31 May-2 JUNE 2024








Pipe Bejarano and Katherine Guerrero are passionate Colombian dancers who are making a huge impact in the world of Salsa and Bachata.

In their almost 4 years of dancing together professionally, they have competed in numerous world championships, collecting a stack of titles along the way including:
– 1st Place THE SUMMIT 2024 Salsa Couple on 1 pro
– 1st Place THE SUMMIT 2024 Salsa Couple Cabaret pro
– 1st Place THE SUMMIT 2024 Bachata Couple pro
– 1st Place Bachata Cabaret, Euroson Latino 2023
– 1st Place Salsa Cabaret, Euroson Latino 2023
– 1st Place Salsa on1, Ultimate Latin Dance Championships 2023
– 1st Place Bachata Cabaret, Ultimate Latin Dance Champs 2023
– 1st Place Pro Salsa on1, Sudamérica Latin Competition 2022
– 1st Place Bachata Cabaret, Sudamérica Latin Competition 2022
– 1st Place Professional Salsa on1, Mundial de Salsa 2022

Pipe and Katherine focus on conveying the essence of dance through emotion, creating magic with their unique on-stage connection. They strive to deliver a moving experience through their art that will leave a lasting impression. We are very excited to welcome them for their first time in New Zealand!



Originally from Venezuela and now based in Madrid, these Bachateros truly stand out. It’s not just their amazing dance skills and impressive tricks that make them special…

…but also their warmth and approachability in workshops and social gatherings that make them even more remarkable. It’s no surprise they are on hot demand at events all across Europe, showcasing their talent and spreading the bachata love. They look forward to extending that love to NZ dancers for the first time!
1st Place Sobretodo Bachata 2021
1st Place SBK Champions Spain Bachata 2021
1st Place Sobretodo Bachata 2019 Impro Jaén
3rd Place Bachatart Spain 2019
2nd Place Bachata Spain 2019/Groups Evolution Professional



Felipe Tapia aka “Pipon Rumbero” is the Director and choreographer of YALAMBILE company, specializing in Cuban Latin rhythms.

YALAMBILE has represented CHILE in Cuba at the PALENKE festival and was honoured guests of “Raices Profundas” company from Cuba.

Felipe has over 12 years of training in Latin dances. Most of his training has been in CUBA, studying under some of the most prominent masters in the field. He also won third place at the Fiesta del Tambor in 2018, in CUBA

He has trained in Afro-Cuban rhythms, Yoruba, Arara, and Bantu Dances, Salsa Casino, Son Cubano, among others.



Ronie Saleh plays guitar and has been singing/composing his own songs since childhood. It was not until 2009 he came in contact with couple dancing; Modern Foxtrot.

In 2013 he was introduced to Kizomba and fell in love immediately, a love so strong that he left his profession as a Speech & Language Pathologist to dedicate his life to couple dance. In Scandinavia he introduced the new dance style “FOXKIZ” (Foxtrot with Kizomba touch), which has expanded fast and its now very popular all over Sweden.

2021 Frida Ellinor came into the picture. They met at a bachata social and then he won her over to the Kizomba scene. Nowadays they teach everything together (Kizomba, Bachata, FOXKIZ) focusing on Variations, Creativity Tools & Musicality. Frida began her dance journey in 2008 at Lasse Kuhler’s in Stockholm. Later on she’s been dancing at several schools such as the Ballet Academy, Scandinavian dance academy, House of shapes. Frida is educated in jazz, heels, street, ballet, heels and pole dance, but in the recents years she has completely fallen in love with couple dance.

Ronie & Frida are now one of the most requested Kizomba teachers in the world and has been giving workshops & Master classes worldwide. We are excited to have Ronie back this year with Frida joining him in NZ for the very first time for 6 workshops in Auckland May 25-26 before heading to Congress for another Bootcamp and Workshops over the weekend, make the most of them!

Check them out: https://youtu.be/bFSd4MXFAEQ?si=NFSVtpqXxasULJaN




Nina and Matheus are two of the worlds most adored Brazilian Zouk artists. Based in Sao Paulo they travel all over the world teaching at some of the biggest Zouk and Latin events.

