Academy Teachers

The Academy's team of teachers have all been students of Marchant & Davina for a varying number of years. Most have trained/performed with the Alchemy Performance Team. All have shown dedication to the Alchemy Way along with a great attitude to learning, continual growth in their dancing, not to mention friendly, down-to-earth personalities! All teachers are part of a on-going programme of teacher training with Marchant & Davina.

Here follows a little insight in to their personal salsa journeys! (shown in alphabetical order)

ANGELA QUIROGA

When did you start learning salsa and why? I first started learning salsa while in my mum's, aunties', uncles' and grandparents' arms. Growing up in Colombia meant you would be rocked, (albeit not to sleep!) to the sound of salsa, and many other Latin rhythms. When I moved to England I didn't think I would find these rhythms again, so it was an amazing discovery when I did. I didn’t hesitate to start taking classes, only to discover it was completely different from the way we dance back home. I had to learn this "new " salsa properly. This challenge led me to Alchemy Dance Academy in 2012 were I fell in love with the whole set up straight away, I love the passion and the flavor that Marchant and Davina have when they teach and when they dance.

What do you love about salsa? For me Salsa evokes a feeling of warmth, of family, of friends, of fun, of growth. To listen to it, to sing it, to dance it, and to share it with others takes me back home. And home is a pretty good place to be.

A few of your thoughts about Alchemy Dance Academy... For me, Alchemy Dance Academy is a place were you can blossom and evolve not only as a dancer but also as a person. The classes, the steps we learn, the teachers, the students, the socials, they all play a part in this dance journey. I love it.

CHRIS GREEN

When did you start learning salsa & why? I’ve always had a passion for music after learning musical instruments from a young age. This interest turned to dancing after University when I was looking for a fun, social, and challenging hobby to learn alongside playing tennis. I saw salsa classes advertised locally and after listening to the music and watching some of the dancers, I knew it was the right match for me.

What do you love about salsa? I love dancing salsa as it’s an opportunity to really have fun expressing yourself to the music. The music is very captivating, and there’s always new techniques and moves to learn to keep it challenging. It’s also a relaxed and extremely social environment, which ensures you meet like-minded people to really have fun with.

A few of your thoughts about Alchemy Dance Academy... Learning to dance at Alchemy has really transformed my dancing ability, and allowed me to develop a similar fun, smooth and elegant style to Marchant and Davina. I really enjoy dancing at the Academy as it has a real family feel, where everyone is happy to dance with each other, and the classes are taught in a fun, friendly, and well structured manner.

EMMA VASSELIN

When did you start learning salsa & why? I first learnt Salsa in 2006. I saw an advert in the window of a spanish restaurant and decided to go and try it. I was hooked straight away and spent every spare evening salsa dancing.

What do you love about salsa? Having danced since the age of 3, where I learnt Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz, National, Greek, Contemporary and Flamenco, I have always loved trying new styles of dance and salsa was no different. I love the varied ways of expressing yourself, whether you are dancing with a partner or using body movement as part of your free footwork.

A few of your thoughts about Alchemy Dance Academy… At Alchemy every teacher is willing to answer any question, and there is an atmosphere of fun and great enjoyment.

HELEN BOTTERILL

When did you start learning salsa & why? I've danced my whole life - contemporary, ballet, african dance, capoeira, ballroom and latin - and well anything I could get my hands on. I tried Salsa at the recommendation of a very good friend and salsa fan, who was determined I should learn to dance it properly. At the time I lived in London and found a salsa club where I could relax, learn, and enjoy myself. It was a great escape from London life and somewhere I could safely go on my own.

What do you love about salsa? I love that you can dance it almost anywhere in the world and that you don't need to speak the language, and you can turn up and have fun. I love that it is a social activity, where you can meet so many different people. Everyone at salsa events are there because they want to be, so everyone is smiling and full of the joys of dancing. There is nothing better than looking around a busy dance floor and seeing all the smiles and happiness.

A few of your thoughts about Alchemy Dance Academy... Having learnt salsa in a haphazard way until I walked into the Alchemy studio, it was fantastically refreshing to find technique and detail in teaching which I could learn from, and actually feel the difference in my dancing. From the moment I walked in there were friendly faces everywhere. People were interested in me and what brought me to salsa, and of course there were lots of offers to dance. Things have never changed, the amazing positive energy you feel when you first enter a class, never stops because as with every good organisation it starts at the top. Marchant and Davina, have a love for salsa and goodness to share with everyone they meet and it just spreads through the school :) Why would you go anywhere else?

HELEN CLEMENTS

When did you start learning salsa and why? I started learning salsa at Alchemy in 2011 after a suggestion from a friend who already danced there, and from the first class I was hooked. As soon as the beginners course finished I was at Alchemy twice a week trying to absorb and learn everything I could. The atmosphere at Alchemy is so welcoming and I’ve ended up making lifelong friends.

 

What do you love about salsa? I love learning something new and the challenge to be a better dancer never ends – there is always that next move or dance pattern to get to grips with. Marchant, Davina and the Alchemy team are really encouraging and want you to succeed and enjoy salsa as much as they do – they really do inspire you. The feeling you get when you’re dancing is total euphoria, that few minutes of being lost in the music and the dance, with just the person you’re dancing with, is amazing, plus you get super fit too.

