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Our Instructors

Senior Instructor

Alisson Sandi

Alisson Sandi began his dance career at the age of 15 in São Paulo, Brazil, where he was born. Over the years he trained in Brazilian, Latin and International Ballroom dancing with Jaime Arôxa, Renata Peçanha, Alex de Carvalho, Rodrigo Delano, and others. In 2007, he joined the Juan Rando Dance Academy (JRDA) in Perth, Australia, and stayed in Australia through 2019 teaching in multiple cities and around the world. Alisson has held performances and workshops in over 41 countries, and holds titles including 2x Pro World Champion, 3x Australian Pro Champion, and Winner/Finalist of various BZDC All Stars/Champions Jack and Jill Comps. He is one of the the founders and the first choreographers of the International Zouk Flash Mob. He has also been an official judge for the Brazilian Zouk Dance Council since its first competition event. Alisson has a passion for teaching and is known for his attention to detail and effective instruction in dance techniques. Recently Alisson completed the 50-hour lambada certification course with Master Braz, and is looking forward to practicing and teaching more lambada and sharing it with the dancers and community here and in Washington, DC.

Senior Instructor

Gui Prada

Gui Prada started dancing in 2004 inspired by the movie "Shall We Dance?". He began to dive deep into dance in 2006 as a work-study trainee of the Jaime Arôxa Dance School in Rio de Janeiro. Jaime Arôxa, one of the creators of Brazilian Zouk, was the head instructor and was a mentor for the most accomplished dancers in Brazil. During his 6 years as a member of the school's team, he learned all Brazilian partner dances (Forró, Samba de Gafieira, Soltinho, Bolero and Zouk) as well as Argentine Tango. After he left the school, he continued dancing and learning from other remarkable instructors, including Fabiano Vivas, Kelly Reis, Érico Rodrigo, Guilherme Pimentel and many others. Since then he has focused his training and research on taking the best of each of these dances and applying it to the close embrace, with the purpose of conveying a sense of well-being and relaxation to dance partners. In 2016 he attended the first Zouk Retreat in Valencia, led by Xandy Liberato, Brenda Carvalho and Anderson Mendes. After that, his research on partner dancing took a new direction, as he continued working with Brenda and Anderson to seek for the application of the concepts explored at the retreat in different ways by using the references of the other Brazilian partner dances and Argentinian Tango. As a result, the importance of the basic steps and concepts became evident, since it is through them that all dances reach another level. Gui is looking forward to sharing his technique and training with students here in Washington DC to help them improve their basics, comfort and confidence on the dance floor.

Junior Instructor

Vanessa Scott

Vanessa Scott found zouk in New Zealand and was drawn to its music, fluidity and circular movement. When she lived in the midwest US, she persuaded a ballroom teacher to split the cost of some instructional DVDs and learn Zouk from scratch together. In 2016, Vanessa moved to the DMV area and has been zouking as much as possible ever since. She joined the District Zouk dance team and performed with them for three years, and began teaching with District Zouk at the end of 2016. In 2017, she went to the first ever 30-day Rio Zouk Immersion Course in Brazil where she studied with top Brazilian instructors Jaime Aroxa, Renata Pecanha, Brenda Carvalho and Anderson Mendes da Rocha. Working closely with them in such an intimate setting allowed her to see the depth and different philosophies of this dance. She continued learning from some of the top international instructors, including a 40-hour one-on-one training with Xandy Liberato in Spain and a 19 hour training with William and Paloma in Singapore. In 2018, she formed her own Ladies Performance Team with District Zouk and she continued as the director and sometimes as the choreographer. In summer 2019, the District Zouk Ladies team won first place at the National Team Zouk N Play Competition under Vanessa’s direction. Vanessa has been teaching, traveling the world, and soaking up different flavors of Zouk, and is excited to share her passion and knowledge with others.

Assistant

Hermela Alemayehu

Hermela started her partner dance journey in 2016 when she got some friends together to go out salsa dancing. She immediately caught the bug and before she knew it, she found herself learning salsa and bachata and dancing the nights away. Hermela later found Brazilian Zouk in 2017 and fell in love with the connection and fluidity of movement. She immersed herself fully in this style, learning from District Zouk and other local and international instructors. She has attended various festivals and participated in training courses. She is looking forward to sharing her passion and enthusiasm with others.