Studio D 1105 Apalachee Parkway
7:30 pm Registration
8:00 PM Evening Workshop
9:00 PM-2:00 AM Social Dancing
The Tallahassee Latin Dance Festival is a weekend of culture, fun, and fitness. This is year 3 for this fun filled event. It features dance workshops (beginners, intermediate, and advanced dancers) including bachata, casino, cha cha cha, kizomba, mambo, tango, and salsa. TLDF also has performances by world class dancers and instructors, not to mention your favorite local salsa (casino, mambo, LA) and bachata companies. Dance the night away to live music and top nationally recognized DJs. We have grown so we are holding the event at a large Conference Center called Tallahassee Antique Car Museum (6800 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32317) and our guests are staying at the Country Inn and Suites (3080 Walden Road, Tallahassee, FL 32317).
Great event, BRAVO! Could have danced all night- oh wait- WE DID! - Susan Morrison
The Tallahassee Latin Dance Festival delivered what they promised. Epic does not begin to describe how amazing this festival has been. – DJ Style
Studio D 1105 Apalachee Parkway
7:30 pm Registration
8:00 PM Evening Workshop
9:00 PM-2:00 AM Social Dancing
Night Theme: TBA
4:00 PM Registration
5:00 PM Tech Rehearsal
6:00 PM Silent Auction
7:00 PM Workshop
9:00 PM Social Dancing
11:00 PM Performances
Night Theme: TBA
8:30 AM Registration
9:00 AM Workshops
5:00 PM Tech Rehearsal
7:00 PM VIP Reception
8:00 PM Evening Workshop
9:00 PM Performances
10:00 PM Social Dancing
Night Theme: TBA
9:30 AM Registration
10:00 AM Workshops
6:00 PM Registration
7:00 PM Evening Workshop
8:00 PM Jack and Jill Latin Dance Championships with artists
Silent Auction Winners Announced
9:00 PM Social Dancing
Erin and James
Founded by James and Milton Cobo in 2000, CoboBrothers Dance Co. (CBDC) was the first On2 dance company out of North Carolina to explode onto the international dance scene. As CBDC’s freestyle specialist, James has lit up dance floors around the world with a fusion of speed, body movement, and musicality. Recognized for her sensual prowess on stage, Erin Leger ,a graceful US Gymnastics Veteran, joined CBDC in 2007. Erin Leger and James Cobo Implement a balance of power, acrobatics, fluidity, and musicality, to captivate audiences around the world with electrifying performances. As the first company to introduce On2 to North Carolina and a major catalyst for the explosive growth in the South East region of the United States, CBDC is dedicated to inspiring interest in salsa and cultivating talent throughout the world especially in their home state of North Carolina.
Emily and Junior
Junior and Emily are a brother and sister team originally from San Francisco and now living in Los Angeles, California. They are 8-time National and International Salsa Dance Champions and are the youngest solo internationally traveling couple. They have worked with Celebrity Artists such as Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, Justin Timberlake, Jamie King, Selena Gomez, just to name a few. They have guest appearances on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ in Italy and have also done promotions for ‘Dancing With The Stars’ in the US. They were on the hit TV show “America’s Got Talent”as one of the first dance couples to bring salsa to Prime Time TV. They were also assistant choreographers on the hit TV show ‘ So You Think You Can Dance’ choreographing the Mambo in Season 2 and choreographers for Disney’s popular TV show ‘Austin and Alley.’ They were also featured dancers on Disney’s ‘Shake it Up’, The Kris Jenner Show and ABC’s ‘Make it or Break it.’
Kathy and Francisco
Kathy Reyes and Francisco Junior have been taking the Latin dance community by storm. Kathy is the co-director of Divachata, an all ladies group in Los Angeles and director of Bachata Pasion in San Diego. She has won two bachata competitions in Los Angeles and has also placed as a Top Finalist at the World Latin Dance Cup. Kathy also choreographed music video “Me Gusta” by Famous Venezuelan Artist El Potro Alvarez ft Oscarsito and worked as a backup dancer for Prince Royce, Sensato, Freddy Munoz, Sami Cultura, and JannyMarko.
