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.
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.
Adrian Klein is a Romanian-born British performer. Adrian practiced Ballroom and Latin American dancing at a competitive level for 10 years, winning numerous first prizes at European Championships. He performed at the Royal Albert Hall, the Romanian Athenaeum and Vienna State Opera, as part of the ‘Strauss Festival’.
He joined Simply Dancing Partners 5 years ago and when he teaches he focuses on the clients’ presentation and on how the dancing steps should feel and look.
Adrian graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and has appeared in various feature films and theatre productions.
Ivan Arandia is an Argentinean tango dancer, choreographer and teacher with over 20 years of experience teaching and performing in the UK, Europe, Australia, Mexico and Argentina. Ivan is the owner of NEGRACHA Tango Club, one of UK’s leading tango venues. He performs regularly at various scenes in London, the UK and abroad.
Ivan is a very patient teacher and is able to communicate the wonderful intricacies of Argentine Tango to both beginners and advanced students with equal clarity.
Christian Carnio was born in Venice, Italy and started dancing Ballroom and Latin at the age of six. He competed at a national level in these disciplines and completed a FIDS degree (the Italian equivalent of the English ISTD).
At the age of 18 he started concentrating on Modern, Contemporary and Jazz dance amongst other styles including Ballet.
His varied dance background has allowed him to excel in versatile roles, including dancing in the film Casanova with Heath Ledger, the opera La Piccola Volpe Astuta at the renowned Teatro Regio in Turin, and the musical Don Bosco in Rome.
He moved to London in 2016, and has already featured in the Emmi music video You Said You Loved Me and Talk to me, is an artist member at The London Ballet Company with whom recent performances including Snow Queen the loss of son and James Bond and his 7 playing the main role. Christian also appears in a number of TV commercials. He continues to pursue diverse roles to develop his career as a professional dancer in the UK.