Dance Teachers

Orquidea Lima
Orquidea is a professional dancer and has been teaching samba since 2013. She is currently the Musa of the London School of Samba, and was Rainha da Bateria in 2010. Orquidea has performed internationally, parading in the Rio Carnival with our Madrinha samba school G.R.E.S. Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel, at the 2011 Chinese New Year Celebrations in Hong Kong, for the Qatari Royal Family in Qatar 2013, and a number of times at the International Samba Festival held annually in Coburg, Germany, including winning the PITU Rainha da Bateria competition there in 2013. She performed at the London 2012 Olympics, and has paraded with LSS numerous times at Notting Hill Carnival, as well as choreographing the LSS Passista Ala in 2013. She has experience in several other types of Latin dance and has trained in Jazz and Contemporary Dance as part of a Performing Arts course.

Gladys Cavalcante

Gladys is a performer and choreographer from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, specialising in Brazilian Ballroom and Latin Dance. She began her training in 1993 in Brazilian Ballroom Dance, and has since travelled world wide, reached the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent 2010 and shared the prize for the Best Latin Dance Performers (with Douglas Gomes, one of her dance partners) at the Latin UK Awards (LUKAS) in 2011. Gladys trained at the Jaime Arôxa Dance School, the most traditional Brazilian Ballroom Dance School. She is specialized in Brazilian dance styles such as Samba no Pe, Samba de Gafieira, Forro, Bolero, Lambazouk, Brazilian Zouk and Salsa.

Marta Ribeiro Scott

Marta is a professional dancer and performer from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. She has paraded in the Rio Carnival as a passista with both Salgueiro and Tradicao Samba Schools, and has performed in Europe, the Middle-East and the USA (including Las Vegas and on Broadway, New York). As a qualified dance instructor, she has been teaching Samba, Latin and Jazz Dances in the UK for 13 years. She is the lead choreographer for the Brighton School of Samba, and has performed with and choreographed Alas for the London School of Samba’s parades at Notting Hill Carnival a number of times. Marta also runs her own dance company (Marta Scott Dance Company) which has received many awards.


Rosaria Gracia PhD

Rosaria has been dancing, teaching and choreographing static and parade pieces in the UK since 1999. She has extensively performed in the UK and in International Festivals in Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil and Cuba. She has had extensive training throughout the years in Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Flamenco and generic Hindu dance and Bollywood. She was Rainha de Bateria of the London School of Samba in 2001; choreographer of the Comissao de Frente of Paraiso School of Samba (2005 – 08); choreographer of the finale site and performer of Burning of the Clocks (Same Sky) (since 2008) and choreographer of the Kemptown Carnival parade (since 2011). She is currently the lead choreographer for Maracatu Cruzeiro do Sul, an Associate Lecturer at the Open University, Northbrook College and City College Brighton and Hove, and has taught at festivals and events such as WOMAD (Spain and UK), Sambeando (Spain) and Big Dance 2010 (South East Dance). Rosaria is a certified Gyrotonics Instructor, Zumba Instructor and Bokwa Instructor.
Eliete (Lia) Araujo dos Santos
Eliete started dancing at the age of 4. With a background in classical ballet, tap, jazz, and belly dancing, Eliete has performed in many countries around the globe. Since moving to the UK, she has created her own style of class called Samba Aerobics, a mix of latin rhythms choreographed into a high energy dance experience. She has also performed in numerous TV programmes and videoclips. Please wear heels for Eliete’s level 2 classes.
Chris do Funk
If you want an impassioned and authentic glimpse into the backstreets of Rio and the euphoria of carnival then just talk to Chris Bicourt, aka “Chris do Funk”. A specialist in samba culture and history, Chris’s unique background (which includes 9 years of Capoeira, and 4 years leading tour groups around Brazil) has seen him work as a ‘samba expert’ for companies such as Nucleus Films and Red Bull, including being a commentator on the first ever live English broadcast of the Rio Carnival. With over 12 years as one of the few professional male samba dancers in the UK, he has performed at various high profile gigs including for the Royal Family of Qatar, and on the BBC, ITV and Channel 5. Chris has been heavily involved with London School of Samba since 2004 and has proposed and helped develop several carnival themes. He’s also been a trustee, director of Harmonia, head of the comms committee, a member of the design review panel for carnival and artistic director (‘carnavalesco’) in 2010. He brings an element of theatre and improvisation to his classes which will transport you away from the grey London days and help you develop your own style and personality, as well as confidence, in samba dance.
Ella Mesma