Brazilian, born in 1998, Nina had her first contact with dance when she was 5 years old. Over the years, she studied Classical and Contemporary Ballet, Jazz, Stiletto, Hip-Hop and at age 13, she had contact with social dances. She specializes in Zouk, Stiletto and Lady Style, bringing a young and creative approach to her dance and teaching methodology. She is recognized for her musicality, autonomy and expressiveness that make her dance unique. Teacher, actress, performer and one of the directors of Barracão da Dança, she brings in her curriculum numerous achievements in competitions and festivals, national and international ones. Together with her partner Matheus Franco, they work with Zouk, Lambada and Forró as their main focus (in addition to having experience in other different styles of  social dance and individual modalities), creatively bringing a loving and dynamic reading for each type of audience and student, always delivering a lot of expressiveness and technical quality in her performances.

Brazilian, born in 1990, Matheus had his childhood and adolescence dedicated to the practice of sports, having discovered his real passion for dance at the age of 20. He started his practices with Classical and Contemporary Ballet, Hip-Hop and Jazz. In 2012 he had contact with Brazillian Zouk and other social dances. During the following years, he dedicated himself exclusively to improving his technique and artistic skills, continuing his studies in order to develop himself artistically. He currently works with his partner Nina Darbello with a main focus on Brazillian Zouk, Lambada and Forró, is the owner and director of Barracão da Dança, as well as performing jobs as an actor, choreographer and director of shows. His background focused on other dance modalities uniquely enriches his way of teaching Zouk and his personal mission is to bring to the greatest number of people the benefits that social dance and art as a whole can bring to the body and soul.



Pedro and Tiffany, Venezuelan with an unwavering passion for dance and an infectious energy, they have become renowned figures in the Australian and international Latin scene.

Combining over 20 years of experience, Pedro and Tiffany are versatile dancers, performers, teachers, and choreographers. Their favorite styles include Bachata, Cuban Salsa, Afro-fusion, Chachacha and Mambo. They travel the globe, captivating audiences with their captivating styling, body movement, and unique approach to dance.
Pedro and Tiffany’s performances are a feast for the senses. Their charisma, power, and flavor breathe life into every step, leaving spectators spellbound. Their contagious passion for dance ignites a fire within anyone who dances or learns from them.
Join Pedro and Tiffany on their exhilarating journey through the vibrant world of dance. Prepare to be inspired and amazed as they capture hearts with their outstanding talent and
undeniable dedication to their art.



Guiu from Spain and Edyta from Australia are excited to take your Urban Kiz to the next level this June! Born and raised in Barcelona (Spain). Guiu is a very energetic and passionate artist,

he loves what he does and you will definitely feel it once you attend to one of his workshops. He specialized in Urban Kiz and Tarraxo. And his style of teaching is defined by the high attention paid to the technique and musicality during his workshops. If you want to take your dance to the next level, he’s definitely an instructor for you! 
Guiu’s professional partner in Spain is Borboleta, they’ve been sharing their passion all over the world since 2016! For the NZ Salsa Congress, Guiu will be teaching with Australian professional artist Edyta.
Edyta has been dancing since 2012 when she started with Salsa and Bachata. After performing in many choreographies she found Kizomba in 2015 and fell in love with the connection of the dance. Edyta dances with elegance and creativity. She has been teaching since 2017. Edyta continues to develop her skills and creativity and as a result of her love for creativity she found Tarraxo. Edyta started to teach Tarraxo in 2021. She believes that strong fundamentals allow for endless creativity and fun on the dancefloor.



One of the most sought after couples in salsa and bachata nowadays, with an enviable career that continues on the Road of Glory. Jhoana Palhua is one of the best salsa and bachata dancers in South America and the world.

The pride of Peru, with 10 years of experience and multiple recognition’s that include 7 world championships in salsa and bachata, the most recent in the Salsa Team Division of Euroson Latino 2022 as a Director with JP Dance Company (competition in which he also obtained second place in female professional salsa soloist).

Diago is a true living legend of salsa worldwide, with a career still on the rise. Originally from Cali – Colombia, with 10 years of experience and 7 world championships that prove his quality. He is the current world champion (2022) of “La Negra Salsa” Shines Championship of Spain, as well as Male Professional Salsa Duet Champion and Two-Time Professional Male Salsa Soloist Champion at Euroson Latino 2022.

