Festival Line-up
Here are the instructors for this year's festival:

Adam Taub (Colorado)

Adam Taub is one of the few ones who has seriously studied authentic bachata (the way Dominicans dance). SFIBF is extremely proud to present him with his special music, history and dance workshops at the San Francisco International Bachata Festival - July 21-23, 2017 - www.sfibf.com

Adam Taub is a documentary film director from Colorado whose films include La Quinceañera, Don Angelo, and El Duque de la Bachata. His film La Quinceañera won the 2007 award for Best Documentary at the Angelus Student Film Festival in Hollywood, California and Best Documentary at the San Diego Latino Film Festival. He completed working on a film project entitled El Duque de la Bachata with Joan Soriano, a bachata and merengue musician from the Dominican Republic with 5 years ago.

At present, Adam is finalizing the editing process of his most recent feature documentary about a family living in rural Dominican Republic. Beyond documentary filmmaking, Adam has, for over a decade, had broad experience in the world of Bachata. He has lived in the Dominican Republic and conducted extensive research, in-depth video projects, and recorded interviews with bachata legends such as Luis Segura, Ramón Cordero, Joan Soriano, Leonardo Paniagua, El Chivo Sin Ley, Edilio Paredes, Nano Paredes, Martires de Leon, Rafael Montilla, and many others.

He is currently engaged in a groundbreaking research project exploring bachata dance in the Dominican Republic, New York City, and around the world. 

Adam is widely recognized for his innovative presentations and the unique pedagogy he has developed for teaching bachata dance and musicology. Adam has been invited to teach and present his work at dozens of national and international salsa and bachata festivals, libraries, cultural centers, and universities

Alberto & Nola (Australia)

Nola Komis is the Founder, Director and Principal Instructor of A Touch of Salsa Latin Dance Studios in Sydney, Australia. A Touch of Salsa runs classes in Salsa, Bachata, Zouk and Kizomba. They also offer competition courses, workshops, performance courses and more and will this year will be celebrating 11 years. 

Nola Komis and Alberto Torres-Perez have been teaching together for the past five years and they are both passionate and love sharing their passion for dance. Nola and Alberto have both travelled to Athens, Geneva, New Zealand, Hawaii and all over Australia where they have taught workshops at Festivals/Congresses to packed participants and have received many great reviews for their classes. Nola and Alberto are looking forward to being part of the San Francisco Bachata Festival in July 2017.

Benga da Beatz (Ohio)

Benga is a Nigeria born international dancing sensation, with backgrounds in several African dances, ballroom dances, American dances, and latin dances. From Waltz to Tango, Makoussa to Kizomba, hip hop to west coast swing, and Irish dance to Bollywood.  Benga has intensive dancing experiences all across the globe. An Afro Beats and Afro-cuban solo performer, and a latin dance instructor well known to many now as the Da Beatz.   With 26 years of African Dancing and 6 years of professional latin dancing, Benga is teaching and promoting at every Latin events possible with his own vibrant style of Fun Swagness

Bruno & Olga (LA)

Bruno and Olga started dancing together in November 2015 and have since taught and performed at numerous events around the country from local workshops to large international congresses.

In 2016 they took second place in the semi-pro division of the Zouk US Open with their now well-known choreography piece “Worth It” and shortly after got featured in the “Fences” movie, that’s currently in production stage.

Olga has a rich dance background in classical ballet, modern, contemporary and commercial jazz, as well as hip hop and heels choreographies. She is also an All-Star west coast swing dancer.

Once she discovered Brazilian zouk however, it has become her main passion, and these days she dedicates majority of her training time to perfecting her dance skills and broadening her knowledge base in this dance style. She currently teaches and performs around the US with her partner Bruno Miranda and co-directs Zouk team at Ivo Vieira’s Dance Company.

Bruno is trained in hip hop, salsa, kizomba, tarraxinha, semba, and of course brazilian zouk. He has been on the social dance scene of his hometown Braga, Portugal since he was 14 years old. 

Since his move to the US he’s been mainly focusing on zouk and kizomba, training and teaching around the country with his partner, performing in ISDC dance company for a while, and currently co-directing the Zouk team at Ivo Vieira's Dance company and learning from the best dance professionals in the world.

Having combined their knowledge and experience as dancers and teachers, Bruno and Olga have built a unique and memorable style, which they are always eager to share!

Bryon and Sammantha (SF)

From San Francisco, Bryon Stroud and Sammantha Arias have been teaching and performing all over the bay area. Known for there very smooth footwork and great musicality. 

They have been taking the bachata scene by storm teaching at Reno bachata festival and also SF bachata festival this July.

Carlos Cinta (Chicago)

Mr. Carlos Cinta from Chicago is one of the best international instructor to explain the musicality of the authentic bachata. He knows not only the basic timing and stepping issues, but also highly advanced practices of hearing the music and instruments and how to dance on the music. Musicality is one of the key issues at bachata festivals all over the world. Mr. Cinta’s unique method of teaching is a welcomed addition as the topics of the musicality are extremely complicated.

Carlos Cinta "El Unico Bachatero", is a world renowned Caribbean/Dominican Bachata expert and educator! Carlos has taught at many international festivals and events around the world. His first YouTube video attracted over 8 million hits! Because of his carefree, lighthearted and fun attitude towards dancing, people are ultimately drawn to his Bachata style and his teaching methods. Known for his unique Teaching ability and "Bachata Musicality" Music Course. Sharing his passion of Dominican Style Bachata to sold-out workshops at festivals all over the world. Carlos Cinta was born in San Francisco. He was raised in Chicago. Although Carlos' first experiences of Bachata were not particularly pleasing, it was only after attending a club in Chicago and seeing Bachata danced with sensuality, passion and sexy moves that he truly fell in love with it.

In 2010 Carlos collaborated with Joan Soriano, the world-renowned bachata artist and guitarist from the Dominican Republic, to create the first-ever Bachata musicality and timing CD.

