Our Team of AMAZING Instructors!
Franki Floro was born and raised in Vancouver, B.C. She was raised with 3 brothers and decided to put the hockey skates away and shake her thang on the dance floor. After touring across Canada, Franki made her way to LA at the age of 18. When you walk in to Franki’s class you are surrounded with love and encouragement. Franki brings different and unique choreography to class every single day. You will never get bored. Franki makes you feel like your “back up dancer” days are far from over. If you want to have fun, blow up the dance floor and sweat out your worries then Franki’s your girl!
Tafiq Akhir puts his health, fitness and nutrition expertise to good use every single day. It’s not unusual to spot celebrities like Rashida Jones, George Kotsiopoulos, Sharon Leal and ESPN sportscaster Terry Ganon amongst the devoted students that pack his classes. Clients and students will tell you Tafiq easily combines his roots in fitness, martial arts and dance with other unique disciplines that keeps their workouts fun, fresh and exciting. More importantly, his approach yields results that they can see in their clothes, and makes them feel stronger and more energetic.
Tafiq designs safe and effective programs for people with various health and fitness needs. His dedication is apparent to anyone who works with him. It is not unusual to get an email from him to see how you’re feeling after a workout or make sure that you’re doing ok if you’ve missed a few classes. More importantly, he practices what he preaches. His commitment to his clients and classes distinguishes him from other trainers in this competitive market. It is easy to see that he truly cares about the health and fitness goals of others, and sees himself as a partner and coach in hitting those goals. Tafiq has a solid track record within the health and fitness field for over 14 years.
Group fitness students have been taking his classes for over 10 years, and people have seen him as a professional dancer and entertainer for over 20 years. He specializes in fat loss and total body transformations by combining his well rounded expertise in nutrition, strength training, flexibility, balance, wellness and his personal fitness technique, “Progression Interval Traininng”. He has been featured in Third Street Villager and Frontiers Magazine, as well as writing health and fitness articles for WeHoNews.com and being featured in two Richard Simmons videos. If you would like results that you can see in your clothes, feel in your strength and energy, and hear about when others stop to say, “Wow, you look great!” Tafiq is the trainer to see. If you are not in the Los Angeles area and still want to get the results of Tafiq’s vast health, fitness and nutrition expertise get his DVD workout series, TXT® Ultimate Home Fitness or sign up for Tafiq’s Total Body Blast: Online Training Program.
Radha Ruiz is a professional Dancer and Iyengar based Hatha yoga teacher. She began performing African dance with MKM Cultral Dance Center at 8 years old. Radha later studied & performed Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Jazz and Hip Hop at Debbie Allen Dance Academy. She majored in Performance & Choreography at the EMCVPA in Kingston, Jamaica as well as choreographed and performed amongst various dancehall artist such as Baby Cham, Yellowman, Konshens and Beenie Man.
Tiffany Rothe is an expert trainer, coach and YouTube fitness phenomenon. She is the foremost Fitness Celebrity Online. Tiffany has created a series of exercises based on her “10 Minute Workout Technique” which are routines that you can interchange to burn fat and sculpt your assets in all of the right places. Tiffany’s Workouts have been featured in many health and fitness magazines such as Women’s Health, Fitness Magazine, Fitness RX Magazine, Marie Claire, InStyle and a host of others.
Tiffany Rothe Workouts Channel on YouTube has such unprecedented success that Dr. Oz invited her to his show and deemed her “The Best Trainer on YouTube” in 2012. Tiffany is the founder of the INNER CIRCLE FITCLUB, “The Best Fit Club Online” where she has thousands of members that represent over 40 different countries. Her trademarked approach is Train the Mind, Work the Body and Lift the Spirit!
Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela; George Akram was surrounded by show biz from an early age. After finishing his first musical as a lead called “ Celebremos La Vida”, Akram decided to emigrate to the United States and invest time honing his skills attending classes and workshops in Miami, New York and Los Angeles, where he now resides. In his first four years in Florida, George had the tremendous honor to be part of several major events including the Latin Grammys, Latin Billboards, Selena Vive, Viña del Mar in Chile, Premio Lo Nuestro, Premios Juventud,, among others sharing stage with esteemed artists like Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, Celia Cruz, Alejandro Sanz, David Bisbal, Shakira, Daddy Yankee and many more. In 2005 he received by Zumba creator Beto Perez the invitation to join the company with the immediate possibility to choreograph for two editions of the DVD sets (Chile and Riviera Maya, MX), a US tour and the honor to be part of the first group of ZES.
