Christian likes to joke that he must have been a television emcee in a past life. That’s how much he enjoys being in front of people. Whether he’s teaching a class or working one-on-one with a student, Christian’s engaging personality and naturally entertaining demeanor become an integral part of the learning experience.
Born in Lepizig, Germany, Christian began dancing at the tender age of four and never looked back. Over the years he has won several world-class professional titles including German Ten Dance Championship and North American Rising Star Smooth Champion, and placed as a finalist at several prestigious American Dance Sport Championships. In addition, Christian has guided several of his students to top honors in the competition arena. In 2011 alone, four of them became national pro-am champions. Christian exhibits the hallmarks of a well-rounded teacher, with specialties in American smooth, Latin Dance and International Ballroom. His talents as a choreographer have helped many students perform at the top of their game both in competition and showcase.
Christian’s versatility extends to emceeing special events, judging professional dance competitions and coaching many of the industry’s leading dance professionals, amateurs and pro-am competitors. A romantic at heart, Christian considers himself a “wedding specialist” and loves creating memorable dances for couples on their big day. More than anything, Christian strives to create an enjoyable, social environment at Fred Astaire Southbury, where students can come to dance, mingle, meet new people and have an all-around great time.
Paulo hails from southern Brazil with its brilliant colors and exquisite beaches. Here he developed a lively passion for beauty and culture, and a natural born hospitality, all richly enhanced by his Italian lineage.
As a result, he brings a wealth of talents to the studio. Paulo is a gifted professional photographer and has exhibited his work in many galleries. He also excels at interior design. In designing Southbury Fred Astaire, he has set a new standard for luxury in a dance studio. He has created an atmosphere that embraces elegance yet caters to the students’ every comfort.
Whether he is planning a Friday night dance party, special event or monthly theme, Paulo’s eye for refinement and flair for presentation is evident in every last detail.
In addition, he’s keen business skills, developed when he worked as an executive in bank management, cover the spectrum of administrative abilities
and strategic planning, keeping everything running smoothly at the studio.
In true “Brazilian style,” he makes all his visitors feel warm and welcome. Ask anyone who shares a dance or engages him in conversation and they will tell you, he makes sure your time is an unforgettably enjoyable experience.
Our Dance Director Ivana Strancaric brings her own brand of star power to the studio.
She was born in Croatia where she gained fame and popularity
in that country’s entertainment industry, dazzling audiences in several dance productions.
Dancing since the age of 11, Ivana has competed in international competitions throughout Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Hungary where she won numerous championships. She has also coached and choreographed for many couples, guiding them on to the finals in competition.
Teaching dance is Ivana’s greatest passion. She has lent her instructional talents to everything from social dancing, wedding choreography and children’s dance to salsa and latin fitness. Ivana believes in an engaged and dynamically based method of teaching. But above all, she says, it should be fun.
Ivana fell in love with dance from the moment she took her first step. She experiences a joy and fervor when she dances that she is always eager to share with her students. For her there is no better feeling than to teach those who never imagined they could dance. She takes great pleasure in seeing the fulfillment they experience when they achieve what they once thought was an impossible dream.
The multi-talented Ivana is also a student of music and plays piano. In addition, she is fluent in several languages, including Croatian, English, Bosnian, Serbian and Italian.
Her favorite dance is salsa, and whenever she can, she heads for the nearest salsa club.
Born in Chishinau, Moldova, Vladimir began dancing at age of 8, specializing in standard in the open category. He has extensive experience in latin and loves performing in Moldovian traditional folk dance. Vladimir possesses a passion for instruction and teaches ballroom international, latin and American Style.
He also enjoys teaching social dancing, wedding couples and kids’ classes.
He has danced in many international competitions in Moldova and Ukraine as well as coached dance couples. Because of his well-rounded background, learning to dance with Vladimir is an enriching experience. You will become adept at form and technique and develop an enhanced sense of rhythm and movement.
Vladimir elegant style and technical skill on the dance floor are getting him noticed for his talent and passion. As an instructor, he enjoys making clients feel at ease while learning to dance and is expert at teaching every level from beginner to serious competitor, encouraging everyone to achieve their full potential. You’ll also have a lot of fun. He keeps his students always with energy and focus, he has won many Pro/Am championships with his students.
