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Tito Puente Jr. & His 7 Piece Band

TITO PUENTE JR.

The comparison is inevitable. How could it be otherwise? Tito Puente Jr. carries his father with him – imprinted on his physical being and locked in his soul. It’s in his looks, his joy, and his music. Tito, Jr. is on a passionate mission. The younger Puente is determined to nurture the musical legacy left by his father. He refuses to let his father become a distant memory. “He was just too vibrant, too exciting. There was magic in the music my father made. It made people happy all over the world.” He has found captive audiences who echo his passion. Crowds lured to a venue by the father are returning to see the son -- and to once again participate in the high voltage celebration that takes place on stage. Tito Puente, Jr. has become an audience favorite in casinos, performing arts centers, symphony halls and jazz festivals worldwide, performing more than 300 shows over the past 5 years. His 2004 album, “In My Father’s Shoes” featured the classic Puente titles and was spun into a BET Jazz television special of the same name. He was seen in a tribute to his father’s music on NBC’s two hour special--“The Apollo at 70: A Hot Night in Harlem.” He has also appeared on the ABC soap opera hit “One Life to Live” in performance with his big band. Symphony appearances include Dallas, San Antonio, Colorado, South Bend, and upcoming performances with the Palm Desert Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marvin Hamlisch. Tito, Jr.’s new CD release, “Got Mambo?” is a mixture of the old and the new as he takes a musical departure into some powerful new music he can truly call his own. Guest artists Bobby Cruz and Hansel & Raul help make this a coming of age project for Puente, Jr. and the album is receiving heavy praise from Tropical and Latin Jazz critics alike. Tito Jr. reveres the magnificent, lasting impact his father had on our musical lives. “People who don’t know anything about Latin music know my father and people always, always smile when they say my father’s name,” he confides. “That is a very special gift I have been given.” Tito, Jr. lives in South Florida and has two children, Miranda and Antonio.

DJ's

BALLROOM DJs Michelle & Bob Friedman

have been part of the ballroom dance word for the past 15 years. As avid dancers they started with Ballroom Dance Lessons, and for the past 7 years as professional DJs – specializing in Ballroom Music. In 2001 they even won Top Couple in a Good Morning America 25 hour dance marathon. They have a comprehensive music library of over 20,000 tracks spanning the decades, which includes all types of Ballroom, Latin, Hustle, West Coast Swing & Argentine Tango. They are northeast coast DJ favorites spanning NY, CT, NJ, PA, & DE areas, and are regulars at the world famous Stardust Dance Weekends. They are equally at home playing their music for Ballroom Socials, Showcases, Competitions, and professional performances for some of the world’s most famous ballroom couples. While preferences in music certainly vary from person to person, what they use as their criteria when choosing music to play is really very simple - does it make dancers feel like they just have to get up and move, or doesn’t it? They get great satisfaction when they watch dancers who were heading for their seats at the end of a song turn around and pull each other back out to the dance floor time and again as a new piece begins.

DJ Louis Del Prete (HUSTLE/SWING/CALIFORNIA MIX)

is a talented musician and dancer. He is accomplished on drums, keyboards, and trumpet, and is a fantastic singer. Louis is also an excellent ballroom dance teacher and DJ. Louis’s skills started at the age of 13, when he joined his talented mother and father, Rosann and Louis (also known as the “Perry Lane Orchestra”) at the former Island Squire Restaurant in Middle Island, where they performed for many years! His mom, Rosann, was a member of a popular all-girl band in the 60’s called the “Female Beatles”. His dad toured the United States with various bands as a trumpet player with a sound like Harry James. Louis recently joined the Stardust team as their new DJ where his musical and Latin dance background talent will contribute to making the Latin room one of our most popular venues. Stop in and say hi to Louis. When Louis is not playing music, he is dancing. He is accomplished in Ballroom and Latin dancing, having an excellent lead, precise technique and smooth style. He taught dance on popular cruise lines. Now he teaches group and private lessons and runs many dance venues on Long Island.

