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
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 Kids Classes and Musical Theatre Manager
INSTRUCTOR: Salsa, Ladies Styling, Musical Theatre, Kids Classes
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. For the past 2 years she’s worked for the Selwyn School of Dance in Christchurch helping to establish and grow, what is now a well-developed musical theatre section of the school. Last year 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 The Selwyn School of Dance modern dance show last year, 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 Musical Theatre workshops and 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: Vintage Jazz
Akriti is a multi-passionate creative with over 12 years of dance and teaching experience. In that time she has travelled all over the world to learn and expand her awareness of dancing and teaching. She absolutely loves dance and all that it has to offer the mind, body and spirit. Specialising in swing dancing, particularly the Lindy Hop and authentic vintage solo jazz dance, she loves to focus on rhythm and body awareness to develop your own individual groove. All with a massive dose of joy.
Akriti has won and placed in numerous competitions in the Swing Dance world and has extensive experience teaching workshops for kids, teens and elderly dancers of all levels. This includes assisting in dance and movement therapy for special needs adults and young adults. These days she is regularly giving private lessons and choreographing for competitions, performances, events, learning focused classes and wedding dances. She loves the the rich history, inspiration and joy that comes with Swing dancing and looks forward to any opportunity to share that with the wider community.
Kiwi Maori girl brought up in the Bay of Plenty then moved to Auckland. Alison’s love of dance started at an early age with rock ‘n’ roll and performing on stage. She believes music and dance bring joy to anyone’s soul. With some cousins she had her own hip hop group and loved to make choreographies and perform at family celebrations.
From the end of 2015 she became a Zumba instructor. She also teaches U-Jam Fitness® classes and coaches and mentors other U-Jam Fitness® Instructors. She loves U-Jam Fitness® as it is for everyone. Its a time where students are the stars. U-Jam Fitness is a urban beat dance fitness programme full of world beats and is for all fitness levels ages and backgrounds. With different styles and fusions old/new hiphop, latin and bhangra even kpop!
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: Kids Classes, Jazz
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!
INSTRUCTOR: Commercial Dance, Dance Fitness, Reggaeton
Claudio graduated as a 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.
INSTRUCTOR: Urban Choreography
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 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: 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!
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.
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: Hip Hop
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.
INSTRUCTOR: Argentine Tango
Introduced to the world of Ballroom at the tender age of 31, Peter was an almost permanent fixture of his local dance studio in Melbourne. He was encouraged to join friends at one of the many Milongas which had become part of the Melbourne dance scene and a new dance passion for Argentine Tango was born.
On his most recent return to New Zealand he discovered Viva Dance and was able further indulge his love of Tango under the expert guidance of Irina. He has now been offered to opportunity to share this passion with others, you can join Peter in discovering the wonderful world of Argentine Tango. Whether it’s for the very first time, or to dust off some of those long forgotten Tango moves, he will make sure you enjoy your time at Viva as much as he does.
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: Belly Dance, Contemporary Dance, Pilates
Samia started her studies in Tandil city at the age of 5, where she attended the Classic Dance Teacher Training College until she was 14. Later on she joined the School Ballet and was taught there by many renowned insturctors. She also took on a range of different disciplines besides Classic Dance, such as Folklore Dance, Spanish Dance, Jazz Dance, Corporal Expression and Contemporary.
At 14 she started to study Arab Dance in the Arab Cultural Center in Tandil. She joined the Arab Dance Cultural Center Ballet and was invited to dance in the Theater of the Fuerte in Tandil. She travelled to Buenos Aires to further her studes. At 17 she moved to Buenos Aires city and joined the Arabian Dance School of Amir Thaleb. She graduated as Teacher of Arab Dance from the Arabian Dance School of Amir Thaleb in 2010. That same year she started to take lessons of Contemporary Dance with the recognized teacher and performer Florencia Vecino and continued studying Contemporary Flying Low-Release with Agustina Albanessi until now.
In March of 2012 she was invited by Master Amir Thaleb to join the “Amir Thaleb” Chamber Ballet . Since 2012 she has been a teacher of Arab Dance in the Buenos Aires Lebanese Club, also she has been part of the Buenos Aires Lebanese Club Dabke Ballet and was member of the Bikfaia Group, together with excellent professional dancers. She has been an independent dancer for the last 6 years and is part of an Arab and Folklore dance company :Milenaria Grupo de Danzas.
Born in South Africa, Sarah van Zyl moved to New Zealand as a teenager. She is a singer-songwriter and guitarist whose passion for music lead her to another passion: Zumba. As a Zumba instructor, she loves high energy classes and moving to rhythms from around the world like Latin, Caribbean, African, Bollywood and Bhangara. She has found an amazing community in Zumba, where people come together sharing their love of fitness, dance and music.
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.
INSTRUCTOR: Floor Fitness, Core Conditioning, Wedding Dance Lessons
Wayne Ong graduated from Conneticut College, USA with a BA in Dance and Biochemistry in 2011. While a student he trained in contemporary dance with distinguished faculty members and dancers. From 2011-2012 he worked in Boston as a dancer with Anna Myer and Dancers, and as a ballroom dance instructor with Ballroom in Boston. He then returned to Singapore and danced with Frontier Danceland from 2013-2016, where he also served as the programme leader for the M1-Frontier Danceland Pulse Programme from 2014-2016.
Wayne brings his extensive experience and professionalism to his floor fitness classes and private lessons with Viva.