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
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 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: Go-Go dance
Accompanied by her farther on an accordion, Alina started dancing at age one and has never stopped. Started performing in a dance team at age six, she performed various dance styles including traditional folk dances, hip-hop, Latin dances, which eventually lead her to go-go dancing.
Alina performed as an award-winning go-go dancer for 6 years. Dancing is her passion and she enjoys sharing that passion. A Zumba instructor and Twerk teacher in the past, Alina is convinced that the complexity of Go-Go will improve those styles as well as many others.
INSTRUCTOR: Pole dance 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: Hip Hop, Urban Choreography
Anton Pulefale is a freelance choreographer and dancer from Auckland, New Zealand. Anton strives to constantly develop and push his craft to new boundaries. His choreography derives from various styles, mainly drawing inspiration from his hip hop and contemporary dance background.
He is currently studying a Bachelor of Dance Studies at the University of Auckland. Previously a teacher and dancer at Notorious Dance Company, He now teaches at various schools and studios around New Zealand.
INSTRUCTOR: Kids Classes
Brittany Kohler is an Auckland based dancer, choreographer and teacher. She grew up learning Ballet, Contemporary and Jazz at a studio, and went on to train full-time for three years in Contemporary Dance. She is a founding member of Dance Plant Collective (an Auckland contemporary dance company) and has predominantly been choreographing and performing with the collective since graduating with a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts in 2016.
Brittany is a registered Pilates instructor, currently teaching Pilates and dance around Auckland to children and adults alike. She also has experience teaching in mixed ability environments, and is a Dance Movement Therapy student with Dance Therapy NZ. Brittany has a passion for cultivating encouraging, positive and safe learning environments, and believes everyone can thrive and grow if they are believed in and believe in themselves.
INSTRUCTOR: Brazilian Funk, Twerk, Zumba
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!
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, Bachata, Urban
Claudio arrived in New Zealand in 2018 with the idea of sharing the knowledge he has gained in 9 years of dancing. He loves to mix urban and Latin styles in his classes and aims to give his students tools to improve their social dancing. He has taken part in several international competitions with dance teams and placed highly, even travelling to Cuba in February 2018.
Claudio considers himself to be a happy, energetic person who gives his all in his classes, making sure they are fun and more than just a simple choreography or series of steps. He aims to get to the heart of the music and the dance and take his students with him.
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.
INISTRUCTOR: Movement. Flow
Emma Alley is an experienced facilitator, choreographer, writer, and performance artist. She received her BFA in dance from Florida State University in 2014. After graduating, Emma re-located to Atlanta, Georgia, where she presented a series of solos and performances experiments at venues across the city.
She was a company member with Emily Cargill and Dancers, and has performed with Sky Creature Productions and Staibdance. In 2017, she was a resident artist at the Work Room, a rehearsal studio for contemporary dance. She seeks to create spaces that activate, empower, heal, and inspire. Her work is ritualistic, spontaneous, meditative, and grounded in play.
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: Hip-Hop Burlesque, Hip-Hop, Urban Choreography
Karissa is from South Africa and has been dancing ever since she can remember. She believes that everyone can dance, it’s drive and passion that makes you a dancer. She has competed and performed in numerous competitions and shows. Her feisty personality sets the tone for her classes, yet her easy-going nature makes her students feel comfortable and accepted. She has many years of experience as she started her career young, she has been coaching since the young age of 16.
She has a performing and coaching history in a variety of styles; Hip-Hop, Contemporary, Lyrical, Jive/East Coast Swing, Urban Choreography, Burlesque, Hustle and Disco Freestyle. Karissa’s witty and ambitious coaching style creates exuberant and confident dancers. She hopes to make a difference in her students’ dancing career.
INSTRUCTOR: Pole dance
Kelly has been teaching for over 11 years. With a solid background in personal and group fitness training, gymnasitcs and yoga, she combines, strength and flexibility with sultry moves in her pole dance classes. She loves helping her class feel confident and sexy.
With her knowledge and experience she will help you learn to flow dance and pole together. Kelly is also known for being flexible and shares this in her stretch classes designed specifically for pole dancers. Her bubbly personality helps everyone to feel at ease and enjoy her classes.
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: Pole dance fitness
Lydia grew up in the US training gymnastics and track and field. She was first introduced to pole after going to a hen’s pole party with some friends. She immediately fell in love with the sport, but life got in the way and she stopped practising for a few years.
After moving to New Zealand at the end of 2018, Lydia started Viva pole classes to challenge herself physically and make new friends. She quickly rediscovered her passion for the sport and has been an active member of the community ever since.
She enjoys being a part of others’ pole adventures and is excited to help new polers safely learn the basics of pole, improve their strength and have fun!
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: Pole, Burlesque, Social Media
Originally classically trained, Nina prefers contemporary dance and has had the pleasure to perform and choreograph for music videos and fringe festivals. She discovered pole fitness by accident and after some encouragement from her instructor, competed and won Miss Amateur Pole South Africa. Shortly after, she moved to rural New Zealand and with no dance studio for adults in sight decided to open her own studio teaching women over 25, pole, burlesque and dance fitness, performing in international dance day, local festivals and flashmobs. Taking a few years off on her own ventures she recently settled in Auckland.
Joining the team teaching burlesque, pole and helping out with social media to promote and teach dance. She is happy to talk to anyone who is looking to promote and create anything and everything dance. Don’t hesitate to approach her if you have any ideas or enthusiasm to share, she might even grab you to spread the love.
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.
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
Brazilian made, Silvana arrived in New Zealand in 2007. Her passion for Zumba started in her very first class over 6 years ago. She fell in love with the mixture of different rhythms that Zumba offers, especially her very own culture’s Latin rhythms.
She also found Zumba to be a great and fun way to lose weight and stay fit. Naturally she became an instructor in 2017, so that she would be able to help people to experience the benefits of Zumba.
Silvana recently took part in Zincon, the world’s biggest official Zumba event held in Orlando, USA.
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.
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.
INSTRUCTOR: Reggaeton, Hip hop
Viva’s interest to really pursue dance as something more than a hobby, arose during high school where she went opted for dance, not knowing it would lead her to so many great opportunities, one of which she is highly grateful for – studying towards a Bachelor of Dance studies degree, at the University of Auckland. She has had her fair share of dancing from a young age to where she is now. From cultural to contemporary, hip hop, and so forth. Viva has also competed nationally and internationally under the company, Brady Bunch Academy (2017-2019), as well as participating in numerous projects and showcases with other creatives. She is embarking on a freelance journey this year to focus on developing herself as a creative artist and her craft.
Viva’s aim is to work collaboratively with others inside and outside the dance community/industry and is hoping to least create an impact of any kind. She also aims to push her students to have fun and enjoy themselves as well as the process of learning to dance.