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Meet the incredible instructors for the Queenstown Salsa Festival 2023

Almendra y Richie

VLS Dance Melbourne - Australia

With almost two decades of experience in dancing salsa and Latin rhythms, Almendra Navarrete and Richie Torres from Chile and Argentina, respectively, have achieved great professional success. They have won multiple awards in various competitions and have also conducted workshops and shows in different countries.


There's something truly magical about watching Almendra and Richie take the dance floor with precision and grace. Their energy and chemistry is a sight to behold. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to achieve the level of skill and artistry that great salsa couples like Almendra and Richie possessed, and it's a true testament to their love for the dance and for themselves. Seeing them perform is not just a treat for the eyes, but for the soul as well, as they remind us of the beauty and joy that dance can bring to our lives.


Emily Glubb

Emily Dance Productions - Christchurch

Emily is one of the leading instructors in New Zealand with over 12 years’ experience teaching across New Zealand, Australia and Asia. She has performed, competed and trained in Miami, Italy, Paris, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Singapore. Director of E Dance Productions with multiple national titles and the current World Salsa Solo Bachata Champion in the Professional Division.

Emily mentors and trains dancers across New Zealand, specialising in confidence and ladies styling.


Artia Zandian

Sydney - Australia

Winner of numerous salsa championships and founder of the “Shine brothers” and “Salsa unit” professional dance teams, Artia was born in the capital city of Tehran/Iran. He is one of the most regarded upcoming professionals in the Australian scene and is sought after for his style, energy, teaching and social dancing all around the world.


He has studied Latin dancing and been mentored by some of Australia and worlds best including Oliver Pineda, Adolfo Indacochea, Fernando Sosa etc.  He also trained in ballet, lyrical, hip-hop, and jazz with Robert Sturrock and the Industry Dance Academy, and was a member of the elite “Modus Vivendi” salsa team competing in world level competitions.


Diego and Camila

Bailando Rueda - Auckland

Originally from Chile, Diego is a popular face on the New Zealand Salsa scene. His focus is on Cuban (Miami Style). With his exceptional teaching style and his attention to technical detail, Diego has quickly developed a following on the Auckland Rueda circuit. He began his own Rueda Group “Bailando Rueda” in 2016. Originally from Uruguay, Camila has a strong background in the performing arts. She brings over 10 years of dance teaching experience as well as a Bachelors degree in Musical Theatre from the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Arts. 

Initially collaborating on a kids salsa project, they quickly realised they were a great team and continued working together. Since 2020, they have had the opportunity to train 1:1 with Rueda de Casino World Champion Cristian Mauricio Vera and have taught and performed at various NZ festivals. With a true passion for Cuban culture, they are excited to be returning to the festival alongside their team this year!


Ricardo & Yan

RYDE - Auckland

Ricardo and Yan are the directors of RYDE based in Auckland. They have a combined Latin dance experience of over 20 years specialising in On2 Salsa and Bachata. They started their partnership in 2018 and have trained, performed, and competed in the US, Europe, South America, and Asia, as well as teaching across Australasia. They have won several titles across Australia and New Zealand as a couple and soloist, and their teams are the current national champions.
Ricky is known for his complex turn patterns and cheeky fun style on the social dance floor. Yan is known for her footwork and musical choreographies.
They are excited to teach at the Queenstown Salsa Festival and share their love of dance.

Instructors: Dance Instructors

Kate Le Brun

Pasión Salsa - Wanaka

Kate discovered Salsa dancing in 2009, and quickly immersed herself in Latin music and culture.

She has had the privilege of learning from one of New Zealand’s musicality masters for many years, and has studied in Cuba and Peru with world champions and street dancers alike.

Now living in Central Otago, Kate is the driving force behind Pasión Salsa Wanaka, and DJs around New Zealand at Latin events.


DJ Matias

Pasión Salsa - Queenstown

Originally from Uruguay, Matias defines himself as a “bailador” who is always in search of new songs to share his passion for dancing. His love for Latin music led him from dancing to DJing and has been the resident DJ at Pasion Salsa Queenstown for the past 5 years running and organising the social nights.   

He DJed in the first Queenstown Salsa Festival last April and DJed twice at the NZ Salsa Congress.   

“When there’s real love behind something,  it makes a difference”.

So makes sure you are on the dance floor when he’s playing because you don’t want to miss out those tunes.

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