Staff Bios

Amanda Roberts

Amanda loves to dance!

During an Australian traveling adventure in her 20’s, she discovered the marvelous rhythms of Salsa and her affinity for this style of music and dance.  Amanda has studied Salsa dancing at many dance schools as well as with world-renowned instructors at international congresses; eventually expanding her repertoire to include: Casino Rueda, Bachata, Cha Cha Cha, Merengue, Cumbia, Latin Hustle and West Coast Swing.  Most recently, she was certified by Tito Ortos (Puerto Rico) through his Salsa Certification Course.

Amanda has performed at numerous events over the years and some of her favourites include: representing Salsa Team Canada at the Puerto Rico Salsa Congress, dancing in Sarah Slean’s music video Lucky Me, and performing at the Canada Salsa and Bachata Congress. 

Eventually, under the direction of Jennifer Aucoin, Amanda trained as a dance instructor at Steps Dance Studio. As an instructor, her strength lies in her ability to break down the moves and highlight the details, which makes learning easy, and her goal is to create an inclusive, fun and friendly learning environment.  For Amanda, the real sense of fulfillment comes from watching students discover their own ability; witnessing them make the transition from counting salsa steps to feeling the music and inhabiting the rhythms.

Amanda is very proud to be a part of the Steps family and whether you are exploring the world of dance for the very first time, hoping to improve your social dancing skills, or have dreams of performing one day, she looks forward to meeting you on the dance floor.

Anastasiya Zhuravska

Anastasiya is a 2x Canadian Champion in the Professional Salsa Solo (2017) and Same Gender Duo Shines (2018) divisions at the Canadian Salsa & Bachata Championship. 

Anastasiya's artistic career began with dance classes at a local dance school in Lviv, Ukraine at age 5. By the age of 8, she had commenced her professional training at "Lviv State Ballet Academy," one of the top ballet schools in Ukraine. Upon her move to Montreal at age 12, Anastasiya resumed her training at "L'ecole Superieure de Ballet Du Quebec." Throughout her years of ballet training, Anastasiya travelled across Canada performing with various dance companies, including "Montreal Theater of Dance", "Hips Don't Lie Dance Co.", "Samba Connection Dance Co.", and "Rousskiye Ouzory".

In pursuit of her professional growth, in 2013, Anastasiya left Montreal and moved to New York City. She attended and graduated from the "William Esper Studio," one of the most respected training studios for actors in the United States. In New York, Anastasiya discovered the world of Latin Dancing and had the honour to train with some of the best internationally recognized coaches and instructors in Salsa, Bachata, Cha Cha, Hustle, International Latin and American Rhythm dances.

Anastasiya has performed at multiple Congresses across Canada and the U.S., as well many corporate and special events, including; the Royal Tea Dance Party (track launch of recording artist Sir Ivan), and the Queen's Plate at Woodbine Racetrack. She was also featured as a dancer on the television series "Conviction."

Anastasiya believes strongly in continuous, intentional growth in your craft; and instills the same hunger and commitment in all of her students.

Anastasiya Zhuravska is a 2x Canadian Champion in the Professional Salsa Solo (2017) and Same Gender Duo Shines (2018) divisions at the Canadian Salsa & Bachata Championship.

Anastasiya is currently a Team Director of Steps Ladies Intermediate and Advanced team, and Steps Amateur Team. She is as well a Competitive Coach at Steps Dance Studio.

She teaches variety of classes such as Salsa on 1, on2, Pachanga, Bachata, Cha Cha, as well as speciality classes: Technique, Styling, and Ballet.

Anastasiya's artistic career began with dance classes at a local dance school in Lviv, Ukraine at age 5. By the age of 8, she had commenced her professional training at “Lviv State Ballet Academy," one of the top ballet schools in Ukraine. Upon her move to Montreal at age 12, Anastasiya resumed her training at “L’ecole Superieure de Ballet Du Quebec." Throughout her years of ballet training, Anastasiya travelled across Canada performing with various dance companies, including including “Montreal Theater of Dance”, "Hips Don't Lie Dance Co.", "Samba Connection Dance Co.", and “Rousskiye Ouzory".

