Josie LaRiccia is Artistic Director and Founder (2004) of Josie's International School of Dance. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Boston University and an Avocational Degree in Archaeology from Norwalk Community College. She studied Ballet with Diane DuPre of NYC's Joffrey Ballet and worked as an assistant Ballet instructor. Leaning towards character dance she studied Flamenco in NYC with Mariquita Flores, Mariano & Mariana Parra and Jose Molina, and Escuela Bolera (Classical Spanish Dance) with Daniel DeCordoba, Mariano Parra & Jerane Michel. She is well versed in many styles of dance, hosting presentations of Flamenco, Argentine Tango & Salsa and currently performs in the Westchester and New York area. She also holds certifications in Pilates & Kindermusik and is an adjunct dance teacher at Purchase College in Rye, New York.
Nahara has studied dance since childhood. Her Middle Eastern dance career spans 20 years of training with notable instructors including Yousry Sharif (Egypt/NYC), Dr. Mohammed Geddawi (Egypt), Raqia Hassan (Egypt), Faten Salema (Egypt), Henet (Egypt), Aida Nour (Egypt), Mina Mazid (Morocco), Sahra Saeeda (Los Angeles) and Aisha Ali (Los Angeles). In 2001 she lived in Cairo for one month studying Middle Eastern dance, its roots and cultural basis, and gave eight performances on a Cairo five-star stage. Her dance repertoire includes Egyptian Raqs Sharqi (Oriental), Egyptian Rags Baladi (folkloric for weddings, haflas, restaurants), Tunisian Raqs Shaabi and Moroccan Shikhat for stage presentation.
Edward Quiros ("Eddie Q") started dancing in 1995 at Sandra Cameron's Dance Studio in NYC and became an instructor in 1997. For six years, he taught all levels of Salsa on 1 and 2 and club cha-cha. Eddie brought incredible energy and insight to Salsa and it's music. Since 2003 he taught at Dance Mosaic (a/k/a IFA) in White Plains, Salsa International (47th Street in NYC), Forest Park Center in Glendale, Queens, the Student Center at SUNY Downstate (Brooklyn), YWCA White Plains, Rhythm & Soul Dance Studio (Levittown), Island RAQs Dance Studio and Studio E Dance School. Eddie is uniquely versed in all styles of Salsa. He brings to his students at Josie's International School of Dance over 17 years of vast classroom experience. His eagerness to pass on his mastery of timing and technique is matched by his passion for the dance. Eddie is of Puerto Rican descent and speaks fluent Spanish. He is also an accomplished jazz guitarist, formed and directed the group Progression with the fusion of elements of be-bop, funk, Latin jazz and R&B, and he is the publisher of Salsa and More magazine.
Maria Lavandier is a native of the Dominican Republic. Since she was a young girl, dancing has always been her passion. Her dance experience ranges from teaching the basics of Bachata, Cumbia and Merengue to choreographing routines for partner, solo line dances and exercise workouts. She has performed and won awards for Merengue and Bachata in the Dominican Republic and at various latin dance club competitions in the New York tri-state area. Maria also has an extensive background in Middle Eastern dance. Maria brings great joy and energy to her classes, instilling self-confidence and a positive attitude.
Bridie Connors-Schwartz originally from New Zealand began her ballet training at Draper Academy of Dance, New Zealand and went on to further a dance career by participating in Ajkun Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive “Performing In New York” in 2006 before joining the Company in 2007. Bridie has toured with Ajkun Ballet Theatre to Italy and was invited to attend company classes with Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Bridie has performed with the Albany Berkshire Ballet in their production of The Nutcracker. In New Zealand Bridie conducted the Chlidren's Ballet program at The Auckland Performing Arts Centre and performed with Auckland Ballet in 2012. In New York she has had experience teaching dance in public schools ‘Arts In Education’ programs. She is a certified Pilates instructor and member of the Pilates Method Alliance, completing her training with Polestar Pilates in New Zealand.
