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 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.
Stefano Capitani is Italian with a strong background in Ballet and Ballroom and Latin dances. He started to study Argentine Tango in Rome at the age of 19 and has performed in some of the most famous Italian theatres including San Carlo in Naples, Petruzzelli in Bari, Carignano in Turin, as well as the London Coliseum. He also danced in Mauro Barreras’ Tango Company. He started to teach Tango courses with Roberta Beccarini, in Rome, a soloist dancer of one of the most important tango companies in the world, “Tangox2 Company” by Miguel Angel Zotto.
Stefano also works as a GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® personal trainer. This is a movement system developed for give freedom to the spine, a better alignment to the whole body and a great awareness of each body segment and each movement pattern. With this detailed knowledge of how the body moves and works, he developed with Pablo Moyano (one of the best soloists of the “Tangox2 Company”), a new way to approach Tango. It is called “Cuerpo Harmonico”.
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.
Anna who is from Kiev, Ukraine started dancing at the age of seven and always knew that she would become a professional dancer. She has a Master’s Degree in Ballroom Dancing from the National University of Physical Education and Sport of Ukraine. She has been teaching both adults and children for over seven years.
Anna is the Ukrainian Champion in all 10 dances, Ballroom Champion in the European WDC Federation and is currently ranked in the top 5 UK couples and the top 50 in the world. She is also in the top 100 best dancers in Ukraine on TV’s “So you think you can dance”.
She says: “It gives me great pleasure to teach people to dance, because I know that because of this they become more confident and filled with happiness, which cannot be overvalued.” Dancing is her passion and she wants to share it with other people.
Nikita is a professional dancer in all ten Ballroom and Latin dances. He is currently competing in the European program.
Born in Mariupol, Ukraine he was four years old when he saw John Travolta on TV dancing acrobatic rock-n-roll. He was so impressed that he immediately told his mother that he wanted to copy him. However, instead she took him to learn Ballroom dancing which for him was a magical world where two people dance as one.
Nikita is the Ukrainian Champion in all 10 dances, Ballroom Champion in the European WDC Federation and is currently ranked in the top 5 UK couples and the top 50 in the world. She is also in the top 100 best dancers in Ukraine on TV’s “So you think you can dance”.
He still has his love for acrobatics an in addition to his career as a professional competitive dancer, he takes part in show programs that enable him to show his full range of skills. He believes that this completes his emotional wellbeing.
Eddie started to dance at the age of ten. He has over twenty years of dance training and experience and is a fully qualified IDTA dance instructor coaching students for both dance exams and competitions.
He competed in and won multiple British, European and World Dance Championship titles in Solo dance, American smooth, West Coast Swing and Pro-Am divisions first as an Amateur and later as a Professional.
Eddie has a BA (Honours) in Dance from The Performing Arts Studio of Scotland, Edinburgh, where he studied Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, acting and singing.
Eddie has been lucky enough to be working consistently since the day he graduated and has travelled and performed all over the world in some of the biggest theatres and on the worlds biggest cruise ships, alongside some of the most well-known talents in the entertainment and theatre industry. This included "Chicago" the musical. He has also been involved with "Strictly Come Dancing" the past few years, working with the creatives on rehearsal days for group numbers and as on of the professionals on P&O's "Strictly"-themed cruises.
He tried many sports before he started to dance. He was ten when his mother forced him to go to his first lesson. At that moment, he fell in love both with dancing and with a beautiful blond girl and it changed his life forever.
He dedicated the next twenty-four years of his life to professional dancing. He has been taught by over fifty teachers from around the world. He lived for competitions and practiced day and night.
Eleven years ago, he started his own dance school in Hungary and taught students from complete beginners to high level competitors. He created his own style of teaching based on the personality of each individual student combined with his knowledge of the human body and biomechanics but at the same time making it understandable and enjoyable to everyone.
He has come to London with the intention of changing his own life and the lives of his students through dancing.