In pursuit of her professional growth, in 2013, Anastasiya left Montreal and moved to New York City. She attended and graduated from the “William Esper Studio,” one of the most respected training studios for actors in the United States. In New York, Anastasiya discovered the world of Latin Dancing and had the honour to train with some of the best internationally recognized coaches and instructors in Salsa, Bachata, Cha Cha, Hustle, International Latin and American Rhythm dances.

Anastasiya has performed at multiple Congresses across Canada and the U.S., as well many corporate and special events, including; the Royal Tea Dance Party (track launch of recording artist Sir Ivan), and the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine Racetrack. She was also featured as a dancer on the television series “Conviction.”

Anastasiya believes strongly in continuous, intentional growth in your craft; and instills the same hunger and commitment in all of her students.

Ashleigh Au

Ashleigh began her study of dance at Toronto's Claude Watson School for the Arts. As a teenager she became a dance instructor and performer and appeared in music videos for artists such as Wyclef Jean, Donnell Jones, and Sean Paul, as well as “Save the Last Dance” the television series, and the feature film “Honey”.

Ashleigh studied traditional Cuban dance and Spanish at the University of Havana, in Cuba in 2002 and later returned to Toronto where she was trained in Salsa by Jennifer Aucoin, Founder of Steps Dance Studio and the Canada Salsa Congress, and Giovanni Torres of Los Salsomanos Dance Company. Salsa dancing and performing took Ashleigh traveling across Canada and to New York City, Los Angeles and Puerto Rico.

From 2007 - 2017 Ashleigh was based in China where she served as trilingual Master of Ceremonies for Latin Dance Events across China. 

Dailyn Martinez

Dailyn Martinez Hernandez was born in Havana Cuba.

At the age of 5, she started her Artistic activities, participating in school band dancing and as part of the rhythmic gymnastic. Later she incorporated into the Cultural Centre in her hometown Guines, taking dance lessons as well as guitar, piano and singing lessons. 

At 10, she joying Tamborin Teatre Group also in her hometown — dancing, singing and acting. At 13, after hard and long days of audition, she was accepted at her first professional School in Modern and Contemporary and AfroCuban Dance Juan Pablo Duarte from Havana Province.

In 1996, she graduated and was given the highest recognition of her school for being graduating student of her year.

In 1997, she competed at the National Festival of Art Student where she was awarded Best Female Performer and Best Solo Dance Performance with her own Choreography "Vida" and special mention for her acting skills on "La Casa de Bernarda Alba".

That same year she faced one of her biggest challenges of her artistic career — "Prueba Nacional de pase de nivel" or National Test to pass to the next Art Level — where all the chosen students from Provincial Art School of the Country had to compete for a spot in the National School or Art in Havana. She passed the test and started her foundation as a pre-professional dance student.

The school name is Escuela Nacional de Espectaculos Musicales y Variedades.

Once there, she participated in different projects with children and youth, as a dance mentor and instructor, as well as developing her skills in acting and playing musical instruments such as guitar and congas.

In 1998, she was chosen to participate in the most important concourse for a student of a National School, Concourse UNEAC (Union Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba), where she was awarded 2nd prize in Choreography Duet, Recognition for her work as Choreographer, Best Female Interpretation.

In 2000, Dailyn graduated from Escuela Nacionla de Espectaculos Musicales and Variedades with honors and as Second Best graduated student. That same year she was chosen to work as a professional dancer at the most important Musical Theatre and Variaity "Teatro America"in Havana, Cuba. Once there she also started teaching dance to kids, youth and adults as well as performing and choreographing for the Dance Company. She had the chance to work with prestigious personalities of Cuban Art and Music such us National Ballet of Cuba, Company Segundo, Buena Vista Social Club, Omara Portuondo, National Folkloric Dance Company of Cuba and so many more, and was also able to represent her culture internationally such Spain, United Kingdom and Germany. By 2002 she was a Certified Professional Choreographer and Dance Instructor and still performing as a Professional Dancer.

In 2003, Dailyn auditioned for the most completed and popular Dance Company at that time in Cuba — Havana Night — as a dancer where she had the opportunity to travel to Sydney, Australia in a big Cuban production of Musicians, Dancers and Circus Artists.