Both individually and as a couple, they have participated in multiple congresses around the world, in workshops and performances, making time in their busy schedule to share their talent with the New Zealand dance community, their next destination.



Ronie is one of the most requested Kizomba teachers in the world and has been giving workshops & Master classes in 63 countries: Most of Europe, several states in USA, Malaysia, Taiwan, China & Japan among others.

Dancer, Teacher, Singer- & Songwriter, Speech & Language Pathologist

Ronie Saleh has been singing/composing his own songs, playing guitar & dancing on stage since childhood. During adolescence his focus was mainly Hip Hop, Breakdance and Popping. It was not until 2009 he came in contact with couple dancing; Modern Foxtrot.

In 2013 he was introduced to Kizomba and fell in love immediately, a love so strong that he left his profession as a Speech & Language Pathologist to dedicate his life to couple dance.

Today Ronie is one of the most requested Kizomba teachers in the world and has been giving workshops & Master classes in 63 countries: most countries in Europe, several states in USA, Malaysia, Taiwan, China & Japan among others.

His Online Courses are also known worldwide and loved by many due to the focus on Variations, Creativity Tools & Musicality.

In Scandinavia he introduced the new dance style “FoxKiz” (Foxtrot with Kizomba touch), which has expanded fast and its now very popular all over Sweden.

Ronie is known for his musicality skills and smooth Kizomba style, influenced by foxtrot. Even though he makes advanced footwork and choreographies, he still emphasizes the importance of the Dance Joy, Connection & Feeling with the dance partner. Having practiced meditation & mindfulness for 15 years, he says:

“The moment you realize that your soul is connected and ONE with your dance partner, you become truly present in your movements and your dance experience reaches a whole new level.



Jaime Jesus and Sera Fichera are internationally renowned powerhouse artists. Known for their incredible talent across a variety of styles between then with expertise in salsa, bachata, samba, Brazilian funk, and reggaeton. 

They have dazzled audiences all over the world with their dynamic performances, workshops and their passion for social dancing.

Jaime Jesus is an international multi-award winner, earning acclaim world wide for his incredible influenceacross the globe. Meanwhile, Sera Fichera is a world champion in salsa and reggaeton, and world famous for her Reggaeton & Brazilain Funk showcasing her mastery of these styles with precision and passion. Together, Jaime and Sera bring an infectious energy to the dance floor, infusing their routines with fun, knowledge, and a friendly demeanor that makes every experience unforgettable. Whether performing or teaching, they are committed to sharing their love of dance with audiences wherever they go.



Elysia and Carlos are the current Australian Salsa Champions. Elysia Baker is one of Australia’s most formidable Latin Dancer-Creative’s. An internationally recognised Latin dancer, competitor, judge, coach

and small business owner of Melbourne dance school La Encantada Collective, ELLA Dance Retreat and director of Rumbia Festival of Latin Dance.

Elysia is the current Australian Salsa Champion with dance partner Carlos Veron and ranked 2nd in the world in the professional Cha Cha at the World Salsa Summit, USA 2018.

A former ballet dancer, Elysia transitioned into the Salsa industry over 15 years ago where she has worked her way up to be recognised as one of the industry’s most respected artists. She travels frequently to continue learning from some of the industry’s icons, along with competing, performing and teaching at events both nationally and around the world.

Elysia’s wealth of dance knowledge and training in a variety of dance styles (including Mambo, Salsa, Cha Cha, Pachanga, Ballet and more) lends itself to well-rounded training techniques. Her dance travel lifestyle gives her fresh insight into the ever-evolving world of dance, which she brings back to infuse into her own teaching and training techniques. Elysia’s beautiful personality combined with her dynamic choreography, power, body movement and flexibility, forges together to create exciting shows and insightful and fun dance classes.

Carlos Veron is the 2020 Vice-World Champion Professional Male Soloist in the World Salsa Summit. He is also Argentinian National Champion and was a  finalist in both the World Salsa Summit USA and Puerto Rico Salsa Open competitions.

He is one of Argentina’s and now Australia’s most sought-after dance coaches and choreographer’s, specialising in Salsa, Bachata and Dance Fitness Conditioning. Best known for his powerful and dynamic choreography, fast footwork, body movement and flexibility.