Francisco Junior is the co-director of Grizzly Dance Company. He is trained in different dance styles, has also won several team competition, placed third at the on1 division at the World Latin Dance cup and top finalist for the Bachata Cabaret division.
Edwin is one of the most influential salsa dancers, choreographers, instructors and musicians of our generation. With a career spanning almost two decades he brings his Puerto Rican swag, with an innovative and creative style to the dance floor, the stage and to our ears. He has worked mainstream films with his idols Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony in this film “El Cantante” as the only solo dancer for the feature film. Edwin has also worked with celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Ben Stiller Jennifer Anniston, Rob Schneider just to name a few. Edwin Rivera the Musician & Music Producer. In 2009 Edwin launch his first album Soul of a Dancer in Japan, the country that gave him his first big break as a dancer. In March 2013, he launched his sophomore album MIME ~ Music Is My Everything with Latin sounds infused with today’s dance music of House, Hip Hop, Dubstep and R&B.
Rey Collazo was raised by a military family throughout Puerto Rico, North Carolina, and Florida. While transitioning between classes during his senior year in high school, a friend recommended him to join the school salsa group which would turn out to change the course of his life forever. The first song he ever learned was “La Palomilla” by Joe Cuba. Although he didn’t always understand the lyrics he felt an undeniable connection to the various rhythms. It motivated him to seek more knowledge about the music as well as the dance.
Rey’s dance career started purely recreational, but he very quickly developed a strong passion for dance that motivated him to approach it more seriously. For the last two years Rey has danced for the semi professional and professional dance teams under direction of Sonia Rivera of Diamond Dancers International. He currently is the director and choreographer for the “White Diamonds Bachata Team”, as well as the director and choreographer for the “Diamond Dancers Student Bachata Team.” He has performed at numerous events both nationally and internationally.
Ben “Iceman” Lopez and Cynthia Kessler
Ben “Iceman” Lopez & Cynthia Kessler
From Orlando, Florida. Ben (Iceman) and Cynthia have danced together for five years and are part of the UA Latin Dance Team. Together they have performed at major salsa events in Canada, Berlin, Athens, Munich, Manila and more. Recently they won third place in the Rising Star Cabaret division at the World Salsa Summit. This couple is quickly becoming recognized for their dazzling lifts and high risk acrobatics.
Sean and Gabrielle
Sean Steele is the Co Owner of Tumbao Dance Studio in Jacksonville, Florida. He was born in Jamaica and has loved dancing all his life. He has taught Rueda de Casino (Miami Style) along with Salsa and Bachata but has a love for many styles of dance as he has received training in West Coast Swing, Argentine Tango, New York Style Salsa (On 2), and Club Cha-Cha-Cha.
Widely regarded as one of the best leads in Florida, Sean believes that dancing skill should be built on a strong foundation of fundamentals and that dancing should flow, be effortless and enjoyable through your connection with your partner and music. His dance motto “dance from within” embodies his passion for dancing, teaching and music.
Gabrielle Lynch was born in Florence, South Carolina, began dancing ballet, tap and jazz at the age of 3 and then at 15. On a whim, she began taking salsa classes with Eddie Torres and later began teaching and performing with Karisma Dance Company. She assisted with partner work classes and taught ladies styling. After two years with Karisma, she moved on to training and performing with Yamulee’s professional team in the Bronx. She traveled, performed and taught workshops with Yamulee internationally and domestically at various salsa congresses. After nearly 10 years of living in New York, she decided to relocate to Jacksonville, FL to be closer to her family.
Bookoo Rueda is a Cuban dance group, a growing community, and a non-profit project founded in June 2014 to promote Cuban dance in New Orleans and support the continued growth of the larger social dance scene in the Crescent City.
Kevin Braxton studied dance at Cervantes Escuela de Los Artes in New
Orleans. He has studied dance from Brazil, Honduras, and Cuba, performed with several regional dance companies and is known as an instructor for his unassuming approach. Chaille Mount has been involved with Cuban dance, the music, the culture and part of developing dance communities in other cities for the past 12years.
