NZ.
Zed has battled, competed and represented NZ overseas since 2003. He has trained with some of the best and pioneers in the street dance styles and hopes continue to travel and never stop learning, sharing and expressing his love for dancing.