Ballroom DJs Michelle & Bob Friedman
have been part of the ballroom dance word for the past 30 years. As avid dancers they started with Ballroom Dance Lessons, and for the past 17 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 40,000 tracks, which includes all types of Ballroom, Smooth, Latin, Rhythm, Hustle, West Coast Swing, Argentine Tango and other specialty dances. 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.
Latin DJ Franklin Ayala
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.
Donna Desimone-Dance Instructor & 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 - 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.
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.
Daniel Cruz has been performing and teaching Ballroom, Latin and West Coast Swing in the Hudson Valley for almost 7 years. Having over 16 years of dance training, Daniel excels as a leader and follower in Ballroom, Latin, Tango and West Coast Swing. At 17 years old, he became a certified instructor through the Global Professional Dance Instructors Association at the Basic and Intermediate levels in West Coast Swing. Daniel shows an impressive amount of communication skills between people, teachers, and students of all ages. He enjoys bringing people together through the language and art of dance.
James “Suits” Smithis 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.
Marion Panos-Fitness Instructor
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-Fitness Instructor
Molly will be having morning stretch classes Saturday and Sunday at 9:00 am to get you ready to dance. 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. PLEASE BRING YOUR FLOOR MAT FOR THIS CLASS
DANCE HOST DIRECTOR
SILVER SCREEN BROADWAY PRESENTS THE CLOSE EMBRACE
HEATHER GEHRING, originally from Vermont, studied classical ballet with Boston Ballet, School of American Ballet and Hartford Ballet, becoming a professional at age sixteen. Besides the stage, Heather has danced on TV (MTV, Gossip Girls, Today Show, Tony Danza Show, Boardwalk Empire), and in movies and commercials (Enchanted, Little Manhattan). With her partner Lou Brockman, she has traveled the world teaching and performing their unique “Silver Screen Style” as well as performing in many infamous NYC venues including Town Hall (with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks), 54 Below, Rainbow Room and Birdland. They have taught and performed at Jacob’s Pillow, Harvard University and NYU.
LOU BROCKMAN, a Chicago native, began ballroom dancing when he was a young teen. He has lived in NYC for over two decades and has danced in films (Mona Lisa Smile, Disney’s “Enchanted”), and had featured performances on television (The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, NBC’s Today Show, Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook, Boardwalk Empire), and on stages around the world (The Kennedy Center, Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow) Lou was a member of the acclaimed American Ballroom Theater and is a highly respected choreographer who has taught master classes at Harvard University and NYU.
David Salvatierra & Maia Martinez
David Salvatierra is co-founder and director/teacher of Dojo Dance Company. His range of dances include Argentine Tango and Latin Rhythms. David has been involved in the tango community as a teacher and performer for the last 7 years, extending his workshops and performances outside NY. His teaching methods have been improved for over a decade and reinforced with his teaching and training skills in martial arts, as a black belt in Karate. David has performed with several important orchestras, represented Argentina in international events, and participated as guest teachers in Argentine Tango Festivals and dance weekends.
Maia Martinez is founder, director, teacher and dancer of Dojo Dance Company & Hudson Valley Tango. Her dance background includes ballet, Argentine Tango, Latin Rhythms, Modern Jazz, Folk, Flamenco & belly dance. She is a DXF coach (Dance Cross Fitness), Groove Facilitator & Spanish Dances Certified instructor. She has performed in many important tango Festivals and Milongas as well as represented Argentina in International events. Maia’s also a Self-defense instructor and holds a 2nd degree Black belt in Shotokan Karate. Maia has become a Teaching Artist for Ballroom Basix in 2015 and has participated in 3 residencies in Hudson Valley, New York.
Leo Mora & Christine Garced
Leo Mora: Originally from Costa Rica, Leo's desire to dance derived from his passion and admiration for the art, as well as his longing to hold a smoking hot chica in his arms at a salsa nightclub. Leo was a street dancer who started out social dancing however, he was quickly scouted out because of his natural talents. He started his professional career at Arthur Murray International over 10 years ago which is where he met his partner Christina. He is a certified and award winning instructor, sought after coach and full Championship Adjudicator with the NDCA. No stranger to the stage or screen, Leo was last seen as the featured dancer on David Tutera’s “CELEBrations”, dancing a salsa with Vanessa Williams.
Christina Garced: Studying dance by the age of three, Christina has a diverse background in the performing arts including many styles of dance (modern, jazz, ballet, lyrical and hip hop) and a Bachelor's Degree in English Theatre from New Jersey City University. However, growing up in her parents’ Arthur Murray Dance Studios, ballroom dancing has always been an integral part of her life. Christina decided to pursue her professional career in the American Style because of its boundless creative and uninhibited nature. Recognized not only for her choreography, Christina is also a certified and award winning instructor, as well as a full Championship Adjudicator with the NDCA. Leo and Christina decided to embark on their professional dance journey together in the American Style Smooth Division at the end of 2009. Their partnership reached instant success, and within their first year as a competitive team they found themselves in the Arthur Murray World Smooth final in addition to bringing home the title of Rising Star Smooth World Champions. Soon after, they decided to add on the American Style Rhythm dances to their repertoire which led them to many career highlights and successes.
As United States American Style 9-Dance finalists and 2X Arthur Murray 9-Dance Campions, Leo and Christina have had the honor of performing and teaching up and down the Northeastern coastline as well as numerous venues around the United States. Not only limited to the American Style, Leo and Christina are also known for excelling in the specialty dances such as Salsa, Bachata, and Hustle. Among their competitive ballroom dancing successes, they have also been cast as featured performers on major TV network shows such as: WE tv’s David Tutera’s “CELEBrations”, TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress and HGTV’s House Hunters.
Career highlights and awards: *United States 9-Dance Finalists *Millennium Dancesport *Ohio Star Ball 9-Dance Bronze Medalists *2X Arthur Murray 9-Dance Champions *2X Jesse Smith Memorial 9-Dance Award recipients *Arthur Murray World Professional Smooth and Rhythm Finalists. *Arthur Murray World Hustle Champions
Tatiana Keegan & Anatoliy Shvarts
Tatiana Keegan was the Russian Amateur National Champion in Ten Dances before coming to the United States and winning many of the top professional Open and Rising Star International Latin championships, including the Ohio Star Ball and the U.S. Ballroom Championship with Tony Dovolani. After a seven-year break to get married and start a family, she returned to reach the World Professional Latin Championships in Germany. Last year, she turned amateur to compete in her age category and formed a successful partnership with Anatoliy Shvarts.
Anatoliy Shvarts started dancing in his native Moldova, where he was the national youth champion. After moving to the United States, he partnered with Renata Golbert and placed 3rd in the U.S. National Amateur Latin Championships. The couple turned professional and made the finals in many top U.S. national and international competitions. In 2001, Anatoliy retired from competitive dancing to pursue other career interests but returned to the competitive circuit last year as an amateur with new partner Tatiana Keegan.
2019 U.S. amateur national champions in International Latin (age 35+) and 3rd in the WDC amateur world championship (40+) in Ireland. Sponsored by Freed of London.