Carlos’ wealth of dance knowledge extends beyond Salsa and Bachata, into Jazz, Tango, Ballet and Argentine Folklore, which lends itself to well-rounded training techniques and beautiful choreographies.

Based now full time atl La Encantada Collective in Melbourne, Australia as a full time dance coach and choreographer. Together with his partner Elysia Baker, they are the Australian Professional Salsa Champions.



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Originating from Havana Cuba, Greydis Montero Liranza is an award-winning and highly accredited dancer with over 20 years of experience in the dance world. 

Her national and international experience along with 6 years training at the prestigious and highly competitive Cuban National School of Art (Escuela Nacional de Arte, ENA) has allowed her to bring an unparalleled wealth of knowledge, technique, skills and passion to New Zealand dancers and communities. Greydis settled in New Zealand in 2002 after her worldwide tour as choreographer and principal dancer of the hit international show Lady Salsa. She is the only premier Cuban female dancer, choreographer, tutor, and judge in New Zealand.

Education and Training

Escuela Nacional de Arte, Havana, Cuba

For secondary school, I spent 6 years at the prestigious ENA in Havana, Cuba. During my 6 years at this boarding school, I spent my mornings doing standard secondary school curriculum, and my afternoons dancing. I learned a range of dance styles including ballet, contemporary, Afro-Cuban, other Cuban popular rhythms (salsa, son, mambo etc.) and other international folklore, even Russian folk dancing! This school gave me a holistic appreciation for dance as we also learned about rhythm and composition, music, gymnastics, theatre, and visual art. My last year of school, I worked professionally and only returned to show my final project.

Director of Greydis Dance,  Rotorua, New Zealand

  • I have had the opportunity to design and execute a range of classes for both children and adults
  • Children’sClasses:
    • Little Groovers (ages 2-4), Ballet and Contemporary (ages 5-6), and Lyrical Dance (ages 7-10)
  • Adult Classes
    • Latin Cardio and Body Sculpt, Senior Dance Groove, Cuban Salsa, Aqua Body Tone, Social Dancing



With 15 years’ experience in teaching and performing, Emily’s passion for empowering dancers in achieving their goals has become her number one priority. 

She has travelled across Europe, Asia, the US, Australia and New Zealand for teaching, competing and learning from the world’s best. Emily is the director of E Dance Productions, a Christchurch based dance school which has mentored some of Australasia’s best new talent. EDP been awarded over 40 trophies for competitive entries displaying dance styles including Salsa, Bachata and Cha Cha Cha, particularly in shines categories. As a leader in the New Zealand latin industry, Emily is excited about evolving her style as well as growing local talent.





Benjamin Hammond is a 13x New Zealand Salsa and Street Latin Dancing Champion. Over the years Ben has had incredible opportunities to work with some of the top schools in the country,

 teaching choreography as well as travelling and representing New Zealand on multiple world stages. Ben loves any opportunity he gets to teach and share his knowledge and is proud to be coming back to the 2023 NZSC!





Katie and David are teachers from Viva dance in Auckland. David Sepulveda is a Latin Dancer since 2002, and a Salsa and Bachata teacher the last 10 years in Chile and New Zealand (Wellington – Auckland). 

Nowadays teaching at Viva Dance (Cuban salsa and Bachata) and Ryde NZ (Salsa on2 Performance Team). Creating and contributing with different dance projects in the last 7 years, and always active in the performance environment. He has a huge passion for Cuban Salsa, which has been his main salsa style over the last 20 years. Katie is a dancer that has been involved strongly in the latin dance scene over the past two years; performing, competing and attending festivals across New Zealand and Australia. She enjoys dancing bachata and all styles of salsa, particularly Cuban and New York style. Together Katie and David have been performing, competing and teaching. In 2022 they placed first in ProAm salsa cabaret and second in ProAm bachata freestyle at the World Salsa Solo in Brisbane. They enjoy social dancing, learning new techniques, movements, choreographies and teaching together.



Raine’s decades of dance experience in multiple dance genres are evident in every class, workshop or choreography that she delivers. Her musicality and cheeky nature show through in her routines but really shine on the social dance floor.

