Instructors and DJ’s


Head Salsa Dance Instructor & Owner of Belltown Dance Studio

From a very young age, Jim possessed the rhythm and
love of music which has influenced him throughout his life. For a while, he was known as an exceptional freestyle club dancer. But freestyle days were over when Jim was introduced to Salsa in 1999. Salsa immediately became his biggest passion and primary means for self expression. Although he was strongly influenced by LA style (on 1) and captivated by its flares, drama, and beauty, in early 2004 Jim started adding the flavor and softness of NY style (on 2), to his dancing. This made his style truly unique, and on the dance floor he stands out above the rest.

To Jim, Salsa is more than simple dance moves. It is playful, dramatic, sensual and flirtatious. Within a short period of time he was addicted and dancing at a professional level. Jim has been a successful artist working nationally for 20 years, and this art background has had a definite impact on his dancing and instruction. In his artistic eye, Salsa is very much comparable to an ongoing mastery of Kung Fu. Because of this, Jim is able to correctly express body movement and body language, and is exceptional at sharing accurate cues and direction for better footwork, patterns and styling with his students.
Jim has danced with some of the most well-known national and local dancers. To offer the ladies a better concept of being an outstanding follow, he complements his instruction with talented dance assistants who offer the grace, fun, flirtatiousness, and proper technique of ladies styling.

Since 2002 Jim has been demonstrating his technique to students in dance studios such as Cameo Dance and American Dance Institute, as well as workshops in health clubs, Gold's Gym, 24 hrs Fitness, Columbia Athletic Club, Bally Total fitness, and in a number of private lessons. He has done many presentations at parties, fund raisers, and other events, and has developed a loyal following. Jim gets a great deal of personal gratification from sharing his passion and seeing his students progressively master the art of Salsa. Why dance with just an instructor when you can dance with an artist?

His Keywords: Always follow your passion, forever humble, and always open to learn.

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Conjunto  Chevere

Band founder, manager and director Ricky Flores is a familiar face in Seattle’s salsa scene. Inspired by the great Tito Puente he started playing latin percussion at young age. In 1968 he formed the group "Wakamba" where he shared the stage with Jerry Rivas of "El Gran Combo" and Nicolas Vivas, founder of "Conjunto Chaney". After moving to the Seattle area in the early 80s' he joined "Orquest Chevere". A few years later together with Frank Medina he formed "Latin Expression". Throughout the years Ricky has shared the stage with Salsa greats such as Richie Ray, Dave Valentin,, El Gran Combo and Cortijito to name a few. In more recent years he has gotten his Salsa fix playing with "Orquesta La Nueva Era" and Johnny Conga. By forming the group "Conjunto Chevere" he brings the flavor of New York style Salsa to the local scene. Lead vocal is performed by the talented Danny Olaizola who was the third award recipient of the OTI festival. In 2006 Danny was nominated for a Grammy in the category of lead vocals for his performance of "Mi Lindo Puerto Rico" from the album "Siguiendo la tradicion". He was a longtime member of "Grupo Yoboso" and "Conjunto Colores". He has also shared the stage with some big names in the music industry such as "The Platters", "The Coasters, Selena, Juan Gabriel and many more. Second vocalist Alex Acosta of Mayagues Puerto Rico is an energetic singer formerly with "Latin ExpressionOrchestra". On the rhythm section playing Congas is Tito Salsa. Born in Chicago he discovered his passion for latin percussion when his family moved back to Puerto Rico when he was a teen. He was a longtime member of the group "Latin Dimension" and more recently has played with a couple of local salsa bands. On Bongos' is Oscar De La Rosa. He is a former member of "Plenarium" of Puerto Rico and in 1980 performed with the late great Tito Puente. Piano is played by Ben Verdier who also performs with local salsa and Jazz groups such as "Sonando",The Fred Hoaley Trio and "Cambalache. On Bass is Farko Dosumov from Tashkent Uzbekistan. He moved to the Seattle area in 1999. On the horns we have Scott Babcock on first trombone. Scott is another familiar face in the local salsa scene. Most recently he has been playing and recorded with "Orquesta La Nueva Era". On second trombone we have Eli Clark a talented musician and student in his senior year at the Cornish institute of arts. Rounding it out we have Luis Duran of Mexico. Luis follows in the footsteps of his father Javier Duran who was the director of the renowned "Pablo Beltran Ruiz Orchestra. He graduated form the Cultural Center for the Arts in Mexico. and then went on to graduate from Central University in Seattle. Most recently he is playing lead trumpet for the Bellevue community college Jazz Ensemble.