Christina Montoya (NYC)

Christina Montoya, who now lives in the East Coast, began dancing in middle school where she joined the jazz/ hip hop team. In high school, she joined the cheer team and continued to learn dance and tumbling as well as perform and compete. She also was a part of "Ohana Maoli", a Tahitian/ Polynesian style dance team that performed at her high school and local events. Shortly after, she began learning salsa and bachata with Aragon Dance Company. She has also trained with Latin Rhapsody, Omambo Dance Project, and has trained with various artists in Zouk. 

Christina are the director of Urban Flow in Los Angeles and have taught at festivals throughout the US including: BKS Festival (Los Angeles), Dallas Bachata Festival, Reno Latin Dance Festival, and LABF (Los Angeles).

Cymeone Mopao (France)

Cymeone Mopao is a well known kizomba instructor based in Paris. He is one of the first instructors to have taught kizomba in France beginning in 2009. Born into a family of musicians, he was accustomed to lots of music and quickly adapted to the dance lifestyle. As he immersed imself into dance, he became proficient in African style dances such as ndombolo and coupé décalé. When he was 18, he joined a group of dancers called " les coeurs brisés ". From there he became interested in other Afro style dances like Zouk, Kompa and Kizomba. He gave his first Kizomba class in 2009 and became one of the most wanted instructors in international festivals.

In 2010, he was the first French instructor to teach Kizomba in the United States (New York).

In 2011, he brought Kizomba to Reunion Island and created the KIZOMBA EVENTS association in which he taught along side international instructors like Curtis Seldon.

In 2012, he began to learn other genres of dance like the LINDY HOP and STEPPIN. He began, after advanced training, to teach these dances in 2015.

Cymeone is a real world class instructor with an incredible enthusiasm for the dance which makes him one of the most wanted instructors for dance festivals and congress's worldwide.

DJ El Guapo (SF)

Jeison Aguilar has been in the Latin dance scene for 20 years. He has been a big name when it comes to bachata music and bachata festivals. DJ El Guapo is one of the best bachata DJ in the world. He has DJ'd at San Francisco Bachata Festival, Reno Bachata Festival, San Francisco SALSA Congress, Los Angeles SALSA Congress, Hawaii Bachata Festival and more. Currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, he DJs at Impala, Bachata Addiction, Bachata con Coco, Bachata Cravings, and pretty much a partner in all or Rodchata Enterprise Events.

DJ Guelas (Atlanta)

DJ Guelas (pronounced “Geh-Luss”) is one of the most prominent personalities in the African immigrant entertainment community, with fifteen years of experience in spinning music. His collaborations are a who’s who list of the Afro-zouk and Kizomba world of celebrities. Some of these notable names include Kaysha, Nelson Freitas, Ali Angel and Susana Lubrano. Guelas is an award nominated international DJ. From Lisbon and Rome to San Francisco and Washington, D.C., Guelas has attracted fans from across the globe with his diverse and exciting DJing sets.

DJ Kenny (LA)

Recently voted as the best DJ for 2012, DJ Kenny has been in the dance scene for quite a while. He had done everything; competed, performed and taught. These days he is the Main DJ of several popular club venues in Los Angeles, GRANADA,HACIENDA, just to name a few. DJ Kenny is responsible for bringing Bachata artists to Los Angeles; Kiko Rodriguez, Cojunto Afro Son, just to name a few.

DJ Ron (SF)

Ron Palma, aka DJ Ron, He has been influenced by the music he's heard as child (Cuco Valoy - El Brujo, Oscar D'León, Lalo Rodriguez, Tommy Olivencia, etc.) and from listening to the radio, the best of the 80’s Hip Hop (Eric B. & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul, Gang Starr, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, EPMD). Started DJing after a good friend, saw the passion he had and suggested he try it. It has been a few year now and loves it. Watching people react to the music he plays is what makes him want to continue DJing. Has a strong passion for music and dance. Currently he is a member/performer/resident DJ of Northern California's, Inessence Dance Co. Also is the resident Dj at Hot Bachata Nights (San Francisco) at HUE and Dance Fridays (San Francisco) at Space 550. He has participated in many of the West Coast dance festivals.

DJ Super Chino (SF)

DJ Super Chino (AKA Jairo Aguilar) hails from Nicaragua and has been a DJ in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2001. Formerly a competitive dancer, DJ Super Chino has an intimate understanding of the music and history of salsa and bachata.

He is well known for his extensive collection of rare and hard-to-find tracks, and has been a featured DJ on the Hard Salsa radio show, as well as the San Francisco International Salsa Congress, San Francisco Salsa Festival, US Salsa Open, International Reno Bachata Festival, International San Francisco Bachata Festival, and the Reno Salsa Festival.

In addition to his reputation as a salsa DJ, Super Chino also plays Hip hop, Reaggeton, Top 40 Bachata, Salsa, Merengue, and Cumbia.

He has been invited to DJ at:

  • Alberto’s in Mountain View
  • Reno Salsa Dance Sensation
  • Hot Salsa Fridays at the Dance Spectrum
  • Latin Fever Fridays in Oakland
  • Down Low Lounge in Berkeley
  • Cocomo’s SF
  • Dance Troupe Socials
  • Korea Salsa Festival
  • Dj Chino is Also Available for
  • Private Events
  • Weddings
  • Quinceaneras

Edwin & Dakota (New York)

Edwin M. Ferreras is a New York based, Dominican-born dancer, instructor, and director of LFX Dancers. Edwin has performed and taught in dance congresses around the world including; Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, and Russia. He has also shared his passion for dance throughout the United States. Edwin teaches connection, musicality, leading and following techniques, as well as elements of Bachata music and dance, including roots and culture. His firm knowledge and understanding of music allows him to interpret and connect to it seamlessly. His focus on the sounds and detail of the instruments help him teach students to listen, feel, and create, as apposed to memorizing numbers, steps, and patterns. Edwin's content and ability to connect to students facilitates their learning and encourages them to express themselves in their own unique way. 