In 2003-2004, Dailyn started working in one of the largest hotel chains in Cuba — Melias, at Sol Palmeras Hotel — as a Co-Director of the Dance Company Sol Arenas, where she was also Dance Performer and Choreographer.

In 2006, Dailyn arrived in Toronto and started performing with Ire Omo, Cuban Dance Company and Mambo Dream Team Dance Company, as well as teaching kids and youth Cuban dance and Rhythms, at the Company studio.

Dailyn is currently Teaching at Steps Dance Studio, also teaching at the best Art and Cultural Place in Toronto Lula Lounge as a Dance Instructor and performing with local Musicians and Band such as Quartet Guaracha y Son, Cassaba, Cafe Cubano and others.

Emily Downs

Dancing has always been a part of Emily’s life. Graduating from York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, she continued her journey to London England where she pursued dance as well as found herself in the yoga world. Emily now teaches yoga in Toronto and will be teaching a Yoga for Dancers class every Thursday at Steps.
For three years Emily has been a part of Steps Dance Studio where she has the joy and pleasure of working alongside these talented and amazing people! She is now the front desk manager. Steps really feels like home to Emily and she looks forward to welcoming you as part of our home! 

Geoff Seeman

Geoff has been dancing Salsa since he was 10 years old - which is when he first started at Steps. He became a member of the original Steps Dance Company studio team at age 12, and went on to perform with the team several times at events in Toronto, Montreal, Puerto Rico and more. At 15, he began to compete in Am-Am and Pro-Am heats for both Salsa and Latin Hustle; earning a mixture of 1st and 2nd place finishes in competitions in Miami, Orlando, and Montreal. Over his time dancing, Geoff has taken classes and workshops with international instructors such as Nelson Flores, Karen y Ricardo, Billy Fajardo, and Katie Marlowe - to name a few. Now back from having spent a few years away from Toronto for university, Geoff has begun to train as an instructor at Steps. He received his Salsa certification from Tito Ortos in October, 2018. 

Heather Kay 

Heather is an experienced instructor and professional dancer with over 15 years of teaching experience. Her patient and encouraging style allows her to connect with dancers of all levels and ages.  She has worked on multiple productions as a choreographer, instructor, and performer in a variety of styles. She enjoys being a part of the Steps family and having the opportunity to both share her experience and knowledge and learn from the talented rosters of teachers. 

Helen Horak

Helen has been an avid dancer at Steps Dance Studio for the past 5 years and her love for Hustle dancing has led her to teaching the Hustle Foundations and the Hustle Level 2 classes here.  Her passion for Hustle also includes participating regularly in congresses and learning from some of the top Pros both here in Toronto as well as throughout the United States.  She has trained with Danny and Jameson (Philadelphia), Billy and Katie (Miami), Louis and Beth (New York), Raul Santiago (Los Angeles) and many others. Helen hopes that our Hustle population in Toronto will continue to grow and welcomes all those who haven't tried it yet to come on out.

Hila Tastassa

Hila is a full-time student and an avid gardener. After endless travelling and wandering, she has found love in dance and a home at Steps. When she's not greeting you at the front desk, you can find her on the dance floor of Toronto's Latin nightclubs. 

Iddie Fourka

Iddie grew up doing competitive modern dance, musical theatre, cheerdance and hip hop, and went on to study Performance Art & English Literature at Glendon/York University. She has been involved in film and television, as well as modeling. She continues to take intensives in hip hop, ballet and jazz funk with renowned choreographers/instructors throughout the city. She has completed teaching workshops focused on the little ones, and instructs at various studios, including pre-dance and ballet for kids at Steps Dance Studio. She is currently working towards her barre fitness certification. Iddie is very happy to be a part of Steps. Whether it's helping with the Salsa & Bachata Congress, talking to customers at the front desk or dancing with the munchkins -- Iddie is very excited to be a part of the team.

