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.
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
INSTRUCTOR: Musical Theatre, Pre-Modern Dance (Wednesday)
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!
Viva Social Media Manager
Originally a stage director with lots of creative ideas, Ksenia has always been passionate about dance performance where she could express her personality and talk with an audience using music and the body. At the age of 19 she joined her family’s wedding business as a dance teacher to help engaged couples tell their amazing love stories through dance.
Motherhood opened up another side of her talent as a kids’ and family party planner. Having organised thousands of outstanding kids’ birthday parties, Ksenia definitely knows how to make kids’ dreams come true and how to find the right balance between kids’ desires and their parents’ possibilities. Ksenia believes that events should inspire people and create long-lasting memories.
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
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!
INSTRUCTOR: Salsa, Salsa on 2, Ladies Styling, Body movement
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.
INSTRUCTOR: Jazz, Contemporary
Angela first found her passion for dance when she auditioned for the dance team in school and performed in various competitions. She then went on to take Jazz classes, and from there she discovered her love for Contemporary and Lyrical dance. After surpassing many grades in the IDTA syllabus she then went on to become a dance teacher for her studio and found that she thoroughly enjoyed teaching students.
In addition to teaching dance, Angela has also trained as a gymnastics coach and has performed in various musicals and productions as a dancer and actor.
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: Brazilian Funk, Twerk
As a teenager, Camila could never resist dancing to Brazilian Funk. Cheerleader for a basket ball team in Brazil, dance was always her escape and true passion. In 2016 she started teaching Brazilian Funk, Twerking and Reggaeton. Now in New Zealand she is absolutely excited about spreading Brazilian Funk’s fun, sensuality and power to increase self-esteem and well-being to everyone who dares!
In her past life, Cat was a successful rhythmic gymnast who was lucky enough to compete internationally at World Cups and Championships. After retiring, she became a gymnastics coach for 3 years and even went on to compete again after a 6-year break.
Now working full time, she does what she loves – dancing. With her gymnastics background, Cat knows how important it is to stretch when engaged in any physical activity to protect your body and that flexibility will improve any form of dance you do.
INSTRUCTOR: Commercial Dance, Dance Fitness, Reggaeton, Ballroom, Ballet, 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: Urban Choreography, Hip Hop
David has been dancing for more than 8 years, trained mainly in Hip Hop and contemporary. David came to NZ in 2015 and has twice represented NZ in the Hip Hop International world stage, with well known Identity Dance Company. Credits include Out of the Box 2016 (8 man urban contemporary show performed throughout NZ), Satellite Kpop Show, Tempo Festival, Grounded Show, Whats Yo Style all-style battle 2015 (winner), Singapore Dance Delight, and many more.
Continuously learning, from both local and international teachers, David believes that no one should ever stop growing, including himself.
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.
INSTRUCTOR: Pole Dance Fitness
Elise discovered pole dancing after a friend started a pole fitness club at university. After finishing, she started at Viva and has been there ever since. Although she has years of background in ballet and jazz, she has found a passion for pole and performance.
She enjoys introducing new polers to the sport and watching their enthusiasm grow.
INSTRUCTOR: Pole Dance 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.
INSTRUCTOR: Argentine Tango
Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jonathan got to know the world of dancing almost by mistake. He was 16 and working as a waiter at his uncle’s restaurant when he became friends with the dancers who performed there every night. He then started taking Cuban salsa and tango lessons under their wing, and eventually he ended up being a part of that same show he used to watch.
That was a one-way ticket for him to take up dance as a hobby always trying to improve and incorporate new techniques. He hosted many salsa and tango classes in Buenos Aires together with his newfound friends/mentors. Fast forward almost 20 years into the future and you can see Jonathan arriving in NZ with a burning desire to let people know about the styles people dance on the other side of the world.
INSTRUCTOR: Modern Dance 101 (Saturday)
After completing year 13 of high school, Kate went on to complete her level 4 certificate in full-time professional dance performance at Ettinghausens Pro Academy in Sydney Australia. She then competed in the Voice Australia on Ronan Keating’s, team and made it to the top 30, all the while working as a professional dancer and training part time.
Kate has been heavily involved as a choreographer and teacher for Sharyn Underwood’s school of dance in Wanganui for the past 3 years. Kate has experience choreographing in all dance styles, for shows, performances, solos, duets and group dances. In 2017, Kate also prepared students and took them to Sydney for a dance experience. Kate is currently studying fulltime contemporary dance at Unitec 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: MiniMe & Me, Pre- Modern Dance (Saturday)
Li is a current PhD candidate in Dance Studies Programme at the University of Auckland. Her research focuses on dance education and educational philosophy. She loves working with kids, seeking to transfer her theoretical knowledge into practical dance classrooms. She began learning dance at the age of four. Li has more than eight-year teaching experience. She can deeply understand what kids need during dance time and what a dance instructor should offer them.
