About Us

Welcome to Latinissimo

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Latinissimo Dance was founded by Giancarlo while studying photography in Melbourne, Australia in 2003 . In 2005 Latinissimo relocated to Auckland, New Zealand where it where it grew to become the most successful salsa dance school in NZ. Since its initiation in 2003, Latinissimo has been a strong influential part of the salsa dance community in both Australia and more specifically, New Zealand. Latinissimo transformed the New Zealand salsa dance community and were monumental in the competition and performance representation of salsa dancing in New Zealand.

At Latinissimo we believe the art of learning can only be accomplished by a well thought through basic learning program. Therefore our dance courses are syllabus based and will guide you through every step of the way, step-by-step to progress in the easiest and most comprehensive way possible. We are very passionate about dance in all its variations and forms, specially Latin dancing! Hence the word "Latinissimo", which translates both in Spanish and Italian - Very Latin! It is our mission to encourage other dancers of all ages and backgrounds, to experience the exciting world of dance through our eyes.

We offer group classes and private lessons to suit all levels of experience, adults and young adults – from the absolute beginner to the advanced dancer. Latinissimo takes pride in offering expert tuition with experienced and multiple national, international and World Salsa Champions in a friendly, warm and inspiring atmosphere. With regular social parties and practice sessions, you will be on dance floor in no time! Plus, you will be having fun while exercising, gaining confidence and making new friends.

As a dance school, Latinissimo have been featured in several national newspapers, magazines and TV shows in Australia, New Zealand and overseas. Have performed and competed across 4 continents, won multiple national and international competitions in both amateur (Latinissimo students) and professional categories and have produced 2 World Amateur Salsa Champions.

We currently run classes @ Empire Dance Studios, 2 Bond Street, Grey Lynn/Kingsland, Auckland



Q: How long does it take to learn and when will I get good?

A: This is totally up to each individual. Some people learn faster than others. However if you have had previous partner dance training, you may pick up a lot faster. A good sense of rhythm and music timing will help as well. Most importantly is that you get a solid foundation for your dancing. Basics are everything, and as we say; - Flash is trash without the basics!

As an example; the wider and stronger the base of a structure is → the more you can build on top of it without it falling over. Think of your dancing pretty much the same way. The more solid your base is, the easier you will be able to understand and handle more challenging and complex variations.

Tips for Beginners

Beginners should take every opportunity to go out dancing. Don't worry too much about making mistakes, its part of the learning process, you are a beginner. The more exposure you get to the dance and the music, better you will understand what you are doing in class. Watching others dance is part of learning too. Set realistic expectations as you cannot expect to become a great dancer in a short time if you only go dancing once a week, for example; go to your class or course one a week. Its is not realistic to be a great dancer by doing 4, 6 or 8 classes. If you want to "get good", you have to put in the work! Keep in mind, it's not about how long you have been dancing (eg. 1 year, but 2-3 times per month)... What really counts is, how many hours per week you spend on your dancing outside of class. Its like studying at school; you could have gone to university for 7 years to study medicine, but if you don't study outside of class/lecture... how much do you think you'll learn? ;-)

Tips for Followers

Followers: It is important to understand your role as a follower. The males role is to lead you in a manner that you will be able to understand and therefore follow. However your patience here is necessary in order for beginner leaders to learn. "Leading and following" technique is the "language" we use in partner dancing and as any other language it takes time to learn before communication starts to flow. As the leaders are learning their own steps - and you are learning yours, they are also having to think about your steps and timing! That's right, the leader has to think about their own timing and yours...(!) in order to ensure clear communication and leading skills. At the very beginning leaders feel overwhelmed and this is absolutely normal! This is where our experienced teachers excell with their communication and teaching techniques to make it easy to understand. Leading and following is the most crucial element of partner dancing and it takes time to perfect! In the mean time ladies, please allow some time for your leaders to gain confidence and knowledge, and try not anticipate your next step or try to read his mind on what he wants you to do! You simply have to wait for the leader to tell you what, when and how! :-).