Her knowledge is invaluable at guiding new or experienced dancers and for this reason, she has been invited multiple times to judge at both Regional and National level dance events in New Zealand and within Australasia for the past 10 years. Based in Palmerston North, she is the driving force, Artistic Director for the Suavesitas, which is known across the country for their creative performance routines.  A familiar face at dance events here and across the ditch, Raine will often either be on the dance floor or behind the scenes, helping to run different dance events around the country. Raine is very passionate in cultivating and mentoring the up and coming dancers and new dance teachers from across all cultures and dance genres. She goes out of her way to share her love of dance so that the knowledge base gets passed on to the next generation.



Gwen (France) and Arkadi (Israel) are a duo well known in New Zealand for their dedication to dance, their lighthearted demeanor, and humorous approach.

Brazilian Zouk Instructors at ZoukArt (Auckland) and eternal students, they have been training hard both as dancers and as teachers since partnering up 3+ years ago, which has been rewarded with high placements in recent Jack & Jill competitions in NZ as well as Australia.

With some years of Brazilian Zouk training under their sleeves, as well as background in other styles; Arkadi (Salsa, Ballroom, Latin Ballroom), Gwen (Kizomba, Salsa, Bachata, Gymnastics), they are very excited to further develop the Zouk Community with their experience, knowledge and dedication to Brazilian Zouk.



Max and Alex are Bachata artists from Christchurch NZ. They founded Desafyar dance school in 2019 to fuel the dance community with new ideas and the latest bachata trends from overseas, including sensual and fusion styles.

Their signature style, Bachatrap, builds on modern and sensual bachata with a focus on emphasising trap musicality. 

Max and Alex have over 10 years experience in Latin dance styles like Bachata, Zouk, Kizomba, Salsa, and Samba de Gafiera. They love to create distinctive and atmospheric choreographies, and are passionate about upskilling and supporting a vibrant social dance scene. Their classes are designed to challenge and inspire dancers in a playful environment.



Leonardo Neves is the (Director & owner of Brazilian Beatz Dance Academy) began dancing at 8 years old as an after school program, this is where his passion for Dance began.

From this, Leo spent the next 6 years attending various dance schools in Rio de Janeiro, studying Bolero, Soltinho, Samba De Gafieira, Samba no pé, Lindy hop, Salsa, Forró, Capoeira, Tap dance, Contemporary, Ballet…

When he was 12 years old, Leo began learning from one of the Zouk creators; Renata Peçanha and Adilio Porto, in their Dance Company. Here Leo studied Brazilian Zouk, and other Brazilian and Latin Dance styles for 7 Years. Over this time he performed with the company at different events including Congresses and Theatres. He competed with various dance partners and won 1st Place in the “Onda Zouk“ Competition with his dance partner at the time; Vanessa Ferreira, Which was the first Brazilian Zouk Competition in Rio de Janeiro. After some time he became the dance partner of Renata Pecanha, travelling, teaching regular classes, Workshops, Congresses and performing with her across Brazil at the age of 15. 

From 2009 to 2012 Leo traveled both Nationally (in Brazil) and Internationally teaching and performing from small events to some of the biggest Congresses in the World With His dance partner at the time; Layssa Liebscher. 

At the beginning of 2013 Leonardo started his new partnership with Becky Crystal. They traveled all around the world teaching in many countries such as Czech Republic, Brazil, Ukraine, Netherland, Switzerland, Cyprus, USA, Australia, Bali, Singapore, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Spain, New Zealand, Belgium, Austria, Croatia and many others, where they were invited by local teachers and organisers to help the local communities and teachers to grow with their dance. Leo also travels to give teachers courses around the world so the local teachers can grow their communities with quality . 

Leo is an instructor in Christchurch, New Zealand, teaching Brazilian and Latin Dance Classes at @brazilianbeatznz

Kat Maxwell ignited her passion for dancing in 2013 when she first discovered Brazilian Zouk. Already dancing Latin styles such as Salsa, Bachata and the Brazilian dance Samba De Gafieira since 2012 in Christchurch, she soon started training in Forro, Bolero, Soltinho, Funk, and Samba no Pe with Leo and Becky at Brazilian Beatz Dance Academy in Christchurch, NZ. She has since added Cha Cha and Contemporary as an addition to her repertoire.

