Ry'el & Jessica
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.”