Stardust Future Events

Ballroom Dance Events

Ballroom Dance Weekends
November 17-19, 2017 

Ballroom Dance cruise 2018
January 13-23, 2018

Ballroom Dance Cruise
Destination: DUBAI
March 2-11, 2018

Dance Weekend Faculty

Donna DeSimone - Instructor of Performing Arts, Ballroom, Choreographer, Performer & Judge. Donna has been teaching dance for 32 years. Her knowledge of Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyric, Broadway Theater and Ballroom has greatly influenced her Hustle style. In 1975 Donna was introduced to a dance called the Hustle. Donna became a Hustle dancer on the Television show “Soap Factory Disco” in 1977. In 1978 she opened her first Dance Studio. Four years later opened her second studio. In 1983 she discovered the world of Ballroom dancing. She trained and competed for 8 years under Roberto Pagan and many well known coaches in American & International styles. In 1985 took 5th in her first ballroom competition at the USBC. In 1986 took 1st at the Virginia State Ballroom Championships in Latin, Won 1st place at 1986 Ohio Star Ball State Championships. In 1986 she won her first United States title,” USBC American Rhythm Champion” in Miami Florida. In 1990 Donna entered the well know Zackary’s Dance Competition and took 1st Place. One year later winning the Tri State Open Hustle Championships sponsored by Night Life Magazine. Donna went on to choreograph for dance tours to China, Italy, Florida, Hershey Park, Carnegie Hall (“Cole Porter’s 100th Birthday Celebration” and “An invitation to Dance” with the NY Pops Orchestra). You can also see her on Cable TV “Touch Dancing” with Alfonzo. Donna started competing again for fun after taking a 14 year break and took 1St Place with her dance partner Derrick Allan in Professional Open Hustle Theater Arts at the Hustle Congress in 2006. Donna has been on staff for “World Hustle”, New York Hustle Congress”, “International Hustle & Salsa Competition” in Miami and the New Orleans “The Big Easy” to judge, teach workshops and perform. Donna won an on line poll in 2006 sponsored by Ron Bess’s Dance Talk as Favorite Female Dancer in the Reader’s Choice Awards. Currently Donna teaches, Choreographs and performs in New York and beyond. For the past 15 years Donna has been the Ballroom Entertainment Director for the “Stardust Dance Weekends” in the Catskills & Stardust Cruises

Wingo Hom - known as "The Dance Doctor" was born and raised in New York City.  At age 11, he was introduced to partner dancing by his classmate’s parents.  They were social dancers and demonstrated a variety of dances in their living room, which awakened his passion for all dances.  His determination and motivation has rewarded him by studying under some of the finest instructors and coaches, which has lead him to compete in an array of dances such as, Hustle, American and International styles of Ballroom, Latin, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing and Salsa.  He is known for his unique technique for diagnosing and improving your dance. The dance doctor makes house calls, you supply the floor space and he will bring the knowledge. Wingo has over 50+ years of dance experience and multiple accomplishments, which include: Recipient of the 2015 Artie Phillips Lifetime Achievement Award, Recipient of the 2014 Employee of the Year Award for Stardust Dance Productions, Winner of 10 Top Teacher Awards, Winner of the 2009 Dancing with the Stars Tour Version in Cha Cha and East Coast Swing competition in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, 2006 Amateur Male Hustle Dancer of the Year, First and only amateur hustle couple, with partner Angela McCabe, to defeat a professional Hustle couple in a competition, 649 first place titles, 34 Jack and Jill first place awards. Wingo is one of the very few instructors that is certified (lead and follow) in Hustle, 12 different American Smooth, Latin and Rhythm Styles at full Bronze and Silver Levels. He is also certified to Judge Dance competitions in all levels. Wingo is a familiar presence in the Hustle, West Coast Swing and Salsa community and is currently teaching in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida.    