George’s acting career started to take off in 2005 once he made his movie debut in the film “Stuck On You” by The Farrelly Brothers. Currently he can be seen in the upcoming films “Sins Of Our Youth” “Km72” and the comedy “My Friend Vijay” In 2008 by the hand of legend Arthur Laurents, was given the opportunity to play the role of Bernardo, leader of the Sharks, in the Broadway Revival of WEST SIDE STORY at the Palace Theater in NYC, becoming the first Venezuelan to star in a Broadway musical. Worth mentioning, George completed the longest running Broadway production of WSS in January 2011, with a Grammy Award for “Best Musical Show Album” and a Tony Award nomination for Best Revival.
Sam Allen was born and raised in Manhattan where he graduated from New York City’s acclaimed “Fame” school, LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. This school provided him with many opportunities to develop his artistic craft and ultimately gave him his foundation in the entertainment industry. After studying with the American Ballroom Theatre and the Harkness Youth Ballet, he decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in choreography and to continue his education at the University of Southern California. He has been featured in many music videos, commercials for both Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, and television shows on ABC, CBS, and PBS.
After choreographing the General Motors NY Press Event for the Auto Show at the Javits Center, he began to teach Hip-Hip Dance Classes at Arthur Murray Dance Studio, Dance Center of the Hamptons, the Edge Performing Arts Center, Gold’s Gym, and most recently, Beach Cities Dance. His choreography was featured in Carnival Choreographers Ball and was also awarded first place and best choreography at the United States Tournament of Dance Nationals. Sam ultimately seeks the opportunity to tell stories through creative movement and encourage and inspire people to dance with all their hearts.
CREDITS – Mya Harrison at LA Pride, Dina Rae Music Video “No Matter”, Mandy Rain Music Video “Boogie”, General Motors NY Press Event, Dancers Responding to Aids, National commercials for Nickelodeon and Blackwatch Productions.
Aileen is Newyorican (New Yorker of Puerto Rican decent) that moved to LA in 2013. Prior to becoming a Zumba Instructor in 2011,
she was trained by the “Mambo King, Eddie Torres” in Salsa, Pachanga and Boogaloo. However, her first passion was Hip Hop/Electro Boogie creating her own street dancing crew called the “Foxy Ladies” which performed in various parties and events. She has also choreographed Weddings and Quinceañeros among other events.
Zumba has allowed her to channel her passion into different rhythms and reach a wider variety of people sharing her Latin roots and her hip hop background. One of her many certifications in Zumba Nation is Zumba Kids & Kids jr.. This has allowed her to further share her roots to young kids, enriching their music knowledge by introducing them to new rhythms.
“When the music starts my own heart beat is taken over by the beat. I am living it and there is a need to share this love. I am so blessed that my family here in LA is growing one song at a time. Hope to see you on the dance floor”.
Additionally, Aileen also is AFAA certified in group fitness instructor, Zumba Steps, Zumba Toning, Zumba Gold, Latinva, Bodyworks, Bootcamp, Mat Pilates and Cycling.
Meet Ilyse Baker, a woman whose personality is as contagious and charismatic as her enthusiasm for fitness and dance.
CEO and creator of the new dance fitness program Dancinerate™, Ilyse is currently a Reebok Global Fitness Ambassador and a Presenter, Master Trainer and Choreographer for Qignition’s QiDance and QiForze programs. Based in Los Angeles, Ilyse is a Dance and Fitness Expert to celebrities including LeAnn Rimes, Rihanna, and Daniella Monet, Trina Vega from Nickelodeon’s “Victorious.” Named Top Trainer in the Country for Dance by Exercise TV, Ilyse has also appeared in numerous fitness DVDs including workouts with “Biggest Loser” instructor Kim Lyons and ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” champion Cheryl Burke.
