More instructors to be announced soon…
OSCAR B.A. – Washington, DC
Oscar B.A is one of the pioneer ambassadors of Kizomba in the US. Currently based in the Washington, DC area, he has taught Kizomba workshops in some of the biggest Latin Dance festivals including The DC Bachata Festival, Flirt Seattle, Reno Winter Bachata Festival. A sought after nonpareil dance instructor, he has been invited to run Kizomba boot camps by dance companies in Los Angeles, CA, Seattle, WA, Reno, NV and more. Oscar currently teaches the longest running Kizomba dance classes in the DC, MD and VA Metropolitan area.
Oscar’s career spans over 16 years of dancing, choreographing and instructing several dance disciplines. With roots in African dance, hip-hop, and Latin movement, Oscar founded the premier dance company Ollover! in his native home, Kenya, and went onto revolutionize arts and entertainment not only in Kenya but in the surrounding region of east and central Africa. In the US he added to his repertoire American style ballroom, and rhythm and Latin dances. Oscar B.A. is a master dancer, teacher, choreographer, and performer.
EDDY VENTS – Portland, OR
Dance Champion Michael John Saltus, a navy brat, realized as a child how to adapt to each new environment his family moved into. This helped create his outgoing personality. At a young age, he learned discipline and the value of hard work in the farm country, where breaking horses taught him the balance he later used in sports and dance. However, hitting the gym proved even more valuable. The hard work and long hours there gave him a healthier lifestyle and kept him injury-free, allowing him to play three sports in high school and two in college. The skills he learned on sports teams also turned out to to be an asset years later in the development of his own dance company. At the end of high school Michael began learning the Western jitterbug–which he continued in college–introducing him to tricks and lifts. As a Grizzlies football player at the University of Montana, Michael started taking jazz for flexibility and balance. Along with earning a BA in psychology, he discovered another passion: acting. After relocating to San Diego, he began performing with the Pacific Repertoire Jazz and Ballet Company, where he learned the art of pas de deux (ballet partnering). Michael’s acting and modeling career also began to pick up, and over time he was represented by several agencies and appeared in numerous student films, commercials, and pilots. He has the honor of being a part of the first salsa couple on the long-running show Soul Train. By 2000, Michael had experimented with many dance genres, including ballroom, but it was salsa that matched his high energy and passion. After meeting his partner in 2001, Camille Yannantuono, the pair began competing and started Positive Energy Dance Company. Since becoming a salsa devotee, Michael has danced with Rumba Rica-1 year 2002, Majesty in Motion-1 year (2003) and Sony Pasos-6 months (2004). After dissatisfaction with only a few performances per year, Michael and Camille founded their own group performance team in 2005. Since 2001 Michael has become San Diego’s most popular club dance instructor. He’s been teaching weekly at the Queen Bees Salsa/Bachata club for over 16-years and substituting at many other venues. He has also performed at a Tango Dinner show for over 12-years at Pampas Argentine Restuarant. He recently performed in his 750th dinner show this past October, which puts him at well over 2,500 different performances in just over 16-years! Many were benefits or fundraisers of which he is most proud of. He also teaches various workshops both locally in San Diego and on the road at many Dance Festivals & Congresses.
Erika Saucillo was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She started dancing at the young age of four. Throughout the years, she trained in various dances such as folklorico, jazz, and hip-hop.
Erika began her Latin dance journey at the age of 21 when she first trained with “Alma Latina Los Angeles” directed by the world renown Sergio Jasso and Gaby Equiz. Erika quickly became the director of one of the largest Salsa/Bachata team in Los Angeles, “Quest Salchata Crew”. She is currently one of today’s top rising instructor & performer. Erika has taught & performed at major clubs & dance festivals throughout North America and overseas.
Erika is a champion and top finalists at some of the world’s most important Latin dance competitions. She won the 3rd place in the World Latin Dance Cup Cha Cha Cha division, 2nd in the Top Female Bachata Social Dancer, and won first place at the 2016 LA top Female Salsa Social Dancer.
From Los Angeles to New York to Cuba she has inspired many with her dancing. Her hard work and dedication have allowed Erika to become one of today’s top dancer throughout the world.