John Morey Salseroblanko
Liz and Justin
Originally from New York City, born to Puerto Rican and Dominican parents, Liz’s upbringing had major elements of Latin music and its culture. Justin is also from the northeast, having been raised in New Jersey, and is of Cuban and Dominican descent. Together, they are the Directors of Bachata and Salsa teams throughout Florida – Orlando & Tampa – chapters of the world-renowned dance company Island Touch Dance Academy.
Liz gained firsthand exposure to the Latin dance world when she moved to Tampa, FL in 2007. After training for almost 2 years in the Cuban “Casino” Salsa style with Salsamania, she wanted to expand her dance horizons. In 2009, she began taking Salsa classes at Island Touch Dance Academy. There, her love for On2/Mambo and Bachata was born. Liz had the privilege of spending the next few years studying directly under the tutelage of Bachata power couple Jorge “Ataca” Burgos and Tanja “La Alemana” Kensinger. She was a dancer on many of their Salsa and Bachata teams, as well as the studio’s manager. Her national & international performances with Island Touch — along with Jayson Molina’s Rompecabeza Miami and Es El Amor from Orlando — include congresses and festivals in the Dominican Republic, New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and throughout her new home state of Florida.
Justin was drawn to the dance community while in college at the University of Central Florida. He was an active member of UCF’s Latin dance club Pulso Caribe, later becoming the main instructor, even after graduating. In 2011, he joined his first Bachata dance team with Orlando’s largest dance studio, Salsa Heat. There, he continued to train and perform for four seasons after. Justin began training with Liz and became Co-Director of Island Touch teams in Miami, Orlando, and Tampa in 2013. They have performed together at events throughout the U.S. and in the Dominican Republic.
Liz & Justin are the Directors of FIVE Island Touch Bachata & Salsa teams throughout Florida: Ladies Touch shine/styling teams and Salsa teams in both Orlando and Tampa, as well as the Tampa Touch co-ed Bachata team. They are motivated and fueled by the joy it brings them to see the determination, growth, and accomplishment in their dancers season after season.
Jonathan ‘MamaszBoy’ Troncoso has traveled all over the world teaching and performing. Now directing his own teams, Agapé and Rebelle, he strives to bring diversity into the Latin Dance Scene with his background in Ballet and Hip-Hop.
Davidson St Fort
Davidson St Fort aka DSuave is originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti where he grew up with Kizomba, Zouk, Kompa, Salsa, and Bachata music. He started developing the love of dancing salsa in Kansas City in 2007. Davidson is returning to his temporary home when he comes to Tallahassee. He graduated from one of our universities. When he is in Orlando, he performs Bachata with Latin Intensity Dance Company. When he is in Miami, he performs Bachata with Miami Touch as part of Island Touch Dance Academy. He worked as an instructor teaching Salsa and Bachata at Salsa Art. He is currently a dance choreographer and Director with Dance Kompa Company. He also performs and teaches Kizomba with Kizomba Fever throughout the country at Miami Salsa Congress, Orlando Salsa Congress, The Unity of Dance Festival, Kizomba Pittsburgh, Poinciana Dances Salsa and etc. He is very humble with people and life but yet fierce on the dance floor with Kizomba, Kompa, and Bachata. Davidson will be our kizomba expert at Tallahassee latin dance festival.
Azúcar Dance Company
Established in the year 2000, ¡Azúcar! Dance Company is a non-profit student organization from Florida State University (FSU) which teaches the Cuban dance of casino to the Tallahassee community. ¡Azúcar!, whose literal meaning in English is “sugar,” offers free lessons every semester and encourages students to not only advance as dancers, but to integrate as part of the ¡Azúcar! Team. The team is active in the Tallahassee community through the hosting of casino lessons, performing, and participating in community service endeavors, which are all open and available to the public regardless of age, race, sex, religion, student status or school affiliation.