INSTRUCTOR: Core Conditioning
Manon is from Toulon, a city located int the South East of France, and has been living in New Zealand for almost 2 years.
She has been in the fitness industry for the past 4 years, teaching group fitness classes and was a personal trainer in France. focusing in particular on developing her student’s awareness of deep and postural muscles for overall health and pain-free living.
Manon also loves dancing, her newest passion. She discovered Kizomba in France 6 months before arriving in Auckland and she loves Kizomba because of the connection and the feeling of letting go, forgetting everything when you are totally in tune with your dance partner.
Manon is excited to be part of the Viva team and looks forward to meeting you in her classes or on the dance floor.
INSTRUCTOR: Salsa on 2, Cha Cha Cha
Originally falling in love with salsa after hearing a live band, music is central to Mark’s enjoyment of the dance. Hailing from London, there he learnt salsa and found a passion for On2 New York style, dancing amongst some of UK’s leading instructors and social dancers. He has danced salsa for over 12 years, including performing on European stages with Gil and Shelley’s Semi-Pro team.
Mark is thrilled to introduce and grow on2 style and mambo music in the Auckland salsa scene. He is a strong believer that salsa is all about having fun on the social dance floor. His lessons are focused on good leading and following technique to help students build the confidence required to dance with anyone outside of the class environmentt.
INSTRUCTOR: Belly Dance, Argentine Tango
Melisa started her belly dance studies in Mendoza city, Argentina at the age of 15, where she was taught by renowned professors Nashua, Munira Chade and Karim. At 20 she graduated Arab Dance from the Lebanese Society in Mendoza. By the age of 21 she had already become an instructor in Mendoza city. Two years later, she and her students started a Dance Troupe (Misticas del Oriente) and took part in important competitions around the city.
At 22 she moved to Madrid, Spain and worked as a Bellydance teacher for government organisations. Her passion for dance and its roots led her to study Tango. She began to study Tango in the renowned Academy of Hector Moreno in Mendoza. She participated in “Vendimia”, the Harvest Festival, in 2014 as a Tango dancer and she has been frequenting Milongas in Mendoza and Buenos Aires ever since. Melisa is a psychologist and her vocation to understand the human behavior along with dance has made her an excellent instructor, who teaches dance as a way to connect with one’s inner self.
INSTRUCTOR: Hip Hop Burlesque
Olivia is Colombian/Pakeha, with that Latin American flare and attitude. With 15 years’ experience in Hip-hop, she has been involved in and choreographed for many dance competitions, Such as Bring it on, Stage challenge and more.
She has studied a wide range of dance styles including Contemporary, Jazz, Bollywood and Zumba which has all influenced her unique style. Over the last few years she danced with the ‘Projekt Team’ crew in Wellington, learnt Break dancing skills and refined her Hip Hop technique.
Raphaël’s intimate relationship with dance started when he was still in Mum’s belly kicking his feet around to the rhythm while Mum & Dad danced away to some good old rock’n’roll tunes. Needless to say rock n roll is what got him first on the dance floor.
Raphaël’s style is very diverse. Imagine a French boy learning Cuban Salsa in Poland after a trip to Canada where he discovered his addiction to Latin dance socialising with the Latin community! His repertoire of dance styles hasn’t stopped growing since. His latest addiction is the euphoric Brazilian Zouk.
We all have an artist sleeping inside us. All it takes is a special event to wake it up. “I want to help people to wake up their passion, just like Mexicans did with mine. There is nothing like dancing with your heart letting your soul wander away from your daily routine.”
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
INSTRUCTOR: Reggaeton, Hip Hop
Setu is originally from Christchurch, where he trained for three years (2015-2017) under Zion studios. In that time he completed a two year internship, competed in competitions such as “Hip Hop Unite Nationals” 2016 Adult division, 2017 Megacrew division winner (selected to represent NZ at Worlds), “Shakedown” 2016 Megacrew winner, 2017 Adult 2nd place and “SDNZ Nationals” and has taught a variety of classes. He loves to teach anyone who is willing to learn and grow with him.
Setu is also a member of the Jaackers NZ crew.
“Dance is a way for me to express who I am. It allows me to inspire others to chase their dreams too.”
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: Hip Hop, Hip Hop Burlesque, Hens Parties
Victoria started dancing at the age of 12 in her home town in Venezuela with jazz and contemporary dance. At 16 she moved to New Zealand and started her hip hop and urban dance journey. She’s been part of Notorious Dance Company varsity crews and is currently part of Identity Dance Company. Both companies have taken her to train and compete internationally. She is currently studying Dance and the University of Auckland to obtain a bachelor of Dance. Her goal is to push and inspire her students to be the best versions of themselves, and to have fun.