Instructors

       KIM ROTTIER  –   Director

Kim Rottier is most known for her hand in bringing Brazilian Zouk to North America; founding and directing ZoukNY, co-hosting FALL FOR ZOUK, and for providing training and mentoring to the most celebrated and recognized Zouk dancers and instructors* of North America with the ZoukNY Instructor Certification Program (ZKNY ICP).

Kim was originally introduced to Brazilian Dance at Rio Rhythmics (2003-2005), where she studied Zouk, Salsa, Samba, Forro, Gafieira, Merengue, Bolero, and Bossa Nova under the supervision of Tarcisio Teatini-Climaco. She trained with several performance teams: Lenny and Mio’s Acrobatic Salsa Team, the Rio Rhythmics Student Training Team, and the Rio Rhythmics Professional Performance Team.

Upon arriving in the US, Kim searched relentlessly for a Zouk scene and eventually accepted the challenge of creating one. Kim founded ZoukNY in 2006, drawing mainly from her student base at Sandra Cameron Dance Center (2005-2009). She worked with a series of guest instructors from all over the world teaching workshops and performing at congresses. The exposure to intensive training with multiple Zouk styles equipped Kim with a unique skill set and inspired her to tie together foundational elements for her comprehensive Zouk training package. In 2009 Kim rolled out the ZoukNY Syllabus at Piel Canela (2009-20014), where she later served as Program Director.

Now, immersed in her doctoral education in clinical psychology, Kim maintains a regular workshop/social event, teaches private lessons, and hosts special events. She prioritizes supporting new and guest Zouk instructors and co-hosts the enormously successful annual FallForZouk Festival. In addition she continues to immerse herself in running teacher training courses, student performance teams, and teaching workshops specializing in advanced head movements and refined connection techniques.

*The ZKNYICP serves as a platform from which instructors develop their unique individual qualities. Instructors with ZoukNY Certification include: Henri Velandia, Shannon Hunzicker, Jessica Lamdon, Igor Fraga, Luciana Lua, Mary Laura Brown, Kevin Toft, Chris Van Hauten, Sarah Zuccaro, Ian Boyle, Kuna Malik Hamad, Junyan Boon, Jules Bertrand, Melodie Gabirelle, Kendra Haynes, Claudia Palestini, and many more!

 

 

IGOR FRAGA

Igor Fraga was born and raised in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He was first exposed to social dancing at 14 when he began learning Forró. Although he has always been passionate about dance at the beginning it was just a hobby. That all changed when he saw Zouk for the first time. “I was 20 years old and it changed my life. I fell in love with it at first sight,” he says. He was dazzled by the sensual and beautiful moves and just couldn’t stop watching. “From that moment I knew that Zouk was the dance for me—the one thing I was looking for my whole life, and I didn’t even know it.” At that point he made up his mind to dedicate himself to Zouk.

He found Zouk NY just a year after moving to the U.S., and began training with Henri Velandia and Kim Rottier. In January 2013 he became a certified instructor through Zouk NY.  In March 2013 he won the amateur competition at the Brazilian Beat Congress in Toronto.

“I hope to spread the Zouk love as much as I can. My goal is to inspire people in the way that I was inspired by my teachers and by all of the instructors around the world.”

 

 

JESSICA LAMDON

12593732_1237562762924468_3276364279136945727_o

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HENRI VELANDIA

 

Henri Velandia is a performer, choreographer and founder of “HotSalsaHot” the preeminent salsa school in the Princeton, NJ area. Native to Venezuela, Henri’s formal dance training is in classical ballet, jazz, modern dance and international Latin. His style is a unique fusion of hip-urban street roots with formal ballroom technique, ballet precision, and the freedom of modern dance, incorporating expressive body styling and footwork.

