Want to know more about the people who are teaching lessons? Read below to get a feel for their different teaching methods and dance styles.
Anna Kocot – LA Salsa (teaches with Juanita H.)
Anna joined the SDC in the fall of 2006, after walking past their promotions table during clubs week and deciding that dancing might be a useful skill to have. She started with Ballroom, which she enjoyed immensely, and then decided to expand her horizons with Salsa shortly after. Anna is a science teacher and an officer in the Naval Reserve. She also teaches Introductory Salsa for the club. Anna thinks that if she can learn to dance, anybody can!
Andrew & Beverly Opyrchal – West Coast Swing
Andrew & Beverly Opyrchal have been professionally instructing Ballroom & Latin dancing since 2001. Their OBSESSION with West Coast Swing began in 2008 when they traveled to their first competitive WCS event in Seattle, WA. Since then, together they have placed in the Top Five at 13 ‘Strictly Swing’ events (seven-1st place wins) and have placed in the Top Five in 18 ‘Jack & Jill’ competitions (eleven -1st place win, combined), earning them the title of “Alberta’s Top WCS Couple.” Andrew & Beverly’s infections passion for WCS drives their desire to share the dance with as many people as possible! They’ve been happily teaching for SDC for the past 2 years and look forward to teaching every new semester!
Bernard Mendoza – Bachata & LA Salsa (teaches with Juanita P.)
Bernard started ballroom dancing at the University of Alberta in 1998, with the goal of meeting lots of beautiful women. He graduated and moved to Calgary in 2000 where he began to compete in Latin Ballroom Dancing. After a snowboard injury, he decided to find a dance that was easy on the ankle and enrolled in a Salsa class at a local studio. He was instantly addicted and ending up performing/competing with Salsa Mecca & Salsa Rica Dance Company. Bernard has been teaching with SDC for 8 years and was one of its founding members. His ultimate goal is to promote the love of dance to the students of the University of Calgary.
Esmail Hatami – Cuban Salsa & Casion Rueda
Esmail started Salsa dancing 7 yearsago and has been teaching it for the last 3 years. He enjoys Latin dancing particularly Cuban Salsa and Cuban Casino Rueda. For him, dancing is about feeling the music, moving with the rhythm and connecting to another soul, therefore; any style of dancing that facilitates these ideas and would add more joy, pleasure and love to ones life is the style that one should stick to.
Evan Hanks – LA Salsa (teaches with Smaranda)
Evan joined the SDC in 2007. A year later he was teaching Intro Salsa and on the executive team as Treasurer. He took a break to focus on teaching new students and introducing them to the SDC with many of the current Exec from his Salsa class! Evan’s favorite style of dance is a three way tie between Salsa, Jive, and West Coast Swing.
Henry Lo – International Latin Ballroom
Henry tried ballroom dancing when he came to study at U of C and fell deeply in love with it. He has learnt various forms of dance since: Ballroom, Latin, Salsa, Argentine Tango, West Coast Swing, even Ballet. However, his passion always returns to Latin Ballroom. He has since been trained by Provincial and National champions, Blackpool and World Champions, from local to overseas and learnt different dance philosophies. He was invited to teach in the U of C Dance department. Recently, he has co-choreographed a ballroom number for their show, Dance Montage. Through dancing, he has found many benefits: an artistic channel that expresses one’s heart, a group of close friends, a fitness routine, a healthy diet and a life time passion. He currently has two goals: to be Canadian Senior Latin Champion and to provide more and better opportunities for the students today so they can benefit from this form of art just as he did.
Jon Llewellyn – LA Salsa
Jon is an alumni of the U of C (class of `07) who began taking lessons in 2006,and since then has never really left the dance floor. Although most of his timeis spent doing salsa and nightclub latin, he is a truly versatile dancer who isproficient in practically every current social dance style and loves them all,presently focusing his own training in international and latin ballroom. Jonhas additionally been a part of a number of salsa performance groups, iscurrently training with the Salsa Rica Dance Company and was recently part of the1st annual Rocky Mountain Dancesport Grand Prix Showcase. After teaching anumber of workshops he formally joined the SDC`s team of instructors at the start of2011. His passion and goal is to help his students to become great socialdancers within the community he himself loves to be a part of.
Juanita Hufnagel – LA Salsa (teaches with Anna)
Juanita believes in creating a cooperative and encouraging atmosphere in her classes, one that is conducive to breaking down barriers regarding personal abilities and perceptions about movement. She utilizes a multidisciplinary approach in teaching Level 1 LA Salsa that is based on varied techniques learned from her 20 + years experience studying movement and performance in varied modalities including ballet, modern dance, gymnastics, yoga, hoopdance, martial arts and Latin dance. She believes everyone has an inherent sense of movement noting “if you can count to 8 and march at the same time, you can meringue.”
Juanita Patterson – Bachata (teaches with Bernard)
Juanita has been dancing her whole life, pretty much as soon as dance shoes would fit on her feet! She played around with different genres and spent several years competing internationally in Highland Dance before starting latin three years ago with the SDC. She is now officially obsessed and very excited to take it up a notch, especially with bachata! Social dance is something you can take with your no matter where in the world you are, since it really doesn’t need words. She would know; after taking salsa lessons in Holland – in Dutch!
Patricia Roering – Agentine Tango (teaches with Richard)
Patricia’s interest in music began at a very young age but it was in 2004 when a true love for tango and its music blossomed and became a passion that fills most days of her week. When she is not busy ensuring her workplace is running smoothly, she can be found on the dance floor practicing, teaching, organizing events and workshops and sharing many laughs and dance moves with strangers or friends of all ages. Patricia has worked with teachers in Argentina and Chicago, where she often travels. Her devotion to dancing has truly transitioned from a hobby to a lifestyle which she feels lucky to be living. Photo coming soon!
Richard – Argentine Tango (teaches with Patricia)
Richard started dancing in high school with some hip hop, and then decided to try something new in university. He took out his schedule and signed up for the first class that he could take without any idea what it was. So began his love affair with Argentine tango! He is very excited to help Patricia bring Tango to the SDC this year.
Rohana Rezel – Cuban Salsa
Rohana got into Salsa more than a decade ago when he was still an undergrad at the University of Manchester, and considers spreading the joy of dance a mission in life. He has come to be known as the “guy who dances in Mac Hall” from dancing at the Student Dance Club’s table during clubs week for three years running. Rohana performs with the La Rumba Cuban Dance School’s Rueda troupe, with whom he has entertained packed audiences at Fiestaval and Expo Latino, the two major Latin festivals in Calgary. “Salsa is not about how many patterns you know or about how many spins you can do,” Rohana says, “It’s all about feeling the music with your heart and expressing it with your body in sync with your dance partner.”
Samson Geddan – LA Salsa
Samson started his dance career in the Ballroom world but fell in love with Salsa when he took his first class with none other than the SDC! He has been teaching at the SDC since 2005. Competing in both ballroom and salsa, teaching and training in several cities across the world, he continues to pursue his passion for dance.
Smaranda Abaco – LA Salsa (teaches with Evan)
Attracted to Latin rhythms, Smaranda began taking salsa lessons with the student dance club during her first year of university. She quickly discovered that her interests span further than Latin dances and branched into other types of dance including ballroom, swing and Romanian folk dancing. She co-founded HORA, a Romanian folk dance group where she has been an instructor and performer since 2007. Her love for dance pushed her to further take action through the SDC and help others discover their passion for the sport. She TA’ed for the club in 2006/2007 and has been an instructor since last year.