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
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 Pole Studio Manager
Aleksandra is a 2019 New Zealand Flexibility POLE Legend and has many years of coaching experience withing gymnastics, pole and fitness. She is a certified Personal Trainer and Gymnastic coach with approved spotting and safety skills. She has also completed IPSF’s (International Pole Sport Federation) judging courses and has a great understanding of the technical and physical aspects of pole.
She is originally from Poland and believes that there is no such a thing as “too late or too old”! There are no limits to what we can achieve if we really want it! Aleks is also a big supporter of having fun while exercising and this is also why she loves dancing and sharing it with others though teaching!
Social Media & Digital Marketing Manager
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.
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
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: 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.
Beth dances Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba and has been dancing since 2006. She was hand-picked to compete at a world level after just a year of dancing and then went on to train with world champions from Australia and Peru. She now runs Latin Dance Events such as ONE FOR ALL Latin Nights, currently running on Fridays at Tom Tom’s Bar.
She has choreographed and won the prestigious open teams category, her first time choreographing by a landslide in 2016. She was then invited to judge internationally on panels with top dancers from all over the world, at competitions such as the World Salsa Solos in Brisbane and the ALDC in Sydney.
Beth’s background as a primary school teacher has given her extra skills in communicating effectively with her students. She has taught all across NZ, Australia and Peru for the last decade. She now only teaches privately from her home studio as she believes this gives serious students the opportunity to excel at a rapid pace with her immense technical background and eye for individualised programmes in Salsa and Bachata and her newest obsession: Kizomba
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: Hip Hop Burlesque, Urban, Commercial
Dani is a classically trained jazz dancer who has recently returned to Auckland after immersing herself in the dance culture of Melbourne, Australia. She specialises in Commercial and Urban Choreography, while a sexy Burlesque undertone is always present in her movement. Dani has choreographed award-winning shows in Melbourne. She has been a member of several Hip-Hop dance crews including Ascendant, training under the mentorship of HHI World Judge, Gina Michael.
Dani’s classes are fun and sexy. Her intention is to create a safe space for students to connect to their bodies through dance and music.
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: 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: Kids Classes, Hip Hop
Faith recently graduated from Unitec with a Bachelors Degree in Screen and Performing Arts, majoring in Contemporary Dance. She started dancing with the Lil Saintz Dance crew and has been competing since then. She has competed in various competitions both nationally and internationally. She started her teaching career through Saintz Up Performing Arts which made her the tutor she is today, currently working as a dance tutor at various different studios in Auckland.
Teaching students has been a passion of hers since she realised how important the role is for future movers. She is a tutor at various different studios now and is looking forward to teaching and encouraging the next generation of movers in New Zealand 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.
Jaydess Nand has been specialising in the style Waacking for over a decade and has a lot of knowledge and experience to share. Her mentor and waacking father is the legendary late Tyrone ‘The Bone’ Proctor from NYC and she has traveled the world exploring this dance and the way it moves in different cultures. Some countries Jaydess has taught, battled and performed in include NZ, Australia, Thailand , Fiji , Vietnam, Canada, USA and South Korea.
Jaydess created NZ’s first waacking crew – The Jaackers NZ in 2015 , she also co-created NZ’s first 1vs1 waacking battle in 2013 with Karen Ng “Waack it Out “ and “Waack is Baack” 1vs1 waacking battle in NYC.
INSTRUCTOR: Ballet, Jazz Funk, Kids classes
Classically trained and havng worked amongst our most local beloved dance companies (incl. Royal NZ Ballet, Footnote, Black Grace, etc), Jenifer McManus has returned to NZ! Since 2012, Jenifer has danced professionally and was named as the ‘Rising Star’ from Southland.
Since graduating in 2015 from the New Zealand Performing Arts, she has learnt multiple forms of dance. (Incl. Contemporary, modern / commercial Jazz and musical theatre). She is also an advocate for health & wellness, known as ‘The Millennial Cheerleader’ and seeks to to empower others to chase their dreams. She is proud to join Viva to bring her own special brand of enthusiasm and nurturing to ballet classes for adults.
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: 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.
Marie is a certified pole dance instructor with 4 years of experience teaching pole and dance. Viva was where Marie’s coaching journey started and she is super excited to be back here again after many years of teaching at other studios around Auckland. Marie has been now pole dancing for 6 years and is still in frequent training herself.
Marie is an incredible and warm soul that instantly makes you feel comfortable around her. She always has a good joke or a funny story to tell and loves getting to know her students. Marie specializes in contemporary pole and is known in Auckland for amazing contemporary pole flow choreographies! She will always remind you that “the more you seek discomfort the more you open yourself to the world of possibilities”.
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.
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
Born in Mumbai, India (the birthplace city of Bollywood cinema) but raised in New Zealand, Shawn has had training in various forms of dancing ranging from hip hop to contemporary & Ceroc. He has been a dance company owner specialising in Bollywood Dance, based in Christchurch for the last 4 years. He’s also the judge for the great New Zealand Dance Masala featured on TV3. He’s now moved to Auckland and is creating a wave of interest from the community for those wanting to learn this unique style of dance called Bollywood.
“I feel Bollywood is more of an expression rather than a style of dance. if you’re keen to learn about this new culture and a dance form that’s taking over the entire world – this dance class is for you”.