Contemporary, B-Girl, dancing Salsa and Samba since 2000, her dream is to put real high-level Latin Dance in the Theatre. Performance experiences include Russell Maliphant Company, Guarini Dance Company, Southpaw Company, Olympics Opening Ceremony, Breakin’ Convention, Adidas, Wendy Houston’s ‘Stupid Women’ & Austin Shaw Productions. Ella was selected as Passista for Rio Carnival (Algeria Da Zona Sul) in 2006 & was Rainha da Bateria for London School of Samba in 2008. She established Element Arts in 2007 and Ella Mesma Company in 2011. She also produces Roots of Rumba an annual Festival at Richmix, London. Recent work ‘Ladylike’ was created in November 2015 with the support of Arts Council and Yorkshire Dance and Casa Festival International. In 2016 Ella Mesma was a Bench fellow (Tamsin Fitzgerald-2Faced Dance Company) and is Associate Choreographer at Dance City in Newcastle. Other works include Ajé, created in 2014, Ecdysis 2012 and Evol 2011


Samara Reis
A former London School of Samba Rainha da Bateria, Samara has danced with many companies. She has a classical approach to samba with a focus on elegance and good posture. Her 15 year career as a samba dancer has included highlights such as performing with Will Smith on the Ant and Dec Show, NME Awards 2009, Brit Awards 2011 and appearances in many advertisements and television shows.
Winner of the Best Brazilian Dance Teacher Award at the 2015 Lukas Awards
Mariana Pinho

Mariana is an expert in Maracatu, Orixas movement, Coco, Sambas (reggae, de roda, partido alto, and batucada) and used to dance with London group Verde Vai. Highly trained in Brazil, Mariana has performed internationally in Germany, Greece, France and Algeria. In Brazil, she has worked as a costume/float designer and performed as a float highlight with GRES Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel and performed with Caprichosos de Pilares and Porto da Pedra. In the UK she has worked for the BBC, Young Vic, Cardboard Citizens and performed at Glastonbury, WOMAD, Tribe of Doris amongst many. As a dance teacher, choreographer, co-ordinator, performer, she also collaborated with Brazilian inspired groups in the UK such as Norwich Samba, Sol Samba, Eri Okan, Ilu Axe, Sambuka and became part of the LSS family in 2004. She also runs cultural tourism interchange projects, international production of brazilian artists and has her own award winning company, Gandaia Arts, which regularly runs carnival sector projects, including the companies resident group Maracatudo Mafua’s project – Yamuna Yemanja, proposing a cultural dialogue between India and Brazil via kathak and maracatu.
dark haired woman leading a dance class
Douglas Gomes Campos
Douglas Gomes is a dancer and choreographer from Uberlandia Minas Gerais and was trained as a dancer at Bailar Escola de Danca de Salao in Brazil where he also started teaching and performing professionally in 2004. In London since 2005, he initially danced for Yes! Brazil, a famous Brazilian entertainment dance group which has travelled to Europe, Asia and Africa promoting the Brazilian culture. Douglas has been teaching classes with the London School of Samba since 2006 and also works with a variety of other styles such as Samba de Gafieira, Forro’, Lambada, Bolero, Line Dance, Salsa and Tango.
Mariana Whitehouse
Rainha de Bateria of the London School of Samba when she was 17, Mariana has performed with many of the leading Samba Schools in the UK and Europe. Trained in physical theatre at London International School of Performing Arts, Mariana is a carnival arts practitioner with a particular interest in costume interpretation and street theatre. She has also choreographed for the London School of Samba’s performance groups.
Leandro Beleza
Founder and Artistic Director of Beleza Brighton Samba Social Enterprise, Brazilian Samba dance instructor and Choreographer.
Leandro has taught Samba, Axe’, Samba no Pe’ and Forro’ as well as choreographing for festivals and government-run programmes in his native southern Brazil. The first lead Passista instructor at Brighton School of Samba, choreographer for Blue Touch Paper Carnival “Embaixadores da Alegria” at Arts Parade 2012, Leandro has also been on the judging panel at the 2012 Ryde Arts Parade – Isle of Wight. He has been involved and worked with London School of Samba in various roles; as a Passista in 2012, as lead choreographer of “Ala Indio” in 2013, Coburg Samba Festival (Germany) 2015 dance lead and currently due to lead ala India in 2016. Notably he was also a “Samba de Gafieira” dancer for the Rio Flag Handover Ceremony at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Claudia Da Silva
Claudia is a performer and choreographer of Afro-Brazilian dance based in London. She moved from Portugal to Bristol in the UK in 2003, where she has been instrumental in creating a thriving Afro-Brazilian dance scene, teaching classes throughout the south-west, promoting regular workshops with international guest teachers, as well as leading her own performance company “Samba Sereia”. For 6 years she was the dance Director for Bristol School of Samba and a dance teacher at the Bristol Dance Centre. Claudia’s work focuses mainly on Samba Reggae, Samba de Roda, Samba No Pe (Rio style) and her own contemporary fusion called Afro-Samba. Her unique style blended with her own original choreographies always brings a challenging and unique class. Her relaxed and patient approach ensures that the students receive the confidence and encouragement to progress while enjoying the classes in a friendly environment.
dark haired woman leading a dance class
Rosangela Soledade
Rosângela has been working in the dance/movement field for her entire adult life.  She was born and raised in Olinda, Brazil. At university, she studied Scenic Arts and trained as a  performing arts teacher. As a dancer she worked for Bale Popular do Recife and Maracatu Nação Pernambuco-traditional dance and music group from northeast of Brazil. She also worked  in various theatre productions. In 1992 she came to the UK,  initially for temporary work as a dance teacher, however she ended up settling down here and continued to work as a professional dancer and choreographer. She founded her own dance company, took part in different groups productions as a guest dancer and leaded dance workshop for adults and children in Europe and UK including LSS. Following a back injury, she began attending Pilates classes which she found to be vital to her recovery. This inspired her to train and become a Pilates teacher. Her passion for movement has led her further to become also a Group Exercise Instructor, Gyrokinesis and Yoga therapy Teacher. After a long break we welcome her back to LSS leading ala Greece in 2016.
Irineu Nogueira