Franklin Ayala (LATIN DJ)

born in NYC has 12 years of experience as a Latin DJ. He is also the head DJ for DanceSport in New York City. Franklin takes his own unique approach to consistently deliver what the crowd is craving making him a highly coveted performer across New York City and around the world. His work includes headlining at major events and venues in New York, throughout the US, and abroad. Franklin Ayala’s musical selection carries the authenticity of the New York Salsa scene. He has played at venues very well known to many salseros; Copacabana, El Flamingo, Wild Palm, Latin Quarters, Iguana's,Cache, to name a few. He is also known for his diversity of its international influences as he seamlessly blends classic and modern Salsa with a keen sense for setting the mood and keeping the party at its peak. He has also been acknowledged for his influence and support of the Salsa community. Receiving the "Men in Salsa" award in 2007 in Washington D.C. and the "Alex" award in 2009 at the Miami Salsa Congress which he has been the Head DJ for the event for the past 6 years.

ARGENTINE TANGO DJ Carlos Rodo Quiroga

is a seasoned broadcaster-journalist born in La Plata, Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. His interest and experience, led him to become the creator of ReporTango, one of the premier tango magazines in the world, now relaunched as a 24 Hour Online Radio Station. Carlos has been involved with the tango genre since the early 90‘s, when he served as Master of Ceremonies for “La Galería del Tango Argentino” (a famous tango house owned by tango legends Carlos Gavito and Eduardo Arquimbeau). And from 1999 on, he has DJed for milongas and tango festivals in several countries around the globe. New York City, Boston and Miami (United States), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Tangier (Morocco) and Moscow (Russia) have all enjoyed and danced to his music selections.

Instructors

Donna DeSimone

Donna DeSimone (Entertainment Director)

has made dance her life long career since the age of 4. Her training, teaching and knowledge of tap, ballet, jazz, Broadway theater and ballroom has made her a diverse teacher and dancer to her students & classes. Donna has won countless dance and choreography awards in Ballroom and Hustle and resides on Long Island NY. Donna has been the Entertainment director for Stardust since 1993.

Wingo Hom

Wingo Hom - known as "The Dance Doctor" was born and raised in New York City. At age 11, he was introduced to partner dancing by his classmate’s parents. They were social dancers and demonstrated a variety of dances in their living room, which awakened his passion for all dances. His determination and motivation has rewarded him by studying under some of the finest instructors and coaches, which has lead him to compete in an array of dances such as, Hustle, American and International styles of Ballroom, Latin, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing and Salsa. He is known for his unique technique for diagnosing and improving your dance. The dance doctor makes house calls, you supply the floor space and he will bring the knowledge. Wingo has over 50+ years of dance experience and multiple accomplishments, which include: Recipient of the 2015 Artie Phillips Lifetime Achievement Award, Recipient of the 2014 Employee of the Year Award for Stardust Dance Productions, Winner of 10 Top Teacher Awards, Winner of the 2009 Dancing with the Stars Tour Version in Cha Cha and East Coast Swing competition in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, 2006 Amateur Male Hustle Dancer of the Year, First and only amateur hustle couple, with partner Angela McCabe, to defeat a professional Hustle couple in a competition, 649 first place titles, 34 Jack and Jill first place awards. Wingo is one of the very few instructors that is certified (lead and follow) in Hustle, 12 different American Smooth, Latin and Rhythm Styles at full Bronze and Silver Levels. He is also certified to Judge Dance competitions in all levels. Wingo is a familiar presence in the Hustle, West Coast Swing and Salsa community and is currently teaching in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Cameron Johnson