Kat is trained in education, she studied at the University of Canterbury in a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning in Primary Education. This coupled with her training with Leo and Becky at Brazilian Beatz as their student since 2015, part of their team from 2016, and then as one of their teachers since 2017, Kat has extensive experience in teaching holistically, incorporating various learning styles into her pedagogy.

Training with Leo and Becky as part of their team at Brazilian Beatz has inspired her to take the skills and techniques she has learnt to competitions in New Zealand, Australia and Brazil. She has taught at Leo and Becky’s events; RioBeatz and Bachaotearoa along with other events throughout NZ, Australia and Bali.

At the beginning of 2020 Kat travelled to Brazil for 6 weeks of intensive training in Brazilian Zouk, to progress her own dancing and to bring back the information, flavour, and passion for her students. This trip saw her competing in the Rio Zouk Congress Intermediate Jack and Jill and completing her certificate in Renata Peçanha’s 2020 week-long Teachers Course. Since then, she has completed Kadu and Larissa’s Teachers and Judges training, and continues her mentorship with Leo Neves, teaching, attending classes, and training every week.  As she believes that being a teacher means being a student for a lifetime.



Emily and Augusto have been dance partners for more than 3 years and their favorite dance styles are Zouk and Kizomba. They have taught both these styles all around New Zealand and in Australia. 

They also have competed together in many styles and are the current NZ Latin Choreo champions, NZ Kizomba champions and South Island Zouk champions.

Emily started dancing at a very young age, training and competing in Ballet and Jazz for many
years. She started dancing Salsa and Bachata about 13 years ago, and over time trained in a
wide variety of other styles including zouk and kizomba. For 8 years, Emily taught many of these
styles at her dance school, Salsa Club Dunedin. She also owns and runs a dance school for
Augusto is from Brazil, has been social dancing for 12 years, and has been teaching a wide
range of dance styles for 6 years now. He has attended congresses and festivals all over Brazil,
New Zealand, and Australia. He now lives in Dunedin where he owns and runs his own dance
school, Dança Latina Dunedin.



Shannon and Trajano, are the Directors of Brazilian Dance Art, and their brand ZoukArt and this is their 10 year anniversary of running the dance school here in Auckland.

They are well revered in the scene for their depth of dance knowledge, their ability to teach, their emotional performances and their ability to work with everyone. As a dance partnership they started their dancing, performing and competing in Salsa, 12 years ago – until they then fell in love with Brazilian Zouk. They have since developed a strong brand for being highly competent and sought after Zouk and Gafieira teachers, choreographers, performers and judges, both nationally and internationally. They have trained with many of Brazilians finest Mestres (teachers) in Brazil, Europe and Australia. They have taught across many continents and continually strive to bring the most recent and up to date information to our workshops/classroom for the NZ students to benefit from! 
Trajano from Argentina has a strong background in acting, martial arts and trained in Capoeira for 4 years. Prior to moving to New Zealand he danced Cuban Salsa and Ballroom and he has since trained in contemporary, circus, acro, animal movement yet his main focus for the past 11 years has been in the Brazilian dances Brazilian Zouk and Samba de Gafieira.
Shannon from New Zealand, has a back ground training in her youth in American Jazz Ballet (for 8+ years) and is one of the Salsa dancers from the original NZ Salsa scene when she started in 1998 and has performed and competed in Salsa since. She has also developed in other styles: Contemporary, Latin Dancesport, Hip Hop – yet her main focus for the past 11 years has been in the Brazilian dances Brazilian Zouk, Samba de Gafieira and Samba no Pe.
We cant wait to be teaching you all across the weekend!



Ricardo and Yan are the directors of RYDE based in Auckland. They have a combined latin dance experience of over 20 years specialising in On2 Salsa and Bachata.


They started their partnership in 2018 and have trained, performed, competed in the US, Europe, South America, and Asia as well as teaching across Australasia. They have won a number of titles across Australia and New Zealand competitions.
They are excited to be teaching at the NZ Salsa Congress and share their love of dance.



Julian Zhu is a Kiwi artist, who has been travelling the World for the past 7 years, teaching in places such as Los Angeles, Dallas, Shanghai, Beijing and Shen Zen. 