(bio/photo awaiting)
Other guest teachers also pop in when they can.
Paula de Hollanda
Monika Molnar
Kamilah Turner


If you’d like to come and teach for us please email CV with videos of you teaching and performing to
Please note we schedule workshops at least 3 months ahead.

Michela Di Felice (Baile Funk)


Michela is a professional artist from Italy with more than 10 years of experience in
the scene. She is known for her wide versatility in many styles (jazz,
contemporary, street dances, dancehall, commercial, salsa, samba, afro styles,

Her training started in Italy, then Paris and Bruxelles influenced by Europe’s top
choreographers; she also studied in NY, L.A. and finally London where she joined
one of the most influential street dance companies in the UK, Boy Blue
Entertainment. She stepped into the UK samba scene where she trained and
gained a lot of experience working in London and abroad, she also trained with
Brazil’s finest teachers and experienced training BAILE FUNK in Rio’s favela. She
also developed her own style fusion of samba and house which she teaches

Her work experiences vary from music videos, live shows, TV, movies, theatre
productions, modelling and corporate events as a dancer, assistant choreographer
and choreographer.

Some Credits: MOBO AWARDS Fuse ODG, Tinie Tempah, Deborah Cox, BBC
Radio 1 Teen Awards, MTV’s Plain Jane, Channel 4 Comedy Gala Show, Jaxx
Jones “SNACKS” Tour, MTV “Plain Jane”, “Doctor Strange 2”
She started to teach early in her career and her vast teaching experience reflects
the vibe of her classes: fun, knowledge and quality.
Recently she has been working closely to communities, as she believes this is
where her heart and purpose with dance lies – to help, empower and educate people, while giving them a great time.

The Performance Bateria are the group of drummers who are chosen (by invite only) to perform at most of live audience events our organisation encounters as the London School of Samba (LSS).

This group is an invite only group. At the LSS we generally look towards recruiting from developing guests and members attending our open workshops on Sundays at Waterloo Action Centre (WAC) or people we've encountered elsewhere in the world playing samba and have relocated to London. But if you are new to the LSS but have some previous samba experience you'd like to join the gigging bateria, simply come and meet us at WAC on a Sunday and either let a bateria director or the mestre de bateria know you're interested and we'll have a look at your skills there and your community spirit and let you know when we reach a decision.

Either before or after you see us at WAC, email us you intention at

In the performance bateria known as the 'gigging bateria' you will be expected to learn more about swing, groove,bossas (breaks) and their relation to various LSS acoustic sets, to learn sambas from the school of past and present as well as some chosen samba from schools from Brazil (in Portuguese) and choreography to aid the performance (something we pride ourselves on). In addition to this we encourage you to increase you general samba knowledge, keep up to date with current samba news and learn about samba's history (although that will be taught school wide) and learn portuguese (even if it's only a little bit).

If you're not initially selected it generally because we feel you have to work on technique, memory or something else there are still opportunities to perform with the samba school in front of a live audience. We hold 3 or 4 performances a year where we invite any member of the samba school to join us for these public performances at events such as the 'London Marathon' or the 'Vitality 10k' and is a great way to bring everyone in the school and other samba friends together. The aim is for each individual to be able to handle the pace of gigging bateria rehearsals and not feel overwhelmed or muddy the collective sound of the bateria. 

From no samba experience to fully fledged gigging bateria percussionist may take time, it may not, so a 'no' from entry to the group from us is not personal or a complete rejection, it's simply stating that for some reason at this time either from us, yourself or circumstances like covid numbers, that it's just not possible at this moment in time.

But don't give up, keep trying. You'll still get to play at school wide gigs and we'll eagerly await the time when the circumstances are right to welcome you in our gigging crew.