Yeni Molinet is not only a professional and highly experienced dancer, but also a competent instructor with excellent teaching methodology. She began her artistic career when she was 5 years old by taking children dance courses at the "Casa de la Cultura" of Placetas, Villa Clara, Cuba. In 1999 she successfully passed the aptitude test for the "Escuela Profesional de Arte Samuel Feijoo" of Santa Clara - the only professional school of folk dances in Cuba. In 2002 she completed her studies obtaining the title of "professional dancer and teacher of folk dances" with the maximum evaluation.
In following years, Yeni continued her dance specialization under master instructors such as Domingo Pau, Rogelio Martinez Fure (the founders and choreographers of the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional), Santiago Alfonso (teacher, choreographer and former director of the Cabaret Tropicana de La Habana), Manolo Micler (director and choreographer in the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional), Zenaida Almentero, Leonardo Martinez and Sergio Larrinaga. In 2004, following her professional career in the Conjunto Folklorico, Yeni also became the selector judge in the "Escuela Nacional de Variedades".
In 2007 she moved to Udine, Italy. She currently participates in the most important international conferences and festivals; she is recognized for her artistic and professional talent, charisma, grace and elegance that stipulate her as one of the best dancers and teachers in the panorama of contemporary Cuban culture.
Roberto Borrell learned traditional and popular Afro-Cuban dance, percussion, and song from master musicians and dancers while growing up in la Havana Vieja, Havana, Cuba. He is a respected dancer and percussionist of Afro-Cuban Yoruba, Abakua (Calabar), Rumba, Arará (Dahony), and Palo (Congo). He is also a master dancer and teacher of Cuban popular dance styles such as son montuno, danzón, and cha cha cha. Mr. Borrell led the Afro-Cuban folkloric group Kubata in Cuba for 10 years before coming to the United States in 1980, where he founded a new company under the same name. Kubata, then based in New York City, performed Roberto’s productions for 10 years in many major East Coast venues, such as the Smithsonian, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall.
Borrell danced in the front line of the Folklorico Nacional de Cuba for several years and, in major United States venues, has performed and recorded both as a dancer and percussionist, with legends such as Tito Puente, the Machete Ensemble, Chocolate Armenteros, “Cachao” Lopez, and Richard Egües. Mr. Borrell was the co-founder, percussionist and musical co-director of the 11-member Orquesta la Moderna Tradición, one of the only ensembles in the United States that is dedicated to the performance of classic Cuban dance music: son, guaracha, cha cha cha, and especially the lilting grooves of the danzón.
Susana Arenas Pedroso
Susana Arenas Pedroso is an internationally recognized Cuban Folkloric and popular dancer. Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, Ms Pedroso began her career in dance at age twelve, studying at La Casa de Cultura de Matanzas and at Cojunto Folklorico Nacional in Havana. She danced professionally for seventeen years in Cuba with popular, folkloric and theatrical performing groups, including Tierra Virgen, Alafia Ire, Oche Olorun, Oriki, Clave y Guaguancó, Oba Wemilere, Rumberos de Cuba, and Raíces Profundas. Since her arrival in the United States in 1998, Ms Pedroso has performed and choreographed numerous pieces that have been exhibited throughout the United States, Mexico, Cuba and Hong Kong with companies such as Omo Ache, Omo Oddara, Ban Rarra, Ire Ile, Alayo Dance Company, Las Que Son Son and Obini Ashe.
In 1999 Ms Pedroso founded her own dance companies, Saudunga Cubana, which specialized in Cuban Popular dance, and Olorun, which specialized in Cuban Folkloric dance. In 2004 Ms Pedroso decided to join the two troupes, establishing Arenas Dance Company, a company that has expertise in both folkloric and popular Cuban traditions. Arenas Dance Company has experienced much success under Ms Pedroso’s direction and has performed at venues such as Dance Mission Theater, ODC, Palace of Fine Arts, Chico State, Yerba Buena, Herbst Theater, Stanford University, San Jose Jazz Festival, Laney Theater, The Great American Music Hall and La Peña Cultural Center, to name just a few. In 2005, Arenas Dance Company produced the evening length show, Yo Soy Cuba (I am Cuba) in San Francisco. This performance was enthusiastically received and sold-out all four performances.