In 2015, Edwin met and began dancing with multitalented artist, Dakota Romero. In 2016 she became his dance partner and teaching assistant, traveling together to work in national and international events. Dakota is a professional artist; singer, dancer and actor. Her extensive training in music and dance started when she was a child. She has an impressive resume and her ability to learn quickly and effectively has made her a fitting counterpart to Edwin's work in the Latin dance community. Thus began their partnership, which has been captivating the world of dance. 

Dakota Romero is a multicultural, Los Angeles native Singer, Dancer, and Actor. Following in the footsteps of her mother, Dakota studied ballet as a child. She appeared in her first production, Hansel & Gretel (ballet), sparking her love for theater. She later performed in musicals such as Godspell (at the Alex Theater), and The Wiz of Oz (as Dorothy), to name a few. In high school, Dakota studied dance at world renowned dance studios such as The Millenium Complex, Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio, and EDGE Performing Arts Center. She took classes from Los Angeles' most influential choreographers including Jayson Wright, Marty Kudelka, and Dante. During class, Dakota was scouted and hired by the producers of Sesame Street, casting her in a Cartoon Network hip hop music video. Dakota has always loved exploring and learning new styles of dance. She has dabbled in Belly Dance, Swing, and Flamenco, where she studied under the late legendary Maestro Teo Morca. After completing a 14 city arena concert tour in Europe, and while earning her BFA in Music, Dakota spent the summer in Paris, where she was introduced to, and fell in love with, Bachata. Upon returning to the states newly inspired, Dakota continued to pursue her passion for latin dance, a seed that was planted in her as a young girl, by her grandmother.

Emelie Andagan (SAC)

The Yemaya Salsa Dance Company was founded by Emelie Andagan & Heather Wong-Xoquic in October, 2000.

Emelie learned to dance salsa after only a few years due to her extensive dance background of over 20 years and many years of experience as a ballet and jazz student, and later a teacher at the Ballet Theatre of Dover Dance Conservatory. The troupe started as a small group of only four couples that rehearsed twice a week in various garages and practically anywhere with a smooth surface.

She owns and manages Yemaya Dance Studio in sacramento, and is the main director of Yemaya dance Company.

 

Fleur & Aziza (France/SF)

Our background: Aziza Mitchum started dancing Kizomba socially in 2012 and hasn't stopped since! She has been trained with the best instructors known for their love of traditional musicality and movement, Lucia and Joao. She has assisted numerous instructors in many festivals including SFIBF, MBKF, and Isemba. Anyone who dances with Aziza can attest that dancing with her is like dancing with butter! Fleur Leguay started dancing in 2013 in France, where she was introduced to "French style" kizomba, what is also known today as Urban Kiz. When she arrived in the US, she fell in love with traditional kizomba and semba, and has since worked relentlessly to improve every aspect of her dance. She has been trained by Eddyvents and Bonifacio and assisted incredible international phenomenas such as Sonja Kikizomba (Belgium), Stou (France) - and more- at different festivals like MBKF, Tabanka, SFIBF... When you dance with Fleur, her smile and passion is so infectious, you can't help feeling like you're walking on clouds

Francisco Junior (LA)

Bio coming soon.

Frank E (Denmark)

Frank is a dance teacher in Salsa Casino, Son, Bolero, Original Bachata and Fusion Bachata. Frank is one of the early teachers on authentic bachata in Europe. Aside from teaching at his dance studio in Copenhagen, he has traveled and taught workshops worldwide presenting the original structure of bachata dancing. He also organizes an annual Bachata Educational Trip Tour (Bachata Holiday Tour) to the Dominican Republic. His vast knowledge and experience of Dominican and Cuban dances makes him one the main teachers not to be missed at the San Francisco Bachata Festival (www.sfibf.com) on July 21-23, 2017. 
 
BUY PASSES NOW @ www.mybachatafestival.com
 
When it comes to a detailed explanation on the ABC’s of bachata, he has written numerous extensive articles on the subject in his website @ https://sites.google.com/site/realbachata/

Gabi Pineda (Fresno)

The best kept secret in the California valley for many years now is Gabi Pineda on salsa and bachata classes. He has a versatile style of Latin dancing. He has taught in Seattle, Reno, Las Vegas, London, Latvia, Mexico and other dance festivals in the world. New York Style On2 and Bachata is his expertise and had been teaching workshops all over the country. Recently, he has been featured teaching bachata dance on TV.

Gabriel & Leticia (Argentina)

Gabriel & Leticia from Argentina have been performing and teaching at various international Congress since 2010. 
 
In 2007, Gabriel and Leticia began to appear in the competition at Argentina Salsa Open. And in 2009 they qualified, for the first time, to a national final. They continued presenting year after year until obtaining the title of National Champions for two consecutive years 2014/15. Classifying the World Final in Puerto Rico.
In 2011 they participated in the first bachata competition at the national level called Bachata Jam, obtaining the 1st place, and the title of National champions of Bachata.
 
In 2013, they traveled for the first time to Miami, to the world-wide "World Latin Dance Cup" obtaining the 4th place in the final in bachata cabaret and the 6th place in salsa cabaret.
 
In 2014, they traveled for the second time to the World Latin Dance Cup obtaining the 3rd place in the category of Salsa Cabaret and the title of "World Champions of the category of Bachata Cabaret". Classifies in this way the competition World Bachata Master in Madrid, Spain denominated "The competition of Champions", consagrándose like "Sub-Champions World-wide". What followed after were a series of domination...

Indhira & Nino (DR/Canada)

Nino Acosta: Studied at the National School for performing Arts in Dominican Republic and Graduated from McGill University with an International Business Degree with a minor in Communications in Montreal Canada.

