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 before learning to do it right to put students at ease and help them to enjoy the journey of learning to dance.
Julie believes that dance can be truly transformative for your health, well-being, self-confidence, fitness, and sense of humour. It is not only a short-cut to happiness but also a life-long adventure where there is always more to learn!
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. She is now working full time at Viva utilising to the full her experience and know-how in running a successful dance studio.
Viva Oriental Dance Programme Manager
INSTRUCTOR: Chinese Traditonal Dance, Chinese Folk Dance, Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz, K-Pop, Hip Hop
Sophia focuses on performing and teaching Chinese traditional dance, Chinese folk dance, contemporary dance, ballet and jazz. She is also a choreographer and researcher. Specialising in dance at the age of 11, she finished her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in dance and went on to complete her Masters in Dance Studies in the University of Auckland.
Sophia won the performing prize for Contemporary Dance Week in Canton (2011) and 1st choreographer prize in Go Ahead Chinese Contemporary Dance in Hong Kona (2012). Additionally, Sophia won the 1st prize for Exposure, a showcase of the best postgraduate research competition and the performing prize for Island Universes by collaborating with Garling at the national Douglass Lilburn Trust composition prize concert (2017). Recently, she was invited to attend the international Campus Ministry Conference in Korea as a dancer and choreographer.
Viva Dance Kids Programme Manager
Grace has been dancing professionally since age 16. She has been a part of Mini Warrior’s Cheer Team, Blue’s Dance Squad, Momentum Productions Pre-Professional Dance Team and has studied dance under Mt Eden Ballet Academy and Auckland City School of the Arts. Grace began teaching ballet in 2015 and grew to teach Jazz, Preschool, Lyrical, Contemporary and Competition solo’s for ages 3-17. She has been teaching RAD ballet syllabus since 2015 and has experience teaching NZAMD jazz syllabus.
Grace had competed in Ballet, Character, Demi-Character, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, and Neo-Classical, as well as with teams. She travelled to Anaheim in 2016 placing third in solo’s and first in trio’s. She has also travelled to the Gold Coast where she has won multiple gold and platinum awards in Jazz and Contemporary.
Grace has plenty of experience shaping dancers for whatever dance path they choose, whether it be for exams, competitions or fun! Grace is excited to begin a new adventure at Viva Dance and help kids discover their passion for dance and performance.
Viva Accounts Superstar
Originally from the UK, Karen has lived in NZ for 12 years and has been involved with Viva Dance since the very beginning as a student, as an assistant instructor, helping set up the first Salsa Balls and running the accounts.
After getting married she took a step back to have her two beautiful daughters but continued to keep the accounts role. Karen has worked in accounts for 23 years in various roles but loves to combine her passion for dance with her skills in accounts
Viva Language Department Manager, Viva Reception Manager
With over 12 years’ experience teaching Portuguese in New Zealand, Anelita has degrees from her native Brazil in Portuguese language with post-graduation in Linguistics from University of Brasilia, and Administration from Centro Universitário de Brasília. Anelita has had substantial work experience in Brazil, both in teaching Portuguese, and management and administration. Since coming to New Zealand in 2008, she has devoted more time to teaching Portuguese, which she enjoys enormously!
Anelita has the warm and vivacious manner which you would expect of a Brazilian, and really engages with students. She is also extremely enthusiastic about her native culture, and gives students a lot of insight into life in Brazil, bringing the language to life
Angelica is from Colombia and arrived in Auckland in September 2017 to study English for three months. She plans to attend Massey University soon to study a Postgraduate Diploma. She has a lot of office experience especially in the administrative area.
Angelica grew up around music and dancing. As a child she took Cumbia classes and more recently has taken up belly dancing, which she loves. She also enjoys attending dance performances from any culture.
INSTRUCTOR: Hip Hop, Modern Dance, Kids classes
Abi is a graduate from The University of Auckland, Bachelors of Dance Studies programme. Her dance career has allowed for opportunities to travel overseas, with performance and teaching opportunities in China, Korea, USA, Edinburgh and Aotearoa. Including professional development workshops and intensives in Los Angeles, Chicago, Israel, and Edinburgh. While based in Aotearoa, Abi frequently attends workshops at Wellesley Street Studios to continue learning and developing her dance practice.