Passionate about reaching a new generation of interested Cuban Folkloric and popular dancers, Susana Arenas Pedroso continues to travel the world teaching and performing.
Duane Wrenn was born to dance. Learning salsa at 26 years young, Duane quickly excelled to be considered one of the top dancers and instructors of Afro-Cuban Salsa in the Midwest. His dance background ranges from Cuban Rumba, Son, Capoeira to break dancing and hip hop.
He is a fitness consultant and instructor of dancing to Cuban rhythms. Duane founded the company Energetic Soul in 2000 and since then has developed three programs that focus on the art of dancing as a conversation. He has also co-developed two other unique programs - AFRO-tImBa with Kati Hernandez and SoulChiSa with Dr. Jeya Aerenson. Each of the five programs are designed to teach general and specialized audiences salsa dancing and how to utilize what they are learning as a vehicle to add spice to their daily life on and off of the dance floor.
Born in New Orleans, Duane currently resides in the Detroit, Michigan, where he hosts workshops and teaches group classes. His hobbies are writing, foot massage and looking for top destinations to listen and dance to Cuban music.
Royland Lobato is a professional dancer with an expertise in Afro-Cuban folkloric and Cuban popular dance. A graduate of the Escuela de Instructors de Arte de la Ciudad de La Habana (School of Arts Instructors in Havana) with a degree in Dance Education, Royland has participated as a principal instructor and performer in dance festivals all over the US, Cuba, and Mexico.
Originally from Guantanamo, Cuba, Royland is a founding member of the Havana-based dance company, 7 Potencias, an Afro-Cuban Folkloric dance and music ensemble that is considered one of the most creative and acclaimed Cuban folkloric ensembles both in Cuba and internationally.
Presently, Royland is proud to call the Bay Area his home as he teaches his Cuban heritage to students through his weekly classes, workshops and demonstrations. He is also one of the few instructors to incorporate live music into his teachings.
Kati Hernandez was born and raised in Cuba where she began her dance training at the age of nine. Kati received her masters in modern dance from the prestigious Artes school in Havana. She is trained in many different forms of Cuban, modern and International styles of dance with an exceptional knowledge of dance history and experience in choreographing many dance forms. Kati began her performance career in Havana while still attending the arts school, sharing the stage with master Cuban jazz musicians such as Bobby Carcases and Chucho Valdes. Kati performed with the legendary Afro-Cuban singer Mercedita Valdez. She was also privileged to dance with the renowned choreographer Santiago Alfonso from Tropicana and perform in the International Bienal of Habana with the visual artist Manuel Mendive. These early unique experiences revealed her intricate and versatile style.
Beginning her international career, Kati Hernandez was chosen as a representative of Cuban dance, touring Spain for six months with Manolito Sibonet y Su Trabuco. She also toured with Cuban productions in Portugal, the Bahamas, and Costa Rica.
Kati is currently dedicated to spreading the treasures of her Afro-Cuban roots in the US. She most recently performed with master percussionists Francisco Aguabella and Lazaro Galarraga. She also performed in an extraordinary unification of Cuban music and dance in Los Angeles at the Cuban Festival, "El Padre de la Patria," with the great musician Luis Eric Gonzalez. As a performer, choreographer, and teacher Kati is truly an illustrative vision of her heritage in an endless high-energy celebration of Cuban dance and music.
Denmis Bain Savigne
Denmis Bain Savigne was born in Santiago de Cuba. Denmis was taught at a young age that happiness comes from within and that the importance of life is to live it to the fullest. He embraced this concept and has spent his career showcasing his love of life through dance.
