New Zealand Cuban Festival Instructors
Vivio (Isbert Ramos) - Auckland, New Zealand
At age eleven he started his career at the prestigious & highly competitive National School of Arts ‘ENA’ in Havana, Cuba. There he studied many forms of Performing Arts, International & National Folklore including (Salsa, Mambo, Son, Cha Cha Cha, Rumba, Conga, Mozambique, Pilon, Yoruba & Congo) Ballet, Jazz, Rhythm, Composition & Choreography with Contemporary & Modern Techniques including Gymnastics, Acting, Music & Painting. He graduated after seven years not only with honours but also as the ‘Top Student of the Year’ with National 1st prizes in both Modern & Contemporary Dance.
In the following three years he danced for Ballet de Camaguey and then joined the National Company Contemporary Dance of Cuba where he reached the level of ‘First Dancer’, remaining so for the following 14 years, and travelling with them all over the world. Vivio joined the dance musical Lady Salsa & it wasn’t long before Vivio’s expertise was called upon to completely re-work & refine the Lady Salsa Show. Vivio and his partner at the time, Greydis Montero Liranza, proudly toured the globe as the Principal Dancers & Choreographers, bringing with them a vast knowledge & experience to New Zealand. Togehter they moved to NZ and established The Cuban Groove.
In 2009, Vivio and Greydis, choreographed and directed a show “Cuban Carousel”. The Cuban Carousel recounted the historical journey of Cuba. Conveyed through music and dance it incorporated a blend of contemporary dance and Afro Latin. The show featuring six world-class Cuban dancers and a New Zealand chorus of hand-picked contemporary dancers. The show toured throughout NZ.
Since 2002, Vivio has been teaching, choreographing & performing all over New Zealand, and has found unexpected work & performance opportunities in film, theatre, television commercials and radio. Vivio has worked for numerous different companies.
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Greydis Montero Liranza - Wellington, New Zealand
Dance is a rite of passage where Greydis Montero comes from. "Moving your hips around is like getting your Cuban passport," she says.
People dance while they're cooking, doing the dishes, even in the shower, she says. "You learn to dance before you learn to walk."
Originating from Havana, the 28-year-old has been living in New Zealand for nearly ten years and one of her dreams is to call herself a Kiwi. She is working towards gaining residency and she eventually hopes to gain citizenship. Greydis knew she wanted to be a dancer when she was a little girl and by age 16 she was already working with professionals.
She is a graduate of the prestigious National School of Arts in Havana and has toured all over the world. Greydis was a principal dancer and choreographer for the show Lady Salsa that ended its tour in New Zealand. She fell so in love with the country that she decided to stay.
Adrian, Christina & Israel - Sydney, Coffs Harbour & Brisbane, Australia.
Yes, returning to grace the dance floors of the New Zealand Cuban Festival 2012, Adrian Medina, Christina Monneron and Israel Ortiz. The Principal dancers of the AfroCuban Goddess & Rhythm Tour in Australia, Adrian, Christina and Israel will be back in New Zealand to share the wonders, the sounds, the beauty of the rythyms of Afro-Cuban dance and music.
Adrian was born in Havana Cuba, his dance training began at the Narciso Medina Dance School where he developed and perfected his Modern and Contemporary dance technique and Afro-Cuban styles and received a Degree in both dance techniques.
Mauritian-born Christina studied with a principal artist of Cuba's National Folkloric Dance Group in Sweden in 1996, beginning a journey that included participation in an intensive Afro-Cuban workshop held in Denmark. She joined a cultural exchange program in Havana in 1998 where she studied AfroCuban dance, Yoruba spirituality and Santeria religion. Christina introduced the energy and passion of Afro-Cuban rhythms to Australia in 1999 under the banner Cuban Dance Academy in Melbourne.
Born in Santiago de Cuba, Israel has been dancing practically all of his life. He first went to a specialised dance school at the age of 11 and went on to graduate from the National School of Art in Havana. Upon graduating, he worked for 2 different modern dance companies in Cuba before winning a position in the dance spectacular 'Havana Night'. He travelled the world with this company, performing in more than 9 countries throughout Asia and Europe, before settling in Australia in 2003. Israel has been performing and providing tuition for Cuban dance aficionados in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast for over 4 years.
Maxine Buxton & Akshar Apte - A Contra, Melbourne Australia.
Maxine and Akshar first encountered the mesmerising rhythms, sublime energy and cheeky flavour of Cuban dance in 2004 and 2007 respectively as they studied at Cuban Dance Academy in Melbourne. Under the watchful eye of Artistic Principal and Goddess, Christina Monneron, they earned their stripes as the two most senior instructors and in turn shared their passion with students across Melbourne, Victoria and interstate. Maxine was a member of the winning CDA teams at the 2006 Australian Salsa Classic (Rueda division) and the 2008 Victorian Salsa Classic and has performed under the CDA banner all over Australia and NZ. Formerly co-founders and co-directors of DaMe, they have now grow sufficiently to form their own dance company - A Contra
Tania De Silva & Gene Segura - RakaTa, Melbourne Australia.