Abi has had the privilege of working alongside a variety of New Zealand choreographers such as Sarah Foster- Sproull, Sarah Knox, Perri Exeter Fahitua, and Matiu Hamuera. Her experience as a performer ranges from large scale projects, through to emerging choreographer’s works. Abi has choreographed her own choreographic works for festivals such as Short and Sweet Festival and Tempo Dance festival, and brings an in-depth knowledge of contemporary techniques and performance. Additionally, Abi has training in Cheerleading, gymnastics, various musical theatre productions and ballroom dancing.
Her teaching pedagogy is one of inclusion and fun, along with imagination and a sense of play to her classes. Abi enjoys creating fresh, quirky and unusual choreography, fusing together a variety of different styles from her past experiences. Each session prioritizes the dancers having fun and giving everything a go. Abi has always enjoyed the outdoors and has a passion for the environment, in her spare time she enjoys Scuba Diving, Horse Riding and playing sports.
INSTRUCTOR: Ballroom, Jazz Funk, Lyrical, Kids Classes
Benjamin has trained at Tania foster school of modern dance and limelight studios over the previous 15 years in jazz, contemporary, lyrical, jazz funk, ballroom, Latin, new vogue, and musical theatre. He has competed in various competitions and won multiple NZ titles in Pro/Am Latin. Benjamin has also completed NCEA 1, 2, and 3 Dance at Rangitoto college with Excellence in all practical assessments.
Benjamin is thrilled to be teaching at VIVA, as he wants to share the world of dance from his perspective to help others learn, grow, and improve upon their own abilities.
INSTRUCTOR: Musical Theatre, Pre-Modern Dance
Camila is a graduate from the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Arts (NASDA), with a performing background in singing, dancing and acting. She began training in classical ballet from age 5 for over 14 years, later branching out to the disciplines of Jazz, Latin dancing and Musical Theatre. In 2017 Camila began training in Street Latin and competed at the New Zealand Salsa Open as part of the EDP Ladies Latin Shines Teams which placed first with both their Cha Cha and Salsa choreographies.
From choreographing competition dances to co-directing and writing shows, Camila has extensive experience working with children of all ages. Camila specialises in teaching musical theatre and helping to grow and develop a love of the performing arts in students of all ages. Camila is excited to be bringing new kids programmes to Viva Dance where she hopes to help students discover and develop a new passion!
Camille came to New Zealand from France in 2020. Since her childhood, she tried and gave up on a number of sports, including figure skating, swimming, gymnastic, roller racing and rugby. But, three years ago, she finally found the perfect match – pole dancing, and then immediately went from no exercice to 8 hours of training a week, learning as much as possible from different teachers with different styles in the process.
She’s now excited to share her love and passion for pole, and help your inner pole dancer shine and progress during pole fitness and stretching sessions, up to the point where you will be able to perform super cool looking tricks and beautiful combos!
INSTRUCTOR: Spanish Language
Originally from Colombia, Carolina has a BA in Humanities and Spanish Language from the University of Antioquia in Colombia and a Masters in Education from the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico. These studies have given her the ability to understand how learning takes place and therefore how to teach and adjust topics depending on the students.
She came to New Zealand in 2019 to study English and after experiencing first-hand the process of learning a new language as an adult, she decided to also take a language teaching course to add to her knowledge of teaching Spanish. She is convinced that having fun in class, allowing mistakes, having fun is the best way to learn.
INSTRUCTOR: Commercial Dance, Dance Fitness, Reggaeton, Ballroom, Ballet, Pole dance fitness, Hens Parties, Private Lessons
Claudio graduated in classical dance from the Municipal Theatre Ballet School in Santiago, Chile and won a scholarship to a Summer Course with the Miami City Ballet in 2001. He participated in productions with Santiago Balle, and Chamber ballet and went on to study and compete in Latin Ballroom dance. He has been dancing and teaching for the past 14 years both dance and pilates as well as wedding dance lessons.
He brings his infectious energy and engaging personality to all of his classes along with superb technique and attention to detail.
INSTRUCTOR: Cuban Salsa, Rueda, Bachata, Dance Fitness
from Chile, brings more than 20 years of experience in Latin dance and 8 years as a teacher of Cuban Salsa and Linear Salsa (On1 and On2). He has been living in New Zealand since 2015 and has been actively involved in several activities related to the NZ dance community. He has participated in dance events, congresses, and competitions, both in New Zealand and Australia. His experience includes performing and competing in Auckland and in Wellington.
David has teamed up with some of the best teachers and dancers in New Zealand for various Latin dance projects. He also has managed several choreographies with the participation of renowned artists from South American and others on an international level. After working on Salsa Therapy for the last 2 years teaching Cuban Salsa and Rueda de Casino. He recently relocated to Auckland to join the Viva Dance family, to keep contributing to the Latin dance community and Auckland’s Latin dance culture.
