KADU & LARISSA
World renowned Latin dance professionals Kadu Pires and Larissa Thayane are originally from Brazil. They moved to Australia in 2007. They spend up to half of each year travelling – teaching, performing, choreographing and judging at the world’s most important Latin dance events and competitions.
Since 2007, they have toured extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand, Asia, Europe, North and South America. They have been instrumental in boosting the popularity of Brazilian zouk and samba de gafieira internationally. Their credits include competition wins and television appearances in Brazil and in Australia, including choreography for So You Think You Can Dance Australia.
During his 20-year dance career, Kadu built a reputation as one of the best young dancers in Sao Paulo, Brazil, before being recognised as a samba de gafieira and samba no pe dancer and instructor of reference for Brazil’s new dance generation. He has worked as a dancer, instructor and choreographer for high profile dance companies in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, including the Jimmy de Oliveira Dance Academy and Company and the Alex de Carvalho Dance Academy and Company.
Larissa is trained in all styles of dance. She has worked as a professional ballet and contemporary dancer for the Youth Theatre Company of Rio de Janeiro, travelling and performing throughout Brazil and the United States before studying Latin dance. Her career highlights include performing at The Kennedy Centre in Washington with the American Symphony Orchestra. In 2005, she started her studies in Latin dance and joined Jimmy de Oliveira’s samba de gafieira company and Alex de Carvalho’s Latin dance company specialising in Brazilian zouk.
Kadu and Larissa founded K&L Dance and K&L Dance Events in 2012.
RY'EL & JESSICA
Ry'el (Henri Velandia) is a performer, choreographer and founder of “HotSalsaHot” the preeminent salsa school in the Princeton, NJ area. Native to Venezuela, his formal dance training is in classical ballet, jazz, modern dance and international Latin. His style is a unique fusion of hip-urban street roots with formal ballroom technique, ballet precision, and the freedom of modern dance, incorporating expressive body styling and footwork.
He began his formal dance training in 2004 at the Princeton Dance and Theater Studio (PDT) under the tutelage of Susan Jaffe and Risa Kaplowitz. In addition to his training at PDT he has completed various workshops with Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York City. He has danced for Marie Alonzo Tangerine Dance Project since 2005 and is currently dancing with Cecilia Marta Dance Company in NY and will participate in this year’s Summer Stage Performances in Central Park and Marcus Garvey Park.
In 2010, Ry'El performed as part of the inaugural cast of Univision’s reality dance show “MQB” – Mira Quien Baila, where he was one of 10 dancers, partnering with Latino stars competing to raise money for charity. He is part of the zouk community in NYC joining Kim Rottier, his zouk mentor, and the Zouk NY team. Recently, he was invited to tour with Brazouka, the only world touring Brazilian zouk company and performance/show about the origins of Brazilian zouk.
He is as passionate about teaching as he is about dancing. His main goal is to have his students experience movement from the inside out, adding in technical aspects of dance and Latin movement.
Regarding the varieties of Brazilian zouk: “These dances are all about connection. You have to connect with your partner – it’s the only way you can improvise and dance really well. Rio-style zouk is a lot slower, with more contemporary movements, and it’s really sensual. That’s what I specialize in – I fell in love with it about five years ago.”
Jessica combines aspects of modern zouk and lambazouk, and is certified with the ZoukNY Instructor Certification Program (ZKNY ICP). Jessica has a background in international 10-Dance Competitive Ballroom, 6 years of theatrical and film performance, and a BA in psychology.
“I’m very honored/grateful to be dancing and teaching with Ry'el. I believe strongly in how we teach ZenZouk and how important it is to be connected with/ to be able to take care of ourselves in order to connect and take care of everyone else.”
CLINTON & CRISTI
Clinton & Cristi are international zouk instructors who have toured extensively throughout Europe, South America and the Middle East. They specialize in Brazilian Zouk and have over sixteen years of dance experience respectively. They are the only instructors in North America with years of training under the tutelage of the creator of zouk, Renata Peçanha, in Rio de Janeiro, and they have a reputation as being some of the best and most technical zouk dance instructors in the market today.
MAFIE & XTINE
Mafie is an experience of sight, soul, music, and dance! He needs no introduction, but Mafie holds some of the core knowledge of Brazilian zouk and is one of the most sought-after artists on the zouk circuit. An event is not an event without Mafie's music and his late night sets will create lasting memories. He is one of the most renowned instructors in zouk, and the neo-zouk style he helped create, which has since become a key expression of the dance. Experience MAFIE ZOUKER.
Xtine is the founder of Brazilian Zouk in Seattle and creator ofSeattle Dance Festival at the Center of the Universe. Her dance training began at the age of 3, with classical training in Ballet, Jazz,Tap, Musical Theatre and later modern and hip hop as well. She performed with two ballet companies in Seattle raising to the level of a soloist, occasionally doing her own choreography.
At age 16 she started her partner dance career with Salsa and Bachata. She began her teaching career in 2010 at Salsa Con Todo Dance Studio where she has taught Ballet, Jazz, Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, Brazilian Zouk, and West Coast Swing. West Coast Swing has made a profound impact on Xtine's connection, creativity, and style and she promotes the fusion style of Swouk wherever she goes. She recently won the Zouk Invitational division at Seattle Dance Festival 2016 and is World Swing Dance Council (WSDC) recognized advanced West Coast Swing dancer.