Clifton Sepulveda – Studio Owner
Clifton Sepulveda was born in Nashville, Tennessee. His father was born in Puerto Rico, and his mother, who is of Welsh descent, was born in Lebanon, Tennessee.
As a talented athlete, Clifton’s youth was filled with many different activities including golf, wrestling, baseball, archery, geology, Boy Scouts, music, and dance. He qualified for the world championships in archery at just 16 years old.
When he wasn’t outside playing sports, he could be found exercising, drawing, or building an Estes Model Rocket to shoot into the sky.
His parents also nurtured his love of the arts, and he was encouraged to be creative in all things.
Toward the end of Clifton’s high school career, he was asked to join the cheerleading squad as a “lifter” along with several of his buddies. They were the first male cheerleaders in the school’s history.
It turned out that he was pretty good! Cheerleading even took him to the University of Kentucky where he was selected to join the squad while pursuing his studies in Elementary Education.
After leaving college and searching for his path, he made his way into the dance world. There he found his calling. Dance became his passion.
Eventually he moved to South Florida and began working at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in West Palm Beach. At the studio, he became a popular, much sought after teacher and a solid team member.
After two years, his future changed dramatically. Mar Martinez walked in one morning. Clifton thought, “Here comes my next bronze student.”
It would be an understatement to say he was wrong! Clifton and Mar became dance partners. Through much hard work and dedication, they have achieved so much in a very short time. They have won several events across the country and even made the finals in large events like USDC where they placed 4th.
Clifton and Mar show so much passion, musicality, and love on the dance floor that they always enchant the audience. Their elegance and flair is so engaging that they were asked to perform at the prestigious event known as Blackpool in England in 2015.
They both have a burning desire to continue to become better dancers. They also share a passion for helping people and love sharing the joy of dance with others.
Having trained with some of the top dancers in the industry, Clifton brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and technique to his teaching.
His Fred Astaire Dance Studio offers a wonderful environment to share this knowledge and allows him to enrich people’s lives through the magic of dance.
Some of Clifton’s coaches include:
- Armando Martin-Four time United States Ten Dance Champion
- Valentina Kostenko-United States Smooth Champion
- Tomas and Isabella Lewandowski-United States National Professional Latin Finalists and Latin Showdance Champions
- John Ford-Ballroom Hall of Fame Member
- Martin Lamb-Blackpool Champion
- Michelle Officer-United States Smooth Finalist
- Bruno Collins-United States Smooth and Rhythm Champion, British Exhibition Champion
- Billy Fajardo and Katie Marlow-World Exhibition Finalists, Unites States National Cabaret Champions
- David Elkin-Three time British Exhibition Campion, Unites States National Cabaret Champion
Mar Martinez – Studio Owner
Mar Martinez was born in Havana, Cuba. At the age of three, she wanted to become a flamenco dancer so her mother put her in a small dance studio for toddlers called Arcoiris.
Ever since then, she has been fully immersed in dance. She has focused intensely on developing fundamentals in jazz, tap, ballet, and acting.
At the age of eight, she auditioned for the Escuela Vocational de Arte (EVA) in Provincia Havana and was proudly admitted.
This performing arts school gave Mar a solid foundation of dance and theater. It also provided her with an opportunity to train rigorously with qualified coaches in the areas of ballet, modern, contemporary, Latin, folk, gymnastics, drama, creative movement, and choreography.
Mar excelled at EVA and was selected to attend the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA), in Havana, Cuba to continue her education in the field of Arts and Dancing. She obtained an Associates’ Degree with Honors as a Professional Dancer and Dance Instructor.
She achieved one of the highest grades on her final thesis and was invited to join the most recognized Dance Company in Cuba upon graduation – Danza Contemporanea de Cuba (DCC).
Mar trained and performed with the company for three years. This experience gave her the chance to be directed by some of the most renowned choreographers worldwide. It also gave her the opportunity to partner with some of the most recognized dancers in the world.
Since graduating, Mar has participated as a dancer and choreographer in numerous national and international festivals. She has received many coveted awards including winning Best Female Interpretation at the festival “Solamente Solos”, produced by the Cuban Ministry of Culture.
She has also conducted workshops for teachers and students in Cuba, the Netherlands, Spain, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Between 2006 and 2010, she continued her work as a solo dancer in Danza Contemporanea de Cuba. She also taught at her alma mater ENA as well as EVA.
Mar’s dancing and teaching are a true testament to her dedication and passion for her craft. Her talent quickly garnered her the respect and admiration of both her fellow teachers and students.
Mar has a unique ability to relate dance to her students in a way that is easily understood. As a result, she helps her students achieve amazing results in Creative Movement, Modern Technique and Ballroom Dancing.
Her success as a dancer and teacher earned her an invitation to judge the 2010 examinations at the National School of Modern Dance and Folk in Havana City, Cuba. This test is a very rigorous and taxing examination for both student and judge.
In the next couple of years, Mar was called to join the dance department as a lecturer for the senior students at the prestigious Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica.
In March of 2012, she submitted a choreographed piece of her work showcasing her talent and ability to the judges at Zobnot. This submission placed her first out of all artists, including not only dancers but also actors, musicians, and singers. She became the first international winner outside of the USA.
In May of 2012, Mar came to the United States. One month later, she was asked to conduct the Drama & Dance Classes in the “Gear Up for Summer” program at the Kendall Campus of Miami Dade College.
In August of the same year, Mar started working as a professional dancer and teacher at the Fred Astaire Dance Studios in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Shortly after coming on board at Fred Astaire, she partnered with fellow teacher Clifton Sepulveda, and they competed in several different styles including American Smooth, American Rhythm and Theater Arts.
In January of 2015, Mar and her partner Clifton received an invitation to compete at one of the most prestigious competitions in the world, the British Open Championships in Blackpool, England.
Melissa Prowell – Office Manager
Melissa joins us with more than 25 years of experience in customer service working within the travel and insurance industries. Her southern charm and love for dancing makes her a great addition to the Delray Team!