Vladimir is an avid sportsman who enjoys going to the gym, biking, hiking,
swimming and he loves paintball. His favorites dances are the Waltz and Rumba, he finds very romantic, elegant and calm.
His favorite cuisine is his mother own cooking “Mamaliga”, a Moldavian specialty.
The first thing you notice about Amanda, besides her exceptional dance capabilities – is her sparkling personality. Vivacious and engaging with a magnetic charm, Amanda makes learning to dance an experience students really look forward to. She credits her outgoing nature to a childhood of extensive travel during which she learned to connect with people from all walks of life.
She began dancing when she was four. She has studied many styles including ballet, tap and jazz and contemporary extensively for years and has worked as a performer and assistant choreographer. Because of her well-rounded background, learning to dance with Amanda is an enriching experience. You will become adept at form and technique and develop an enhanced sense of rhythm and movement. You’ll also have a lot of fun. A former Fred Astaire student herself, Amanda danced competitively for five years, winning many championships as an amateur.
One only has to watch her on the dance floor to see how comfortable she is with various dance forms and their diverse expressions. With a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Exercise Science as well as a wealth of experience in fitness training, Amanda possesses all of the assets necessary to teach her students how dancing can enhance their flexibility, agility, mental focus and self confidence.
Outside of the studio, Amanda loves to travel, work out, and continue to study nutrition and wellness. She frequently travels to New York City for Hip Hop and dance workshops and loves to hit the local salsa clubs on the weekends.
One of the world’s foremost championship dancers, Julia Mincheva brings a wealth of talent to Fred Astaire South Windsor. A native of Russia, Julia began her dance training at five years old and went on to pursue competitive ballroom and Latin dance. She has won several championships throughout Russian and Europe where she performed in Ballroom and Latin programs. In the youth category, she was Moscow Closed Champion in International Standard on several occasions, as well as Ten Dance Champion.
Between 2003 an 2005 alone, won seven titles, including: London Open Dance Championships Professional Ballroom Semifinalist; International Championships Professional Rising Star Standard Finalist; Dutch Open Professional Classic Showdance, 2nd place; Dutch Open Professional Ballroom (World Series) Semifinalist; Russian Professional Standard Championships Finalist; Dutch Open Professional Classic Showdance, 3rd place and Grand Prix Open Professional Standard, 3rd place.
In the United States, Julia has won numerous regional titles and was World Finalist in Classic Showdance in 2005. With her former partner, Christian Lange, her credits include U.S. Rising Star American Smooth finalist and North American Smooth Champion.
She has been teaching since she was 13 and is a nationally certified dance instructor in four styles: Ballroom, Latin, Standard and Rhythm. When she in not teaching, Julia loves to spend her time in artistic venues, visiting museums, going often to opera shows, Broadway plays and ballet presentations. Julia also spends a great deal of time practicing Yoga. Fashion is Julia’s second love.
Prince Freddy of Southbury
Meet our Prince Freddy, Our Fred Astaire’s adorable mascot. He’s a male mix breed of pure active chihuahua and lovely temper dachshund. Little Freddy was born January 6, 2012, the same day as Southbury Fred Astaire’s first practice party, so we consider it kismet that we found each other.
Adopted from a mobile animal shelter care on Monday, when Hurricane Sandy blew through Connecticut, he considers himself a survivor. But he is also a party animal in the true sense of the word. “I love Southbury and that’s why I’m very excited to be here to play with everyone and enjoy all the dancing around,” barked Freddy, with those big puppy dog eyes.
Sure he’s cute, but did you also know that he’s a server at Trumbull Cheesecake Factory and works out to the “Hamilton” soundtrack? Yes, he is very active and loves to be taken to go for long walks in the dog parks. He has participated in numerous studio’s events, team matches, showcases and many dance parties.
Very often you will see him in our student’s arms getting some attention and love, this little charmer knows he’s got it and is not afraid to flaunt it.