Layssa – Brazil / Adelaide Australia

Layssa is considered one of the worlds top Brazilian Zouk artists, traveling extensively as an instructor and sharing her deep knowledge of Brazilian dance technique.

Layssa Valentina has been a bubbly and happy soul since a child. Her nickname was “risadinha” which in portugues means “little laugh”.

Her bright personality and love for movement became stronger when 2 of her best friends from school were doing ballet lessons and after watching her first ballet performance she was completely in love. Her dance journey started right away when she was 13 years old at Ballet Sandra Castro. Since then she never stopped.
She learned from great schools like Petite Danse, Centro de Danca Rio, Conservatorio Brasileiro de Danca in Rio de Janeiro and also was part of Marcia Pinheiro Dance Company from 2007 to 2010, until she discovered her love for Brazilian Zouk.
Layssa joined Renata Pecanha’s dance company in 2007 where she learned all brazilian partner dance styles like Samba de Gafieira, Bolero, Forro, Soltinho and of course, Brazilian Zouk. It was love at first sight.
She performed, won competitions and taught representing Renata’s company for 2 years dancing with Leonardo Neves, until they together decided to fly solo.
Layssa and Leonardo built an amazing career together for 6 years, being the youngest dance couple in the scene to travel all over Europe, Russia and Australia but also all around Brazil. Their partnership came to an end in 2012, where Layssa decided to move to Adelaide and settle, opening her own dance school along with Arthur Santos for 7 years.
They together travelled all over the world, well known for their precise and deep understanding of technique and mentoring great numbers of dancers through the years.
Now, Layssa is flying completely solo in her new journey to self discovery where she just completed her degree in Contemporary Dance at ACArts, Reiki 1, Transcendental Meditation and diving deeper into her Yoga knowledge to bring together her new dance method where the intention is to help you find surrendering and understanding  in dance from the inside out. Her new project is coming up soon called “The Beyond Movement”.

Juliana and Rafael – Brazil / Brisbane Australia

For more than 10 years, Juliana Lima and Rafael Pitarello have been sharing their love for dancing through regular classes, workshops and performances around the world. In 2016, they moved to Brisbane – Australia, where they have been promoting and strengthening the Brazilian dance culture, especially Brazilian Zouk and Samba de Gafieira, through regular classes and workshops at big events such as Casa do Zouk, Brazouky and Brisbane Zouk Festival.


Juliana has always been passionate about dance, after doing Jazz for a few years she decided to take a trial partner dance class (Danca de Salao- ‘the Brazilian Ballroom’) when she was just 14 years old and hasn’t stopped since. Being part of different festivals and events competing with Jazz and partner dance choreos, she decided to dive deeper into dancing by taking a specialization course for partner dance instructors and choreographers with a two year duration. Working as a dance instructor and choreographer with Rafael Pitarello since 2011, she also graduated in Social Communication with an emphasis on Public Relations by Cásper Líbero Foundation, SP- Brazil, and is currently studying to become an authorized Fitness Instructor in Australia.  Brazilian Zouk and Samba de Gafieira, through regular classes and workshops at big events such as Casa do Zouk, Brazouky and Brisbane Zouk Festival.


Graduated in Physical Education with specialization in Cardiovascular Rehabilitation and Physical Education by the Dante Pazzanese Cardiology Institute – SP, Brazil, Rafael Pitarello started partner dancing (Danca de Salao- ‘the Brazilian Ballroom’)  in 2008 and has been developing his career in dance since then, being part of various events, festivals and dance congresses, including joining the Dancing Team of Costa Cruises for two seasons (2010-2011 and 2011-2012) touring around Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Rafael also worked for two years as a Fitness and Dance Instructor at YMCA Sao Paulo. Since 2011, Rafael has been working alongside Juliana as dance instructor and choreographer.

Leo and Becky – Brazil / Christchurch New Zealand

Leo and Becky are world renowned Brazilian Zouk artists based in Christchurch New Zealand. They are the owners and directors of Brazilian Beatz Dance Academy and regularly teach at congress’s and events all over the world and around New Zealand, helping zouk communities grow and flourish.


