dZouk Faculty

Darius-Zi-dZouk-Productions-Founder-Toronto-CanadaDarius Zi

Darius is the founder, artistic director and visionary leader of dZouk Productions. He is a high performance dance coach for instructors and students. Darius is known for originality and creativity in dance choreography.

Darius has been dancing for over 15 years. After a prestigious career as a Salsa dancer culminating in becoming member of Salsa Team Canada 2009, Darius found his passion for Brazilian Zouk. Since 2010, has dedicated his career to travelling around the world to learn this dance from the masters. He has studied Zouk in Australia, Brazil, Europe and North America with renowned teachers Kadu & Larissa, Renata Peçanha, Adilio Porto, Carlos & Sofie Da Silva, Daniel & Leticia and Mafie Zouker. He owes his knowledge of Zouk to these stars, with whom he has taken privates, workshops and several training courses. After three years of dancing and performing, and completing three international instructor training programs, Darius has brought Zouk back home to Toronto. He has created an innovative educational program to share his knowledge and experience with  other Zouk lovers.

Darius is a diversified dancer with training in Salsa, Ballroom, Latin Jazz, Tango, Contemporary, Ballet, Flamenco, Afro Cuban, Classical Indian Bharatanatyam, and Kathak. He has travelled and taught internationally in both Zouk and Salsa, and is frequently sought after as an instructor, DJ, MC, and choreographer.

Darius possesses a very high degree of skill in breaking down and explaining movements to students. This has enabled him to work with his partner Laura to develop one of the world’s most innovative education programs for the blind and partially sighted. Darius also is the co-organizer/developer of Canada Zouk Congress, Vision Dance Encounter, and the Zouk for the Blind programs. He feels these represent some of his most meaningful and challenging contributions to dance.

Outside of Dance, Darius is a tech entrepreneur. He is afraid of heights and is an avid scuba diver!

Laura-Riva-dZouk-Productions-Instructor-Toronto-CanadaLaura Riva

Laura is a senior instructor and the Zouk University co-ordinator at dZouk Productions. Laura discovered Zouk in 2011 after dancing Salsa and Ballroom for three years. She fell in love with the rhythms and flow, and began training in the style intensively. Laura is also the co-organizer and creator of Canada Zouk Congress, Vision Dance Encounter, and the Zouk for the Blind program with her partner, Darius Zi.

To truly master Zouk, she has travelled, performed, and trained internationally with some of the top Zouk instructors in the world, including Kadu & Larissa, Mafie Zouker, and Freddy & Andressa. This, combined with her extensive background in teaching many subjects including skiing, technical theatre, and performance art, make Laura sought after as a teacher and social dancer who deeply understands both sides of the partnership. She values the importance of the student/teacher relationship, and is exceptionally eager to mentor all her students throughout every step of their dance journey.

Laura is a diversified dancer. In order to truly understand and appreciate dance in its many forms, she has dabbled in Blues, Bachata, Hustle, Lindy Hop, Kizomba, Cha Cha, Jazz and Tango. Additionally, she makes it a point to learn how to follow and lead all of her dances. She is often complimented on her skills as a leader not only in the classroom, but also on the social floor. Laura has also competed as a Zouk lead at the Brazilian Beat Zouk Competition, where she and partner Kaylyn Morton took 2nd place.

For three years, Laura studied Law at Western University in London, Ontario while commuting to Toronto on weekends to teach, train and perform with dZouk Productions. During the week, she taught weekly classes and choreographed a pro-bono student Salsa/Zouk fusion team in London. This is a testament to the truly inspirational and sensational nature of Zouk!

Before devoting herself to dance, Laura trained and attained a degree in Theatre. Soon, she found herself spending more time training – and eventually teaching – in dance. In addition to teaching Zouk and Salsa, Laura immensely enjoys West Coast Swing and intends to further pursue that passion.