Nino has been dancing since the age of three.  His passion for dance, music, and the arts has taken him around the world for a variety of purposes. He studied formally under the schooling of Cassandra Damiron (Dominican Afro-Icon) and the International Performing Arts School in the Dominican Republic. He also trained in New York in the 90’s with the Mambo King, Eddie Torres. Nino won several Salsa Championships in the 80’s and performed in Dubai, Madrid, Bologna, Frankfurt, France, Los Angeles, and Australia, to name a few.  His unique ability to create caught the attention of the entertainment world and he has choreographed for several locals and international films, such as Assassination Tango, Dance With He has trained actors and performers from Cirque de Soleil, Robert Duvall wife among others. He has been featured in more than 50 magazines and newspapers as the founder of “Salsa Soccer” and was the first to introduce Latin dance in North America and Canada as a form of exercise “Ritmos Latinos” in the early 90’s similar to what is today called ZUMBA. His creation Salsa Soccer gave him and his studio worldwide recognition. In 1998 Nino introduces the first instructional Latin VHS and video that showcase Salsa, Merengue, Bachata and Cumbia in the early 90’s making him the first online Bachata Instructor and the first to introduce Bachata to North America and Canada as a form of dance. 

Indhira Castillo, Born in Dominican Republic and First Generation Graduated from The National School for performing Arts in Dominican Republic. She ‘s been dancing for over 22 years, and has belonged to various Contemporary Dance Companies in the Dominican Republic and abroad. She has performed in Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia, Turks and Caicos Island, Montreal and other locations around the world. Her love for Bachata began with her Choreographed work and Tour with Aventura and Romeo Santos in the early 2000’s. Since then Indhira along with Nino Acosta has been developing their own Bachata style for women, they have founded The “Traditional Bachata Ladies World Dance Team”. They have created several routines and footwork base on traditional dances from all regions of Dominican Republic. 

Now Indhira Castillo and Nino Acosta has team up to bring everything traditional that Dominican Republic has to offer as one of the major importer of Latin Music around the world.

You can catch Nino and Indhira at the San Francisco International Bachata Festival in 2017 as they introduce unknown Dominican dances like Taino, Perico Ripiao, Tradional Bachata footwork and Merengue Mambo.

 

 

Javier Avitia (San Diego)

Jennifer Benavidez (UK)

Jennifer Benavidez, now residing in London, England, is a Latin dance instructor/performer/ choreographer who is the co-owner of Extremos Salsa Dance School based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands for the past 8 years. Dance, especially SALSA has been her passion for over 20 years. Born in San Antonio , Texas , USA , her Mexican heritage has given her dancing rico sabor (good flavour). She discovered 'partner' dancing in 1992, and has enjoyed training, teaching, performing and just plain dancing salsa all over the US , Europe and the Middle East .

You can see her in numerous TV/film projects such as VOC, Alleen Nog Een Man, Life and Cooking, I Love the 80's, Hoe? Zo!, Alternative Love, TMF, So You Think You Can Dance, The Way She Moves, and The Life of David Gayle. She has given workshops and performed for a diverse range of companies (ABN-AMBRO, National Geographic, ING, Martin Air, KLM, Belegger.nl, Unilever, Expatica and Amsterdam Police Department) , organizations (BBC, BNN,RTL5, The Music Factory TV) , and festivals (Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade, UIT Markt, Latin Village, Vondel Park Summer Breeze, Rotterdam Summer Carnival, Roots Festival, ContraBanda, and Dansen Op Het Leidseplein)

In addition, Jennifer co-organized the Amsterdam International Salsa Festival for over 3 years, has judged numerous dance competitions and loves working with student showteams!

Jessica Trujillo (LA)

Jessica Trujillo was raised in Long Beach, California and has been featured on Spanish television shows, music videos, and MTV’s “True Life : Bachata Nights.” She has danced for artists such as Gaby boy, Migz, and Johnny Sky and has won multiple dance competition titles and been a member of many award winning dance companies. She teaches, travels and showcases her talents internationally and all over the U.S. Jessica won the championship title at the 2014 World Latin Dance Cup with Omambo Dance Co. and currently travels and performs with limitless Dance co. as well as her very own team, Latina Heat. Jessica’s style is bold, daring, and fierce. She combines athleticism with a sultry smoothness that has taken the LA scene by storm through her passion for dance and competition. 

Jo Quinones (LA)

Jo Quinones has Latin Rhythms flowing through her vains. Having a mother from the Dominican Republic and a father from Puerto Rico she was raised being surrounded by different dance forms all of her life  beginning with Ballet, Puerto Rican folklore and jazz at the early age of 5.A versatile artist, Jo continued her study of dance by training in ballroom and Latin dance forms before becoming a professional in 1997. Soon after becoming an instructor, she managed the studio for two years. After leaving Arthur Murray Dance Studio she became an independent instructor holding group and private lessons all around the Inland Empire. Her passion for acting also led her to become a member and graduate of the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts.She is currently an Assistant Director in the Otero Dance Co. directed by the world renowned Gloria & Claudio Otero.  In June of 2002, she formed Afeenix Dance Co., an energetic group successfully dominating the Inland Empire and currently Southern Ca. Her stage and television credits include Salsa congresses in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Puerto Rico, and special appearances at the Asian International Telecommunications Expo, China, Telemundo, Univision, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Singapore and CBS. She has been an invited guest performer at Cancun’s Club Med and South Carolina’s Sea Brook Island.Jo is one of the few performers who can thrill an audience and leave them wanting more. Her blend of charisma, sensuality and style entertains and inspires.

John & Liz Salsamania (SF)

John Narvaez and Liz Rojas are world-class ground-breaking Salsa dance artists and directors of the Salsamania Dance Company, which they founded in 2000. Their story tells us of how a dream, fueled by passion and foJohn Narvaez and Liz Rojas are world-class ground-breaking Salsa dance artists and directors of the Salsamania Dance Company, which they founded in 2000. Their story tells us of how a dream, fueled by passion and focus can change lives. Salsamania is a non-profit corporation with a mission to develop the best training programs and performance teams in the world. The company is based in the San Francisco, Bay Area.