Denmis received the majority of his formal training in Cuba. He attended Regino Eladio Voti en Guantanamo, Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana and was a part of Conjuncto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba. He has expertise in Afro-cuban dance, folklore, ballet, jazz, modern dance, contemporary ballet, tap dance, hip hop, choreography and singing. Denmis has choreographed for such people as Kenny Ortega, Siegfried & Roy, Emilio Estefan, Manuel Mendive, Havana Nights Dance Company and the Latin Grammys. He has performed on "Don Francisco Presenta", "Cosa Nostra" and with groups as varied as Orichas, Calle 13, Los Van Van, Bamboleo, Pacho Alonso and Issac Delgado. Denmis is probably most known for his work with the Havana Nights Dance Company. He toured and performed in more than 16 countries and was a lead dancer in about 450 performances of "Havana Nightclub - The Show". The performances received rave reviews from critics and audiences all around the world.
Denmis has resided in the US since 2004 and he has continued to fulfill his original goal of performing and touching the hearts of dancers and hobbyists alike through his many classes and workshops. Denmis would be honored to bring Cuban dance into your life.
Nicholas Van Eyck and Serena Wong
For over 15 years, Nick was a martial arts and movement instructor. Partner dancing and salsa were a natural progression. For the past 15 years, Nick has been teaching Cuban style salsa, bringing to it his existing philosophies of connection, balance, and fluidity. He combines decades of Cuban tradition with modern movement concepts of space, timing, and flow.
Presently, he teaches club-style salsa, Rueda de Casino, cha cha cha, son, and several martial arts. Nick has trained and taught all over the U.S., including extended periods in Miami, New York, Texas and Hawaii. Most recently Nick returned from intensive study with Yanek Revilla in Santiago. He has taught at numerous salsa congresses, festivals and cruises and is the co-star of "The Quick And Dirty Guide To Salsa volume 4." Nick is the co-director of Salsa Vale Todo and the co-producer of the San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival.
Serena has been dancing professionally since 2000. She has been trained in many styles of dance including ballet, tap, jazz and samba. While in college, Serena discovered Cuban salsa and fell in love with the dance and music. Her new found love of Cuban salsa led her to seek out Cuban dance masters as she trained and travelled to New York, Brazil, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco. Serena recently returned from intensive study with Yanek Revilla of Santiago, Cuba. Currently she performs in local samba and salsa dance companies and teaches dance at the YMCA. Serena is the co-director of Salsa Vale Todo and the co-producer of the San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival.
Hansel Melgares was born in La Vibora "barrio" of Havana, Cuba. He is a master instructor, DJ and performer of traditional Cuban dances such as rumba, son, timba, casino and folkloric Afro Yoruba dances.
He as built his own dance academies in Sardinia, Italy, where he has taught for twelve years.
In 2009 he participated in Timbalaye, a biannual international festival in his hometown of Havana. There he taught alongside other master instructors like Domingo Pau, Ulises Mora and Irma Castillo.
In 2010 he performed at Sistina Theatre in Rome with Clave de Son Academy. He taught from 2005 to 2013 at the event "De Cuba para el mundo" in Sardinia. He is living between Italy and the U.S. seeking new challenges in order to share his knowledge and passion for Cuban culture.
Temistocles Fuentes Betancourt
Temistocles "Temi" Fuentes Betancourt, is the artistic director of Grupo Experimental Nago. He has over 35 years experience as a principal dancer, regisseur, professor and choreographer with the Ballet Folklorico de Oriente. This company is the oldest folkloric company in Cuba.
In Santiago de Cuba, he also served as regisseur for Ballet Folkloric Cutumba, director of Conjunto Folklorico Kazumbi, Professor of Salsa at Ateneo Cultural Antonio Bravo Correoso and Choreographer of the youth Carnaval group, “Los Chicos Alegres de Veguita de Galos”.
Since coming to the US, Temi has appeared in “Oyuoro” a folkloric performance in New York City, and choreographed and performed at the Cuba Caribe and Salsa Rueda Festivals in San Francisco. He currently teaches at Mission Cultural Center, the YMCA, SF Park and Recreation Department and the San Francisco Unified School District.
Ramon Ramos Alayo
Ramón Ramos Alayo is a Cuban-born dancer, teacher, choreographer and the founder and artistic director of the Alayo Dance Company and CubaCaribe. Ramos was selected by the Cuban government to study dance in Santiago de Cuba at age eleven. In 1990 he earned a masters degree in contemporary and folkloric dance and dance education from Havana’s National School of Art. He was the principal dancer with Danza del Caribe in Santiago and Narciso Medina Contemporary Dance Company in Havana and performed in Cuba, Europe, Canada, Belize and the US.