Henri began his formal dance training in 2004 at the Princeton Dance and Theater Studio (PDT) under the tutelage of Susan Jaffe and Risa Kaplowitz. In addition to his training at PDT he has completed various workshops with Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York City. He has danced for Marie Alonzo Tangerine Dance Project since 2005 and is currently dancing with Cecilia Marta Dance Company in NY and will participate in this year’s Summer Stage Performances in Central Park and Marcus Garvey Park.

Henri’s unique Salsa style has been featured at several Salsa Congresses including Miami, Philadelphia, DC, Utah and New Jersey. In 2010 Henri was part of the inaugural cast of Univision’s reality dance show “MQB” – Mira Quien Baila, where He was one of 10 dancers, partnering with Latino stars competing to raise money for charity. Henri is also part of the Zouk community in NYC joining Kim Rottier, who has been his Zouk mentor, and the Zouk NY team.

Henri is as passionate about teaching as he is about dancing. His main goal is to have his students experience movement from the inside out adding the technical aspects of Latin Movement

 

CHRISTINA MONTOYA

12987929_10154158123218804_287673559_n

 Christina Montoya was first inspired with the desire to teach dance when she took her first Salsa and Bachata class at the age of 18 in Los Angeles, CA. She immediately began training with various dance companies and local instructors as she was driven by the excitement she had for social dancing and performing. Christina became a well-known and successful instructor in the Bachata community. She has had a passion for dancing her whole life and she first experimented in different styles when she was 12 years old beginning with hip hop, jazz, competitive cheerleading, and Tahitian prior to beginning Salsa and Bachata.

Christina found Brazilian Zouk in 2014 where she immediately fell in love with the dance. She furthered her training with Igor Fraga in Los Angeles, California as he partnered her to compete at the 2nd Annual US Zouk Open Competition where they received first place in the Semi-Pro division. Since then, she took Kim Rottier’s instructor training program and has received an Introductory Zouk Instruction Certification through Zouk NY. She began teaching Zouk in Los Angeles, California and has had the opportunity to teach at various festivals. Recently, Christina won 1st place at the first Brazilian Zouk Jack & Jill competition in Europe in the intermediate category.

As her devotion for Zouk and pure love for teaching it grew, she decided to move to New York where she will be continuing her partnership with Igor Fraga and sharing their passion. Christina hopes to inspire others and spread the beauty of Zouk to the dancer inside everyone.

___________________________________________________________________________________

PREVIOUS ZOUK NEW YORK INSTRUCTORS

SHANNON HUNZICKER

Shannon Hunzicker’s first Zouk experience was watching her teacher, Kim Rottier, perform a beautiful Zouk demo in the Summer of 2010. From that moment she was hooked. Already a dancer of Argentine tango, West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, and blues, Zouk joined the rotation and quickly became her passion.

After only a few months dancing with Kim at Zouk NY she attended Berg’s International Zouk Congress in Porto Seguro, Brazil. There she trained with Zouk teachers from all corners of the world and fell in love with Brazilian culture. This experience led her to spend eight months traveling abroad, following Zouk congresses from Barcelona to Berlin, all the way to Rio de Janeiro, one of the birth places of Zouk. She spent six months in Rio training at Renata Peçanha’s famous dance school and immersing herself in the Carioca dance scene.

Since her first Zouk congress in January 2011, Shannon has attended international Zouk congresses in Barcelona, Berlin, and Buenos Aires. She has also been fortunate to study with renowned teachers Pablo Schmoller, K-Yo Victor, Willem Engel, Pasty, Gilson Damasco, and Kamacho.

Shannon is thrilled to be a part of Zouk NY and to be able to bring her passion for Zouk to students from all backgrounds. She will be teaching Zouk through the Spring at Piel Canela Dance Academy. Shannon also plans to return to Rio de Janeiro in the Fall to further her training so that she may continue to bring the richness of Rio-style Zouk to the United States.

 

RODRIGO RAMALHO

 

LUCIANA LUA

 

MARY LAURA BROWN

 

ANDRE OKAWARA

 

ARIA ATAI