Dislocados started in Kyiv, Ukraine in 2005 as the first and only salsa band from the former Soviet Union. After many concerts and collaborations with Jimmy Bosch, Mitch Frohman, Pete Nater, Frankie Vazquez, and others, Dislocados is the region's premier salsa group and a well-established European salsa band. Led by Ilya Yeresko, Dislocados performs mostly original compositions influenced mainly from New York salsa and Puerto Rican salsa. Lyrics are written by Karolina Patocki and music is composed and arranged by Ilya Yeresko. Lead singers are Olesya Zdorovetska and Karolina Patocki. Their collaboration with Jimmy Bosch led them to winning Best Latin Song for "Como Tu" in the 2012 Independent Music Awards. Their upcoming 2022 album will include collaborations from Choco Orta, Jimmy Bosch, Nelson Gonzalez, Jorge Maldonado, Julio Lopez, and Mitch Frohman as well as salsa covers of the songs Carol of the Bells, Agua de Beber, Nostalgias, and Chick Corea's Spain.
Barrio started as a grassroots project by brothers, Carlos and Steve Brito, who have endless love for Toronto and Latin Culture. What started as a t-shirt and cap company, quickly turned into nightlife, festivals, and the promotion of everything Latin in the City and abroad. Our journey has connected us to like-minded people all over the world that it sparked a movement. So what’s our purpose? We don’t know, we just love to showcase our Culture. We are thankful to be one of the most recognizable Latin brands in Canada. We’re forever evolving, but our mission remains the same. To push the Latin culture forward.
Araguacu is a native Taino word that translates into "the sacred people”. Araguacu Latin Dance Company is a fusion of diverse cultures and talents, that was founded in 2013, by Toronto based directors, Geo and Kim. Araguacu specializes in teaching Bachata, and Mambo/Salsa On2. Their high energy classes and performances have quickly made them one of the most sought after dance teams across Canada.
Cadence Dance Academy is a Toronto based dance school, known for their creativity, explosiveness, charisma, and unique style. They believe all variations of dance to be beautiful in their own right and deserve to be recognized and appreciated just as much as any other dance genre. Their primary goals are to stay true to their craft, dance with true emotion and meaning, and give 150% every time they set foot on stage.
Aimée is a world explorer from Ecuador, avid Latin dancer and storyteller. Her passion for people and culture has led her to pursue a career in hospitality and events. She has lived and worked in 6 countries on 4 continents. Currently in Toronto working in the culinary arts and promoting the Latin dance community.
Delgatz is an emerging filmmaker as she pursues her passion for authentic storytelling by bringing compelling narratives to the forefront. With a background in graphic design, visual communication is all encompassing for her; perspective, language, design, music, cinematography and more drive Delgatz to continue elevating her work in creating great stories and visual experiences.
Carlos Brito was born in Toronto, Canada from Ecuadorian parents. He grew up in the Jane & Finch community where he enjoyed the multiculturalism of Toronto. Driven by the beauty of everything Latin, he left the comfort of his position at one of the major banks to take on Barrio full-time. There’s nothing that he loves more than to promote everything latin and create beautiful experiences. He’s just getting started.
Kareem was first introduced to Latin music in 2004 in Havana, Cuba. Since then, he has never looked back. Within a few years, he became fluent in spanish and proficient in Salsa & Bachata Dance. Kareem has competed professionally and performed across Canada, U.S. and Latin America. Currently, Kareem is the Marketing Director of the Latin Sparks Festival. He strives to create more spaces where people from all over the world can be introduced and fall in love with the culture of Latin America.
Carl is the Executive Director of the Latin Sparks Festival. For the past 10 years he has produced and managed music and dance festivals that have attracted thousands of cultural enthusiasts around Canada. Carl has lived and worked all over Latin American and the Caribbean, and is passionate about education, entrepreneurship, and culture.
Sunfest in London Ontario - this is where it all started for me! The music, dance and culture quickly propelled me into taking Latin dance classes, joining a performance dance team, and traveling to Havana Cuba to deepen my knowledge on the culture. After running a marketing and production agency for 7 years, I was thrilled to get back to my creative roots by supporting the Latin Sparks team in the production of such a beautiful project - one that has personally brought me so much joy and depth after a year-long pandemic.
Now at twenty-five years old, Diane has had the time to develop into an industry professional which has given her many opportunities to share her passion. Diane has been fortunate enough to have opportunities to learn from Toronto’s best Dancers and Choreographers; e.g. Shameka Blake, Allison Bradley, Chris Clarke, Amanda-May Wilson, Esie Mensah and many more. Diane is thrilled to see where this chapter of her dance journey will take her.
Heymer Alvarado began his dance career in Venezuela at the age of sixteen, specializing in Cuban styles at Rumbero Academy. He then studied at the Musa School in the styles of jazz, hip hop, commercial dance and contemporary. Five years later Heymer moved to Toronto Canada where he has danced with Cadence Dance Academy, Araguacu Latin Dance Company and the Vibe Exclusive. Heymer has taught and performed around the world in various styles including bachata, salsa, and dancehall. He has had the opportunity to perform with world-renowned artists, including Ozuna, Mario Ruiz, Gloria Trevi, and Toronto artist Chantel Collado.
In 2020 Heymer was a part of the inaugural season of Canada’s Drag Race, performing in the finale episode, and touring Canada-wide with the cast. Heymer now runs AmaMia Dance Company.
Amanda is a multidisciplinary artist and dancer in which has trained in multiple different styles in order to become the versatile dancer she is today. She owes a lot of her growth to the community in Toronto that have given her the tools to become the professional she is in pursuing her passion as her profession. At the age of 23 she has been able to travel across the world doing what she loves, perform in grand stadiums, pass down the knowledge she has learned to others, and continually inspire the ones around her to live in their purpose.