Since moving to California in 1997, he has performed with some of the most respected choreographers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Robert Henry Johnson, Kim Epifano, Sara Shelton Mann, and Joanna Haigood. Ramos currently dances with Robert Moses’ Kin. He teaches Cuban popular dance, Afro-Cuban modern dance and children’s movement at several local dance studios and schools. In 2001 Ramos founded Ire Ile, an all-woman Cuban popular dance group and in 2002 founded the Alayo Dance Company. As director and choreographer, his work is an innovative fusion of Afro-Cuban modern, folkloric and popular Cuban dance. In 2003 Ramos co-founded and became artistic director of CubaCaribe, with the mission to preserve and promote the vibrant artistic and cultural traditions of the Caribbean and its diaspora. CubaCaribe sponsors performances such as the annual CubaCaribe Festival of Dance and Music and educational outreach programs including Cuba Camp that support and uphold Cuban and Caribbean dance, music, visual art and culture in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Yeni Lucero was born in the small town of Chalchuapa. Coming to the Bay Area later in life, she began her training in West African dance at the age of 15 and soon pursued a more versatile training at San Francisco State University, in which she obtained a BA in Dance and Choreography. Yeni also had the opportunity to extend her training at the Alvin Ailey School during the summer of 2006. She has performed work by Diamanou Coura/West African Dance Company, Paco Gomes, Annie Rosenthal, Jacinta Vlach, Robert Moses'Kin and Ron K. Brown.
Yeni has taught at Lines Ballet/SFDC, Dance Mission, Sonoma State University, Juvenile Detention Center in the East Bay, High Schools in Oakland including Head Royce, Fremont, McClymond, Elementary School Berkeley Arts Magnet, SF Fitness and Bay Functional Fitness.
This is Yeni's 8th year teaching at Flying-Yoga & 7th year at Head Royce ASP teaching kindergarten, 1st - 5th and middle school Hip-Hop. In May of 2013, Lucero was invited to teach contemporary technique and choreography to local Dance professionals and Choreographers in Mozambique Africa, with the honor to have trained and put work on the National Dance Company. In addition Ms. Lucero is also a Teaching Artist Specialist for the Alameda County Office Of Education, and a proud full time dance teacher for OUSD at middle school Elmhurst Community Prep School. This is her 5th year there. Yeni embraces her talents and gifts and humbly gives thanks to all her master teachers, family and community.
AHMED & KATHERINE SELIM
Ahmed Selim has been teaching Ballroom and Latin dance since the age of 13. He was introduced to casino style salsa in 1997 and acquired a new found love for it. Over the past several years he has focused on establishing programs that promote dancing socially through a a combination of dance and fitness.
Katherine Selim brings a diverse style and expert training to her students in a wide variety of disciplines. Both Katherine and Ahmed are trained in all styles of Ballroom and Latin Dance in both American and International Styles.
Over the past 25 years, Ahmed and Katherine have taught, choreographed and performed throughout the US and abroad. Together they owned and operated the Starlight Ballroom Dance Studio in New York until 2011 when they relocated to Florida. They are currently in the planning stages of opening a studio to serve the central Florida area and are looking forward to promoting social dance and a healthy lifestyle while stressing the importance of enjoying what you do and of expressing your individuality.
Andros Alfonso Travieso
Andros Alfonso Travieso was born in Havana, Cuba. He graduated in performing and scenic arts of the Superior Institute of Art in Havana.
He also studied Cuban folk dances with master teachers like Alfredo Ofarrill, Barbara Balbuena, Maibelys Carrion Blanco and Orlando Alfonso Izquierdo. Andros was also instructed by some of the teachers of the "Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba," the company Band-rra-ra Guantánamo and Isa Danza Company .
Andros left Havana a decade ago to teach Cuban salsa and son in Mexico. He currently resides and teaches throughout France and is proud to be a part of the San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival.
