Meet the staff of instructors at Dance Manhattan!
Rodney Lopez is an accomplished Latin dance instructor and a popular face on the New York Salsa scene. He is praised by colleagues and students alike for his entertaining and thoughtful teaching style.
Rodney has taught and performed at major venues such as New York City’s First Night – including the Museum of the City of New York and the U.S.S. Intrepid; the Children’s Aid Society Annual Spring Gala; Club Getaway; and Baruch College. He has appeared on the WB11 Morning News, Fox’s Good Day New York, The Queen Latifah Show and in the Off-Broadway smash, Latin Madness.
He was Team Captain of the Addie-Tude Dance Company, one of New York's most respected Salsa dance companies under the direction of Addie Diaz, through 2005. He has directed and choreographed Dance Manhattan's salsa performance teams for years. Rodney has also moved beyond his Latin dance roots to perform and compete with New York-area West Coast Swing and Carolina Shag teams.
Rodney's work has been featured in documentaries, news articles and other media. He was interviewed in the PBS documentary "Nuyoricans: Puerto Ricans in New York"; he is a featured salsa instructor in the DVD "Salsa for Peace: Orquesta de la Luz Live at the Copacabana".
The documentary "Mad Hot Ballroom" features his teaching work with the American Ballroom Theater's Dancing Classrooms program. His students from PS115 were highlighted in this documentary and were winners of the 2004 dance competition.
He is a favorite at various private, corporate and non-profit events around the city for his ability to move a crowd. A devoted student of the history of Latin music and dance, Rodney has written about salsa history for various print and Internet news outlets.
Mariana Parma is an instructor, choreographer and performer and has a B.A. in dance from Rutgers University. She has been featured in motion pictures, national commercials and has worked with Broadway choreographers for musical and film productions. She specializes in Latin dancing: Salsa, Mambo, Tango, and Latin American Folk.
Her achievements have included:
- Principal dancer and supervising choreographer in "Todo Tango" at the Thalia Theatre in Queens, NY, in 2001.
- Produced and performed in the off-Broadway dance show Swango the Fusion
- Worked with Hinton Battle, 3 time Tony Award winner, in the musical workshop, The Bronx Casket Company.
- Featured dancer and co-choreographer of the Tango Show at the Thalia Theatre in Queeens
- Featured dancer in the national tour of SWING the Musical from Dec '05 through Jan '06.
She can be seen around the world performing Salsa and Tango.
Amalia Maldonado first put her love of latin music and dance to work for her when, in 1994, she began promoting salsa clubs and bands in Los Angeles. She and her partner, Albert Torres, were instrumental in increasing the popularity of Latin dance and music through exposure on local radio stations and at nonprofit community events and concerts with local schools and newspapers.
Her teaching career began in 1995. To help a local dance instructor, Amalia took over a Mambo on 2 class while they went on tour. After 3 months the class was officially handed off to her and her love affair with teaching started.
She continued to teach when she moved to Georgia in 1996 to attend college. Her Salsa and Aerobics Salsa classes were popular favorites at the City Lights Dance Studio and in nights clubs and athletic clubs.
Two very important events in 2002 were highlights for Amalia. Her dance team, Furia Latina, were featured performers at the West Coast Salsa Congress, where she also taught workshops. Shortly thereafter, she made the move to New York where she continues her love of music and dance.
Dance Manhattan is pleased to have Amalia join the ranks of our talented latin instructors in August, 2007.
Jason Myra is the founder, artistic director and choreographer of Tumbao Latin Dance Company. Jason has been teaching and performing NY style nightclub salsa on2 for more than ten years and incorporates classical dance and ballroom influences in his teaching methods and overall dance style. Jason has performed throughout the city not only with Tumbao, but also with Jorday Rivera's Mambo's Finest dance company, Gamila El Masri's Team Hareem and Angel Clemente Garcia's Tango Y Mas dance company. He has peformed in many Salsa Congresses and was an invited guest at the legendary Apollo Theatre. Jason has completing his studies in Performing Arts with a concentration in dance at Queensborough College.
John Piazza has been dancing Salsa for 5 years and is currently a featured dancer with the Abakua Afro-Latin Dance Company. This company specializes in Afro-Latin Funk, a fusion of Salsa movements and Boogaloo and Funk...the latest craze in Salsa dancing that's sweeping the nation and a favorite of the new generation of Latin dancers. The troupe most recently had a showing of their new works in NYC and will be taking their show to Mexico City in August, 2008.