Internationally acclaimed as one of NYC's top dance schools in Brooklyn!
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Balmir Latin Dance Company
Eric Manuel Balmir
A versatile and passionate leader, Dr. Eric Balmir has achieved great success in both the healthcare and arts sector. Aside from attaining a Doctorate Degree and his accomplishments in the Pharmaceutical field, he has applied his beliefs in the power of mentorship and education by providing a space and community for artists to cultivate their passion for dance. Although Eric grew up dancing at home and at family functions, he began his more formal training in 2008 when a friend took Eric to a local salsa studio. Shortly thereafter, Eric became partners with the owner of the studio he started with and opened a second studio. It wasn’t too long after which Eric decided to purchase the studio from the owner and transformed it into what is now the home of World Latin Dance Champions, Balmir Latin Dance Studio.
BRIANNA RIOS is based out of NYC and dancing since the age of 4, Brianna Rios has trained under artists such as Frankie Martinez, Anya Katsevman, Tito Ortos, Tamara Livolsi, Katie Marlow, and Billy Fajardo. She enjoys following her passion for dance through performing, teaching, and competing both nationally and internationally. At 18 years old, while competing at the Miami World Salsa Summit in February of 2014, Brianna became the youngest World Champion in the Professional Salsa On2 Division. Since then, she went on to compete at the World Salsa Masters in Madrid, Spain, had the pleasure to be a U.S. judge in the Asia Open Championships at the India International Dance Congress, was a featured New York City dancer in the upcoming film, "Shine", and is honored to be the female salsa dancer representing the USA at the 2017 World Games in Poland.
MARLENE VERAS, a Brooklyn native, has been dancing since the age of 9 and has been a member of Balmir Latin Dance Company’s Pro Team since its inception. She has experience in multiple Latin and Ballroom dances including Salsa, Pachanga, Cha Cha, Hustle, Ballroom, and West Coast Swing. As a dance instructor, Marlene has over 10 years of teaching experience, teaching Salsa or Kizomba workshops at congresses Balmir attends. Marlene also regularly competes at Congresses around the world individually and as part of the Balmir Elite Ladies Pro Team and in 2015, she brought home the Special Award for Pro Heats in Cha Cha and her Cha Cha Showcase at the Canada Salsa Congress.
DEIDRE DILL was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She began her dance training in ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical at Horizons in Dance before attending the Professional Performing Arts High School and started training at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Deidre has worked with Walt Disney and was the opening cast member for a Totally Tomorrowland Christmas and danced in the Christmas Parade alongside Celine Dion and the Jonas Brothers. In 2014 Deidre began competing with her dance partner, Christian Taborda, and together have won championship titles at Chim Pum Callao Salsa Congress in Niagara Falls, Calgary Salsa Congress, Canada Salsa and Bachata Congress, also placing 2nd at the World Salsa Summit in 2015. Most recently, Deidre was featured in the upcoming film, “Shine” as a dancer, she was one of the principal dancers for Ozomatti music band, and performs with the Westchester Knick Basketball Dance Team. A member of Actors Equity, Deidre also has a passion for acting.
MIGDALIA SANTIAGO is a NYC native and has been a member of the Balmir Pro Team since January 2015. Migdalia started dancing at the age of 11 and is trained in many styles including Jazz, Ballet, Salsa On1 and On 2, African, Modern, Hip Hop, Hustle and Bachata. Prior to joining Balmir, she spent several years with Dance Universe, Mambo 101, Unified, and Nieves Latin Dance Studio. She has participated and performed at multiple congresses and venues around the world including the Punta Cana Salsa Congress, Hawaii Salsa Congress, Trinidad and Tobago Salsa Congress, and the Puerto Rico Salsa Congress, just to name a few. Migdalia began competing in Pro/Am Salsa and Bachata Heats shortly after joining the team. She took home 1st in both Intermediate & Advanced Salsa On2 and Bachata at the Canada Salsa Congress in Toronto and in Montreal. Off the stage, you might catch Migdalia featured dancer in TLC’s “What Not To Wear” and in the critically acclaimed HBO American Black Film 2015 winner, “Stanhope”.
MONIQUE RICHARD is one of BLDS’s most popular instructors and a member of Balmir’s Pro Team. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and of Dominican and Puerto Rican decent, Monique grew up dancing Merengue, Bachata and Salsa. Monique started her professional salsa training in 2010 at Latin Fever Dance Studio and in 2011 she became a member of Balmir’s Mambo Tirado under the direction of Ms. Nina Tirado. In 2014, she was promoted to the Balmir Latin Dance Company where she has been traveling, performing and competing nationally and internationally, including Calgary, Trinidad & Tobago, Dominican Republic, Toronto, Cozumel, Niagara Falls, Miami and Hawaii. She has won gold medals in Bachata, Salsa, Hustle, Kizomba, and Cha Cha Cha and has never taken anything less than 2nd place in any of her competitions. She recently partnered up with Mike ‘Movimiento’ Garcia and is planning to travel with her new partner. Monique is also featured in the upcoming dance film “Shine”.
Christian F. Taborda
CHRISTIAN TABORDA started dancing salsa when he was 16, and soon discovered hip-hop and other styles of dance. He joined the youth team at Latin Fever Dance Studio, and at age 18 joined Latin Fever’s Pro Team. A few years later, Christian followed Eric Balmir, who was opening his own studio to dance with Balmir Latin Dance Company. While dancing with Balmir, Christian has performed internationally in Rome, Peru, Cuba, Costa Rica, Canada, Hawaii, and Miami. In 2014, he and Deidre Dill became competition partners, soon winning championships at the Calgary Salsa Congress, the Canada Salsa and Bachata Congress, Chim Pum Callao in Niagara Falls, the salsa competition in Trinidad and Tobago, the Philadelphia Salsa Festival, and placed 2nd at the World Salsa Summit, in Miami, Florida. Apart from his competitive achievements, Christian is also one the featured dancers in the upcoming film "Shine".