Having danced professionally and toured throughout the United States and the Caribbean, Ilyse was chosen to represent dance fitness at the Asian Academy of Sports Fitness Professionals in Beijing, China. She has been featured on EXTRA, LA 18, Access Healthy Hollywood, FOX’s Everyday Denver, CBS’ Talk Phillyand on Exercise TV and Fit TV. Ilyse has been showcased in American Fitness Magazine, SHAPE, SELF Magazine, Bella, Redbook, Diets in Review and Girls Life as well as on SheKnow.com, examiner.com, sweetfit.ca, Skinnymom.com and many others. She was also nominated as Best Choreographer for her ZUMBA video game commercial and is a Master Instructor for SHAPE magazine’s annual Summer Beach Tour. Ilyse is an AFAA Certified Fitness Instructor, has a B.A. in Dance Performance and Dance Education from Point Park University.
Never one to stand still for too long, Ilyse is a Top Ten Trainer for FitOrbit, contributes online workouts to FitnessGlo and teaches dance to at-risk youth in the greater LA area. Praised as a dance teacher like no other, Ilyse is dedicated to sharing her passion with “anybody that comes to me.”
Valintine Baker grew up in Kingston Jamaica. After receiving his electrical engineering degree he realized that his passion was exercise and nutrition. Making a life changing decision, he pursued his new career and was completely immersed in the study of health and nutrition. Armed with a semi professional soccer background, he began his fitness- training journey in the international market and acquired numerous certifications. This enabled him to share his skills, knowledge and love for fitness.
Manu Fernández Barrio was born and raised in Germany. He started dancing Jazz/Modern when he was 4 years old and transitioned into Hip Hop at the age of 13. Manu has taught dance in Spain, Switzerland and throughout Germany. When he was 23 years old he luckily won the green card lottery and was able to fulfill one of his biggest dreams: “Moving to Los Angeles”. He’s worked with Taylor Swift, Arcade Fire, Beachbody and Chevrolet. Manu is a certified Personal Trainer with ACSM with a back round in Sports therapy.
Khamari Bendolph is a native of Boston, MA. He began dancing hip hop at the early age of six. After realizing his love for dance he went on to attend a Performing Arts High School, Boston Arts Academy, where he trained in ballet, modern, jazz, and west African dance. In 2009, Bendolph founded his own hip hop dance company, Thee Slap Bracelets. His team traveled the East Coast placing 1st and 2nd at Preludes several times. Bendolph got accepted to UCLA in 2011 as a Dance Major, and left Boston for his dream school.
Bendolph continued his training in various techniques including ballet, modern, and hip hop while at UCLA. Bendolph also continued his dance company, directing a new junior team, who resided in Boston. Bendolph joined a professional hip hop California based company, Academy of Villains (2012-2014). Bendolph is represented by MSA Talent Agency, and has appeared on Americas Got Talent season 7 and So You Think You Can Dance with Academy of Villains. He is currently working on building his own dance company in California with his UCLA colleague, Johnny Hernandez, called, HypeLinez Dance Theatre. Bendolph has premiered his work on the small collective several times around Los Angeles. Bendolph plans to open his own dance academy and use arts, including, theater, dance, and music as a way to bring all the youth from all socioeconomic and racial backgrounds.
Taisha spent 8 years as a professional dancer for artists like Missy Elliott, Snoop Dog, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, Lil wayne, Ciara, Ceelo, Robin Thicke, Shakira, and in films and TV. She also had a co-star on season 1 of GLEE and was featured in How I Met Your Mother, Fired up! and 17 Again with Zac Efron.
Though acting is her new passion her love of teaching and instructing has always remained. She has recently been given the position of director of the dance department at Greenwave Arts Academy in Santa Clarita, but in addition to that she has been teaching adult women/men and children at multiple dance and fitness studios in LA and is having a lot of success with this fun, fitness-based, alternative dance work out and spreading it to the community!!