Established in 2001 by four passionate Salsa Dancers, Corazon Dancers goal is to provide the Tallahassee community with the knowledge of Los Angeles (LA) Style Salsa. The Corazón Dancers is a Non-Profit Latin dance student organization from Florida State University where they spread their passion for salsa and teach others to dance con el Corazón.
Tallahassee Salsa Dancers
Tallahassee Salsa Dancers, founded in 2012, was developed as a community based latin dance team that focuses on sharing the love of latin dance with the Big Bend Area. Previously, the latin dance scene was built by student run teams. TSD was created to keep the scene active in Tallahassee year round. This includes group or private lessons, dance workshops, latin dance social events, and performances. TSD is comprised of 3 active dance teams Mambo Team, Bachata Ladies Styling Team, and Mambo Ladies Styling team. Only existing for32 years, performances include Atlanta Bachata Fest, Unity Dance, Jacksonville Salsa Jam, Tallahassee Latin Dance Festival, Paradise Dance Festival, Texas Salsa Congress and many more.
Karel Perez, a professional dancer and instructor of Afro-Cuban dancing, was born in Havana, Cuba. He instructs dances such as Rumba (Guanguanco), Palo, and Yoruba dancing. He currently lives in Tampa, Florida. He has worked with many different groups that have African roots as a common factor, such as: African’s Roots, an Israeli group that embraces dancing from West –Africa , Coco Loco, an Afro-Brazilian group that dances Maculele Tofaa, a group from Israel that embraces traditional Afro-Cuban Folklore dancing.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Christian performed with hip-hop and folkloric groups throughout the island. In 2006, Christian launched his distinct style of Bachata, “Sensual Bachata”. The style focuses on connection and blends traditional techniques while drawing on influences from Tango, Waltz, Bolero and Rumba. In 2009, Christian founded Sensual Bachata out of Orlando Florida. This group has performed domestically and internationally. Christian has been featured as a headlining instructor and performer at various events throughout the U.S., and abroad, and is recognized as one of Florida’s top dance instructors specializing in the Bachata genre. Christian teaches and performs with his dance company Sensual Bachata, headlines as a DJ, host and personality at major venues throughout the U.S., and producing entertainment events through his events and promotions label Bahari. He spearheads two major events in Florida, Unity of Dance and Paradise Dance Festival.
Agustina & Jose
Jose and Agustina are lead instructors at Ritmo y Sabor in Gainesville, Florida. They have worked together for years developing choreographies for Salsa Student Team, Salsa Semi Pro Team, Salsa Ladies Styling Team, and Bachata Team in Gainesville. Agustina’s background is extensive and she is known for teaching ladies styling with all latin dances.
Sonia Rivera has been dancing for fourteen years and has been performing for twelve of those, also serving as a salsa instructor. She is a certified professional teacher, obtaining her degree from Mr. Stacey Lopez and the Department of Recreation and Sports of Puerto Rico and the virtual degree from clave son salsa.com. She has served as a coach and choreographer for various dance companies such as Unified Dancers of NYC, En Fuego (Tampa), Raices (Tampa), Teens Salsa Puerto Rico, and Son y Salsa Company from Panama. In addition, she trains her own dance company teams (Diamond Dancers International, both in Puerto Rico and Tampa) called Black, Pink, Gold, Platinum, Red, Green, White, and Yellow Diamonds. She participated in the movie Havana Nights and in the movie El Cantante. She has danced on stage with the following bands Michael Stuart, Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz, Oscar de Leon, India, Domingo Quinonez, Tito Nieves, N-Klabe, NG2, Luisito Carrion, Cheo Feliciano, Adalberto Santiago, Bobby Valentine, Luigi Texidor, Vitin Ruiz and Sonora Ponceña among others.