Cameron Johnson -  our newest dance instructor joining Stardust.  Hailing from South Africa, Cameron Johnson started his dancing career at the age of 5, under the tutelage of his parents.Cameron is the unbeaten South African International Standard Champion in the Junior, Amateur and Professional ranks. In 1996 Cameron represented South Africa in the Open Fleetwood Professional Championship in Blackpool, England and was placed 6th. Also in 1996, Cameron represented South Africa in the Open French Masters Professional Championship on the Isle of Reunion and was placed 3rd. In 2000, Cameron was invited to immigrate and teach in the USA, where he has since made his home. In 2008, Cameron represented the USA at the World Pro/Am Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was placed 1st. To date, Cameron is still active in the competitive Pro/Am arena where he teaches and moulds his students into the best dancers they can be. Since 1995, Cameron started studying to do his professional qualification exams and In 1996, achieved a Highly Commended pass rate as an Associate in International Standard through the South African National Council of Ballroom Dancing. In 1999, Cameron also achieved a Highly Commended pass rate as an Associate in International Latin and a Highly Commended pass rate as a Licentiate in International Standard through the United Kingdom Alliance in London, England.

Leon Harris - started his association with the dance community after retiring from the US Navy. His first dance was the Brazilian dance Lambada, moved on to ballroom, and finally developed a love for Argentine Tango .  Viewing dance as an extension of his interaction with people, Leon focuses on teaching good dance technique and building confidence in his students.   Being calm and understated, his students find his classes easy going, stress free, but meet their goal of learning to dance. Being located in Washington DC, his training has included local ballroom studios, workshops with visiting dance professionals, salsa and Argentine Tango dance festivals in the US, South America, the Caribbean, and Europe; tango workshops in Buenos Aires and Dubai, and two summer sessions at Stanford University for advance Argentine Tango.   Seven workshops at the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional Habana (Cuba) provided him with a focus on Cuban dance history, Afro Cuban Folkorico dances, Cuban social dances, and the dances of Santaria. Although he was a student, he taught Argentine Tango while in residence at the Conjunto.  As a former Stardust dance host, his experience opened doors for  him to hosting/teaching on all the major cruise lines. On the Queen Mary 2, he danced around the world and taught Argentine Tango to a group of beginners that resulted in a performance for the ship. For the pass 20 years, his home has served as his dance studio for Latin and Argentine Tango classes.  Leon was the recipient of Stardust Dance Productions 2015 Employee of the Year.    

Mark James - a member of the Hustle Hall of Fame and 1999’s Around the Floor Teacher of the Year.  Mark holds over 30 championship titles.  He is an independent teacher, coach, and choreographer with extensive training in American and International Rhythm and Smooth.  He lives, performs, and teaches on Long Island where he hosts the popular Dance Zone.  Mark is Elite Member of the Hustle Dancer’s Hall of Fame.  His competitive highlights include 2000 Hustle USA, 1992 United States National Championships, 1991 United States National Championships and National Rising Star Theatrical Champion.
Karen Lupo - a much sought after coach, teacher, and choreographer known for her elegant and sensual style.  She is a former American Rhythm champion who is a regular performer in and around NYC, as well as on international cruise ships.   She and her partner Mark James integrate their exciting performances with lifts and drops for added punch!  

Lourdes Cruz - has been dancing from a very young age and began teaching & competing professionally in 1996.  Her dance background extends from Ballroom & Latin Dancing, Folk, Belly Dance, West Coast Swing & Argentine Tango.  Her 13 Ballroom Dance Major along with her interdisciplinary teaching experience and studies in music, martial arts, & speech pathology contribute to the versatility of her dancing and teaching style.  Currently she is Program Director and Lead Instructor of the Dance Program at Innerlight Movement Studio in Hyde Park, NY.  

Richard Givney - has a successful twenty four years’ experience in all aspects of the ballroom dancing industry through cultivating and achieving personal, professional and educational goals.  He competed professionally in International Latin; has his teaching certifications in multiple syllabi, including both American and International dances, and franchised and independent curriculums.  He continues to take lessons with top professionals for teaching and personal dance goals.  Last year his ballroom dance program won the 2012 Best in Monmouth County, NJ Health & Life Magazine’s “Reader’s Choice Award”.  Richard is available for private or semi-private lessons.