Dharshana is originally from Sri Lanka and has lived in Auckland, New Zealand for 20 years. He trained and competed in Tae Kwon Do until a friend dragged him to a Salsa class. After discovering Zouk it became his focus and he has been training and teaching the style ever since.
Dharshana has competed nationally and overseas and won numerous titles in Zouk and Salsa. He has trained multiple performance teams that have gone on perform in several New Zealand congresses. To him, Zouk is an art form and he loves being able to share it with others in the community and see them grow in confidence and skill.
INSTRUCTOR: Hip Hop, Burlesque
Dominique arrived in New Zealand a year and a half ago from Chile. She loves to dance, learn and explore all that New Zealand has to offer. She has been dancing since she can remember and began professional training in dance and dance instruction a few years ago. She loves to explore new dance styles.
Her aim as a teacher is to share her dance knowledge with students so that they enjoy themselves and develop their own dancing style while feeling great in the process.
INSTRUCTOR: Kids Classes
Emma Broad is a freelance, teacher and contemporary dance artist based in Auckland, New Zealand. In 2016, Emma decided to pursue her passion for dance through The University of Auckland’s, Bachelor of Dance Studies programme. Throughout her time studying, she worked with key New Zealand dance practitioners and gained key dance education skills.
In 2019, Emma completed her Honours year at the University of Auckland. While completing her studies, she taught dance at Dulwich College International Seoul, South Korea for 6 months. Emma’s achievement in dance studies have led to her being awarded the Frances Irwin Hunt Arts Scholarship and the Gavin and Susan Walker Postgraduate Scholarship in Dance Studies.
Emma is excited to be teaching and sharing her passion for dance with the students at Viva Dance.
INSTRUCTOR: Hip Hop, Femme, Hens Parties
Hayley has danced within the New Zealand commercial, competitive and the underground hip hop/ street style scene for over 10 years. She has studied dance in NZ, Los Angeles, San Diego, Singapore, Australia and at the Broadway Dance Centre in New York, training in Street Jazz, Jazz Funk, Hip hop, Waacking, Vogue and Contemporary Styles to name a few. She also received her Bachelor’s Degree for Dance Studies at the University of Auckland.
Hayley has entered various street style freestyle competitions in Waacking, Allstyle and Krump and has won a range of titles within these styles. Hayley is a part of the Lighthouse Fam and represents Watch:Minz krump fam, she is a part of the vogue House of Coven- Carangi and is the leader of The Jaackers, NZ’s first waacking crew.
James entered the world of dance at the age of 26 when he realised he wanted a new passion in his life. After trying his first Zouk class he never looked back. James has trained his dance diligently for years by attending every Zouk class he can find, doing countless private lessons with local teachers and international talents, consistently showing up to every social, and attending events at different corners of the world.
James is passionate about dance socials and as an instructor he is committed to supporting our newcomers to the Zouk scene. James has a focused and technique-based teaching style, always aiming to help you understand how to use your body more effectively and deepen your understanding of Zouk. He is perfect for those who take a deep dive approach to dance.
INSTRUCTOR: Samba, Zumba
Josie Druetta loves dancing! She is originally from Argentina, but has lived in New Zealand for almost ten years now. She started dancing when she was very young, being a dancer in every school play and coming up with choreographies for friend’s birthday parties, etc. She started Jazz training at an early age and continued that through to her 20s, while also gaining lots of interest for every dance style, such as salsa, bachata and samba.
She then travelled to New Zealand where she taught Jazz and Burlesque and also became a zumba instructor. Since then, Josie has participated in many dance groups and performances, from salsa shines to burlesque and reggaeton. In 2013 Josie joined the well known entertainment group Brazilian Divas, which she is still a part of today and loves it!
Kaena is a professional ballet dancer and an amazing pole teacher! She trained full time at NZ School of Dance and has been offered scholarships with The Royal NZ Ballet Company and the Queensland Ballet Company in Australia.
Kaena is an incredibly gifted instructor that will not only make you feel welcome in the class but will also give you personalized feedback and help you progress the best way possible. She is a warm and welcoming soul as well as one of the best Exotic Flow choreographers in Auckland!
