Meet Our Instructors

 
Eric Balmir Instructor Balmir Latin Dance Studio

Eric 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.

Marlene Veras Instructor Balmir Latin Dance Studio

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.

Nina Tirado Instructor Balmir Latin Dance Studio

Nina Tirado

Monique Richard Instructor Balmir Latin Dance Studio

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”.

Brianna Rios

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.

Justin Lopez

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.

 

Hunter Houde Instructor Balmir Latin Dance Studio

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.

Shinee Haynes Instructor Balmir Latin Dance Studio

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.