Meet the Dance Teachers
"I tried lots of other things but my heart was always in teaching dance", says Rafal Lautenbach, a highly experienced, multi-talented dancer, who is accomplished not only in the ten dances of Ballroom and Latin, but Salsa and Argentine Tango too.
In 2007, Rafal moved to London, which he considers "the capital of ballroom". In the UK, he has danced in a number of high-profile showcases and Strictly-style competitions and was picked to be part of the supporting cast for CheektoCheek, dancing alongside Strictly’s Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag.
A born dance teacher, Rafal’s love for ballroom and Latin shines through in his lessons. Although he can be tough on technique ("I always like to push my students slightly harder"), a compliment from him really means something.
He first became interested in dancing at a very young age and started by learning ballet. Later he and his partner became Regional and National champions of Hungary in Latin and Ballroom as well as the Ten Dance category.
He graduated from the Hungarian Dance Academy and teaching became his passion. This has been his profession for the past fifteen years. He was part of a Formation team that entered 'Hungary's Got Talent' and did very well. The same team became Hungarian champions and competed in European and World Championships.
His extensive travel experiences to International competitions and invitations to give guest performances have given him amazing opportunities to exercise his passion for dance, to experience new environments and cultures and to meet with new people around the world.
Paulius Vaskelis is a top Latin dancer who has competed in the seven-time world champion Latin formation team Žuvėdra and won many championships with his competitive partners as well, including events at the Lithuanian Open.
Paul arrived in the UK in 2014. He says, “My ultimate goal is to go as far as I possibly can,” and he dreams of one day having his own studio. Paul competes and performs as Pro-Am partner, where his choreographic and teaching skills shine. Paul is a spectacular performer, a fantastic teacher and – very important! – huge fun.
Elza is from Riga, Latvia and is a professional ballroom dancer. During her competitive career she won the UK Championships Latin Amateur Rising Stars, was in the semi-final of the International Championships and ihe final in the Imperial Championships.
She has performed in several shows such as the Broadway production of ‘Burn The Floor’ in the USA. She was also a professional dancer on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ in Latvia.
Elza strongly believes that dancing can become a part of lifestyle for everyone as she speaks for herself- after 20 years in the industry she can't imagine a day without it!
Catalin Valcu is from Moldova. He started dancing Ballroom when he was five years old. From 2010 he won the Championship of Moldova five years in a row. He reached the semi-final at the World Championship in 2014 a year later started to dance for Germany.
He is now working as a Teacher and Professional Partner for Simply Dancing Partners and is enjoying working with amazing people who continue to inspire and motivate him.
Paula Duarte has been dancing since the age of three and her early dance training involved ballet, jazz and contemporary dance. Whilst studying dance at University she was introduced to the Argentine Tango and fell completely in love with it. Since then she has devoted her life to learning, teaching, performing and perfecting the art of this bewitching dance in studios and festivals across the globe.
She has lived and taught in many European countries such as Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands and Austria. As she was often invited to teach and perform in the UK she decided to establish herself in London in 2013 and she now runs private and group lessons as well as delivering professional shows and demonstrations.