our newest dance instructor joining Stardust. Hailing from South Africa, Cameron Johnson started his dancing career at the age of 5, under the tutelage of his parents.Cameron is the unbeaten South African International Standard Champion in the Junior, Amateur and Professional ranks. In 1996 Cameron represented South Africa in the Open Fleetwood Professional Championship in Blackpool, England and was placed 6th. Also in 1996, Cameron represented South Africa in the Open French Masters Professional Championship on the Isle of Reunion and was placed 3rd. In 2000, Cameron was invited to immigrate and teach in the USA, where he has since made his home. In 2008, Cameron represented the USA at the World Pro/Am Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was placed 1st. To date, Cameron is still active in the competitive Pro/Am arena where he teaches and moulds his students into the best dancers they can be. Since 1995, Cameron started studying to do his professional qualification exams and In 1996, achieved a Highly Commended pass rate as an Associate in International Standard through the South African National Council of Ballroom Dancing. In 1999, Cameron also achieved a Highly Commended pass rate as an Associate in International Latin and a Highly Commended pass rate as a Licentiate in International Standard through the United Kingdom Alliance in London, England.

Leon Harris

started his association with the dance community after retiring from the US Navy. His first dance was the Brazilian dance Lambada, moved on to ballroom, and finally developed a love for Argentine Tango . Viewing dance as an extension of his interaction with people, Leon focuses on teaching good dance technique and building confidence in his students. Being calm and understated, his students find his classes easy going, stress free, but meet their goal of learning to dance. Being located in Washington DC, his training has included local ballroom studios, workshops with visiting dance professionals, salsa and Argentine Tango dance festivals in the US, South America, the Caribbean, and Europe; tango workshops in Buenos Aires and Dubai, and two summer sessions at Stanford University for advance Argentine Tango. Seven workshops at the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional Habana (Cuba) provided him with a focus on Cuban dance history, Afro Cuban Folkorico dances, Cuban social dances, and the dances of Santaria. Although he was a student, he taught Argentine Tango while in residence at the Conjunto. As a former Stardust dance host, his experience opened doors for him to hosting/teaching on all the major cruise lines. On the Queen Mary 2, he danced around the world and taught Argentine Tango to a group of beginners that resulted in a performance for the ship. For the pass 20 years, his home has served as his dance studio for Latin and Argentine Tango classes.

Lourdes Cruz

has been dancing from a very young age and began teaching & competing professionally in 1996. Her dance background extends from Ballroom & Latin Dancing, Folk, Belly Dance, West Coast Swing & Argentine Tango. Her 13 Ballroom Dance Major along with her interdisciplinary teaching experience and studies in music, martial arts, & speech pathology contribute to the versatility of her dancing and teaching style. Currently she is Program Director and Lead Instructor of the Dance Program at Innerlight Movement Studio in Hyde Park, NY.

James “Suits” Smith

is from Sacramento Ca. and started his dance career in his home town. Starting Ballroom and Latin dancing in 2003 James found a passion for partnership dancing and has made a successful business as owner of Studio 18. James Smith specializes in International Latin and American Rhythm. James has a unique charm and energy in his style of teaching. His dance ability is at a professional level which makes him not only fun to dance with, but also makes for an amazing learning experience. James teaches both social and competition style dance lessons. He is excited to bring his talent and knowledge to the Stardust family.

Maria Fiore

has been dancing, and teaching since 1996 . She was with Fred Astaire Dance studios since 1988 in Connecticut and Ny. In 2001 she went on to own her own studio and  became Dance with Maria. Her competitive career started out in 1993-2002 in American Rhythm as a well known finalist  all over the US. She is known also as a performer and instructor in Italy and Greece. She teaches  - Latin, Hustle,  Swing 1940’s lindy, East coast, Argentine Tango as well as ballroom.

Fitness Instructors

Marion Panos

Belly Dance Instructor - In 2009, Marion joined our fitness staff and teaches Belly Dance classes at the weekends. Marion is trained in several styles of dance, including jazz, modern, Afro-Brazilian, African, Middle Eastern and Ballroom. She is proficient in American style ballroom and Latin and has also studied International Standard. She competed around the country at the pro-am level in American style ballroom and Latin for many years. She was a professional Middle Eastern dancer and has been teaching Belly Dance for more than 15 years.

