Kimberly Parent has always loved to dance, but when she discovered Cuban music and dance, there was an instant connection—something inside her changed. After spending a year overseas learning and teaching, she returned to Saskatoon only to find a deficit in the genre with which she’d fallen in love. In fact, there were no Salsa lessons being offered in her hometown beyond ballroom style. And so it was that in 2003 Kimberly Parent began teaching Salsa simply to have others to dance with. In no time, her performance group La Carisma was born.
The momentum of La Carisma led Kimberly to secure studio space for formal classes and soon, Saskatoon Salsa was thriving, delighting students of every age and winning ‘Best Dance Studio in Saskatoon’ in 2010. In June 2014, members of the troupe were invited to and travelled to San Juan, Puerto Rico to participate in the World Children's Salsa Congress.
In addition to heading up Saskatoon Salsa, Kimberly continues to perform and in January 2014, she and her partner Troy Davies won Audience Favourite at the GMG Jewellers Swinging with the Stars charity competition. Kimberly also furthers her dance education on a regular basis, training with professionals all over the world including New York, Taiwan, Australia, and Canada, always bringing her enhanced expertise and rejuvenated drive back to Saskatoon Salsa.
In 2002, Ervin Kormos began dancing and teaching Salsa in his homeland of Romania at the Salsa Caliente Dance Studio. It was the first Salsa school in the city of Cluj and one of the first in the country but since that time, the community has grown to have more than ten dance schools, all run by Ervin's previous students. During Ervin’s time at Salsa Caliente, he performed at and attended International Salsa Congresses in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and England and 2006, he moved to the Cayman Islands where he continued to teach and grow the local dance community. During that time, Ervin travelled a number of times to Cuba to gain exposure to the Cuban Casino Style Salsa and, when he moved to Saskatoon at the beginning of 2012, Ervin began teaching, choreographing, and performing with Saskatoon Salsa Dance Company.
Ervin teaches simply because he enjoys dancing and people. He is passionate about bringing a smile to the faces of his students, and igniting that passion in others for dance and growing the Salsa community in Saskatoon. Outside the dance studio, you can find him volunteering with Saskatoon Salsa at community events and fundraisers, performing at community and corporate events, and furthering his training at both International Salsa Congresses and various workshops across Canada.
Born and raised in Brazil, Mariana Lessa grew up dancing, training in several Brazilian styles of dance before moving in 1990 with her family to Canada. From there, her dance vocabulary only expanded and Mariana is now fluent in Samba, Merengue, Cumbio, Frevo, African, Dancehall, Hip Hop, and more. Mariana loves to teach, to meet new people, and to share in the joy as she helps her students express themselves through dance. What she appreciates most about Saskatoon Salsa is that it’s professional yet fun, and that it brings enormous opportunities to students and members in the form of performance, workshops, and social connections. Mariana continues to take part in workshops herself, and embraces every opportunity to hone and increase her skills.
Kristina Bykowy’s dance career started at twelve when she began studying Ukrainian dancing. At fourteen, Kristina joined the Yevshan Ukrainian Folk Ballet Ensemble and for ten years she toured with the company, performing for the Duke and Duchess of York, dancing in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Jeux Canada Games, touring the Ukraine, dancing in beautiful opera houses, and even performing in Disney World. After Ukrainian dancing, Kristina studied ballroom and African dancing for two years, Hip Hop for three, and then fell in love with Salsa dancing. She found Latin music to be inspiring, the dance to be uplifting, and simply loved the way Salsa made her feel. She now enjoys sharing this joy with the kids she teaches and is always sure to keep the learning process fun for her students.
Not only do children love Kristina but she loves them right back, delighting in their pure happiness and ability to express themselves without self-consciousness. When she is out of the studio, you will find Kristina running one of her ten free preschool programs in Saskatoon.
Ludovic Piejos is the newest addition to the Saskatoon Salsa team, joining in January of 2014. As a French Caribbean, Ludovic has always enjoyed dancing to Caribbean music such as Zouk, Dancehall, and Soca, but what he particularly loves about the atmosphere at Saskatoon Salsa is that people are able to learn while expressing themselves to that special Cuban Salsa flavour, all while enjoying a friendly environment. Ludovic cites both Kimberly Parent and Ervin Kormos as great mentors within the school and says that it’s because of these two passionate teachers that he also wants to share the joy of Cuban Salsa with his community.
Robbyn’s passion for dance started at an early age and growing up, the dance studio served as her second home. She took every class that was offered in her hometown from Ballet, Jazz, and Tap to Lyrical, Modern, Clogging, Pointe, and Hip Hop. As a teen, Robbyn danced competitively and started her teaching career. But Robbyn always knew she wanted to try partner dancing, so after graduating from high school and moving Saskatoon, she began studying American-style Ballroom where she was immediately drawn to the Latin dances. One year later, Robbyn moved to Montreal where she took her first Salsa class. The Instructor recognized her potential, taking her under his wing and showing her everything he knew about Salsa and soon, Robbyn was teaching alongside him.
After completing an academic career in Optometry and returning home to Saskatoon, Robbyn joined the Saskatoon Salsa team. Robbyn’s dance mantra is “your feet may learn the steps, but only your spirit may dance” and at Saskatoon Salsa, Robbyn shares with her students that expressive nature of dance, celebrating the individuality in each dancer she encounters. Robbyn has attended several International Salsa Congresses and is continually learning and reshaping herself as a dancer. She believes that Salsa is a journey, not a destination, and what’s most important is having a lot of fun along the way!