A few of your thoughts about Alchemy Dance Academy... The team at Alchemy are always there to support you through learning salsa and some may say that they start with 2 left feet but Marchant and Davina’s teaching style soon sorts that out. The way the dance steps are broken down and the different ways that they are explained help everyone to learn at their own pace. There is no pressure to be the best, to get it right first time, everyone is there to have fun and to be themselves.

I remember the first time I saw Marchant and Davina perform at the Academy and I was in awe. It wasn’t until I attended a big salsa weekend event and saw their crammed classes and the inspiration that they gave to so many that I realised how lucky I was to have them as my teachers. This really is the best place to learn salsa.

KATERINA SALIVAROVA

When did you start learning salsa and why? Back in my teenage years my parents would try to force me and my brother to attend ballroom dancing classes as they were keen social dancers themselves. Being a teenager I of course rebelled and wanted to have nothing to do with dancing. However, about seven years ago, in 2008, I established that dancing is quite an enjoyable hobby after all but wanted to do something much cooler than my parents.  I loved all the Latin American tunes so salsa was a natural choice for me.

What do you love about salsa? I love the music and the fact that I can dance to the songs. I love the way I can connect with people from different parts of the world, speaking different languages through the shared passion for dance.

A few of your thoughts about Alchemy Dance Academy... Five year ago I met Karen at one of the salsa events in Reading. She spoke very enthusiastically about Alchemy and I decided to come along with her since it sounded like the sort of place where I would like to learn.  Since the first day she took me with her I was totally hooked to Marchant and Davina’s teaching style and the fact that there is an emphasis on the technical side of dancing rather than just rehearsing countless steps and routines.  I like the focus on the lead and follow concept and the fact that I naturally look up to them as teachers.

KEVAN BISSOON

When did you start learning salsa & why? I started salsa in 2005. I used to do a lot of karate, but because of injuries I had to give up. In many ways karate and salsa are similar. Take away the explosive speed and power of karate, the skill sets are transferable - balance, timing, coordination, to mention a few. Replace kata with salsa patterns, kumite with free dance, and a bow with a smile & thank you!

What do you love about salsa? I loved clubbing with my friends, we traveled around to jazz funk clubs, all-dayers and weekenders, collecting music and dancing. Again the salsa scene is similar, but salsa has a fixed structure - we learn to listen to the music and count the beat, and then step on the beat, and eventually you are dancing on beat.
I look forward to salsa after a days work. It is a good wind down. The teachers and students are happy to see you. The classes are relaxed and fun, it is a great social.

 

A few of your thoughts about Alchemy Dance Academy... I have always enjoyed salsa where ever it has been. I first saw Marchant and Davina at a salsa party where they were guest teaching and performing. I looked down at Marchant's footwork during the warm up and I had to smile, I had not seen footwork like that from a lead, his flexed knees, and stepping on the balls of his feet gave a very light appearance. It so happened that Marchant and Davina opened the academy in my home town Basingstoke a few months later. They have taken salsa to another level. The teaching is consistent and well paced to learn a clean accurate lead. Marchant and Davina are very patient when listening and answering students questions. Most of all the evenings are fun.

PHILLIP MARSTON

When did you start learning salsa and why? I first started salsa in 2008, when I was invited along by a friend and once I started I was hooked and loved it. It was the best decision I ever made. I have always either played a musical instrument, sang or danced in clubs, so I think it was a natural progression for me and I always wanted to learn a dance, so when had an opportunity came along, I jumped at the chance to try something new!

What do you love about salsa? For me, I love everything about salsa because it's given me so many great experiences. I remember when I first started salsa and how much of a struggle it was sometimes, but I always left the night feeling happy and it always cheered me up because of the great people that I met and the social side of dancing.

So what I probably most love/like about salsa is the friendships I have gained and the fun and experiences that I have been able have while dancing that I will treasury for the rest of my life.

A few of your thoughts about Alchemy Dance Academy... Alchemy Dance Academy is a great place to start your salsa journey and learn and improve your salsa, cha-cha and body movement and have fun at the same time! Marchant and Davina are amazing teachers and one of the most respected teachers in the UK for the quality of their teaching and performances. I also love the Alchemy Dance Academy classes because they cover the techniques and fundamentals of dancing salsa that has help to improve the quality of my salsa dancing. Alchemy Dance Academy also offers great opportunities for 1 to 1 time with Marchant and Davina to enable you to get advice and tips on how to improve your dancing.

SUZIE BOYLE

When did you start learning salsa & why? I started salsa in 2007. I used to ballroom dance when I was younger in Australia and missed it, and when looking for dancing in England came across salsa. After going just once, I knew I had found my new dancing passion.

What do you love about salsa? I love dancing full stop, and salsa is the best social dancing I've ever done. The salsa crowd are a friendly bunch and there is such a variety of events to meet your interest level. This varies from your weekly salsa for general interest to weekend workshops and events for the hardcore salsa fans. I have made some great friends at salsa and can't imagine my life with out it. Beware - once you start you will be hooked for life and you will suddenly find all of your spare time consumed!

A few of your thoughts about Alchemy Dance Academy... Marchant and Davina are amazing to watch and have set up a brilliant academy for learning salsa. Alchemy is the perfect place to build a solid foundation in salsa if you are a beginner or to refine your technique if you are an experienced dancer. One of the best features of Alchemy is that Level 2-5 have both a male and female teacher, which allows you understand how each person needs to move to interact with each other in a smooth manner. Plus its great fun!

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