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 Hens Parties and Kids Parties Manager
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!
Angelika began her dance journey at the age of 5 dancing with a Russian folk ensemble. Since then she’s come a long way (literally, all the way to New Zealand!) and began her sporting career in rhythmic gymnastics. Gymnastics has taught her a lot about strength, flexibility and determination.
But after reaching NZ representative level Angelika retired from sport and returned to her dance roots as she has always felt that’s where her true passion lies. Since then Angelika trained in American Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary and Heels. She has performed around New Zealand and is now very excited to share her passion for dance through teaching.
Angelika is also a member Rina Chae’s all female dance crew Street Candee.
INSTRUCTOR: Hip Hop
Ashley has been dancing since a very young age training in a variety of styles. In 2009 she branched off to pursue her career along the urban, hip hop & commercial path. While being involved in Triple8Funk dance company & training here in NZ she has spent months at a time evolving and growing in USA also.
Teaching for 6+ years now Ashley stays busy choreographing for dance studios throughout Auckland and across the ditch in Australia. She is motivated to grow our dancers, whether it’s through skill development or just pure enjoyment.
Cornelia is a Zouk dancer and performer, she stumble upon this Brazilian partner dance by chance in 2013 and has been mesmerised by it ever since. She has competed, placed and won a number of competitions both national and internationally and has learnt from many world-renowned instructors in the Brazilian dance scene.
Combining her background in contemporary and burlesque dance and her love for Zouk, Cornelia has a strong focus on technique, flow and musicality. As part of the Viva Zouk Squad she hopes to introduce this soulful, fun and sensual style to more students at Viva.
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.
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.
Kahu loves all styles of Latin dance. After winning second place in the 2013 New Zealand Salsa Open Zouk Couples, Kahu decided to follow his passion and spent the following 18 months in Australia where he trained with 8 times World Salsa Champion Oliver Pineda, and World Champion Vali Damaskou, as well as many other top Australian Latin dancers. Kahu was rewarded for his dedication by winning the 2014 New South Wales Bachata Pro-Am Championship and the 2015 Australian National Bachata Pro-Am championship, as well as coming second in the Australian National Pro-Am Salsa Championship. Kahu has also competed successfully in many teams.
Returning to New Zealand earlier this year Kahu also won the Salsa Advanced Social Freestyle, Bachata Amateur Couples, and Salsa Open Teams at the 2015 New Zealand Salsa Open. Kahu loves teaching and always looks forward to sharing the many skills and insights he has learned from some of the worlds best Latin dancers.
Katerina is a friendly, open minded and professional ballroom dancer and teacher who is passionate about dance. Being a teacher for more than twelve years Kate gets her inspiration from her students and she is always prepared to put in one hundred and 10 percent towards achieving the best possible results.
Her classes are always full of fun, interesting moves and plenty of information. Feel free to pop in before or after class to have a chat about ballroom dances. Ladies enroll for Kate’s classes and she will make you feel and look like a million dollars.
INSTRUCTOR: Dancer in Development
Kathleen trained in Christchurch,Monte Carlo, Banff, Hamburg and London as well as participating in the Prix de Lausanne and Varna competitions.
From 1992 she was a member of the Dresden Semperoper Ballet and then went on to be a founding member and principal dancer for the Thoss Tanz Kompanie based in Kiel and the State Opera house in Hannover.
Since returning to New Zealand, Kathleen danced with Footnote, attained her Certificate in Tertiary Teaching from AUT University and has been a lecturer and rehearsal director for the AUT BDance Company alongside Timothy Gordon. She has adjudicated ballet competitions, taught master classes and coached and choreographed for dancers participating in national and international ballet competitions.
In 2014 Kathleen realised her dream of founding her own dance school based in West Auckland and in 2015 the full-time Dancer in Development programme for talented and aspiring classical dancers.
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.
Originally from Poland, Magda always loved dancing but never really had the opportunity to express this until, 5 years ago she discovered Zumba and fell in love instantly! Finally she could go out and dance without needing a partner.
Magda has been a Zumba instructor since 2013 and she is very passionate about dance fitness. She loves to share her positive energy, and most of all to see people leaving her classes sweaty and happy!
INSTRUCTOR: Body Movement, Pilates, Afro, Belly Dance
From Spain, Maria was interested in movement from a young age, and has danced all her life. She has specialised in African dance, contemporary and belly dance as well as earning qualifications as a certified Pilates instructor.
For Maria dance is a way of getting to know yourself, develop personally and share with others. She uses her wide knowledge base to improve people’s physical awareness and health through movement and dance.
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.
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.
INSTRUCTOR: Bollywood, Zumba
Priya has a strong passion for music and moving to the beat, which has always kept her learning new dance styles. She is a Zumba instructor and a bollywood dancer as well as being trained in India classical dance. Her mother was an Indian classical dancer so Priya learnt the different styles of Indian dance at a young age
Her Zumba and bollywood classes are all about letting the music move you, having a good time and enjoying the dance moves.
Raewyn started dancing at the age of 9 yrs old. Over the last 16 years she has explored and danced Ceroc, Salsa, Cha Cha, Bachata, Merengue, Ballroom and Latin. She has recently started dancing West Coast Swing.
She joined the Viva team in 2012 teaching Ballroom and Latin dance and has become our Wedding Dance Lesson star teacher, bringing out the best in couples needing to put together a dance for their special day. Raewyn believes eyes and dancing is the window to your soul.
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: Reggaeton, House
Rodrigo from Uruguay, has a degree in Physical Education and started dancing and specializing as a dance teacher in 2012, the same year that he joined the “Waack me up” dance crew, as a dancer and choreographer. He has competed extensively in reggaeton, hiphop and freemix competitions, winning national and Latin American titles.
Since then he has cultivated a wide range of street and commercial styles and rhythms from reggaeton, hip hop, house, waacking, locking, popping, dancehall, L.A style, lyrical jazz, contemporary, to salsa and Latin rhythms.
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.
INSTRUCTOR: Salsa on 2
Originally from Christchurch, Yohei discovered Latin dancing through a friend, and has been pursuing it ever since. His main styles are Salsa On2, Bachata, and Zouk, but he appreciates all forms of dance. Although his first love is social dancing, he regularly competes and places at both national and international competitions.
Having strong musical and martial arts backgrounds, he believes technique, timing and musicality are the most important areas for dancers to build a base in, and focuses mainly on these in his teaching.
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.