During this time he received multiple awards, such as 1st Place in ‘Defend Your Music’ Competition, Beijing, HK Worlds (1st) and Latin World Dance Cup (1st). He also made a name for himself on China’s Got Talent with his choreographies and performances, choreographing for many Chinese celebrities.  He was formally trained at the NY Broadway School Of Dance & Shen Zen School Of Performing Arts.  For his Latin Dance training Julian travelled around Europe & North America to be taught by incredible teachers such as FADI FUSION, FRANKLIN DIAZ, KORKE and many more.  Through this he created his own unique style of LATIN FUSION, drawing inspiration from his decades of learning and teaching different styles of Dance. Since 2020, Julian Zhu has moved back to his hometown Wellington, where he became one of the Founders of FEM DANCE (Far East Movement)



This dance teacher, performer, and choreographer is originally from Bulgaria and she has been involved in dancing since the age of 8. Her training includes Jazz, Ball Room, and Bulgarian Folklore.

At the age of 18 she fell in love with CUBAN Salsa and since then Latin Dancing has become part of her life and therapy for her soul. Her vast knowledge includes Cuban Salsa, Bachata Traditional and Sensual style, Merengue, Reggaeton and Brazilian Zouk.  Lilia moved to Wellington in 2005 and started teaching first with Roy-Rogelio. In 2007 Lilia and her dance partner at the time Ramnish founded Salsa Therapy Dance School. Salsa Therapy has become the first school in Welligton to offer all 3 main Latin dance styles Salsa, Bachata and Brazilian Zouk. Lilia has performed locally and internationally on many occasions, taught workshops, and choreographed many performances for Salsa Therapy’s performance teams and Las Bachateras. Lilia has collaborated with Daniel and Desiree and Sara Panero leading and training performance teams for Bailando Sensual Festival in the past 5 years. She has also taught Latin dance at various Wellington-based high schools helping young people to get involved in Latin dancing. Her mission is to help people discover the therapeutic influence of Latin dancing and help them become good social dancers.

Jono’s first serious movement training happened at Hagley Theatre Company in Christchurch 2008 where he started his training as an actor, took contemporary dance lessons and choreographed a piece. He then moved onto Toi Whakaari to continue his actor training where he studied voice, devising theatre, script work, singing, dancing and of course movement. He graduated in 2012 with a solid foundation in performing arts. Jono came to Salsa Therapy in early 2019 to start his Cuban Salsa journey and within a few months he started Bachata too. Jono brings his depth of knowledge in the performing arts and keen interest in music to his teaching. He is very interested in dancing on different timings and has a love of creativity. He strives to help students find their own way into dancing Salsa.



Donna is the Director & owner of Latin Fire Dance Academy. She has been Inspiring Latin dancers in Christchurch with her creative flare & friendly personality for over 25 years!

Donna started in the Latin scene with Terry Peirera in 1997 when she & her husband Warren met & later created Hot Tempo (to be later called Latin Fire).

Donna’s training in ballet, jazz & musical theatre & keen eye, help to give her choreographies another exciting dimension.

Their first overseas dance experience was at the Sydney Salsa Congress in  2007 was such an eye opener to the Latin Scene. They were so inspired they attended with their team regularly. They have also performed at Sydney Bachata Festival, Melbourne Latin Festival, Byron Bay, Doudele Latin Dance Camp, World Salsa Solos & many, many New Zealand events.

Her greatest moments have been performing with her husband Warren (Director), seeing youth striving forward & growing, building a beautiful ladies team & seeing her daughter Natasha become such a shining dancer in the Latin Dance scene.

Mike started Latin dance in 2007 & joined Latin Fire in 2011, where he soon became a keen, passionate dance member of Latin Fire. In 2020 he joined our team as a Director and his knowledge, understanding of the dance styles, hard work ethics & fun personality have made him such an important asset to the studio!

Their dance lessons have a clear, fun and easy to follow structure to help you gain the most out of your dancing. Their success in classes, performing & competitions sets the high standard they love to achieve in anything they take on.

We are looking forward to bringing our flavour of Cha Cha to the New Zealand dancers!