Molly Gelsomino

originally from Upstate, New York. She has a diverse background in the arts, including a BA in Dance from the University at Buffalo, over 15 years of performance and choreography in concert dance and 6 years as a Dance Educator in the Brooklyn Public Schools. Molly is a former professional cheerleader for the AFL, and spent 6 years in NYC as a Co-Artistic Director for The Movement Collective Dance Company. As a newer resident of Sullivan County, Molly found Zumba® to be the most exciting way to fuse her passion for dance. music and fitness. Molly enjoys inspiring her clients and encouraging her classes to feel the music, join the party and have a fun fitness experience upon stepping into the studio.

Dance Host Director

Mario Cadavid

Dance Host Director has come to us from the Information Technology world. Having graduated with is B.B.A in computers and his M.B.A in management he has worked in multiple hospital I.T. departments throughout the years acquiring numerous certifications along the way. Having made his first splashes into the dance world in 2015, he quickly acquired a passion for many dance styles and continued his residency under Wingo "The Dance Doctor". Mario has competed and placed at Disco America and was part of Donna DeSimone's Swustle team that took first place in New York's 2017 Hustle Congress team division. His lighthearted approach to social dancing is noticed by his followers when occasionally things don't go as planned and he's heard saying "No ambulance....No problem"

Entertainers

Aleksandra Ola Kozlowska & Alfred Pena

Aleksandra Ola Kozlowska Born in Warsaw, Poland, Aleksandra “Ola” Kozlowska started her ballroom dance training at the age of 10. In her youth she represented Poland at many international competitions in the junior, youth, and amateur categories in both International Standard and Latin styles. She received her training from some of the best and leading dance coaches in the world. In 2003 she decided to move to United States in order to pursue her professional career and continue to perform, compete and teach. Previously an international Latin professional, Ola’s focus has shifted her professional career into American Rhythm, Salsa and Bachata. She is a former US Open Professional Bachata Champion and Salsa on2 runner up. She is also the NDCA World Salsa Finalist for 2008 and 2009. She was also ranked 6th at 2011 World Latin Dance Cup in Professional Bachata as well as salsa on2 in the following year. In 2013 she won bronze medal at United States Professional Mambo Championships. She specializes in teaching Salsa, Bachata, International Standard and Latin as well as American Smooth and Rhythm. She also designs and makes ballroom costumes for herself and other dancers.

Alfred Pena began his dance training with World-class coaches: Victor Kanevsky, Oksana Zolotarevskaya and Bas van der Zanden. While studying Latin, Alfred discovered his passion for the genre of Salsa and immersed himself in the industry. In 2009, he founded the social dance network, Rhythmology. Currently, Rhythmology has expanded into one full time location, four socials and over forty group classes per week. Together with his partner of eight years: Aleksandra Kozlowska, they became the NDCA World Salsa Finalist for 2008 and 2009. They also ranked 6th at the 2011 World Latin in Professional Bachata, as well as Salsa On2 in the following year. They are also the former US Open Professional Bachata Champions. Alfred was also featured in Prince Royce’s Bachata version of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” as the lead male dancer.

Andriy Besyedin & Amanda Besyedin

Andriy Besyedin was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine. He started ballroom dancing at the age of 6. Immediately he had a love for dance and started his competitive career. In his junior and youth years he was a champion/finalist in all of the major world competitions like Blackpool Dance Festival in England, Dutch Open in Netherlands and WDC World Championships in France. At the age of 19 he decided to moved to the USA to further his dance career and seek a better life. After two years of living in the USA he found a dance partner, his wife, Amanda, to continue his competitive dance career. He was trained by many world renowned coaches and dancers like Eugene Katsevman, Maria Manusova, Colin James, Lene James and Graham Oswick.

Amanda Besyedin as a child, was a competitive gymnast and also had a love for ballet. At the age of 12 she was accepted into ABT’s (a very prestigious ballet company) summer intensive program in NYC. She came across the ballroom world at the age of 15 and fell in love. Shortly after she became a youth champion in many major competitions in the US and was champion of her first major international competition in Mallorca, Spain. She was featured on the 2013 WWE Wrestle Mania and also held a main role in Sway; A Dance Trilogy along side of the DWTS cast. Amanda has been trained by very top dancers and teachers in the ballroom world. They are Val Chmerkovskiy, Tony Dovolani, Eugene Katsevman, Maria Manusova, Colin James and Lene James. She now dances with her husband, Andriy Besyedin to which she is focusing on her competitive career. Amanda and Andriy are currently one of the top Latin American dancers in the USA in their category.