As a powerful force in the industry, John and Liz in just five short years have proven themselves to be equally effective on the business, as well as creative side. They are among the most accomplished competitive Salsa dance couples in the world, having also taken their company – which includes both the Salsamania, professional team; and Son De Mania, semi-professional team to the top of the world’s Mambo dance scene. Having won numerous accolades for their many achievements, Salsamania is highly visible as a current top ranking champions of the 2005 and 2006 World Salsa Championships.

John and Liz came to the U.S. from Colombia at the ages of 11 and 10 respectively. Drawing upon the rich heritage of rhythm from their Columbian roots — a musical universe in its own right, John and Liz bring an undeniable love and intelligence to their approach of Salsa Dance. They have evolved a deep appreciation for the beauty of Latin dance into a clear vision of sharing their passion and knowledge of Salsa throughout the world. In 1997, they began an intensive approach to Salsa involving many hours of study, choreography, performing and competing. They began to build their skills and credibility through teaching and performing in such local competitions as MTV’s Telemundo and Alberto’s Night Club events, where they won top spots.  

The Salsamania Dance Company has touched and transformed many lives throughout the world. The company is the #1 Bay Area Dance Team – known for its hypnotic performances marked by high levels of grace, speed and technical difficulty. The international interest in and influence of John and Liz’s teachings is spread across several continents. Each year, the couple is invited for an extended-teaching stay in Beijing China. They are regularly invited to perform, along with their professional dance team in many parts of Asia, Europe and South America. The company has a reputation as a major launching pad for the development of well-rounded and technically skilled Salsa talent. With four performance teams and over 80 members, Salsamania dancers follow a structured dance education program that allows them to move through several levels — while focusing on core values such as teamwork, professionalism, musicality, competition, the social aspects of dance and grace. The outgrowth of this teaching success are the Salsamania Dance Company training programs, devoted to well honed teaching techniques that use a building block approach to learning, thus enabling students to learn and progress rapidly. 

John and Liz promote their local and international activities as a means to enhance awareness of the tremendous beauty and benefits of Salsa Dance, and the many opportunities to learn and perform on a world-wide scale. 

cus can change lives. Salsamania is a non-profit corporation with a mission to develop the best training programs and performance teams in the world. The company is based in the San Francisco, Bay Area.

Joseal & Nemesi (LA)

Jose "Joseal" de la Torre, is an enthusiastic and charismatic dancer and instructor who fell in love with kizomba 4 years ago.  Since then he has dedicated himself to learn the culture, music and dance as well as different styles within this discipline.
He has trained with international instructors and attended numerous congresses in USA and abroad.
He has worked very actively in California, being part of congresses like LA Zouk Congress and Kizomba invasion, BKS, LA Bachata Festival and many others.  He has also taught internationally in Mexico and Spain.
Joseal is as well a promoter and has been a kizomba host in various events and congresses (LA Salsa Congress, LA Grizzly Congress…)
He believes that kizomba is more than a dance, is a culture and a very profound and unique way to interact and build meaningful relationships with people.
 
Nemesi “Nemi” Lomeli, a seasoned social dancer (Salsa, Bachata, etc) at heart, Nemi began her Kizomba journey 2 years ago. However, in that short time, she has quickly risen to become one of the top dancers in the SoCal region! She was immediately drawn to Kizomba because of the music, dance, and richness of the culture it expressed. She then invested countless hours practicing and training under the likes of Eddy Vents, T boy, Rico Suave, Jamba & Adorée, Isabelle, and others. She has assisted in different events and festivals in California i.e. BKS, San Diego BKS, LAZouk Congress, and several workshops. This, combined with her natural dancing talent, led her unique style - authentic, fun, and a whole lotta Ginga!

Kathy Reyes (LA)

Kathy Reyes grew up developing an incredible passion and talent for dancing. She began her dance training at El Camino College in 2007. It was within this program that she discovered the intensity and adrenaline transmitted through her performance. In 2008 she became a member of Tropical Rhythm Dance Company directed by Luis Aguilar. He assisted Kathy in improving her skills and expanding her ability as a performer. During her involvement as a member of Tropical Rhythm, she had the opportunity to tour for various salsa congresses and competitions. The following year, she began to express herself with the passionate and tender feeling that Bachata transmits throughout her soul. Kathy went full force and began to acquire national attention after winning her first Bachata competition in Los Angeles, and obtaining second place in Bachata at the World Latin Dance Cup, 2010. She truly captivates the hearts of many when she sets foot onto the dance floor and is defined as “Short, Smooth and Sexy” [SSS]! No doubt that her talent is a true gift from God and a blessing for others: dancing with the feet is one thing but dancing with the heart takes one to a whole different level.

Leo & Giselle (Brasil)

Leo da Paixao started dance, theater and music at an early age in Salvador, Brazil. By age fourteen, he was dancing and performing in community events. Leo has had the opportunity to study a wide range of dances with master teachers including Jonathas Firmato and Ilmar Santos for Brazilian ballroom dances. Leo studied samba da gafieira with Sandro Guedes, a student of one the best known instructors in Brazil, Jimmy de Oliveira. He studied forró with Edj Braga and salsa with Alexei Ramos, a disciple of the famous Shaka Brown. In 2005, Leo began dancing the style of zouk with Adilio Porto. In the United States, Leo has taught workshops and performed at the O'Shaughnessy, University of Minnesota, Concordia College and Northwestern College (Orange City, Iowa). Leo enjoys teaching and sharing his passion with people who want to learn how to dance. He currently teaches in Minneapolis at Four Seasons Dance Studio and Jawaahir Dance Studio.