The partnership of Allen Germaine and Niya Patel (Proyecto Barrio) began in 2007, when the pair met while attending the same university in Atlanta, Ga. Together they share a combined dance background that includes mambo, hip hop, ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, west African, contemporary, as well as having been trained under the tutelage of world renowned choreographer/instructors Gordon Neil, and dance pioneer Joby Brava. In 2008 Proyecto Barrio began to showcase their choreography in Atlanta. As a result of their unique dance background and continuous training, the duo has been able to specialize in fusing mambo with other genres of dance, which has enabled them to develop their own style, resembling none other. They are also the Directors of Flava Invasion.
Jorge Alberto and his partner Christina Farrell are the dynamic leaders of Ritmo Urbano in Tampa, Florida. Jorge has loved to dance all of his life and has pursued his career within the salsa and bachata scene in West Florida. He has been instructing students around the country and is known for his fun and instructive personality in the classroom. He was also part of one of the top salsa and bachata dance companies in the world, Island Touch Dance Academy. While having strong leading abilities, Jorge is also well- versed in following and ladies styling. While having a passion for salsa, Jorge also developed a strong passion for bachata. He is currently the Bachata and salsa Director at Flava Fitness Studio in Tampa, Florida and is director of Ritmo Urbano. He strives to share his love for salsa and bachata with all dancers around the world.
Fuego Y Hielo
Fuquan Ferrell and Candace Joyner (The directors and founders of Fuego Y Hielo): Fuquan and Candace had their first dance at the Atlanta Bachata Festival of 2012. Candace’s previous experience in gymnastics and Fuquan’s previous dance background in martial arts experience produced a wildly different style of Bachata. They are partners in Proyecto Barrio Dance Company’s pro team. They’ve both danced and performed with Bacahtamante Dance Company as well. Fuquan and Candace have a passion for all three major latin dances (Salsa, Bachata and Cha Cha) equally, and through their time have developed a unique style they call Playful dancing.
Amy Figueiras Dominguez
In 2005, Amy was introduced to the Salsa scene. Raised in a Cuban, Amy’s connection with salsa/mambo was instant. Amy’s experience in dance genres are wide including jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop, modern, and african dance. Amy was the youngest dancer of DC ShowBiz, an inner city dance company and was trained by masters of dance genres, which include, Napolean Dumo, Brian Freeman, Fatima, Rhapsody, Toni Lombre, Debbie Allen, George Faison, and various Alvin Ailey dancers. Amy also worked on BET’S Teen Summit and danced for artist such as B2K, Lil BowWow, Mary Mary, Terror Squad, Charlie Baltimore, Genuine, Wu Tang, Lil Wayne, Ja Rule, DMX, and Black Eyed Peas. In 2009 Amy relocated to Orlando Florida and began studying Mambo at Universal Mambo dance Academy. In 2013, Amy transitioned to a solo artist and founded her Ladies Styling dance team Es El Amor.
DJ Jorge Charun
DJ Jorge Charun, known by South Florida salseros as el Negro Chulo, is spinning music that has rocked the halls of the most famous concert arenas and salsa venues from the 1960s until today. His signature sound selections of classic salsa and salsa dura, emphasizing strong percussion and horns over vocals, ignite the dancers’ souls across South Florida enticing them to jump out of their seats and move to the beats until the sun comes up. DJ Charun uniquely and boldly selects songs that deliver hard musical punches clamoring for attention from the musical novice to the musically-attuned.
The Peruvian born DJ’s love for salsa begun as a child while playing classic salsa and salsa dura at all of his family gatherings in Lima. Driving rhythms from the greats like La Sonora Ponceña, Cheo Feliciano, Tito Puente, El Conde Rodriguez, Joe Cuba and many other salsa legends became his day-to-day and fed what is now a compelling passion for the finest salsa. From the perspective of a veteran salsa dancer, he effortlessly interprets the crowd and plays what hardcore salseros crave to dance.
