Our Team

Oliver Pineda

Founder & Director
10 x World Salsa Champion

Oliver Pineda is Australia’s 10 x World Salsa Champion.

 

Oliver is the Founder & Director of world renown Latin Motion Dance Academy, co founded in the year 2000 along side Natalie Zeller (formally Reis)

Oliver now hosts his very own subscription website www.oliverpineda.dance featuring over 500 videos online & heads The Oliver Pineda Academy, Australia’s most elite & exclusive training program housed within Latin Motion Dance Academy. 

 

Oliver has won 5 of his World Salsa Championship titles with former celebrity dance partner (a partnership of 20+ years) 3 x winner of Dancing with the Stars; Luda Kroitor.

 

Born in Australia and of Chilean descent, this young man started dancing Salsa at the mere age of 10. Having now danced for 30+ years, Oliver’s unique style of dance and clear precise teaching methods make him one of the most admired and sought after Salsa dancers and instructors in the world. Oliver has taught millions of people & performed at thousands of events in every continent around the World and continues to travel spreading his passion & knowledge for dance.

 

Featured & referenced in many articles as one of the top 10 male Salsa dancers in the world, Oliver is co responsible for introducing to Sydney; Rueda in 1999, Kizomba & Semba in 2007, was one of the instigators of linear style Salsa in 2000 & is now undoubtedly the pioneer of Mambo On2 in Australia. 

 

Oliver owes his career success to his 10 years of technical dance & competitive training within the Latin Dance Sport & Ballroom arena. Equipping him with first hand experience & knowledge in all styles Latin & Modern, Oliver’s career highlights include being a Multiple Australian times Latin American Ballroom Champion as well as being placed in the top 98 out of 600 couples in the under 21 youth division at the prestigious Blackpool Championship in London. 

 

Oliver also owes his career success to his musical knowledge & percussion background given to him by his father, one of the pioneers & well respected percussionists in the Sydney Latin music industry. Oliver, having worked as the permanent percussionist/musician (specialising in Timbales, Congas, Bongo & Campana) in the Alma Latina Band at the recently closed Vivaz Nightclub at age 16 & the Caliente La Banda band at the La Campana Nightclub at age 18, Oliver now occasionally plays with some of Sydney’s top Salsa bands & gets invited to play with some of the world’s best Salsa singers & Salsa bands in countries & events all over the World. Oliver’s early performance experience within the Brazilian culture has also enabled him to handle Brazilian style instruments such as the Snare Drum, Zurdo, Pandero and the Hepinique & still performs within Brazilian & Latin American show troupes till today. 

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Oliver’s extensive dance experience also extends to Cuban/Afro Cuban, Cumbia, Cali Style Salsa, Zouk & Brazilian Samba as well as Latin & Modern Dance Sport styles in all its varieties such as Cha Cha, Paso Doble, Rumba, Jive, Waltz, Slow Foxtrot & Viennese Waltz to name a few. 

As well as his musical & dance talents, Oliver was also a black belt martial artist in the combat art of Tae Kwon Do having taught kids from a young age & competed in many tournaments in Australia. This relationship between martial arts & dance was formed early on in his life, equipping him with an understanding of the basics of the Brazilian martial arts, Capoeira.

 

Oliver now partners Latin Motion's principle dancer Mercedes Olivera & continues to spread his incredibly profound knowledge & unique, sought after teaching methodologies & style to dancers all around the World.

 

Olver is also currently in the process (alongside Mercedes as Head of Operations) of expanding Latin Motion & the OP Academy, locally, interstate & internationally via franchises. 

 
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Mercedes Olivera

Head of Operations
Principal Salsa & Bachata Instructor

All the way from Peru, introducing Mercedes! A supper bubbly, high energy, competition-driven dancer and instructor, who first started dancing when she was 6 years old. Mercedes started her dance journey in Peru (where she was born) in various folkloric dance styles such as Marinera and Negroide (Musica Negra). With such a passionate love for dance, Mercedes choreographed her first Samba shines team routine at the age of 9 for one of her school events.

 

After moving to Australia when she was 12, Mercedes started Latin dance when she was 18 and automatically fell in love with it and all its different styles. In 2017 after 6 months of learning Lyrical and Jazz and Sydney Dance Company, Mercedes choreographed a heartfelt and emotional lyrical routine 'Mercy' that marked the beginning of her position in the Latin industry as one of the leading female icons in Australia.

 

As current Head of Operations for Latin Motion and Oliver Pineda's official dance partner, you will find Mercedes teaching Salsa, Mambo On2, Bachata, Brazilian Axe, Styling and Body Movement (for both Salsa and Bachata).

 

Due to her competitiveness, you will see her in all Australian competitions such as the Australian Bachata Championships, Australian Dance Cup, World Salsa Solo and Australian Latin Dance Cup, competing in pro teams, couple routines, Pro/Ams and duets.