Krasna is from Santiago, Chile. She is a teacher of Physical Education and Educational Psychologist. She has worked most of her professional life teaching different types of dance. She began her flamenco studies at the age of 20 in Santiago, Chile. During this period, she was selected to participate in various tours and presentations in ‘tablaos’, in addition to teaching Flamenco classes in different schools in the capital. In 2010 she decided to travel to Sevilla, Spain, to study flamenco with some of the the most outstanding Famenco dancers.
Back in Chile, she began to teach classes to children and adults in recognized flamenco academies, and she performed in various ‘tablaos’ with outstanding musicians and flamenco artists. In 2015, she opened her own school with the purpose to teach adult and infant flamenco classes, and other types of dance as well. In July of 2018 she arrived in Auckland where she will stay at least for 4 years. Her professional approach as a teacher and educational psychologist allows her to create coherent and motivating classes.
INSTRUCTOR: Latin Ladies Styling, Performance Teams
Direct from Mexico, Lia began dancing before she can remember, starting with ballet, moving on to gymnastics and competing in kids jazz groups from 12 years of age. She then took up Mexican folk dance at university which gave her the opportunity to travel all over Europe with Folk dance troupes.
Her dance journey finally brought her to her absolute favourite rhythym – Latin. She has competed and performed all over Mexico as a Latin dancer, in Salsa and Bachata. Aside from performing she has a passion for choreography and teaching dance. Lia is known for mixing styles in her choreographies and classes, to keep them fresh, fun and challenging.
INSTRUCTOR: Belly Dance, Afro Brazilian Dance
Luana is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dancing is her passion. Her mother always tells the story that Luana danced to the rhythm of the washing machine when she was a child. Luana has ancestors from Lebanon. As a child, she used to go to a Lebanese restaurant for dinner with her family, and it was there that she first saw a belly dancer. At that moment she realized that she wanted to be a belly dancer one day, belly dancing was in her blood. She has been dancing for 14 years and graduated as a Belly Dance Teacher at Hannan School Dance in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2017.
In 2014, she decided to explore other types of dances and ended up studying Brazilian African Dance. A very different style of dance, but both dances are based on the rhythm of the drums and are deeply rooted in the land, with a lot of history and meaning. Luana has a lot of energy. Her classes are about having fun, dancing from the soul, and transforming the energy through dance.”
RECEPTION & Social Media
Nathália arrived to New Zealand in 2017 from Brazil and loves exploring all the opportunities NZ’s given her. Now she’s happy to be working at Viva, which is a fun environment and where she can improve her skills and learn more.
Phoebe started Latin Ballroom when she was 15 years old, after over a decade of dance and gymnastics experience. In 2010 she joined a Salsa team with Saione and Beth at Viva Dance where she fell in love with Street Latin and eventually became swept up in Zouk, which is where her passion still lies today.
Phoebe has studied extensively all over the world, training with Alex and Mathilde in Paris, Bruno Galhardo, and in Brazil with the Queen of Zouk, Renata Pecanha. She sees Zouk as a graceful conversation between two people and her love for the style has pushed her to be a skilled leader, follower, and teacher.
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
Sam started pole in 2017 and fell in love almost immediately. 2 years later she was taking her own classes, aiming to pass on the pole love and knowledge she received from her instructors. She does this through encouragement, belief and dedication to her students. Sam absolutely loves helping and watching her students grow both physically in their pole journey but also emotionally as they find their pole style and learn all that their bodies can do on and off the pole Sam will work tirelessly to communicate with her students in order to provide the best possible service for them as a group and as individuals. She looks forward to seeing you in class.
INSTRUCTOR: Pole dance fitness
Prior to pole dancing, she was performing in a jazz dance group for more than a year until she found her passion in pole in Viva back in 2015. Since then she has competed in various competitions and performed in the Miss Chinese pageant and on many other occasions.
Simie is excited to return to Viva and teach pole fitness and exotic flow helping her students to gain confidence and to constantly challenge themselves so they can also feel the sense of achievement in this sport.
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 Latinhttps://vivadance.co.nz/dance-styles/performance-courses/ 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.
INSTRUCTOR: Pole Dance Fitness & Viva Pole Mentor
Zoe started pole dancing 4 years ago and with a background in Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary and also 10 years of aerials experience pole dancing was a natural fit for her.
She has been teaching privately for the last year and specialises in spin pole and exotic flow. Her skills have seen her dance in clubs in both NZ and Australia and feature on several TV shows both local and International.
The thing she enjoys most about teaching is being able to see her students come into their own groove and grow in confidence. Her favourite pole move is : Spatchcock. Favourite artist to dance to : Rezz