Danery Barraza creator of Salsa-Ton and founder of Chicago Latin Dance with joy and excitement. Danery is a certified fitness instructor along with her background in the performing arts and dance. She is well known for her Salsa-ton fitness classes that are high energy with movements and choreography that are innovative. As a young dancer and vocalist Danery has worked with phenomenal local Chicago bands such as 911 Mambo band, Angelle all under the direction of Angel Melendez and the Jose Valdez Quartet and many more. Her traditional style of Latin American dance is her main stamp.
For more about Danery and where to take lessons from her go to: www.Chicagolatindance.com
Cristian, a professional dancer, instructor, and choreographer has been dancing since the age of 5. By the age of 13, Cristian was already performing as a professional dancer with the “Ballet Salsa Sur” in Puerto Rico. At age 15, he won first place in Puerto Rico’s National Salsa Competition and at age 17 he won first place in the Second International World Salsa Congress held in Puerto Rico. Cristian has performed throughout Europe and won “Best Duo’ in Venice, Italy. Cristian has performed with many famous Latin artists such as Huey Dunbar, Don Omar, Victor Manuelle, Sonora Poncena, Millie Quesada and more. Cristian’s love for dance shows in the way in which he not only teaches but performs.
Oscar Naranjo discovered his passion for Latin dances when he was only 16. With each opportunity, he continued to improve his skills by training with world renowned dance instructors. Oscar has been performing, teaching, and competing since 1989. He appeared in the dance movie "Take the Lead" starring Antonio Banderas. The film was released in mainstream cinema on April 7, 2006. It was filmed in Toronto, and at a number of local schools, including University of Toronto. Oscar have extensive background in dancing salsa, tango, cha cha cha, bachata, meringue, and cumbia. He trained with Argentine Tango World Champion "Fabian Peralta" during his trip to Argentina in Feb. 2007. His hard work and dedication have always paid off. He was awarded first place in 25 salsa competitions and crowned Vice World Champion at the Miami World Salsa Federation Championships in 2003. Among other important events, he proudly represented Canada in various Congresses around the world. Oscars dream is to travel the world teaching, dancing, competing and sharing his Latin roots. With each journey he hopes to acquire new experiences and techniques to help him grow as a dancer, teacher, choreographer and performer . Oscar teaches salsa and other dance forms to kids, teens, and adults, including private lessons, and conducting choreography classes. To learn more.. visit, http://www.oscarnaranjo.com.
Carlos "Gabby' Cruz
Sultry Salsa! ¡Salsa es Vida!
We organize and promote Latin dancing events, primarily nightclub Salsa nights, throughout Chicago and the Midwest.
In addition, we conduct lessons in Salsa, Bachata and Cha Cha and other Latin dances in various locations, including dance studios and nightclubs, in and around the Chicago area and about the Midwest, all by Chicago's own Barón de Bachata, Jed Walker!
Our quest is to teach everybody to dance and to look good dancing. We teach both style and technique together, by melding the style of street dancing to the technique of ballroom dancing, to help leads and follows become dancers that can dance well with anybody, anywhere, anytime. A dancer that is enjoyable, exciting, fun to dance with and entertaining to watch.
Markus Alden Shields began dancing when he was 17 years old. Since his first class, his first instructed movement Markus has been in love with the art. Studio director Torrey Thomas (T-3’s Dance Elite) noticed a spark in the young dancer and immediately encouraged him to begin branching out and creating. He began to take dancing roles in churches and plays, began assisting in company classes and assisting with male choreography/staging and performing for T-3 Productions. Thus, just two years after Shields began dancing he was instructing advanced classes and choreographing at an award winning competitive level. While Markus developed his eclectic and hard-hitting hip hop style through the urban students of his hometown, he studied ballet and jazz at a local institution.
On season four of the hit dance show “So You Think You Can Dance?” Markus’ choreography was recognized and highly favored by producer Nigel Lythgoe. In that season he competed through the entire Vegas week down to the top 26 and got a spotlight for national recognition.
Much more than just a dancer or a choreographer, Markus is a born teacher and performer. He relies on all his abilities to increase his growth and not only perform on the stage but in life as well. Shields’ knows his potential is endless so as he dances, writes, creates music and instructs. He strives to let others know their potential is just as infinite, staying humble in all blessings and success.
Yessy is a dance instructor, choreographer and teacher based out of Grand Rapids, MI. Dancing is her life, teaching is her passion, and performing is her love; she lives through setting her students on fire about dancing, performing, the desire of acquiring knowledge, working hard and achieving greatness. Her goal is to positively inspire multitudes of people through talents she was blessed with as gifts and tools to reach the masses.
Yessy was born into a large family and raised in a cultural home in the outskirts of Grand Rapids. As an infant, her first sounds were to the intricate drum patterns and smooth singing melodies of saxophone found only in Latin music. Her mother always danced with her and her siblings to merengue and salsa along with many other traditional Latin dances. She was placed in traditional American dance lessons at the age of 2, and she knew from a young age that dance would be one of the most important aspects of her life. Later in her childhood she studied cultural dancing such as African and Irish, but she focused heavily on Mexican Folklore for a great deal of time. After several years of heavy instruction and competing, Yessy was forced to withdrawal from lessons due to financial burdens. She then began dabbling into other activities such as band, theater, swimming, karate and even wrestling; but nothing made her feel the way that dance did. She spent restless hours dancing in her basement, practicing everything she knew.
At age 14, she employed herself at a grocer to pay for her own lessons at a local dance studio. It was at this time that she was recognized for her uniquely diverse style of dance and taught her first Master Class in a small town dance studio, paving the way for her career and future success. She was always aware of the unlikelihood of her ability to succeed due to physical restraints and industry standards, but Yessy chose to continue dancing despite the odds. She danced purely for the love of dance; for the ability to emote, move, express and create where she otherwise could not. It is dancing that gave her something to live for and to believe in; in many ways, dance saved her life. She never imagined that she would embark on the amazing adventures and view the wonders she has seen, but her passion and drive for what she loves has led her to truly live out her wildest dreams she thought were only possible in her imagination.
With over 20 years of performing experience and 13+ years of teaching experience, Yessy continues to seek out her dreams and live them through reality. Through her journey, she inspires dancers all over the world through her teaching, her story, her motivation, and her faith.
David "Jade" Sotomayor
Born and raised in both Chicago and the island of Puerto Rico, David learned at a young age he was born to entertain. His first congress performance was in Chicago 2002, since then David has gone throughout the world performing and instructing with various projects, such as World Salsa Congresses, concerts and music videos.
In 2005, David worked in "Sensuality... A Latin Dance Review" at the Greektown Casino with Elaine Marrero. Through Elaine's vision, David choreographed and directed multiple routines combined into 4 non stop 30 min performances. After only being signed for one month, "Sensuality" had a successful eight month run. Then David went on to instruct/perform at the Troy Dance Studio, and choreographing the opening numbers for the Belleza Latina and Miss Gallaxy pageants.
Currently David has been performing and instructing with Los Soneros del Swing under the direction of Andy Cruz. He travels making appearances throught the US, South America, and Carribean, after being chosen to compete in Logo's and Vh1 smash hit reality TV show, "RuPauls Drag Race" season 1. Under the charcter "Jade", David competed in the first reality TV show that was for felmale impersonaters. Not only did he have the moves but had the all around skill in makeup, hair, wardrope, and lightning, to prove he was definately a jack of all trades and a perfect candidate for this competition. The contestants were withered down to 9 out of over 3000 applicants. David, aside from performing and teaching dance, he gives consultations in makeup, hair, and wardrope styling for performance and evening socials.