El Negro Chulo’s initiation into the Miami salsa scene in the mid 2000s led him to explore, meet, promote, manage and create exquisite events throughout South Florida. His inception to DJing took place in a cozy and memorable North Miami venue called Le Café Bistro in 2009. Since then, his skills at the turn-tables, explosive music repertoire and contagious energy have led to his residency at exclusive South Florida venues like Bongos’s Cuban Café, Rumbass Nightclub, and the Clevelander Hotel. DJ Charun has played at numerous local and nationwide salsa clubs, private events and socials. He has graced the airwaves at Miami’s most established Latin radio station, El Zol 95 FM, and has entertained multitudes at salsa festivals and congresses, such as: las Fiestas Patronales de Puerto Rico in 2010, the Atlanta Bachata Festival, the Baltimore Salsa Festival, and the renowned Miami Salsa Congress from 2010 to 2012, among others. He has had the immense pleasure and opportunity to share the stage with salsa legends such as Ismael Miranda, la Orquesta Guayacan and La Charanga Habanera, DJ greats Henry Knowles, Melao, and Franklin Ayala, and has kept world-acclaimed performers like Frankie Martinez, Juan Matos, and Felipe Polanco hyped on his dance floor for hours on end.
DJ Charun’s distinct style at the turntable is fluid and dynamic, and his deep knowledge of salsa music and history, together with his extensive music library create an electric atmosphere that entices dancers to the dance floor song after song. His rapid success, professionalism, and love for his craft have made him one of Miami’s most respected salsa DJs.
DJ Jorge Charun’s mission is to promote and expose the finest and the best of Salsa music around the world by mixing the most exclusive and rarest tracks of classic salsa, salsa dura, NY salsa, Timba, Cha Cha Cha and Mambo. His ever-expanding repertoire continues to deliver this, as well as, the best and latest hits of romantic salsa, bachata, merengue, reggaeton, cubaton and everything Latin that will bring dancers to their feet.
Merlyn Diaz, AKA DJ STYLE, is a Puertorican native but started in the business in the Bronx N.Y. He brings Salsa Roots along with the urbanization of the genre. He is well known as the DJ for one of the longest latin nights in Tallahassee, Sin Fin at LaFiesta. He also DJs at Mid Town Filling Station and Los Amigos. He is a returning DJ for Tallahassee Latin Dance Festival.
He dedicates his sets to the dancers and music lovers because they are the most critical. He is a musician and well versed in percussion and piano. Music is his life. Feel The Music!
DJ Jose Suavebeats
Jose Manuel Malave, also known as DJ Suavebeats was born and raised in the beautiful highlands of Cayey, Puerto Rico. Here he began discovering his passion and eagerness towards the culture filled rhythms of the Bomba and Plena dances of his native island. From an early age, his breeding in Salsa music was heavily influenced by the exposure of its roots within family gatherings and his own inclination to the beats of the Barriles. What started as a cultural hobby, evolved into a love and passion for music.
The influence and love for his culture grew even heavier after joining the military in 2004 as a Aviation Mechanic. Leaving home and living far away in San Diego California, home sickness definitely began to evolve his inner suave. One fateful night at Club Caribe, Turntables came to play and ever since then DJing started to become a big passion. Jose participated and DJed in Hispanic events in the Military supporting and representing his culture during his year in the NAVY. Finally, Jose Malave got a chance to move closer to home and that home became Jacksonville FL. There Jose as a hobby decided to try out dance at Universal Ballroom were his first Instructor introduced him to Salsa, Bachata, Cha cha cha, and merengue dancing. (which of coarse being from Cayey PR and thinking the he knew what he was doing.. simply blew his mind). Dancing became a hobby then an Addiction, during the time Jose Suavebeats Malave tagged along with a DJ in Jax and got heavily involved in the Jacksonville Dance Scene. During those gigs Jose finally met the Dance Salsa Jax staff. Jose did his first official Social with DSJ LATIN ADDICTIONS and from that time forward many opportunities presented themselves. Now residing in Orlando Jose is heavily involved with many productions such as BAHHARI, Latin Intensity, Latin Rhythms, Island Touch Orlando, Salsa Caliente Tampa, Spot2B and many more to come. Jose Suavebeats Malave loves Djing his music to the masses and creating those moments that people will remember and appreciate for the rest of there life. His goal will always be to spread the love of Latin music and dancing wherever he goes for all to enjoy.