Rebeca Tomas has been deemed by the critics as “awesomely fiery” (New York Times), “masterful” (Eva YaaAsentawaa), and “a postcard image of the feminine Flamenco dancer” (Kansas City Metropolis). After years of performing and touring with such companies as Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca and Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, she founded A Palo Seco Flamenco Company, for which she directs and choreographs her own original productions. Acknowledged as an up and coming voice in the U.S. Flamenco community for an artistic vision deeply rooted in Flamenco tradition, yet relevant in a modern urban context, her productions have been proclaimed as “a feast for the eyes and the ears” (Theatre Online). Rebeca began her formal dance training in Granada, Spain at Maite Galán's Escuela de Danza Española. She later moved to Madrid, where she studied at the internationally renowned Flamenco Academy Amor de Dios under such figures as Maria Magdalena, La China, Manuel Liñán, Rafaela Carrasco, Alfonso Losa, and Concha Jareno, with whom she took intensive courses in Manton (manila shawl) and Abanico (fan). While in Madrid, she appeared at various tablaos around the city, including Al Andalus and Las Carboneras. She has also studied in Sevilla with Juana Amaya, Pastora Galván, and Yolanda Heredia, focusing on Bata de Cola (long-train dress) technique. Prior to her dance career, Tomas received a B.A. (magna cum laude) at the University of Rochester, a teaching certificate for Spanish in secondary education, and she was a Take Five scholar in Hispanic Studies at the U of R. Throughout her undergraduate career, she studied piano with Vincent Lenti at the Eastman School of Music.
Juan Manuel Alessandrini started dancing Tango at a very young age in Argentina. He moved to the United States several years ago and has been studying and working with Carolina Zokalski and Diego DiFalco of the original cast of the Broadway show "Forever Tango". Juan Manuel currently teaches and performs with them and with his partner Olga Pisano at various venues in the tri-state area.
Laxmi Parida was introduced to the fascinating world of Argentine Tango in the Autumn of 1998 and fell in love with this sensuous, expressive dance and hasn't looked back since. She trained with Mariella Franganillo and traveled to different corners of the world, Melbourne to Montreal, Shanghai to Mumbai, experiencing the richness of life through tango. The founder of Westchester Tango states that "Tango makes the head, the heart and the soul work in harmony.”
Kiana Davalos is a self-taught aspiring Hip Hop dancer and choreographer from Westchester, NY. She has performed all over the country and world from charity events, fundraisers, talent shows and International Events. Aside from performing Kiana has also been featured in music videos, commercials, international dance battles (Japan and China), and “Americas Got Talent” as well as danced alongside people from “So You Think You Can Dance”, Akon, Jadakiss, and much more! In 2016 Kiana toured China for 7 months where she choreographed, performed, and taught workshops. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and craft among all ages of students who want to learn.
Ramzi El-Edlibi is a dancer as well as a drummer! He studied Middle Eastern Dance with Caracalla, Flamenco with Jose Granero, Classical Ballet with Dukodovsky, Jazz with Luigi, Ballroom with Pierre de Leine, and Tango with Carlos Gavito! He currently directs and runs his “Dances Around The World” program offering assemblies and workshops to the community, especially young audiences in school assemblies. His program teaches the public how dance plays a vital role in our lives, while he takes you on a profound journey to exotic places around the world!
Olga Pisano started dancing at the age of 12 with her younger brother. They won the local dance competition and were offered a scholarship in one of the prestigious dance schools in their native city Lesosibirsk, Russia. She studied various forms of dance from jazz and hip-hop to ballroom styles. In 2006 she moved to New York City to study and pursue dance. In 2009 she discovered Argentine Tango and fell passionately in love with it. Her first teachers, Orlando Reyes and Adriana Salgado helped her build a solid foundation for Tango. Among her other teachers are world-class maestros such as Gabriel Angio and Natalia Gamez, Mario Morales, Gabriel Misse and Analia Centurion, Claudio Gonzalez and Melina Brufman. In April 2012 together with her former dance partner they became the champions of the Stage Tango Category at the USA Argentine Tango Championship. In 2014 she won first place in the Original Tango Championship in New York. She is the founder and former president of the Baruch College Argentine Tango Club where she taught different levels of tango classes weekly while pursuing her degree in Digital Marketing. Currently Olga teaches and performs in New York, New Jersey and North Carolina.