Shakiru is the founder of ÀSÀ Dance Production. Dance and movement are parts of Shakiru’s culture and religion. He has been dancing Hip-hop and Afro-beats ever since he was playing in the streets of Nigeria. Upon moving to Canada, he picked up the Latin dance styles and specialized in Afro-Cuban.
In the Latin dance community, he is known for his Afro-Cuban expertise, which adds unforgettable flavour to his Salsa and Bachata technique. Aside from winning various Bachata competitions, Shakiru had the honour to learn from and perform with Harold and Regan, World Bachata Champions.
Born into a family where music and dance were very much a part of daily life, Kim was exposed to these cultural experiences at a very young age. Launching her professional dance career in 2013 as Co-Founder and Co- Director of Araguacu, Kimberly has since become an internationally recognized instructor, performer and choreographer.
For more than 11 years, Kim has specialized in teaching and promoting Salsa and Bachata, capturing the hearts of her community; locally and abroad.
My name is Joan Roca Fabra I am a professional ballroom and latin dancer from Barcelona Spain, currently living in Waterloo Ontario. Smooth and classy dancer looking to become more versatile, I have immersed myself into the salsa world and started training with recognized artist all around the globe. Dancing is my way of self expression and it helps me to feel like i’m the best version of myself.
Joselyn Paz has always loved dance from a very young age. Specializing in many different styles from salsa to hip hop she has shared this passion on incredible stages such as Daddy Yankee and the Roger's Center. Her hope is to inspire and motivate those around her to find expression through dance.
Clifton is the Owner/Director of Cadence Dance Academy, a Toronto based dance school known for their creativity, charisma, explosive routines, and unique style. He is trained in many genres of dance but mainly specializes in Salsa, Bachata, Cha Cha Cha and Dancehall.
Born in El Salvador and raised in Canada, Rene’s career in the culinary arts was an unexpected turn that has shaped his entire life. He put himself through culinary school and has always aspired to work with the best in the business in order to learn and grow his skillset. Currently, he is a partner at and head chef at Gus Tacos and Casamiento Pupusas.
Having grown up in India, flavour and spices runs in my blood. Choosing a path in the culinary fortified the same. Building recipes, dishes and formulating menus come naturally to me and is something I thoroughly enjoy.
I currently assume the position of Corporate Chef at Ration Food Lab, a hospitality group born at the height of the pandemic. Last summer is when I brought to life Ocaso Tacos, one of the most satisfying and entertaining projects I've been a part of. That's when I fell deeply in love with Latin flavour and culture after taking a deep dive into researching recipes and techniques about the same.
The thing I love the most about being a chef is pushing the boundaries of amalgamating flavours from the multiple cuisines and cultures that have influenced me over the years and provoking reactions with those who try my creations.
Karolina Patocki is the co-producer, lyricist, and one of the lead singers of Dislocados, one of Europe’s leading salsa bands. Born and raised in Canada, she studied violin/viola at Canterbury Arts High School in Ottawa before going on to co-host Barrio Latino on CKCU FM for 3 years where she further explored her love of salsa music. Karolina relaunched Dislocados in 2006 with her partner, musical director Ilya Yeresko. Dislocados has released 4 studio albums, winning the 2012 Independent Music Awards for Best Latin Song with “Como Tu”, and has currently spent the last 7 weeks on the top 20 in Puerto Rico’s main salsa charts with their latest single, Agua de Beber.
Luis Orbegoso (known in the latin recording industry as “Luisito”) was born in Lima, Perú in 1971 and moved to Canada in 1972. He became an honored graduate of the Humber College music program in 1994 and has been a member of the Toronto Musicians Association since 1993. He has performed and/or recorded with Oscar de León, Stevie Wonder, Hilario Durán, Chucho Valdéz, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, Changuito, Giovanni Hidalgo, Ralph Irrizarry, The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Nelly Furtado, Kenwood Dennard, Ray de la Paz, Alfredo de la Fe, Luisito Carrión, Cheo Andujar, Jimmy Bosch, Horacio Hernandez, Mark Quiñones, Jerry Gonzalez, Hilton Ruiz, Paquito D’Rivera, Ricardo Lemvo, Henry Fiol, David Virelles, Nick Ali, Jane Bunnett, Diego Marulanda & Pacande, Alex Cuba, Luis Mario Ochoa & Cimarrón, Dominicanada, and far too many more to list here. Luis is a highly sought after teacher, and has worked with students and professionals at universities, schools and festivals across Canada and in Germany, Colombia and Peru.
Congas / Bongos / Timbales / Hand Percussion / Drum Set / Vocals
Melissa is a professional dancer, choreographer, and teacher who has been studying the art of many different types of dance. Growing up, she was a competitive dancer who has won many awards across Canada and the States. Her training has taken her into the professional realm where she has danced in or choreographed everything from film and television (Suicide Squad/Julie and the Phantoms/ Disney Zombies 2) contemporary and salsa company dance in Europe and Los Angeles (Ansima Ballet Production/ Omambo Dance Project) , as well as live shows with artists such as Karol G, Chaka Khan and Nick Jonas.
A video series celebrating the universal love for Latin culture.
Everyone loves Latin. Whether it’s the food, music, dance, or people. What makes the Latin culture so exciting and attractive to individuals from all over the world? Take a look and see for yourself! This video series explores the universal love for Latin culture.
Love Latin <3 is brought to you by the Latin Sparks Festival - Canada’s largest celebration of Latin American music, dance, food, and culture. The annual festival takes place in Toronto and includes live music, dance performance, food vendors, outdoor bars, and a whole lot of dancing. We can’t wait to see you all this summer on Canada’s biggest dance floor!