Philip Spinka - has worked as a professional dancer, instructor, performer, and DJ for over 15 years.  Excelling at West Coast Swing, Hustle, Theater Arts, and Musicality, he also trained in Ballroom, Tango, Jazz, and music theory.  Having taught many styles of dance, he received his teaching certifications in Hustle and West Coast Swing from the IHDA and the GPDIA.  As a competitor, Philip has won and placed in hundreds of Hustle and West Coast Swing competitions, as well as earning placements in the Rising Star West Coast division.  Thanks to his decades of training in music and dance, he discovered that the true purpose of dancing is to paint a picture using music.

Lihann Jones - has spent most of her life dancing or performing in some fashion. From her parent’s nightclubs in Montana and Idaho, to acting in television shows and commercials, to the parade routes and stages of Disneyland, to the old dance halls of the West Coast where she danced with the Joint is Jumpin’ swing troupe, Lihann loves to learn, perform, and teach dance. In 2005, Lihann relocated to Buffalo, NY and worked as a full-time dance instructor and performer for a local ballroom dance studio. She performed in various DanceSport competitions throughout the country in the Pro/Am Division, her students consistently placing high in the scholarship and multi-dance divisions. In 2010 she received her Associate Certification in International Ballroom from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. In 2012 she also received her Associate Certification in American Ballroom from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. In 2013, Lihann helped develop Suneel’s Celebrity Gala for the Suneel’s Light Foundation; a ballroom dance competition with local celebrities and professional ballroom dancers performing to raise funds for children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. In 2014 Lihann continued her role as co-chair for the event and helped turn Suneel’s Celebrity Gala into the most successful fundraising event to date for the Suneel’s Light Foundation. In 2014, in order to better share her great joy for dancing, Lihann created Ballroom Revolution, a dance studio dedicated to teaching body awareness, connection between dance partners, and how to have fun and feel confident in any dance situation. Lihann holds her Bachelor of Arts degree in English – Creative Writing from California State University of Long Beach. She continues to develop her dance and teaching skills by attending multiple Lindy Hop conferences, Ballroom symposiums, Argentine Tango workshops, and teacher seminars a year.

ENTERTAINERS & SPECIAL INSTRUCTORS

Sasha Tarica - was born is Russia and raised in Ukraine and that’s where she was introduced to ballroom dancing. She started dancing at six years old. It didn’t take long until she started competing in both Latin and Standard, winning in several prestigious International Championships. Sasha also has a Bachelor’s degree in Management and is a gifted professional makeup artist. Sasha and her partner are currently teachers with Dance With Me USA in Fort Lee, New Jersey, training with the top coaches in country and competing in the Professional American Smooth & American Rhythm divisions. Sasha has a passion for learning and improving herself daily to inspire and help others develop their own passion and skill. Jordan Simon - grew up in a dancing family and started ballroom dancing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He started competing at the age of 11 in the Pro/Am division. Inspired by his uncle Edward Simon, a successful teacher and World Smooth Champion, Jordan began teaching and professionally competing at the age of 18. Currently Jordan and his Partner are teachers with Dance with Me USA in Fort Lee, New Jersey.  Jordan is currently training with the top coaches in the county and competes in the Professional American Smooth & Rhythm divisions. Jordan enjoys teaching and training every day because he believes dancing enhances and changes lives! 