Minerva Dusigne began her love of dance in the world of Salsa. She trained for over three years with Alex Da Silva, the recurring guest choreographer on the Fox TV show “So You Think You Can Dance.” Minvera’s passion has always been music and dance. In her classes, you will listen and dance to Latin music of all genres (salsa, merengue, reggeton, cumbia, tango, samba and more) and music from many countries throughout Latin America, France and the U.S. Minerva began her career as a fitness instructor in 2008, teaching “Latin Heat,” a style similar to Zumba.
Minerva also ran her own private and successful studio from 2010 – 2013 but closed it when she moved to the South of France. While in France, she taught Zumba for two years in various locations and also stumbled across a new dance style popular in Europe: Kizomba, which she sometimes incorporates into some of her cool downs. Now, back in L.A., she has returned to teaching Zumba and has rediscovered the immense passion that originally drew her to dance and fitness!
“The first class I taught was Latin Heat in 2008 at LA Fitness. Then I discovered Zumba® and fell in love once again. For the next 3, I opened my own Dance studio in Los Angeles, until I moved to Europe, were I taught Zumba® for 2 years. My return to LA has been awesome, because I continue teaching my great passion.”
Mr. Ferkel’s commitment and passion to athletics and physical training goes back over two decades to when he was an all-state high school athlete and played college football at Tiffin University. For over 12 years now, Mr. Ferkel has helped people from New York City to Los Angeles meet and exceed their fitness goals working as professional personal trainer. Mr. Ferkel’s training knowledge incorporates years of multidisciplinary training regiments. In addition to the programs he learned as a college athlete, he has been certified as a professional personal trainer through NASM and IFA. Additionally, Mr. Ferkel studied under Rich Beretta, former Mr. America and celebrity trainers.
Mr. Ferkel has followed and improved upon Mr. Beretta’s primary mantra: Listen to what the client says, what the client’s body is telling you, and always remember that each and every client is unique and requires a specifically tailored game plan. This method includes first correcting years of improper training, movement and posture. Only after retraining a client’s muscle memory and body can they move on to their specific workout regiment designed to not only fit their individual goals, but also to take into account each person’s different genetic make-up, body type and time commitment.
Mr. Ferkel’s Total, Lean for Life workout routine has helped men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes reach their fitness goals regardless of time constraints, injuries, or other hurdles. Mr. Ferkel will not only get you to look and feel better, he’ll teach you to train better.
From childhood, Sandy has been involved with dance, organized athletics, drill team, fitness classes, martial arts and yoga. Dance has always been her passion! She studied hip-hop, Latin dance, Jazz, Afro-Cuban and other world dances both at UCLA and beyond. Sandy has a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA in Sociology, and a Master’s degree in Social Welfare. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Sandy has certifications in ZUMBA®, Rumba Caliente and AFAA group fitness. She has trained with many of the city’s best instructors including Wil-son Williams, Jhonatan Jimenez and Corey Coombs. Sandy brings energy, fun, and a big smile to each class. When she’s not dancing at the studio, you may see her running around town with her husband, two amazing kids and two dogs.
Jhon Gonzalez was born in Medellin, Colombia and moved with his family to Orlando, Florida at the age of 10. It was then when his spark for dancing began. His dancing career has been a hard training journey, primarily focusing on his favorite style of hip-hop. Nevertheless, he has also worked really hard to develop additional skills at all types of dancing disciplines.
Jhon is a Certified Zumba Instructor teaching at multiple locations across the Los Angeles area. His discipline and continuous training in hip-hop and jazz has helped him gain more experience and a higher set of dancing and performing skills.
Jhon has trained with the creator of Zumba himself Beto Perez who helped him realize that he needed to be open for continuous improvement. Getting Zumba certified provided him with knowledge and the tools necessary to help him create routines to better format his classes.
Today, Jhon has been a part of several Zumba Fitness DVDs and several Master Classes with Zumba Instructors from around the world. He was also a part of Step Up 4 and Rock of Ages both filmed in Miami Fl. The high energy he projects in class is contagious and he keeps the Zumba formula alive. He combines dance and fitness to make his classes full of energy and Happy People.