Michael Nadtochi & Helen Wang

Michael Nadtochi started to dance at the age of ten in Moscow, Russia. Ever since, dancing has been the main focus of his life. By the age of eighteen, his success as a performer and competitor in the global ballroom dance scene granted him the Russian National Youth Champion title and an honor to represent his country in the World Championship held in Slovenia.With extensive travels all over Europe (France, Germany, England, Denmark, Norway), Michael earned international recognition as a Ballroom Latin Dance competitor. In 1998, he moved to the United States and achieved even greater success and in two short years was awarded the title of “Top U.S. Professional National Dance Couple of the Year”. As a worldwide recognized dancer, he regularly took part in dance festivals, major concert hall and theater shows all over the globe, as well as made numerous TV commercial and film appearances as a principal dancer. For the past 15 years Michael focused entirely on performing and teaching the art of Argentine Tango and in 2013 he was one of the core dancers at Malbec & Tango House NYC, the first authentic nightly Argentine Tango show produced in USA.has been a professional dancer for more than two decades. His vast dance experience consists of performing, competing, choreographing and educating dancers and professionals all over the world. Michael traveled the world and took part in major tango festivals where he taught and performed at some of the most spectacular venues. Germany, Italy, Denmark, England, Scotland, Turkey, Russia, Belarus, Cyprus, Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan, Canada & USA are among the countries that he visited as a teacher, special guest and performing artist. His extensive list of teachers consists of Carlos Gavito, Osvaldo Zotto & Lorena Ermocida, Julio Balmaceda & Javier Rodriguez, Ricardo Barrios and many others who have been as an inspiration on a path of discovering his own Tango. Currently Michael is the director of Argentine Tango Academy of New York & New Jersey and the founder of The Art Of Tango LLC. As an artist he believes that the most important aspect of becoming a greater dancer is the process of self-discovery. Classes and workshops are only tools that give the necessary technique and help dancers to discover who they really are.

Helen Wang has a unique background growing up with training in dancing and classical music. Since graduating from Cornell, Helen has been a professional Argentine tango dancer for 8 years, with experience in performing, coaching and choreographing. She won 1st place of USA Tango Championship NYC “Stage” Tango with her dance partner in 2013. She has performed in famous shows such as “Rhythm and Passion”, Dance Fever, theater piece G*D directed by Hector Zaraspe, to list a few. Helen has performed a one-of-a-kind fusion dance of tango, salsa and Chinese elements at Lincoln Center in 2016. Among the audience were senator Chuck Schumer and famous Chinese celebrity, Jin Xing. She is currently working with the director, Hector Zaraspe, from the Broadway show Tango Pasion. Helen teaches in major dance studios in Manhattan.

Olena Abtitova & Oleksandr Kalenyuk

Olena Abtitova was born in Ukraine, in the city Donetsk. She started dancing at the age of 6 years. With her first partner, she danced 10 years and they achieved great results. were three-time finalists of the World Championship in 10 dances, latin and standard. Were champions of Ukraine in all three programs and finalists of the Blackpool dance festival. In 2012, Olena started dancing with Oleksandr, together they won the World Championship in Youth category in standard program. They were the champions of Ukraine, two-time vice-champions of the Blackpool Dance Festival, champions of the UK Championships and International Championships. For 2 years Olena represented Italy and since 2017 they have moved to USA and now represent this country. Now they are the top couple in standard in the Adult category.

Oleksandr Kalenyuk is from Ukraine, Donetsk city. He has a younger brother and sister. He began to dance at the age of 10 years. Sasha danced with his first partner for 6 years. During this time, he became the Champion of Ukraine and the world champion at his age. since 2012, he became a couple with Olena and achieved very big victories. 2 years he represented Italy, from 2017 he moved to USA, Boston.