Giselle Mejia has been dancing zouk with Leo Paixao for less than a year, though their chemistry on stage is nothing short of miraculous. Giselle is a professional dancer who earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from SUNY Purchase College in New York which brought her dancing around the world; including Spain, South America, China, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Egypt, and across the United States to perform at principal theaters and study with national dance companies including Luna Negra Dance Theater of Chicago and world-renown technology-driven dance company iLuminate who were finalists on America’s Got Talent. She has performed with national dance companies, Broadway shows, television, film and full-length productions in the fine arts and commercial dance industries including IBM, BMW, Lenovo, Roche, Simon Malls, and many local businesses. Giselle has a Master’s degree from Peck School of the Arts at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, with a concentration on contemporary dance, somatic studies, improvisation and dances of the African Diaspora.

Luis Aguilar (SF)

Luis Aguilar debuted in 2000 with the Salsa Mania Dance Company in San Francisco. Since then, he performed with such giants in the Latin music industry as El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, the Tito Puente Orquestra, Celia Cruz, Ray Barretto, Jose "El Canario" Alberto, Oscar de Leon, Eddie Palmieri, the Spanish Harlem Orquestra and Sonora Carruseles. In addition to his impressive performance credits, Luis has taken 1st place in many Latin dance competitions and Congresses such as The San Francisco International Salsa Congress and the Bay Area Salsa Dance Competition.

Since joining forces in 2007, Luis and Anya have become the ON2 WORLD SALSA CHAMPIONS for the second year in a row, along with having become two time undefeated San Francisco Congress Salsa champions in '09 & '10, undefeated two time New York Congress champions in '09, '10, Puerto Rico Hustle and Salsa champions '09, and are currently the North American Salsa Champions and two time winners of the NY/NJ salsa open. They can also be seen in the upcoming film La Epoca, La Epoca Part 2 and Dancing Scared. Within their short time together Luis and Anya have already graced the stages of many events including Mambo City London Congress, Rome Salsa Congress, San Francisco Salsa Congress, New York City Salsa Congress, International Hustle and Salsa Congress, Puerto Rico Hustle and Salsa Festival, Korea Salsa Congress, Antwerp Salsa Congress in Belgium, Toronto Salsa Congress, Montreal Salsa Festival, Costa Rica Salsa Congress, Ecuador Salsa Congress, San Diego Salsa and Bachata Festival, St. Louis Salsa Congress, Seattle Salsa Congress, Romania Latin Fever, toured Milan as well as televised productions such as Sabado Gigante, Good Morning America and Univision.

With their combined backgrounds, Luis and Anya make a dynamic duo that brings a fresh new element to the salsa dance floor. The right balance between flavor and technique, Luis and Anya's teaching and performing methods are second to none. Successfully teaching and performing worldwide, Luis and Anya are often referred to as the future of salsa. With their combined backgrounds, impeccable musicality, & elegant yet intricate style, they are the fusion that takes salsa to the next level.

Luiz & Ignacia (LA)

When you get Ignacia for Kizomba, you also get Luis. Over the years, the have grown in the kizomba world by learning from world renown teachers. The husband and wife team, also the founders of IE Kizomba Nation, are dedicated to teaching you the most accurate and pure essentials of Kizomba. They are the owner of Dance Soul Connection Studio.
 
They teach weekly Kizomba classes on Mondays, but also look for monthly Workshops and Socials.

Luiz y Ignacia (Inland Empire)

Spreading the love of kizomba, tarraza, zouk, ghetto zouk, Afro beats, and more African music and culture in the Inland Empire of Southern California, Luiz and Ignacia own and dance studio and has been teaching kizomba, salsa and bachata fro many years. You can see them at many festivals all over California, teaching and social dancing with everyone.

Nanda Castillo (Belgium)

Yes, Ms. Nanda Castillo, the co-founder of Bachatando Festival in Brussels, will be returning to San Francisco (After 5 yrs) to teach workshops and joining lots of “LOCOS” for 3 days and 3 nights at Marriott SFO Waterfront! www.sfibf.com
 
Nanda was born in Chile. For 10 years she has been the director of the Nanda Dance Project School in Brussels, the only Belgian school dedicated solely to Authentic Bachata and other Dominican dances such as merengue, bolero, son…
 
Over the past 10 years, she also consistently traveled intensively to teach, perform on stage and share her passion for Dominican dances. From USA to Japan, and across Europe, she inspires thousands of dancers around the world (30 countries). She works with the biggest festivals in the world and keeps training to deepen her musical knowledge. 
 
She also works as a volunteer for iASO Bachata Academy and the Dream Project, a school that trains future bachateros in the Dominican Republic.
Recently she has been working in The DR Tour for the Prince of Bachata, Frank Reyes.
 
Nanda had the privilige to have partnered with most famous Bachateros in DR, Pipo Alcala and Rodolfo Montaño and others. 
If you want to know everything about bachata (musicality, style, history, innumerable movements and patterns, etc., take Nanda’s workshops.

Nathalia Carbajal (Brazil)

Nucita La Fiera (Dominican Republic)

Yes, at last, for the first time in SF, Nucita will be teaching @ San Francisco International Bachata Festival (www.sfibf.com.) Buy your passes at www.mybachatafestival.com
 
Nucita la Fiera is a passionate Dutch Instructor of Dominican Bachata. She lives in the Dominican Republic, and has been teaching Bachata as a fulltime job since 2004. It’s her mission to promote anything and everything regarding the Dominican Republic including its music, dance, and broader culture; everything she fell in love with!
 