Yismari Ramos Tellez
In 2009, Cuban dancer, teacher, and choreographer Yismari Ramos Tellez assumed the role of artist director of LQSS. As choreographer and principal dancer of LQSS, Ramos brings rigorous training, stellar professional experience, and inspired creative vision to the company. Her original choreography draws heavily on her Cuban roots, but also cites movement from other genres such as tango and flamenco.
Ramos is a graduate of the National School of Art in Havana with a degree in modern and Afro-Cuban folkloric dance. For six years, Ramos danced with the Tony Melendez Dance Company in Cuba and later for the Ballet de la Televisión Cubana in Havana. She regularly performed on television, in video, and in live shows for the top bands in Cuba. Ramos also performed son, mambo, cha-cha-cha and salsa with the renowned Lady Salsa, a group she toured with in Italy, Russia, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Ecuador, Canada and Panama.
Julian Mejia was born in Manizales, Colombia. His interest in Cuban music started at age 9 and since then, Cuban, classical and classic Rock have been his passion. Julian moved to Miami in 1995 after receiving his MA in Marketing Communication & Advertising in Boston. Soon after he started learning Casino with Ramani Nicola (Salsa-Casino Dance Studios) and Henry Herrera (Verdaderos Reyes de la Salsa Dance Studios).
During his time in Miami, Julian traveled to Cuba to learn more about the culture and music of the island.
In the Spring of 1999, Julian moved to Atlanta and founded SALSAtlanta - the first casino school and performance group in Georgia. Julian has been teaching and promoting Cuban music and dance in Atlanta ever since. In 2007 he was recognized during the 6th Annual International Salsa Congress in Miami by the school Salsa Lovers with the "Alex Award" for his contribution to the world of Latin Dance.
Julian works as a graphic designer during the day and is the director and producer of SALSAtlanta 10, the largest event dedicated to Cuban music and dance in the East Coast.
Chris Rogicki and Evelyn Ramirez
Christopher Rogicki was born in New Jersey and it was during college that he was first exposed to Cuban Salsa, Son, Rueda de Casino, nd Timba. He has studied at prominent Casino schools and with teachers throughout the US, Miami, Havana, Santiago, México, Spain, Germany, and Switzerland. Chris is the former director of MEZCLA, the Latino Performing Arts group at Brown University, where he taught and performed at various expos and televised events throughout New England. Upon returning to NYC, Chris implemented a progressive Casino and Rueda curriculum and founded Fuákata. Fuákata strives to showcase the beauty of Cuban Salsa, its evolution, and the diversity of styles it embodies. Co-directed by Evelyn Ramirez, the group is comprised of both a student and pro Casino and Rueda team, with notable performances including the San Francisco Rueda Festival, Latino Heritage month events at Columbia University and NYU, NBC4 in Providence, RI, and SALSAtlanta 10. Fuákata currently offers five progressive levels of classes in Rueda de Casino, Casino partner work, Son, and Salsa Suelta on a weekly basis in midtown Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Evelyn Ramirez was born to Cuban and Puerto Rican parents in New York City. Evelyn's love of dance grew through her study of Cuban Salsa. She has been dancing with Chris Rogicki since 2007, collaborating and choreographing with him on various dance projects including Fuákata. Evelyn is best known for her ability to lead and for fluidly mixing styles of salsa. She continues to teach Rueda de Casino, Cuban-style partnerwork, and Bachata throughout North America, most notably in New York City, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, California, Canada, and Puerto Rico. While Evelyn enjoys teaching and performing, her main passion lies in social dancing.
Yeniel ‘Chini’ Perez Domenech
Born in Matanzas, Cuba, Yeniel ‘Chini’ Perez Domenech has been a professional dancer for over 25 years. He graduated from the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana, Cuba in 1991. Chini then became a member of Afrocuba de Matanzas, under the direction of Francisco Zamora Chirino ‘Minini’. He danced in both national and international tours, taught and was invited to choreograph for the company.
In 2006, he moved to Mexico and danced with a variety of groups and performed as a guest dance artist with famous Latin bands including Los Van Van and Pupy y Los Que Son Son. Since moving to Minnesota in 2011, Chini performs with several Minnesota choreographers and teaches throughout the Twin Cities. He also performs and choreographs for Rueda de la Calle and his own group Chini Company. He is a passionate teacher of the Cuban dance traditions – find him on Facebook at the Chini Studio Group page.
