Zouk Artists 2024

Partners Since 2017, Leandro & Nayara have won more than 50 awards as competitors and coaches, have formed 6 teachers, and have reached more than 4,000 students with their methodology.

They've spent more than 12 years teaching Brazilian Zouk at over 50 congresses and events, spanning 10 countries and 3 continents.

They believe Art is the voice of our soul, which is their biggest

motivation and also the inspiration behind the name of the school which they founded in São Paulo, Brazil, Vox Dance Studio ("vox" meaning "voice" in Latin). Check out there school here: voxdancestudio.com.br

Their dancing and teaching is an amazing combination of talent, creativity, and heart. They're taking the Brazilian Zouk world (literally, world) by storm! 🌠

Originally from Northern California, Elena has a diverse background of many different arts and sports including ballet/jazz/modern/contemporary dance, parkour, Latin ballroom, and 13 years of competitive gymnastics.

She began her Brazilian Zouk journey in 2017 with the Renata Peçanha USA school in Los Angeles. Over the years she has also trained with other instructors such as Bruno Galhardo, Brenda & Anderson, and Arthur & Layssa.

In 2017 she revived the Brazilian Zouk community in Oakland, CA, and hosted classes, socials, and weekenders there until the pandemic in February 2020.

She currently teaches with District Zouk, as well as teaching classes and DJ-ing at Brazilian Zouk events all over the world.

She was the first person in history to graduate without petitions from Novice to All-Star level in the BZDC Jack & Jill competitions. She won the Advanced level Jack & Jill at the Brazilian Zouk World Championships in 2022, as well as a silver medal in the Originals division, and a bronze medal for the Solo Division in 2023. She was also the first female lead to compete at Brazilian Zouk World Championships in the Originals and Showtime divisions. She is a BZDC-certified judge.

In addition to Brazilian Zouk, she also dances samba de gafieira, samba no pé, bachata, forró, salsa, West Coast swing, and more.

The nickname “Rhinestone” came from her love for sparkly accessories, and now refers the way she shines when dancing. She loves to incorporate body neutrality into her teaching so that people of all body types can learn to dance and find their shine as well!

Alain (he/him, they/them) & Elijah (he/him) taught together for the first time in 2022 during a Milwaukee Zouk Weekender and have since been featured together for festivals and weekenders across the USA.

Alain & Elijah began their dance journeys in Latin & Ballroom dance styles like Salsa, Bachata and Cha-Cha. They both compete in multiple dance styles including

Brazilian Zouk Jack & Jills and choreography competitions. They have collectively won/placed in over a dozen categories at national & international events.

Both artists are leaders in their communities, Milwaukee & Phoenix, respectively, and bring a wealth of experience leading events, teaching classes and creating a welcoming environment for all. Most of all, Alain and Elijah are extremely passionate about Zouk and love to share what they know with others.

Hailing from 📍🏡 Chi-Town itself, ⭐ Sarah Zuccaro ⭐ (she/her) has been dancing for 30 years. She's studied Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, American-style social Ballroom, and Afro Latin dances. Sarah graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a B.S. in Dance Performance and Choreo.

She's taught at events across North America, Europe,

and South America and has won many finalist placements in social dance & performance competitions.

In 2019 she opened her own studio, Urbanity Dance Chicago, which she dreams of being a safe space in which all feel welcome and empowered to learn to dance as best they can. Her belief that hard work and commitment surpass natural talent allows her to never put limits on her students' potential. 🌠

⭐ Angélica (she/her) ⭐ started dancing at her arts high school where she took her first modern and ballet class. She continued dancing at Zenón dance school in Minneapolis. She then went to university for two years for dance education. In 2018 she found zouk. Angélica enjoys the surrender and flow that zouk provides.

She loves seeing her students challenge themselves and be open to trying new things.

She has spent time studying with Brenda & Anderson, Kuna Hamad, Paloma Alves, Xandy, Gui Prada, Gabriel de Carvalho, Lui & Larissa, Saulo & Yasmím.

⭐ Topher (he/him) ⭐ began his zouk journey in 2017 when friends convinced him to attend a class taught by Marc Brewer in Minneapolis. Though it took some time to click he eventually discovered a deep passion and love for the connection, music, movement and community zouk had to offer. Since then Topher has found incredible enjoyment in training the various modalities of the dance, studying with many instructors including, Brenda & Anderson, Xandy Liberato, William & Paloma, Alex de Carvalho, Lui and Larissa, Kuna Hamad, Gui Prada and Gabriel de Carvalho.

With a focus on connection and body mechanics, Topher aims to teach students how to better connect with themselves, their own bodies and their partner to improve efficiency, understanding and enjoyment of movement within zouk.

⭐ Verity Rose (she/her) ⭐ is originally from Seattle, WA, and at age 3 she fell in love with dance at Gotta Dance Company, where she learned, performed, and competed in tap & ballet for 8 years. In 2019 Latin dancing became her passion, and Zouk fully captured her heart in November 2019 at Bailame festival. Her love for competition remained after her time with Gotta Dance, and she

celebrates taking 3rd in Novice J&J at Canada Zouk Congress 2023 (her fourth BZDC-sanctioned competition)! She's studied with Bruno Miranda, Gui Prada, Gabriel de Carvalho, Bruna & Felipe, Elijah James, Kuna, Imaan, and Saulo.

She loves Brazilian Zouk for the profound impact it’s had on her. In Winter 2021 she became Director of Iowa Zouk, and in April 2022 she founded V Rose Productions to organize events for Iowa. She hopes to introduce this dance to as many people as possible across the Midwest and beyond as an artist, organizer, and community builder.

⭐ Gabriel (he/him) ⭐ is a highly skilled and experienced artist with a diverse background in various movement styles. He began his journey 15 years ago with Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and quickly fell in love with tango, studying at one of the best schools in Rio de Janeiro. However, it was Brazilian Zouk that truly captured Gabriel's heart, and he had the opportunity to learn from Renata Pecanha, one of the founders of this beautiful art form, at her school in Rio.

For the past 5 years, Gabriel has been professionally teaching and sharing his love of dance with others. He currently resides in Iowa City and travels weekly throughout the Midwest to teach in ⚡ Iowa City, IA ➡ Des Moines, IA ➡ Minneapolis, MN ➡ Milwaukee, WI ➡ Chicago, IL. Outside the Midwest, Gabriel's shared his passion and knowledge of Brazilian Zouk from DC to San Francisco, and everywhere in between.

Aside from his love of dance, Gabriel is deeply committed to sharing his culture and heritage with his students. He is passionate about sharing the beauty and depth of Brazilian Zouk with others, and loves being able to bring a piece of his culture to his classes. Whether you are a seasoned dancer or just starting out, Gabriel's enthusiasm and expertise make him a wonderful teacher and mentor.