Anneliece Velasco - Co-Owner, Manager, and Instructor. Anneliece is originally from Mexico City and began her dance training at the age of 5 with the Royal Ballet of London. Contemporary dance and ballroom became her main focuses throughout her teens and as she got older, ballroom dancing turned from a hobby into a career. Anneliece has been with Fred Astaire Dance Studios for over five years instructing and competing heavily throughout the country with her partner Kurt Roberts. Together they have earned the titles of Fred Astaire National Show Dance Champion, Fred Astaire Rising Star Rhythm Champion, Fred Astaire Open Rhythm Finalist, and Ohio Star Ball Rising Star Rhythm Finalist. Her ability to show others her passion for dance, along with her outgoing personality and determination, is what everyone of her students love about her.  Kurt Roberts - has been working with for Fred Astaire Dance Studios for over 4 years as an instructor. Kurt has earned many accolades and awards both in dancing and an Instructor. He holds many titles within Fred Astaire and on the independent competition circuit in the American rhythm style with his partner Anneliece. Some of his titles include: Fred Astaire National Show Dance Champion, Fred Astaire Rising Star Rhythm Champion, Fred Astaire Open Rhythm Finalist, and Ohio Star Ball Rising Star Rhythm Finalist. This grandmother taught him to be kind, be caring, and appreciate the finer things in life. He believes that dance is the finest thing you can do not only to express how you feel but how you can make others feel. Making others feel their absolute best is what he loves about teaching. 


Elvis Collado & Melanie Castillo Bio TBA

John Hernan Raigosa & Yaisuri Salamanca  started dancing tango in 1997. Their style is enriched by modern dancing techniques based on the essence of the traditional tango. Their combined experience includes over 37 theaters from the West End of London to the heart of Buenos Aires, Argentina. They won third place in the World Tango Championship in Buenos Aires. Currently, they are staff instructors for Stepping Out Studios and perform at the Thalia Spanish Theater.



FITNESS INSTRUCTORS

Marion Panos Belly Dance Instructor - In 2009, Marion joined our fitness staff and teaches Belly Dance classes at the weekends. Marion is trained in several styles of dance, including jazz, modern, Afro-Brazilian, African, Middle Eastern and Ballroom. She is proficient in American style ballroom and Latin and has also studied International Standard. She competed around the country at the pro-am level in American style ballroom and Latin for many years. She was a professional Middle Eastern dancer and has been teaching Belly Dance for more than 15 years.


Molly Gelsomino - originally from Upstate, New York.  She has a diverse background in the arts, including a BA in Dance from the University at Buffalo, over 15 years of performance and choreography in concert dance and 6 years as a Dance Educator in the Brooklyn Public Schools.  Molly is a former professional cheerleader for the AFL, and spent 6 years in NYC as a Co-Artistic Director for The Movement Collective Dance Company.  As a newer resident of Sullivan County, Molly found Zumba® to be the most exciting way to fuse her passion for dance. music and fitness.  Molly enjoys inspiring her clients and encouraging her classes to feel the music, join the party and have a fun fitness experience upon stepping into the studio.

Dan Vitali Dance Host Director -  has been associated with Stardust since 1989.  He became Stardust’s Dance Host Director in 2003.  Dan is responsible for the supervision and scheduling of between 12-15 hosts on duty for every ballroom dance event we hold.  Despite his many responsibilities, Dan always has fun, as do the many ladies he dances with during each event.  


4 GREAT DJS & GREAT BAND!!

BALLROOM DJs Michelle & Bob Friedman - have been part of the ballroom dance word for the past 15 years. As avid dancers they started with Ballroom Dance Lessons, and for the past 7 years as professional DJs – specializing in Ballroom Music. In 2001 they even won Top Couple in a Good Morning America 25 hour dance marathon. They have a comprehensive music library of over 20,000 tracks spanning the decades, which includes all types of Ballroom, Latin, Hustle, West Coast Swing & Argentine Tango. They are northeast coast DJ favorites spanning NY, CT, NJ, PA, & DE areas, and are regulars at the world famous Stardust Dance Weekends. They are equally at home playing their music for Ballroom Socials, Showcases, Competitions, and professional performances for some of the world’s most famous ballroom couples. While preferences in music certainly vary from person to person, what they use as their criteria when choosing music to play is really very simple - does it make dancers feel like they just have to get up and move, or doesn’t it? They get great satisfaction when they watch dancers who were heading for their seats at the end of a song turn around and pull each other back out to the dance floor time and again as a new piece begins.