In Holland, Nucita is known as the ‘Dutch Bachata Princess’ and is seen as the country's Bachata pioneer. Due to her Bachata School “Club Fiera – RD Bachata”, Dominican Bachata has gained a large audience in Holland; something which keeps growing and developing every year. International instructors like Jorjet and Samy el Magico often say that Holland is THE place to be if you like Dominican Bachata. No wonder that Holland is famous for its Bachata dancers and parties! Nucita is a very charismatic, easy going, and fun instructor with a big heart for the Dominican Bachata culture. She loves AND lives Bachata and the Dominican Lifestyle (in the Dominican Republic). She is known for her very structured and detailed way of teaching, but her classes have a high level of entertainment as well (because dancing should be fun). She has been teaching Dominican Bachata all over Holland and Europe and was the co-organizer of one of the most famous Bachata parties in Holland (Club Fiera Deluxe) and the Holland Bachata Festival. Together with her husband Miguel, a famous Dominican percussionist (he plays in ‘Krisspy’), she has been organizing Authentic Bachata Holidays to Rep. Dominicana since 2011. The purpose is to go ‘down-under’ in the heart of Merengue and Bachata with a small group of dancers and blend in with the locals to explore the truly authentic Dominican lifestyle. She also runs a small Bed & Breakfast in Santiago and organizes all kinds of authentic excursions and activities for dancers and non-dancers alike.
Nucita’s specialty is not only to teach the “Real Deal” Dominican Bachata, but also to explain musical interpretation. She is a musician herself (she has been playing bass guitar since she was 12) and she plays the Guira in Bachata as well. She loves to explain musicality, but more importantly, she loves to explain how to implement musicality into your dance. 
 
Nucita: “Musical interpretation is the key ingredient needed in order to become an amazing dancer who kills the dance floor (M/F); I would love to teach you everything I know!” Together with her husband Miguel she teaches musicality classes with live percussion. She gives workshops about the history of Bachata, Merengue, and its associated artists. Nucita continues: “A deep knowledge of the backgrounds, history, artists, culture, and etiquettes of the dance you love, will enable you to experience it much more intensely. Something which will be noticed by your dance partners as well.
 

Orlando Valle (SF)

Orlando Valle had been dancing, competing, DJing, teaching salsa and bachata for over a decade! He currently hosts a successful weekly bachata social in San Francisco.

 

Pipo Alcala (Dominican Republic)

Pipo Alcala was born in San Pedro de Macoris Dominican Republic. His father, an outstanding "Sonero" dancer, transmitted to him from his babyhood the knowledge and passion of Latin Caribbean dances. In 2000, he got the passion for salsa and founded his first dancing school "Pipo La Fama" in San Pedro de Macoris. There he trained the best Salsa dancers in the country (including some very famous sport stars like Sammy Sosa) and participated in various national competitionsHe was named national champion in 2003 in DR. He also took part in numerous demonstrations and exhibitions across the country, danced for various TV programs and international movies, “For Love or Country: the Arturo Sandoval Story” with Andy Garcia being one of them. He also set up choreographies for several of the biggest Dominican salsero’s concerts: Michel, Adruba, Keman Nuñez, Grupo Negro etc. 
 
In 2004, the singer Sexapil solicited Pipo in order to collaborate in the realization of his Emmy Award nominated video “Meneando la Cola”. 
 
At the end of 2004, he moved to Las Terrenas and created a new dancing school "Salsa Caribe". Since then, Pipo performed several times in congresses and events in Dominican Republic as well as Europe and gave numerous workshops for foreigners groups. His endless passion for dancing and his priceless knowledge of the dance world naturally brought him to associate with the setting up of SalsaCaribe Group.

Robert & Leilani (LA)

Rodney Rodchata Aquino

Aside from being the first organize to bring Bachata Festival in the USA, Rodney is also the co-organizer of the very first Dominican Republic Bachata Festival in Santo Domingo.

A top organizer of bachata festivals all over and with over 150,000 subscribers in his newsletter and over 30,000 friends combined in myspace, twitter, tribe and facebook, Rodney Rodchata Aquino is a popular Latin Dance instructor, promoter and lecturer in the world. He was the first man in history to ever organize the very 1st international bachata festival in USA (Reno Bachata Convention, SF Bachata Festival), and co-organize Lithuanian Bachata Festival, DC Bachata Congress, and soon in Hawaii, Seattle and Puerto Vallarta. Solely responsible for revolutionizing bachata dance in USA, RODCHATA, as bachateros intimately calls him, has been in the Latin Dance scene for over 15 years and is considered the foremost authority in the bachata dance, both Dominican and Modern styles. He recently launched his much awaited dance DVD line up, Latin Dance Stimulus, a 5-volume of dance instructional DVDs of bachata, salsa and merengue. 

A certified instructor, his dance background includes Latin International Ballroom, salsa (on1, on2 mambo, and Cuban son, Casino), cumbia, chachacha, merengue and bachata. His first encounter of the bachata dance was in the New York area in the 90’s. He embarked himself into dancing bachata and studying the culture and since revolutionized bachata dancing in USA and the world.

He is the founder of the Salsagang.com (MySalsaNetwork), a dance website that revolutionized salsa dancing in the Bay Area. He also founded iBachata.net, and Rodchata.com that produces successful events such as Annual Reno Intl Bachata Convention, Annual San Francisco Bachata International Festival, Club Bachata and Havanisimo events. He had the opportunity to teach the Latin Dance at major events all over Europe, Asia, Australia, USA and beyond. Aside from teaching all over the world, he also teaches regular bachata and salsa classes all over the Bay Area.

Rodchata has MA in Counseling Psychology and is presently a PhD student. He is a certified Personal Fitness Trainer and holds a 4th Degree Black Belt in the Martial Arts. His experience in the Martial Arts for 20 years and his background in Fitness Training plays a vital role on his effectiveness as a dance teacher.

 

Rodolfo (Dominican Republic)

Rodolfo Castro is one the best bachata dancer based on the fact that he has won 3 biggest dance competitions in Dominican Republic. These competitions were organized by the TV channels Telemicro, 9x9 Roberto and La Maquinaria. In addition of being the winner amongst 800 competitors he has won numerous Salsa and other dance genre competitions.
 
Whenever concerts are held such Festival Presidente, Aventura, Joe Veras and Kiko Rodriguez, they call in Rodolfo when they need the highest quality dance presentations.
 
