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2021 Instructors

 

Aotearoa Cuban Festival is proud to present the following instructors. These talented people will take you on the journey that is Cuban dance.  Prepare to have lots and lots of fun!

Hola ACF familia,
 
We’re sorry to let you know that with the alert level changes,  ACF 2021 Festival-ito has been cancelled
 
We’re just as disappointed as you and will be offering full refunds for all ticket holders.
We’ll get this sorted for you through Eventfinda.
 
Take care out there and we look forward to seeing you on the social dancefloor in level 1
The New Zealand Cuban Festival Trust 01/03/2021
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Greydis Montero Lirazna

Festival Creative Director

Originating from Havana Cuba, Greydis is an award winning and highly accredited dancer with over 20 years experience in the dance world. She has performed and taught throughout the world sharing the hot, sexy and sublime rhythms of Cuba and the Caribbean.

 

 

Her national and International experience along with 6 years training at the prestigious and highly competitive Cuban National School of Art ‘ENA’ has allowed her to bring an unparalleled wealth of knowledge, technique, skills and passion to dancers and audiences.

 

 

She settled in New Zealand in 2002 after her worldwide tour as Choreographer and Principal Dancer of the hit international show Lady Salsa. She is currently the only professional Cuban Female Dancer, Choreographer and Tutor in New Zealand. 

 

 

Greydis is not only a world class exponent of Cuban dance, but a whole range of exhilarating, feel good dances styles and fitness. She is currently the Creative Artistic Director of The New Zealand Cuban Dance Festival.

 

Whether you join one of her dance lessons or witness a performance, you will be captivated by her magical presence on the stage and her fun loving approach to teaching.

 

Her explosive energy combined with her strong cultural background makes Greydis a hypnotic entertainer and an asset to the dance community.

 

 

“Dancing for her is a blessing, a passion and something to be shared”

Find out more about what she is up to at

Greydis Dance

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Vivio Ramos

Cuban dancer, teacher and choreographer, Vivio Ramos has been sharing his love of Cuban dance with New Zealand for the past 18 years through The Cuban Groove.

 

Cuban Salsa teachers around the country have adopted his distinctive styles of Salsa and Rueda de Casino, while his legendary Follow Me routines include Cubaton, Afro Cuban, Chacha, Son, Mambo and Bachata, bringing excitement to countless parties and festivals.

Vivio’s philosophy is 'Bailar es vida, la vida es una danza' - 'Dance is life, life is dance'. His own life of dance began, aged 11, at the prestigious National School of Dance in Habana, leading to a 20-year professional dance career with Ballet de Camaguey; then, as a principal dancer for Danza Contemporania de Cuba, performing in 100s of shows around the world. He was principal dancer and choreographer with Lady Salsa when he arrived in New Zealand in 2002 and stayed.

Since then, Vivio has taught 1000s of students, toured his show The Cuban Carrusel, participated in festivals – including WOMAD, Aotearoa Cuban Festival and the New Zealand Salsa Congress, judged national salsa competitions, and has appeared on television and film.

Find out more about what he is up to at

The Cuban Groove

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Diego Troncoso

Originally from Chile - Diego is a popular face on the New Zealand Salsa scene. His focus is on Cuban salsa and specifically Rueda de Casino (Miami style)

In Santiago, he was a member of the performing group and an instructor at A Lo Cubano y Social, Santiago de Chile. He spent time in Cuba in 2017 honing his Cuban style .

With his exceptional teaching style and his attention to technical detail, Diego has quickly developed a following on the Auckland Rueda circuit.

Diego runs his own Rueda Group “Bailando Rueda”, from a studio based in South Auckland. The group is welcoming and laughs almost as much as they dance.

As the group has grown they have come together for impromptu performances of "Rueda Cantada" - a style of rueda when the steps are called out on the stage.

 

You may have seen their exceptional performance at the Bay Salsa Festival in 2019 and  Aoteroa Cuban Festival in 2020.

Find out more about what he is up to at

Bailando Rueda

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Sara and Jorge

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, this couple with more than 12 years of experience in the Salsa Casino world began their apprenticeship being part of several salsa academies such as Escuela de Formacion de Choco y Ana, Yakera, Sabor & N’klave, and Fusion Caribe.

 

Through their years of formation, they had the opportunity to participate in national salsa-casino contests, and also deliver stage performances for different cultural events.

In order to keep themselves closer to their Caribbean culture and home country activities, they decided to open Latin Roots Hawkes Bay. Along with the main course – Rueda de Casino with a touch of spicy Venezuelan flavour – in their classes. Jorge and Sara teach different rhythms such as Bachata, Cha-Cha, and Venezuelan drums.

 

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

 

Find out more about what they are up to at 

Latin Roots Hawkes Bay

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Liza Kohunui

Liza Kohunui is of Ngai Tuhoe me Te Arawa oku iwi.  Liza began dancing at the age of 12, she has performed and trained in Hip Hop, American Jazz, Hula and Latin dance. Liza’s passion for Cuban Salsa began 12 years ago, since then, she established Rotorua’s first Latin Dance Fitness  (Salsacise).

 

In 2009, she Introduced the Worlds growing fitness craze ‘Zumba’ to Rotorua, plus travelled to Cuba to further her knowledge in Salsa.  By 2010, Liza’s company Dance 2 Inspire Ltd was created to inspire people through the movement of dance.  Since then she has been teaching Cuban Salsa in Rotorua.

 

 "Salsa dancing enables me to enjoy the freedom to express my femininity and sensuality, the bonus is that I get to meet and dance with all kinds of people. The complimentary part of Salsa is that I get to maintain my fitness and health." says Liza

 

 "I am truly living my DREAM!"