RakaTa embraces Cuban dance and culture, all the way from its roots, through to Salsa and Reggaeton. Not only are they Melbourne's hottest Reggaeton dance crew, but they have now expanded to become a dance company including everything else that RakaTa Directors, Gene Segura and Tania De Silva already love and do, primarily Reggaeton and Cuban Salsa. They have been teaching, choreographing and performing Cuban Salsa, Rueda de Casino and Reggaeton together since 2008, when they were teaching and performing as Christina Monneron's two senior teachers at Cuban Dance Academy. After a successful run as 2 of the 4 Directors of the Cuban dance school DaMÉ in 2010/2011, they now continue to share their passion in Cuban dance and culture, bringing all of their talent and expertise to their own dance company, RakaTa. They placed Runner Up at the Australian Rueda Championships at Cubamemucho Melbourne in 2009. They also choreographed a Cuban Salsa performance which placed 3rd at the 2009 Australian Salsa Classics Youth Division. In addition, Gene won 1st Place at the Victorian Salsa State Titles 2008 Teams Division in a Rueda de Casino performance. As RakaTa continues to grow, Gene and Tania, strengthen their ties to Cuban tradition through training with their mentors and using their creativity and innovation to bring Cuban dance to a wider audience.
Gabriela Pintos – known as “Alegria” - Latin Spirt Australia, Sydney Australia.
When Alegria was young she had extensive training in dance and holds a degree in Classical Ballet Education. Alegria has been drawn to Latin rhythms since she arrived to Australia in 1991 from her home country of Argentina. She was inspired by tango performances in Melbourne which made her realise the importance of her culture and roots. She met dancers and performed on various occasions but her journey as a professional dancer started upon landing in Sydney in 1997.
Alegria strongly believes and supports authentic Latin Dancing, where passion, music and dancing meet. She has been a major force in Cuban schools and Latin culture, performing in major events such as Salsa congresses, Latin festivals, Afro-Cuban Express, Australian Bachata Festivals, and across the nation in Melbourne, Coffs Harbour, Brisbane, Adelaide Salsa Congress, as well as internationally in New Zealand, Germany, Cuba, and in a Dominican Republic TV program.
In 2009 Alegria and her partner won the title of Australia’s Bachata Champions in Melbourne. They became Australian Bachata Champions – Professional Division again in 2009 and 2010.
After a long dancing career working with and for Cuban Dance School as Main Instructor and Choreographer, Alegria is very excited to share her new babe with you… Latin Spirit Australia – starting July 2011. Alegria‘s goal is to keep Latin culture alive and she welcome all cultures to experience a touch of Latin Spirit – Espiritu Latino.
Liza Kohunui - Dance 2 Inspire, Rotorua, New Zealand
Director of Dance 2 Inspire, Instructor, Choreographer & Performer, Liza has inspired many to follow their dance dreams in and around New Zealand. Afro-Cuban dance has been a passion in Liza's life for many years and she has attended travelled to Cuba to study the authentic Cuban Dance styles she works with.
Her Dance2Inspire crew have performed at numerous venues around New Zealand as well as Sydney, Australia and are preparing to attend and perform at the Melbourne Latin Festival in 2013.
Marie-Louise Hudson - Salsa on the Awa, Whanganui, New Zealand
Artistic Director and Co-Director of Salsa on the Awa, classically trained in Ballet, Tap & Jazz since the age of 4yrs and with decades of national & international stage and competion experience in these genres as her foundation, Marie-Louise was seduced by the Latino music and dance in 2004 and has lived and breathed Salsa ever since!
Alongside her husband, Petera, she created Salsa on the Awa's Dance Teams - Roopu Rueda and BacHaka, both managing and performing. She is also the Principal Technical and Dance Instructor for Salsa on the Awa's couples representatives at New Zealand's National Salsa Championships. Having also instructed at the inaugural Sydney Cuban Salsa Congress 2011
Marie-Louise has also dedicated her passion to becoming a highly acclaimed Competition Judge at the New Zealand Salsa National Competitions 2009/10/11 & 12, the New Zealand South Island Salsa Championships 2010, 2011 & 2012 the New Zealand Masters Games in 2011 & the New Zealand Salsa Solos in 2012.
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Private Classes can be scheduled with Instructors whilst at the New Zealand Cuban Festival.
Email Mama or Papa P to book a Private Class - firstname.lastname@example.org