Jorge and Sara are the founders and directors of Latin Roots Hawkes Bay Salsa Casino Academy, which has been operative since 2016. Originally, from Caracas-Venezuela, with more than 14 years in the Salsa Casino world.

They began their apprenticeship being part of several salsa academies in their hometown. In order to keep themselves closer to their Caribbean culture and home country activities, they decided to open Latin Roots Hawkes Bay Salsa Casino Academy in Napier. Along with the main course – Rueda de Casino with a touch of spicy Venezuelan flavor – Jorge and Sara teach different rhythms such as Bachata, Cha-Cha, and Venezuelan drums.

In the past few years, they have been part of several different Salsa events in New Zealand like the Bay Salsa Festival (Tauranga) and recently the Aotearoa Cuban Festival (Rotorua).

They are passionate about promoting the Latin American culture in New Zealand and within the Hawke’s Bay community with love, commitment, patience, and responsibility. Their classes are filled with fun, charisma, and dedication.



Queenstown based Matias Berardi, originally from Uruguay, started dancing 12 years ago.  His enormous love for Salsa music naturally lead him to DJing.

Green AF, with no English, he started attending the local classes with the vision of becoming part of the scene. Quietly confident, he seized the opportunity to run the weekly socials and has been the resident DJ for more than 5 years. 

To date the dream has come true.

He runs PASION SALSA QT, being the lead teacher of the school.

He’s one of the organisers of the QUEENSTOWN SALSA FESTIVAL.

Most recently he assisted at the bay salsa festival, organising sound and DJs for the parties. 

He has DJ’ed at numerous well known festivals in New Zealand and also at the Perth summer sensual festival in Australia. 

This  full blown salsero promises to set the  dance floor on fire

Sin salsa no hay paraíso!! 


Daisy started learning Salsa and Bachata dance in 2012, and she fell in love with the warm atmosphere and the friendliness of the dance community…

…which led her to run Latin social parties from 2014. Daisy’s interest in dancing Bachata and Kizomba motivated her to learn how to DJ for social events, and she has been invited to DJ at regular social parties and national Latin events since 2016, including Viva Sunday Social, Latin Fiesta, New Zealand Salsa Congress, Latin Fiesta and other local dance events.


I am Walker Chavez from Lima, Peru. I started dancing salsa 8 years ago.

I arrived in New Zealand 7 years ago. My first home was in Wellington then I moved to Queenstown looking for new challenges and opportunities, now living in Invercargill I started teaching some basic salsa and bachata steps and created latin dance venues.

I love Latin music, specifically Salsa and Bachata songs. I started playing music in Queenstown at Pasíon Salsa events 5 years ago and for Latin Soul Dance more recently.

I do live DJ in Otago (Queenstown, Cromwell & Dunedin) and Southland (Invercargill). I created an online radio channel on ZenoFM.  @Sbradioinnz if you want to follow me on Instagram. I’m looking forward to sharing my tunes with everyone at the 2023 Salsa Congress. See ya there!!

Chau for now! 


DJ Neat (also known as Shan Patel) is originally from London, UK and his passion for dancing started in New Zealand nearly 9 years ago. 

Since then he has found a love for DJing and is continuously discovering new Afro Latin music to add to his collection. He is also an avid dancer in Cuban Salsa and Kizomba. You will find DJ Neat at local Salsa and Kizomba socials in Auckland as well as travelling around the country to DJ at festivals. He has DJ’d at NZ Salsa Congress, Aotearoa Cuban Festival, Salsa Tumbao, Spring Weekend Kizomba Festival, Bay Salsa Festival and the Queenstown Salsa Festival. This will be DJ Neat’s 4th appearance at the New Zealand Salsa Congress. You will find him in the Kizomba room.


Originally from France he discovered Kizomba 4 and 1/2 years ago in Wellington with the Danca crew. Since then he has danced around NZ, Australia, and Europe to pursue his passion. 

He now teaches Kizomba classes in Christchurch with Anette, his dance partner in crime! He also runs a weekly 100% Kizomba Social on Thursdays at Chic Bar in collaboration with the Kizomba Conexao team to facilitate some well-deserved weekly hugs within the Christchurch community! He cannot wait to share his Kizomba addiction with you!