Rodolfo is not limited to authentic Dominican style bachata. He knows perfectly also all the other Dominican dances like Merengue, Tipico, Mambo and Palo. Rodolfo is also one of the most honoured Salsa dancers of Dominican Republic (On1, On2, Dominican Salsa). He has also extensive knowledge of Dominican Son. We are honored at the 9th Annual SF Bachata Festival to have Mr Castro as our special guest.

Ryan Rockstar & Evie (SF)

Ryan “The Rockstar” has dedicated his heart and soul to Bachata, Salsa, Zouk, and Kizomba and went from simply doing moves, to deeply feeling the rhythm and music. 8 years ago, he stepped into his first Bachata lesson, and his life changed forever. He was teaching a year later, and has since become famous for his Bachata Romantica workshop series world wide. Blending sensuality, connectivity, and love, with a variety of different dances styles, these workshops help dancers tap into their inner romantic, unlocking a dancer's personal presence and style. True to his moniker, Ryan can always be found on the social dance floor til it closes down, and has been lauded for being one of the most approachable and dedicated social dancers. Ask for a dance and you will get 110%! Two years ago, he met Evie Alva, and the instant chemistry they have has fueled an amazing partnership. She started her dance career in multiple forms of technique- martial arts, gymnastics, and eventually ballet. She has over 8 years of Latin and ballroom teaching experience: from salsa, to bachata, ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, Bollywood, zouk, kizomba, forro, samba, belly dance, flamenco, and more! She has trained and taught in India, Brazil, and USA. Together the two are bringing connection, affection, emotion, and fun back to Bachata. Get ready to open your mind and your heart!

Sandro (Brazil)

SANDRO SONCINI is a dancer, choreographer and dance instructor from Florianopolis, Brazil. He has studied and trained in dance for over 10 years. Sandro is experienced in many partner dance styles, and has intensively studied the concepts of body movement driven by his training in tango.  In 2010 Sandro moved to Argentina to continue to develop his dance skills and education at DNI tango school.

 Sandro has participated in various congresses and competitions, including BAILA FLORIPA DUO, where in 2012 together with his partner he placed 3rd. In the same year he was invited to dance  and teach at KIRINUS dance School team, where he started focusing extensively on ZOUK, developing performance skills and his own methodology for teaching ZOUK that focuses on the contrast of flow and sharpness influenced by hip hop movement. 

 Sandro has taught in zouk throughout Canada, United States and Brazil.  Currently Sandro is living in Vancouver, Canada with a focus on promoting zouk in the Pacific North West. His goal is to help augment and strengthen the global zouk community.

Troy Anthony (Texas)

If anyone remembers "Dominican Barbershop" on youtube, you just can't forget Troy & Jorjet in the dance industry.

Troy Anthony - is a premier Dancer, Teacher, Performer, Promoter, and Emcee for 11 years. He is easily one of the most recognizable faces in the dance world through the millions of views on youtube.com. Troy has an uncanny knack of entertaining the crowd as an emcee or in his social rally. He is a dance computer with an extensive knowledge of history alongside his solid dance skills. Dancing On1/On2, Bachata, Chacha, West Coast Swing, whatever makes him a crowd favorite.

He has been featured globally in: Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Curacao, Dominican Republic, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Venezuela and all over the United States.

Yasert Ortega (SF)

Yasert Ortega, originally from Mexico City, now resides in San Rafael. Yasert has danced to various types of music like merengue and cumbia, and his favorite; Dominican bachata and kizomba and semba. He has learned from several world masters. He teaches in the Bay Area on a regular basis.

Zeke Fabulosa (Chicago)

Zeke Ruvalcaba is a Mexican/Chicago native who has maintained the spirit of Bachata alive in Chicago for the past 5 years. Thanks to Latin Rhythms Dance Studio where Zeke is a full-time instructor/studio manager, he has been able to create an extensive Bachata curriculum that has taken Bachata to a whole other level. His creative approach in teaching has much to do with his degree in Dance and Secondary Education. Zeke has trained in Ballet, Modern and Jazz and specializes in choreography/instruction, in addition to spinning, styling and body movement. One of his strongest assets apart from his energetic and humorous personality is his ability to follow as well as he leads. On the dance floor, Zeke captivates people with his unique flamboyant style no matter what the role hes takes on the floor. Zeke has been the artistic director of his pride and joy, Estilo Dance Company and his high school group A.B.C of Lane Tech H.S. for the past five years. In addition, Zeke currently founded the Bachata All-Stars, the first Bachata dance team in the Mid-West. If teaching and directing all three groups isn't enough, Zeke's is also an aspiring Costume and Evening Wear designer having created many costumes for local and national dance teams and couples. Soon, Zeke hopes to launch his Phy-Zeke collection.

The Bachata All-Stars originated out of the student-base at Latin Rhythms. The first Bachata team of Chicago is led by their Artistic Director, Zeke Ruvalcaba. Zeke has been very instrumental in creating and pioneering the second largest and most popular dance curriculum at Latin Rhythms, as well as sparking the huge Bachata movement throughout Chicago.

Forming in the spring of 2009, the Chicago Bachata All-Stars of Latin Rhythms have wasted no time making a name for themselves locally and internationally. Since their recent conception, Bachata All-Stars of Latin Rhythms has already represented Chicago in the San Francisco Bachata Festival, DC Bachata Congress, Reno Bachata Festival, Chicago Salsa Congress and are set to be at the New York Salsa Congress, San Diego Salsa/Bachata Congress, Hawaii Bachata Festival, Sexy and Sensual Festival in London and Acapulco Salsa/Bachata Congress.

Zeke has set the goal to take the Bachata All-Stars of Latin Rhythms and Bachata to a different level and demonstrate that like Salsa, Bachata has no limits. To date, Zeke has created numerous choreography’s that have shocked audiences for its originality, while still preserving and appreciating the true essence of Bachata.