HUSTLE/SWING DJ Louis Del Prete - is a talented musician and dancer.  He is accomplished on drums, keyboards, and trumpet,  and is a fantastic singer.  Louis is also an excellent ballroom dance teacher and DJ.  Louis’s skills started at the age of 13, when he  joined his talented mother and father, Rosann and Louis (also known as the “Perry Lane Orchestra”) at the former Island Squire  Restaurant in Middle Island, where they performed for many years!  His mom, Rosann, was a member of a popular all-girl band in  the 60’s called the “Female Beatles”.  His dad toured the United States with various bands as a trumpet player with a sound like  Harry James. Louis recently joined the Stardust team as their new DJ where his musical and Hustle/Swing dance background talent  will contribute to making the Hustle room one of our most popular venues.  Stop in and say hi to Louis. When Louis is not playing  music, he is dancing.  He is accomplished in Ballroom and Latin dancing, having an excellent lead, precise technique and smooth  style.  He taught dance on popular cruise lines.  Now he teaches group and private lessons and runs many dance venues on Long Island.      

ARGENTINE TANGO DJ Mark Sakowski - very versatile DJ with over 20 years experience playing music for dancers.  He has been fortunate to have played multiple times for some of the largest swing, hustle and Argentine tango events in the country, many dance cruises and over 50 Stardust Dance Weekends in the Catskill Mountains of New York State.For the last 15 years he has DJ'ed predominantly but not exclusively Argentine tango and specializes in playing an inspiring mix of traditional tango, vals & milonga in a similar style as the best milongas in Buenos Aires.  A few of the venues Mark has DJ'ed at are:  Eastern Market Milonga - DC, ESL Milonga - DC, El Besito Milonga - NJ, Milonga de Luz - DC, Milonga Portená - DC, Domingo Tango Club - NYC, La Nacional Milonga - NYC, Fandango De Tango 2014 - Texas, Boston Tango Festival 2015, 2016 & 2017, One City Tango Marathon 2015 - VA, Milonga la clasica - Philadephia and the Official USA Argentine Tango Championships in San Francisco in 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 and the 2016 Providence New Year's Eve Tango Marathon.  On July 13th Mark was the DJ at Midsummer Night Swing "Hardcore Tango Night" with the Aces of Rhythm Sextet at Lincoln Center in New York City. Mark also won the "1st Annual Tango DJ Competition" in Somerville, Massachusetts in September of 2013, is a guest DJ regularly at the prestigious Astoria Tango Club Milonga on Sundays in New York City and was the organizer, host and DJ of the longest running weekday milonga in the Washington DC area;  Milonga Diversité in Coco Cabana Grill in Hyattesville, MD every Monday night for over 10 years.  Mark has DJ'ed over 1000 milongas but is very excited to be the DJ'ing for the first time at Sarah La Rocca's "All Night Milonga" in New York City on August 26th!

LATIN DJ FRANKLIN AYALAborn in NYC has 12 years of experience as a Latin DJ. He is also the head DJ for DanceSport in New York City. Franklin takes his own unique approach to consistently deliver what the crowd is craving making him a highly coveted performer across New York City and around the world. His work includes headlining at major events and venues in New York, throughout the US, and abroad. Franklin Ayala’s musical selection carries the authenticity of the New York Salsa scene. He has played at venues very well known to many salseros; Copacabana, El Flamingo, Wild Palm, Latin Quarters, Iguana's,Cache, to name a few. He is also known for his diversity of its international influences as he seamlessly blends classic and modern Salsa with a keen sense for setting the mood and keeping the party at its peak. He has also been acknowledged for his influence and support of the Salsa community. Receiving the "Men in Salsa" award in 2007 in Washington D.C. and the "Alex" award in 2009 at the Miami Salsa Congress which he has been the Head DJ for the event for the past 6 years.