Casie “Tynee” Goshow teaches hip hop and Zumba Fitness® throughout the United States. She has appeared on national television for The TODAY Show dancing with featured artists such as Lil’ Jon, Chris Brown and PSY. Casie has also danced on The Wendy Williams Show, the HBO series “How To Make It In America,” and has been a Las Vegas finalist on the FOX TV show “So You Think You Can Dance?” Additional credits include: opening for Missy Elliot, Adidas TechFit Commercial, Coca-Cola Energy Collective Series, Monsters of Hip Hop Scholarship winner and won Seventeen Magazine’s “Adidas Makes Tracks” contest. Casie has also started her own clothing line “GoShow Yourself” which promotes an active lifestyle while still remaining true to who you are. Visit her site at www.goshowyourself.com
Because Casie’s main passion is to teach, she instructs all ages and levels! Her students range from ages four to eighty-three years old. Zumba® has allowed Casie to be able to share her love of dance with thousands of people. Casie’s presence is felt in every part of her class, from her choreography to her music choices to her high energy and captivating smile. You leave every class sweating, smiling and feeling ready for more.
Abraham was born and raised in Mexico. He has over 15 years experience in the fitness and dance industry and has been a ZES and Zumba® Instructor for over 9 years. He has trained people in over 20 countries, specializes in Latin American rhythms and has taught all kinds of fitness programs like Spinning, HIIT and Crossfit. He has presented at world conferences such as IDEA, IHRSA, Zumba® Convention and many more. Abraham loves teaching and inspiring his students to reach new heights of dance fitness.
From Nagano, Japan Iku has danced professionally since 2001 when she founded a Hip Hop Crew and performed in Tokyo as opening act for Japan Top10 recording artist Kumi Koda and others. She also taught Hip Hop and Sculpt combining joyful dance elements into physically demanding workouts.
In 2008 while on sabbatical in Miami, Iku found Zumba®. She then became an accomplished instructor over the next 2 years in Boston with substantial followings at Equinox and Sports Club LA for both Zumba and Sculpt.
In 2011, Iku moved to Los Angeles and has taught Zumba® and Sculpt at Spectrum, David Barton Gym and others. Certifications include: AFAA Japan, Zumba® Toning, Aqua Zumba®, Body Pump by Les Mills and CPR. Iku is currently studying for a degree in Kinesiology to support student goals for total health and happiness.
Frank Odell Howard began his career teaching and performing in Los Angeles during the early 90s. Over the years he has taught at every top dance studio giving him experience in teaching, dance, and Choreography.
His dance credits include Usher, P-Diddy, Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Toni Braxton, Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, Will Smith, Sisqo, Dru Hill, Prince, Tyrese, and many more. He has also appeared in movies such as Sister Act 2, Clock Stoppers, and Congo.
Several celebrities have taken his class as well. This list includes Paula Abdul, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Ricky Lake, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and the late Gregory Hines.
“Dance Grooves” is an edgy yet smooth class to learn how to dance, get your groove back, or tighten your dance skills as a professional. Either way you are sure to have fun and get your sweat on to the latest hip hop/pop and R&B grooves.
Fitness Professional living in Santa Monica. She has always been a fitness enthusiast, but found a passion for Zumba as she quickly reaped the benefits of weight loss. She became a Zumba instructor because she wanted to help others reach their health goals. In November 2010, she quit her full time job in non-profit to become a full time Zumba Fitness Instructor. Deirdra’s devoted students share that her high intensity Zumba classes are fun, easy, and provide an effective total body workout! In December of 2011, Deirdra added Pilates to her list of certifications completing a program through the Physical Mind Institute.
Deirdra takes genuine interest in the health goals of her students. Often becoming more of a friend or a health coach than just their group fitness instructor. Motivated to inspire her students even more, she made a commitment to train for a fitness competition. In February 2012, she began her journey as a Fitness Bikini Competitor. Deirdra is AFAA certified in Personal Training and Group Fitness. She holds a Bachelors Degree from UCLA and a Masters Degree in Health Education from CSUN.