Leslie Vázquez began her career on cuban style salsa since 2002, and she has been instructor of this dance style over the last 10 years. She took a set of different cuban dance workshops directly at Matanzas and La Havana Cuba. In 2007 and 2008 she attended to the Program for Casino Instructors of the event “Baila en Cuba”, the largest and more important congress and meeting of Casino dancers on the world, which takes place at La Havana Cuba since 9 years ago.
Through this program, Leslie deepened her knowledge on Rumba and Afro Cuban Dance directly at the Cuban National Art School, on Choreography techniques with the cuban choreographer Santiago Alfonso and on Casino teaching methodology with Bárbara Balbuena, recognized researcher of this Cuban Popular Dance
Leslie was co-founder and co-director, until January of 2013, from the Dance Group "CMV con Ritmo", one of the first and more representative Salsa Dance Groups in and outside Mexico. As part of this group, she won the 1st place as Dance Group on the TV show “Vida TV La Fiesta¨, 3rd place on the Ruedas de Casino competition at the event “Cuba Baila” in Vancouver Canada, and the 1st place on the Ruedas de Casino competition at “Cuba Baila en México" event in 2009.
She is in continuous and permanent education of Cuban Folklore and Popular Dances with the dancer, instructor and choreographer Orlando Alfonso Izquierdo “Papi”, and since 2014 she is also founder, director and choreographer of the dance groups "Dance Timba" and "Son Timberas".
Reinier Fernandez Armesto nació en Cuba y actualmente reside en la ciudad de México. Reiner es el fundador y director general de la compañía de baile CMV con Ritmo y co-fundador/organizador de la salsa casino Mayan Congress desde el 2010. Como profesor, bailarín y coreógrafo, ha participado en diferentes congresos de diferentes países como en Alemania, Canada, Estados Unidos, Venezuela, México y Cuba.
CMV con Ritmo fue fundada a finales del año 2014 y ha ganado diversos premios y primeros lugares en competencias tanto nacionales como internacionales logrando colocarse y afianzarse como la compañía de baile de rueda de casino y bailes populares cubanos más reconocida y exitosa en México.
From Portland to Philadelphia, to Honolulu to Houston - Mike Eskeldson is spreading his love of Casino Salsa.
He started Rumbanana Salsa Group in January 2000 as a way to promote Cuban Salsa dancing in the Pacific Northwest. Mike have been dancing, performing, choreographing and teaching Salsa for more than 12 years. His focus for the past 8 years has been Casino Style Salsa. By carefully studying Cuban dancers, as well as key dancers from Miami, Mike has brought true Casino Salsa to hundreds of people around the world.
Mike's teaching ranges from small classes to 100+ people workshops. Not only are his workshops and classes filled with meaningful information, Mike also makes it fun and exciting to learn.
Teaching venues have included his own classes in the Northwest, as well as workshops at national events, such as the Houston Salsa Congress, Palm Springs Salsa Congress, Chicago International Salsa Congress, Philadelphia Salsa Congress, Honolulu Salsathon, Summer Salsa Extravaganza in Palm Springs, NW Salsa Congress and many others.
Alex Burris was first introduced to Rueda and Cuban salsa in New Orleans over a decade ago. He soon began teaching and performing throughout the city with Cervantes Fundación Hispanoamericana de Arte, a non profit dedicated to promoting Hispanic and Latin culture.
In 2005 Alex moved to Houston and started teaching at local clubs and dance studios. The following year he founded the Houstan Rueda dance group and served as the team's head choreographer. Alex is proud to have performed throughout the US and he looks forward to promoting Cuban dance and music throughout Texas and beyond.
Please note that full access passes, limited access passes, and party passes can be purchased at the Festival registration desk at Hotel Whitcomb during the festival. Cash only.
Individual and packages of workshop tickets can be purchased at the registration desk. Please leave enough time before the workshop you want to take to purchase tickets. Cash only.
1 Workshop: $22
3 Workshops: $60
5 Workshops: $90