Leonardo Neves is one of the Directors & owners of Brazilian Beatz Dance Academy. He started dancing at 8 years old as an after school activity and this is where his passion for Dance began. From here Leo spent the next 6 years attending various dance schools in Rio de Janeiro, studying Bolero, Soltinho, Samba De Gafieira, Samba no pé, Lindy hop, Salsa and Forro.

When he was 12 years old, Leo began learning from the Zouk creators; Renata and Adilio, in their Dance Company. Here he studied Brazilian Zouk, and other Brazilian and Latin Dance styles for 7 Years. Over this time Leo performed with the company at different events including Congresses and Theatres. He competed with various dance partners and won 1st Place in the “Onda Zouk“ Competition with his dance partner at the time; Vanessa Ferreira, which was the first Brazilian Zouk Competition in Rio de Janeiro. After some time he became the dance partner of Renata Pecanha, travelling, teaching regular classes, Workshops, and at Congresses and performing with her across Brazil at the age of 15.

From 2009 to 2012 Leo traveled both Nationally (in Brazil) and Internationally teaching and performing from small events to some of the biggest Congresses in the World With His dance partner at the time; Layssa Liebscher.

At the beginning of 2013 Leonardo started his new partnership with Becky Crystal. They traveled all around the world teaching in many countries such as Czech Republic, Brazil, Ukraine, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Cyprus, USA, Australia, Bali, Singapore, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Spain, New Zealand, Belgium, Austria, Croatia and many others, where they were invited by local teachers and organizers to help the local communities and teachers grow with their dance. Leo also travels with Becky Crystal to give teachers courses around the world so the local teachers can grow their communities with quality .

Leo is an instructor in Christchurch, New Zealand, teaching Brazilian and Latin Dance Classes, specialising in Salsa, Bachata, Brazilian Zouk, Forró, Samba No Pé, Kizomba, Boléro, Soltinho, Samba De Gafieira, Merengue, Funk, Axé, Lambada and other dance styles.

He studied 3 years of Tap dance, Ballet, Contemporary, contact & Improvisation, Capoeira and other styles.

At Brazilian Beatz we have an incredible team of dance instructors, come along and meet them at our next beginners dance class!


Becky Crystal is one of the Directors & owners of Brazilian Beatz Dance Academy.

She began dancing in High School where she studied Dance as a Subject, learning to Choreograph, Document and Videograph different styles of dance. Becky then went into Latin American Dancing at Colleen Murray Dance Studio and during this time she studied a little of Samba, Jive, Cha Cha Cha, and Rumba in the Latin American Genre. She competed in local Dancesport competitions in her level and made a placing in every competition. Within 10 months of training Becky competed in one of the biggest dance competitions in New Zealand in 30 years the ISDF. The same day she was selected to go to Australia to dance on a television program called ‘Strictly Dancing’. After a few competitions over a number of years Becky started dancing more of the Street Latin Styles, studying Salsa, Street Cha, Merengue and Bachata and performing and competing for some years in these styles. In this time she entered into the South Islands (Teachers Level), the Nationals (Professional level) and even started a Bachata Team which she trained and took to the New Zealand Pacific Salsa Congress. Her team was selected to Perform in Australia at the Sydney Salsa Congress.

Becky then became interested in Brazilian dance styles and traveled to Brazil to expand her knowledge in these styles of dance. During this time she taught on a Cruise ship event organized by ‘World Salsa Tours’.

At the beginning of 2013 Becky started her partnership with Leonardo Neves. They travel all around the world teaching in many countries such as Czech Republic, Brazil, Ukraine, Netherland, Switzerland, Cyprus, USA, Australia, Bali, Singapore, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Spain, New Zealand, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Croatia and many others. They are invited by local teachers and organizers to help the local communities and teachers to grow with their dance. Becky also travels with Leo to give teachers courses internationally so the local teachers in their countries can grow their communities with quality.

Becky Teaches Brazilian and Latin Dance Classes as an instructor in Christchurch, New Zealand. she specializes in Salsa – Bachata – Brazilian Zouk – Forró -Samba No Pé – Kizomba – Boléro – Soltinho – Samba De Gafieira – Merengue – Lambada and other dance styles.