Ivan Wanis Ruiz

Ivan has been dancing for over 20 years. Initially as a hip hop/breakdancer, he found a love for latin music and dancing in the mid 2000s. With a unique style that blends all his musical inspirations you can expect a class full of challenging moves and infections energy.  When he is not on the dance floor he is on the stage as a sought after host and emcee.  From New Years Eve at Nathan Philips Square, to the official host of the Invictus and Pan Am Games to the Canada Salsa and Bachata Congress for the past 3 years. 

Jason Ng

Jason is a full-time senior instructor, coach, choreographer, performer and a chameleon in dance with 25+ years of experience in Ballroom/Latin, Salsa, Bachata, West Coast Swing, Hustle and Kizomba. 

He has trained with Canadian instructors including Jennifer Aucoin, Giovanni Torres, Teddy Olaso, Adriano Ieropoli, Samantha Scali and with international artists such as The Mambo King Eddie Torres, Tito Ortos, Tamara Livolsi, Anya Katsevman, Franklin Diaz and Super Mario.

Jason hopes his passion, enthusiasm and knowledge of dance will translate to his students and inspire them to a life-long journey of dance.

Jena Alma

Jena has been an Instructor, Coach and Team Director at Steps Dance Studio, teaching group, specialty and performance classes, private lessons, and teams since 2014. Jena is an interdisciplinary artist who has a tangible passion for performance art, the creative process, and community engagement. She has been performing and competing in dance for over 15 years; performing as a principal dancer for many dance & entertainment companies in Toronto and as a back-up dancer for several local artists. She has also taught & choreographed for many adult & youth dance companies for both performance and competition; in schools and summer camps, for weddings, quinceañeras, and corporate events. Jena's craft has taken her all across Canada & as far as Bermuda.  She has trained intensively with some of the finest choreographers and coaches nationally & internationally including; Tito Ortos & Tamara Livolsi (Puerto Rico), Anya Katsevman (New York), Jennifer Aucoin & Angelo De Torres (Steps Dance Studio), Paula Videla-Rodriguez & Jose Rodriguez (Dance to Live), Yara Vasconcelos (Samba Connection), Mira Schwartzburg (New Skin), and Vanesa Stay (Latin Energy). Jena's repertoire includes: Salsa, Bachata, Cha Cha, Hustle, Brazilian Samba, Hip Hop, Dancehall, Fusion, Street Jazz, Latin Funk, Modern, Lyrical & Socacize. In 2011, Jena was featured on "So You Think You Can Dance Canada," season 4, as a top 70 finalist.

Jena has been facilitating community workshops for over 10 years and doing motivational speaking for the last 5 years. Jena has spoken and lead on topics ranging from anti-gun/anti-gang violence, to domestic violence & sexual abuse, to exploring the arts as a healing modality. Over the years she has worked with organizations including; The Students' Commission/The Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement, Davenport-Perth Neighborhood & Community Health Centre, Discover Dance, Reclaim Your Voice (formerly 'Abuse: Survival Stories') & The Future Aces Foundation. 

Jena is always eager to explore new aspects of creative expression and human connection. It is her firm belief that the arts have the power to heal, empower and unite people; to break down stigma, raise awareness and to serve as a catalyst for social change. In 2015, Jena founded the grassroots not-for-profit, Pretty Wings (TO), and is committed to creating arts-based therapeutic & recreational programming opportunities to serve marginalized communities, including those who are facing mental health challenges, differently-abled, survivors of abuse, youth, BIPOC, LGBTQQIP2SAA.

Jennifer Foster

Jennifer has taught and trained at Steps for several years, dancing Salsa, Cha Cha, Bachata and Latin Hustle. In that time she has danced as a member the Steps professional and semi-pro teams, and performed at several Canada Salsa Congresses, the Montreal Salsa Congress, and many of Toronto's top Latin Dance events. A lifelong dance and performing arts enthusiast, Jennifer studied ballet for twelve years (RAD), as well as jazz and modern before discovering her love of salsa. In addition to teaching dance, she works as a professional actor, musician, and music teacher.

Trina De Souza

Trina has loved dance her whole life and spent many years as a bellydancer, teaching and performing in Toronto. While she has taken a break from her dance career to finish up her PhD in Gender/Women’s Studies, Trina is so excited to be back in the dance world through joining the Steps family as part of the front desk team!