Visit her online at www.deirdramartinez.com
Megan Matthews is an upbeat and creative dance fitness teacher whose joy for dancing is contagious. She brings her passion for health and wellness to the dance floor. Megan’s class is a blend of fun dance moves and fitness that will leave you feeling motivated, excited, and sweaty! Dance to music that makes you feel good and get a total body workout. Her goal is to leave you feeling more centered, happy, and energized than when you walked in the door. Open to all levels. She is Zumba® and AFAA certified.
Michelle has been dancing all her life. In fact her mom was dancing in a show right before she went into labor so Michelle was even dancing in the womb. She is classically trained in ballet. She has also trained in Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop and Burlesque. She has been featured in several music videos, and was a dancer (and the choreographer) for the Bad Apple Burlesque group. In addition Michelle is a competitive triathlete and fitness addict. She started doing Zumba a little over a year ago and instantly fell in love. Finally something that combines her love of dance and fitness! She began teaching Zumba to spread her enthusiasm about getting fit and having fun while doing it.
is Mandy’s fitness philosophy. She loves to help people connect with their inner desire to move and be fit. She believes that true transformation and lifestyle change happens when we exercise our minds, bodies AND spirits! She’s a professional dancer, choreographer, actor and health educator who has been teaching fitness and wellness classes and workshops at UCLA FITWELL since 2004. She also runs her own health and healing program, “Fresh Start Fitness.” She holds a B.A. in World Arts and Cultures from UCLA and is currently finishing her M.A. in Spiritual Psychology from USM. She is certified with ACE Fitness, Zumba® and AIH Intuitive Eating. She is a Master Trainer for Dance It Out (DIO®), teaches Uplift with Deirdra Martinez and recently trademarked her own workout, “The Pop Diva Workout.” She is excited to get sweaty with you on the dancefloor! 5, 6, 7, 8, …MOVE!
Heather Peterson teaches Zumba and Cardio Hop Hop at the studio. This spunky dance instructor lights the room on fire with her energy and hot dance moves. She loves her students and welcomes new people with open arms to join her dance family. Heather brings nothing but positive energy, laughter, joy, good music, a good time and a good work out to her classes. Heather encourages all her students to let loose, have fun and give there all as they sweat and shake during her 60 min classes. Her sports background, experiences with the performing arts and her study of different styles of dance make her a well-rounded Dance Fitness Instructor. Follow Her on Social Media and try her class for yourself!
Jesse started as a Dance Instructor in 2011 after graduating from the University of Miami. He moved to Los Angeles from Miami in 2015 to pursue a career as a professional dancer. Jesse also works as a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness instructor. He is a skilled gymnast and acrobat, enjoys weight lifting, and loves riding bike at the beach.
Wil-son Williams is a Philadelphia native, who began performing at the early age of 8 with The Next Generation Dance Company under Stephan Love and Leon Evens. Excelling in Tap, Jazz and African genres Wil has performed at The Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York and has made a guest appearance on the television talk show “People Talk”. In addition, he has trained under world-renowned entertainers Maurice Hines, Jaye Allison and Delphine Mantz all before reaching high school.
Wil continued his dance education with Ballet and Modern techniques at the High School of Creative and Performing Arts Philadelphia (CAPA High). Now in Los Angeles with over 20 years of dance training Wil-son has performed all over Los Angeles in numerous LA-based dance projects with companies including Los Angeles Choreographers and Dancers, The Los Angeles Orchestra, Nike Advertisement, BET Television Network, Charo Entertainment and the L.A. County Fair. His skills continue to grow covering Ballroom dancing styles such as Salsa, Argentine Tango and Swing.
For the past 8 years, Wil has been working with both children and adults of all ages and skill levels. He has lead many group and private classes at gyms and studios throughout West LA including Spectrum South Bay, Downtown LA Job Corps, Sports Club LA, Your Neighborhood Studio, and at special events such as the recent Lakers 3-on-3 Tournament.
Wil focuses on providing patience and a nurturing environment for his students, while always encouraging them to have fun and learn. In addition to his group classes, Wil works with several celebrities’ children including Pam Anderson, Jane Seymour, and many celebrity child stars. Many of Hollywood’s elite have been trained by Wil and attend his classes. Among them are Tara Lipinski, Jacky Loughery, Paula Abdul, Vivica A Fox, and Mina Hung.