Javier is of Chilean descent but didn’t fall in love with dancing until the age of 21 and then it transformed his life. Diving into the world of Bachata and Salsa he discovered a ‘sabor’ (flavor) where gratitude, humility, patience, respect, and joy were the main ingredients. With those ingredients, Javier finds that dance becomes a powerful and transformative communication tool to connect people of all genders, cultures, shapes, and sizes.In 2014 he visited Brasil to take part in the Fifa World Cup, and by chance, discovered Zouk dancing. Zouk dancing inspired him for its dream like flow, it’s 3-dimensional body movements, feeling of flying, and open-heartedness of its community. It was love at first dance! Being an eternal student, his curiosity propelled him to begin his dance journey in this new world.Today Javier continues to study and strengthen his understanding of this Brasilian dance and is honored to bring his decade of teaching experience to help spread the seeds of this amazing dance. Javier is excited to share the magic and joy of Zouk at the Tri-cities dance festival.
Konteen has enjoyed music and the arts since she was young, and received her minor in music from the University of Washington. She was introduced to Afrobeats in 2010 from a friend’s online afrobeats radio station and finally received her first impromptu dance lesson in this style while traveling in Zambia in 2012. She really enjoyed it, and has attended countless festivals and classes around the world to learn more. Some of these include Balumuka, The White House Summit, MBKF, and the first festival built around modern African dances, Kuduromania. In addition to Afrobeats and Afrohouse, Konteen also enjoys working on other various dance forms, such as kizomba, semba, urban kiz, ballet, latin, etc. Konteen has been teaching Kizomba with her friends at WCKD since 2015 and has performed with dance teams and classes in the Tri-Cities, DC, and San Francisco.
Andy has been dancing cumbia and guaracha for over 34 years. He began dancing when he was 10 years old. Originally from Mexico City, Andy’s parents introduced him to dance with his father encouraging him along the way. He fondly remembers his father cheering him on saying “ahí te va, bailala!” Then he began going to “tocadas del barrio” in Iztapalapa. Andy moved to California at 20 years old and continued with his love for dance. He eventually moved to Washington state and continues dedicating himself to cumbia and guaracha. This is his first year teaching at the Tri-Cities Salsa Congress with his partner Julieta.
Shannon began partner dancing in 2007 and was introduced to Kizomba in early 2012. Since that time, her focus has been perfecting this beautiful dance and she has traveled the world extensively in pursuit of the most esteemed instructors. Her dedication has opened many doors for her in the Kizomba world including work as an instructor, live television appearances, and an opportunity to participate in the 2014 AfricaDancar USA Kizomba Competition in New York. She and Chris Njunge from Los Angeles won 1st place and went on to represent the United States in the World AfricaDancar Championship in Milan, Italy. She has taught throughout the US in places such as Seattle, Washington DC, LA and Miami as well as in Mexico. Shannon is also one of the founders of the Tri-Cities Salsa Congress.
Mario was born in Nicaragua and raised in Miami. After moving to Seattle in 2012, Mario began dancing salsa and bachata and performed in various dance teams. After immersing himself in dance, Mario started teaching in 2013 and is currently teaching salsa and kizomba at the Salsa N Seattle studio. He has taught at numerous dance events including Vancouver (Canada), D.F. (Mexico), LA, and Washington DC. In addition to teaching, he hosts a weekly kizomba social on Wednesdays at the SNS studio. Mario will be teaching Kizomba at the 2016 Tri-Cities Salsa Congress with Shannon Urza.
Emy is a dancing veteran of the salsa family here in eastern Washington’s “509” and comes to us from El Paso, TX. We all know it’s a pleasure to share a dance with Emy or even just watch her. With her tons of hours on the social dancing scene and many travels dancing around the country, she is transitioning from the social dance floor to instructing. Her love is bachata and you will know this when you talk to her about the music and the moves. Emy is also one of the founders of the Tri-Cities Salsa Congress. Her teaching style focuses on developing a strong foundation that will allow students to progress successfully in their dancing skills. (Photo by Virak Chhang)