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Rafael Ferrer

Born in Cuba on the eve of Carnival, Rafael has dancing in his blood. From winning 'best male performer' at his first international dance festival aged only 10.  He went on to compete and perform in many festivals, including the renowned Festival de Caribe in Santiago de Cuba. Specialising in Afro-Cuban and Afro-Haitian dance, he worked as a professional dancer and choreographer in Havana, and has performed all over Cuba, including at the Teatro Nacional de Habana.  

  

Rafael has been based in Wellington, NZ since 2005. Under the CubanFusion banner, he teaches Cuban-style Salsa, Afro-Cuban contemporary dance and percussion. His high-energy, fun style inspires many non-dancers to attend classes and further inspires some of his students to become performers, either at local community events or as part of Cuban comparsas at Jambalaya and the Cuba Street Carnival. Highlights are his choreography of LatinBeat's winning entries in 2007 and 2009 in the Cuba Street Carnival's Illuminated Street Parade.

Find out more about what he is up to at

Cuban Fusion

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Pablo Salas

All the way from Santiago, Chile, Pablo has been settled in the sunny city of Nelson for the past 3 years. He is the director of NelsonSon Dance & Entertainment, where he shares his passion and knowledge for Afro-Latin and Caribbean dance styles with the community.


He began his journey in dancing at a very young age (15yo), starting with Rock & roll, passing through Lambada, Cumbia, Merengue and Axé, then Bachata, Reggaeton and Salsa LA for a short time. Until he discovered his true love and passion: Cuban and African rhythms.


He never thought of becoming an instructor, but in 2003 he found himself helping in classes much more than expected. Then during 2005, he got introduced to ‘Rueda de Casino’ thanks to the dance group ‘Latido en Clave’ from University of Chile. In 2014, the opportunity of ‘flying solo’ presented itself whiles backpacking in NZ; What a better way to practice your (broken) English, than teaching dance in exchange for accommodation?!. That is how he dragged himself into the world of Latin Dance classes and events. After teaching, Cuban Salsa, in Paihia and Queenstown during his 1st visit to NZ, he moved to Melbourne, where he develop his dance skills and competency much more. He had the great opportunity to be part of several performance teams (Rakata, Acontra Casineros, Afro Latin Tribe, Alex de Cuba) in various famous local festivals (Portsea Festival, Melbourne Latin Festival, Havana to Melbourne). In his last year in Australia, he had the great honor of learning Son and Casino from ‘maestros’ Eric and Chantal from Buena Vista Turro Martinez.


After gathering all that experience and expertise, Pablo moved back to New Zealand with his (kiwi) wife, and dance partner, Nikki. Since then, every trip around the South Island has been a great opportunity to connect with the local dance community, resulting in very good relationships with dance schools in Invercargill, Dunedin, Blenheim and Christchurch, where he has had the chance to promote Cuban culture through workshops and classes. Currently he is teaching AfroLatin Fit, Casino, Kizomba and Afrobeats at his dance school in Nelson, together with demonstrations or showcases in festivals and events.

 

One of his main goals is broadcasting about how vital is to learn about the music and dance from Cuba and Africa. “We have to go back to the roots! As simple as that.”

Find out more about what he is up to at

NelsonSon

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Javiera Pavez

Javiera is originally from Puerto Montt, in the south of Chile. Discovering her love of dance at a young age, she was part of Traditional Latin American Dance groups in her childhood.

It wasn’t until 2005 when, looking for something fun to do with her friends, she started learning Salsa and fell in love with Cuban Salsa and Rueda de Casino. From there she never stopped learning! She attended Salsa and Bachata congresses in Chile and also started teaching Cuban Salsa and organising dance events in her hometown.

From 2010 until 2014 she was one of the owners of Puerto Montt Salsa, the first Salsa school in the city with more than 250 students, where she taught Cuban Salsa, Bachata, Salsa LA style and Ladies styling. Rueda was always one of the most popular styles due to its fun, happy and dynamic nature.

In October 2014 she arrived in Auckland and in January 2015 discovered Viva Dance where she was taken on to teach, bringing her special brand of contagious fun to all her classes.

For the past 5 years she has been teaching Cuban Salsa, Bachata and Zumba at VIVA Dance Studios and has choreographed and led Cuban Salsa and Bachata teams

 

Find out more about what she is up to at

Viva Dance

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Kate Maguire

Director of Salsa ¡Agua!, Kate has been dancing Latin dance for more than 25 years and dancing Salsa for more than 15 years. She has been teaching Cuban dance and Salsa since 2008. 

 

A trip to Cuban in 2009 saw her training in Havana with Isaias Rojas Ramirez director of Ban Rarra dance company.  She was a senior instructor and performer with the Cuban Groove in Auckland, working with New Zealand’s premier Cuban professional dancers Greydis Montero Liranza and Isbert (Vivio) Ramos for several years before her relocation to Tauranga in 2013.

A return trip to Cuban in 2017 lead to further opportunities to train in Havana with Isaias Rojas Ramirez director of
Ban Rarra dance company and Santiago All-Stars.

Kate is a trustee of the NZ Cuban Festival Trust which runs the Annual National Cuban Festival, and is also part of the organising committee for the Bay Salsa Festival.

 

She teachers a range of Cuban dancers (Salsa, Rueda de Casino, Son, Rumba, Chachacha, Cubaton and some Afro Cuban dances), Bachata and Merengue.

Her patient, fun, energetic teaching style is contagious and she will have you dancing and having a great time before you know it. Kate is captivated with the fun, authenticity and depth of Cuban dance and she wants you to discover the joy of Cuban dance too.

Find out more about what she is up to at

Salsa ¡Agua!

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