Ruben Justin Lopez
RUBEN JUSTIN LOPEZ was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. At the age of 7 he started taking salsa classes with his sister at La Salsa De Hoy. He later joined Young Ambition Dance Company and attended the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where he trained in ballet, tap, jazz as well as other modern techniques, namely Horton, Graham, and Cunningham. During his senior year, he found his home at BLDS and has remained ever since.
KEVIN ARIAS was born and raised in Brooklyn New York. Growing up in a Dominican Household where Latin music was mostly played. He learned how to dance bachata and merengue at an early age of 4. Kevin started taking classes at Balmir Latin dance studio in the summer of 2008. In April 2009, he joined Balmir Latin dance studio's student team, then the semi Pro Team. In 2010, he joined Balmir Latin Dance studio’s Pro Team. In 2011 he helped Nina Tirado along with other Pro Team members to launch "Mambo Tirado". Kevin has traveled to many countries around the world to perform with Balmir Latin Dance Company and has competed in many dance competitions at many congresses. He has won and placed at the World Salsa Summit, International Hustle Salsa Congress , Toronto Salsa and Bachata Congress, Calgary Salsa Congress, and Montreal Salsa Congress just to name a few. Kevin is one of the senior members of BLDS and will continue to be a part of it.
SHINEE HAYNES’ dance training began at the age of 10 with Diva Works Dance Company where she was exposed to different styles of dance including ballet, jazz and African. Shinee continued her training in ballet and jazz at the Dance Theater of Harlem and attended the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS) for dance. She graduated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts with a dance diploma and soon began dancing professionally with Mixed Bag. Her salsa training began at La Salsa De Hoy and later transitioned to Latin Fever Dance Studio where she met Eric Balmir and eventually joined the BLDS Pro Team.
MAGNOLIA DOMINGUEZ-ISDITH is a descendent of Colombia, better known as Maggie, has been a member of Balmir’s Semi-Pro Team since its inception. Maggie began her dance training in Colombia, pursuing traditional folklore and contemporary dance in college. From 2008-20010, she discovered her passion for Salsa while taking classes with Jimmy Anton. In October of 2010, she joined Latin Fever Dance Studio where she teamed up with Ms. Nina Tirado for an anniversary project that morphed into Balmir’s Semi-Pro Team. Ever since, Maggie has performed and competed at numerous salsa events and congresses around the world under the direction of her mentor and instructor, Franklin Liranzo, as well as coaching from Ms. Anya Katsevman. She has won metals and trophies for both Heat competitions in Bachata, Salsa and Hustle, in National competitions, as well as Pro-Am Showcases. In addition to managing BLDS, Maggie works as a Parent Coordinator for the Department of Education where she works as a liaison and incorporates her dance skills with children as needed.
HUNTER HOUDE comes from a lifetime of martial arts training. Hunter started training in Latin dance at the age of eighteen. In 2010, he moved to New York to pursue a career in dance, becoming an International Top Teacher with Arthur Murray Dance Studios. In 2010, Hunter also began to train regularly in Afro-Cuban traditional dance forms, with Yesenia Fernandez Selier in NYC. Inspired by these dances, he traveled to Cuba for training several times between 2010 and 2013. From 2012-2016, Hunter trained in Ballet and was exposed to other modern forms of dance through a work-study at Alvin Ailey. In salsa ,he has trained under Anya Katsevman, Franklin Diaz, Eddie Torres, and Eddie Torres Jr. Hunter has been with Balmir since March of 2016, and is currently competing professionally with Balmir Latin Dance Company, and with his professional partner, and fellow Balmirian Marlene Veras.
Jessica Janette Silva
JESSICA JANETTE SILVA began ballet and tap training at age 3, at the Brooklyn Dance Center in NY. By age 6, she had years of experience performing on stage. As one of David A. Body Junior High School’s first Dance Magnet students, under the direction of Ms. Jan Ford, she was introduced to African and modern dance, along with being taught exclusively by the New York City Ballet as part of the Magnet’s “Ballet Bridges” program. Her passion for dance continued to grow as she gained the skills and techniques essential for refinement in dance and movement throughout the years. In late March of 2016, Jessica joined Balmir’s dance team under the instruction of Anya Katsevman. In 2017, she competed in a Pro-Am Bachata Heats division, with Theo Pippins, at the World Salsa Summit, assisting him win 1st place. Currently, Jessica is a gymnastics instructor, teaches dance, and continues to train, choreograph, and perform for events nationally and internationally.
XIMENA SALGADO is an international artist originally from Peru. She lastly was in the cast of the Broadway show In the Heights at Gala Hispanic Theatre in Washington DC. Ximena has training from D’art Musical Theatre Conservatory, Aranwa Acting Conservatory, Ballet San Marcos and she has received top placements at multiple championships, including the Peruvian National Salsa Championship as a soloist in 2015 and the World Salsa Summit 2017. Now based in New York, Ximena works as a freelance triple threat performer, Latin dancer, and certified bodyART Instructor. Along with being a dancer with Balmir Latin Dance Company she is also a faculty member of House of Duende. Ximena holds studies in Performing Arts Management from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru and currently applies her studies as Balmir’s advising manager.