 

Achievements:

2019 World Salsa Solo – Open Bachata Cabaret Teams division – 1st Place

2019 World Salsa Solo – Open Salsa Cabaret division – 2nd Place

2018 World Salsa Solo – Professional Bachata Freestyle – 2nd Place

2018 & 2017 World Salsa Solo - Open Salsa Shines Team – 1st place 2 in a row

2017 Australian Bachata Championship – Bachata Couple Professional division – 1st Place

2017 World Salsa Solo – Bachata Freestyle Professional division – 2nd Place

2017 Australian Bachata Championships – Open Mixed latin Teams (MercAngels) – 3rd Place

2016 Australian Dance Cup – Bachata Cabaret Professional couple division – 2nd Place

2015 ALDC -Australian Bachata Open Cabaret couples division – 2nd Place

2015 Australian Bachata Amateur Freestyle Champion x2 1st Place

2015 Australian Salsa Amateur Freestyle Champion 1st Place

2014 Australian Bachata Amateur Cabaret Champion 1st Place

 

Mercedes continues to grow Latin Motion as Head of Ops, alongside current dance partner Oliver Pineda locally and nationally.

Garnet Carpenter

Salsa Instructor

Garnet discovered and fell in love with Salsa while travelling in South America in 2009. He became a member of Latin Motion in 2012 and joined the Latin Motion Academy in 2015.

 

Read more about Garnet

Achievements:

  • Performed at the 2017 Sydney Latin Festival

  • Performed at 2018 Melbourne Latin Festival

  • Performed at Latin Motion concerts in 2017, 2018 and 2019

  • Commenced teaching salsa at Latin Motion 2018

  • People’s Choice Best Teacher 2018

  • Best Male Teacher 2019

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Darren Staff

Darren Low

Salsa Instructor

Since stumbling upon a salsa night in a Chinese pub in Hangzhou in 2012, Darren has been hooked on Latin dance ever since.

 

Read more about DarrenFrom mambo to cha cha and afro, Darren has a deep seeded passion for the world of Latin dance, its history and the incredible music (not including mambo no. 5).

 

With over 7 years of dancing experience, Darren was invited to teach with the amazing team at Latin Motion in 2019 where he continues to develop his knowledge and enthusiasm for the dance.

 

Our Rising Stars

Our Rising Stars are our trainee instructors, working toward a career in competition and instruction with a Latin focus. They are passionate, fun, and talented and you can meet them at most social dancing events, at our studios and Latin Motion events!

Amber Hadfield

Amber stumbled across a Salsa club a few years ago and has been channeling her inner JLo ever since! Amber is known for her bubbly personality. You'll always catch her with a smile on her face! 

 

When she isn't dancing, she is working for a global ice cream brand. No wonder she is always smiling.

Amber has been dancing at Latin Motion for 2 years now and has recently become part of our Rising Stars Program!

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Tallulah Bur

With a background in contemporary, classical and jazz dance, Tallulah has been dancing Latin styles for the last few years. Her dance journey has taken her to incredible places including New York, Paris, Milan and Cali, taking classes from some of the world's top Salsa dancers.

 

She transmits her love for the art through a blend of technique and a commitment to authenticity in her movement. 

 

Catch Tallulah at most social dancing events in Sydney!

 

Melanie Lindaya

Melanie Lindaya fell in love with Latin Dance in 2013, being moved by the sensuality and freedom expressed by its form.

 

Since then, Melanie has embarked on a continued learning and teaching journey of the art. Never shying away from a challenge, she is constantly inspired by those around her.

 

Being a mathematics lecturer in her day time job, she enjoys the technical aspect of Latin Dance and takes pride in quality teaching.

 

You will almost certainly find Melanie grooving in the corner of a Latin Dance social with a wine in her hand.

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Yang Chen

With a background in Ballroom dancing, Yang has a deep passion for Latin Dance and has started her dance journey in Sydney as a Samba dancer.

 

As time passed, Yang fell in love with different styles of Salsa including Mambo, Rueda, Afro, LA style (you name it!). She is very active in participating in festivals, performances, taking classes from the world’s top Salsa dancers and social dancing.

 

Yang is full of energy, very bubbly and loves sharing her knowledge through her strong techniques and brings more joy to people.

 

Jennifer Mogollon

I used to do Jazz school performances when I was little then before starting Uni. I joined a dancing academy back in Venezuela that focused in Jazz, Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet & Flamenco. I loved it but it only lasted a year as I had to start uni and work so left dancing and then in 2016 while in Australia I was feeling curios to try some school latin dancing that can help me feel connected to my roots and culture I was homesick being in a foreign country.

 

The moment I was introduced to salsa and bachata I totally felt in love with it and I have kept dancing since then.

 

I have done also some Jazz HipHop Afro and Bollywood. My achievements I got 3rd place female amateur world salsa solo in 2016 then after I have performed several times.

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Laione Iosefa

Laione is a former rugby boy and Dougie master. After mastering both these skills, Laione started searching for a new element to pursue.

 

In 2019, he hung up his footy boots and took up latin dance. He found his mambo grove and has been perfecting it ever since.

 

Laione brings a positive and happy atmosphere wherever he goes, making learning a fun experience for his fellow dancers and students.

 

He never misses a chance to perform and has been a part of many concerts, showcases and galas.

 

Come catch Laione in class, at any social or latin dance festival!

 
 
 

Gina Smith

Gina started dancing in 2019 where she developed a passion for Latin dance. She has a strong dedication and ongoing commitment to learning and developing her skills as a dancer.

 

Since starting, Gina has performed in many galas and showcases for her dance schools.

 

Gina has a background in classical piano performance and has been teaching since she was 16 years old.

 

Her favourite part about teaching in general is watching students’ faces light up when they learn something new, and walking out of the class with a new found confidence in themselves.

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