Trajano and Shannon – Argentina / Auckland New Zealand

Shannon and Trajano, are the Directors of Brazilian Dance Art, and their brand ZoukArt and this is their 10 year anniversary of running the dance school here in Auckland. They are well revered in the scene for their depth of dance knowledge, their ability to teach, their emotional performances and their ability to work with everyone.
As a dance partnership they started their dancing, performing and competing in Salsa, 12 years ago – until they then fell in love with Brazilian Zouk. They have since developed a strong brand for being highly competent and sought after Zouk and Gafieira teachers, choreographers, performers and judges, both nationally and internationally. They have trained with many of Brazilians finest Mestres (teachers) in Brazil, Europe and Australia. They have taught across many continents and continually strive to bring the most recent and up to date information to our workshops/classroom for the NZ students to benefit from! 
Trajano from Argentina has a strong background in acting, martial arts and trained in Capoeira for 4 years. Prior to moving to New Zealand he danced Cuban Salsa and Ballroom and he has since trained in contemporary, circus, acro, animal movement yet his main focus for the past 11 years has been in the Brazilian dances Brazilian Zouk and Samba de Gafieira.
Shannon from New Zealand, has a back ground training in her youth in American Jazz Ballet (for 8+ years) and is one of the Salsa dancers from the original NZ Salsa scene when she started in 1998 and has performed and competed in Salsa since. She has also developed in other styles: Contemporary, Latin Dancesport, Hip Hop – yet her main focus for the past 11 years has been in the Brazilian dances Brazilian Zouk, Samba de Gafieira and Samba no Pe.
We cant wait to be teaching you all across the weekend!

Phoebe and Dharsh – Sri Lanka / Auckland New Zealand

Phoebe and Dharsh are considered excellent zouk dancers and teachers with an extensive background of training internationally and teaching both in NZ and Australia. They share their love of zouk to their students at Viva Dance in Auckland.


Phoebe started Latin Ballroom when she was 15 years old after over a decade of dance and gymnastics experience. In 2010, at the NZ Salsa Congress, she saw Zouk for the first time and immediately fell in love. Phoebe has studied extensively all over the world, training with Alex and Mathilde in Paris, Bruno Galhardo, and in Brazil with the Queen of Zouk, Renata Pecanha. She sees Zouk as a graceful conversation between two people and her love for the style has pushed her to be a skilled leader, follower, and teacher. 


Dharshana is originally from Sri Lanka and has lived in Auckland, New Zealand for 20 years. He trained and competed in Tae Kwon Do until a friend dragged him to a Salsa class. After discovering Zouk it became his focus, and he has been training and teaching the style ever since.

Dharshana has competed nationally and overseas and won numerous titles in Zouk and Salsa. He has trained multiple performance teams that have gone on perform in several New Zealand congresses. To him, Zouk is an art form and he loves being able to share it with others in the community and see them grow in confidence and skill.

Adam and Gabby – Wellington New Zealand

Adam and Gabby are extremely accomplished zouk dancers and teachers based in Wellington.


Adam began dancing Cuban Salsa and Bachata in 2007, and in 2010 discovered Brazilian Zouk. Since then he has learnt from many of the world’s top instructors. Adam has been teaching regular classes in Salsa, Bachata and Zouk with Salsa Therapy and WeZouk since 2012. He has extensive experience teaching, training, competing (placing first in National competitions), choreographing, and performing these styles Nationally and Internationally. Adam also has trained in many other dance styles, including Merengue, Bolero, Forro, Samba de Gafieira, Tango, Flamenco and even Polish folk dancing. This diverse experience gives Adam an excellent understanding of the fundamentals of partner dance and the techniques specific to each style. He is a vibrant, selfless, and welcoming primary instructor of the Salsa Therapy and WeZouk teams, who brings endless energy to his teaching and dancing.


Leona’s dance journey began at age 14, with Ballroom dancing. She was heavily involved in this for several years, until she discovered Salsa at age 18. Despite having no previous training in Latin dance, Leona rapidly developed her skills in Salsa and other Latin styles, travelling to a variety of different countries in the process. She was first introduced to Brazilian Zouk at the 2009 New Zealand Salsa Congress, and was instantly struck by the dance’s flow, connection, and versatility. She picked it up the following year, attending classes at Salsa Therapy and travelling to Zouk events in New Zealand and Australia. Leona is now a proficient Zouk dancer, having danced for many years and learnt from the world’s top Zouk artists, as well as teaching, performing, and competing. She brings her manifold skills to our team, as well as her warm and caring spirit.