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Meet Our Amazing

All art is interpretation. Let our amazingly talented instructors show you their personal interpretation of how they see dance and life.
Founder, Creative Director, Choreographer

Regan Christmas

Regan was born in Durban and played sports throughout school, but his applicable movement training started quite late in life at around 21 years of age.

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He trained in martial arts for five years, and he taught junior karate to children affected by ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

In 2003 Regan moved to Cape Town and started working for an international Ballroom/Latin dance school as a teacher. From 2005 he first learned Salsa locally, and then continued his training in Europe from 2006.

On his return back to South Africa in 2007, he opened his own dance school called The Salsa Studio. The name of the school has since changed to Paradiso Academy, but Regan still carries his optimism; passion; and his ongoing mission towards artistry and mastery to this day and into the future.

Birthday: 8 July

Director, Choreographer

Candice Christmas

She is ladies styling principle of Paradiso Academy and Regan’s dance and business partner. Known for her fun demeanour in classes as well as her beautifully feminine and sensual dancing on the stage and on the social floor,

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… there is no doubt that she loves music and dance.

Candi brings her years of experience in club and street dancing and melds it with her technical training in Flamenco; Tango and Salsa. Born and raised in Cape Town and dancing formally since 2000, she also brings her own brand of African rhythmic movement effortlessly to every dance.

Birthday: 13 November

Full-Time Teacher, Performer

Michael Swanepoel

Michael is from Cape Town and he started late in dancing. He took his first Modern class at age 23 and loved it.

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He is a qualified teacher of Ballroom and Latin American dancing since 2012.

He loves running whether it involves trail running or just running away from his problems. Lover of Pitbull terriers. He prefers sunrises over sunsets. Will exchange hugs for coffee.

Birthday: 29 October

Teacher, Performer

Shani De Jager

Shani was born and raised in Cape Town. Attended her first salsa class in February 2009 and was hooked immediately. Trained with The Salsa Studio (now known as Paradiso Academy) ever since.

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Joined the studio’s teaching and performance team in 2011. As a Libra always striving for balance, she finds dancing to be the perfect creative outlet to counterpoise her analytical day job.

Birthday: 7 October

Teacher, Performer

Kevin Hendrickse

Dancing since 2009 Kevin spent his formative years in London where he was instantly hooked by its vibrant and diverse dance scene.

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His interests lie in many forms of dance including Kizomba and Bachata, but his main area of expertise has always remained with his first love which is Salsa.

Constantly pushing his own skills and knowledge, Kevin joined Paradiso Academy (then The Salsa Studio) in 2014 and soon become a regular feature on the local performance scene. Numerous travels abroad have also afforded him the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top dancers and instructors.

Kevin’s classes focuses on core techniques that empower dancers to express themselves and have fun. Well rooted in established trends and practices, his love of dance found new expression in teaching and sharing.

Birthday: 27 September

Teacher, Performer


Known as one of Cape Town’s most passionate kizomberos, David is an enthusiastic dancer and music lover, particularly with genres such as afro-beats and dancehall music.

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Born and bred in West Africa, David moved to Cape Town, South Africa in 2007 for tertiary education. After being introduced into the Afro-Latin dance community by a friend, he started taking formal salsa lessons at the beginning of 2012.

While in the salsa community, he discovered kizomba and was immediately hooked. In 2015, David attended the Paris kizomba festival, which is regarded as one of the top kizomba festivals in the world. He has given kizomba classes and workshops in Cape Town, and is excited to grow the kizomba scene in Cape Town

Teacher, Performer


I was first introduced to Salsa and Bachata in 2014 by a friend from Colorado when we both lived in South China. I was immediately hooked.

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Over the following 6 months, I soaked up all I could in classes – and went social dancing several times every week – before my time there came to an end.

Fast forward to 2017; I moved from my hometown in KZN to Cape Town and was thrilled to discover a local dance scene. A kind soul at a party told me that if I planned to take my dancing seriously, Paradiso Academy was the only place to be. It has since become my second home.

Coming from a gymnastics background of 10+ years, I have always enjoyed creating art and complex movements with one’s body. Dancing is an amazing outlet for stress and source of happiness for me. Even before Afro-Cuban dance, I enjoyed greatly interpreting and moving to music.

Teacher, Performer

Krystal Coetzee

Is RAD classical ballet trained since the age of 3 and competed in international ballet competitions and contemporary competitions. She was an apprentice with the JHB ballet.

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“I’ve never experienced life without it but the lessons I’ve learned and experiences I’ve had has made life even more exciting. I get a different perspective on life and it makes me happy. It’s a bonus bit of joy in life. Something that amazes me about dance is that you never want to stop learning. Every dance has a new lesson and experience in store. Also the fact that even though the stage has been my home, I still can’t shake the pre-performance jitters.”