Tips for Leaders

Leaders: You are the leaders in partner dancing which means you indicate to your follower what, when and how. Additionally as leaders you will learn how to do so in a comfortable manner keeping biomechanics in mind. Of course it is our responsibility as instructors to teach you this in a easy and comprehensive way! Please do set realistic expectations as this crucial skill does take some time to learn and make sure you can to adapt to different partners. Girls love to dance with great leads! Repertoire is not important, in other words, the ammount of moves you konw is useless if you are not leading them correctly. Being able to master simple basics is way more impressive and more fun for the ladies to follow and dance than being pulled and pushed around the floor in a rough manner. Be gentle and clear with your indications (leads). Leading is "invisible", you work with redirecting your partners weight in order to achieve and effortless and smooth lead. The beginning stages can be a little bit overwhelming as you are also having to learn your own steps and timing of the dance. The key to succeed with partner dancing is simple - the more often you practice (correctly!), the better you get - so go out dancing every opportunity you get and ask questions in class if you are unsure about something. No question are good and the more questions the better!

Q: How do I register for a course?

A: To register and guarantee your placement in a course is essential. Please make sure to Register Online to secure your spot and PRE-REGISTRATION discounted price. Note that registering at the door will incurr the full course price. Your payment options are the following:

  • Credit/Debit card online
  • Cash payment only at the studio

In order to take advantage of any of the special offers we must receive your registration prior to cut off date. Unfortunately we cannot not hold or reserve any course placements. No deposits or part payments are accepted.

Q: Where do I park?

A: There is metered parking around the studio on Mt Eden road, and right in front of the building too. Come early and get a spot right by the door! In the rare case of there not being any street parking, there are numerous side-street parking opportunities nearby.

what to wearQ: What do I wear to the classes?

A: We recommend anything from casual attire to gym or dance wear. As for shoes, a pair that is snug on your feet and will keep your heel and ankle in place is the best option. Keep in mind you might be turning or spinning, therefore your feet need to have stability and feel secure.

Sneakers will work for the first lesson but may cause a problem with gripping and could afect your knees later on. Thongs or flip-flops are not recommended. If you are wearing high heels, you must wear heel protectors. Heel protectors are available to purchase at most dance shops.

partnerQ: Do I need to have a partner to attend the classes?

A: Not at all, we rotate partners throughout the class so everybody gets to dance with everybody. We do our best to ensure an even enough ratio. However, keep in mind that some people may miss a class during the course which could result in some days having more or less uneven numbers. Should this be the case, we then rotate partners more frequently. If you do not wish to rotate, simply let your instructor know just before class commencement.

Q: I missed the 1st class - can I still join the course on the 2nd class?

A: If you missed the first class of your course you can still join. However make sure you catch up either through asking your class mates or instructor what has been covered to not hold the class back. If you still feel you really need addional help to cover what has been taught in a particular course, then we recommend you take a private lesson to catch up with the rest of your classmates. Note that the full course fee still applies after course commencement.

Q: I will be away for one or more classes, will this be a problem?

A: Sometimes unexpected events come up in life. If you happen to miss a class or two during your course, you can catch up by doing the following;

  • Ask a fellow course participant what we covered while you were away. If you have access to our instructional videos, you may refer to them for more clarification.
  • If we are running more than one course per week at your desired level you may be able to catch up on the missed class in another course. Please turn to your instructors for advice.
  • Book a private lesson to catch up.

Q: I will be away for a class, can I send a friend to take my place for that week?

A: Unfortunately the courses are not transferable. We recommend you catch up as suggested above.

Q: Courses OR Casual drop-in classes?

A: As teachers we want our students to excel with their dancing and get the most out of their classes. The only way to do so is with structured and progressive syllabus courses. This way we can monitor what is going to happen in each class, everybody is learning the same thing at the same pace and we all learn the same teminology.

This structure makes it easier for everyone to progress to new and exciting things later on. Courses will benefit both the leaders and the followers because is set up to learn material sequentially and exercises are designed to re-enforce previously learned material. When students come and go casually, they miss out on material which will affect everyone else in the class that attends regularly and you may encounter some frustration. Progress would also be slow for those coming regularly and no one really ends up with the skills they are paying to learn. We don't believe this kind of service offers quality and serves no real long term purpose. With a syllabus you will see how all the steps, moves and styling make sense, build upon each other and come together in different variations. This way we all "speak the same dance language" and everybody wins!

Q: Why are some courses 8weeks long?

A: Since Latinissimo's inauguration in 2003, we have had 1000's of students come through our doors wanting to learn to dance, have fun or further their skills. Since then we have come to understand the needs of people wanting to take up dancing. At Latinissimo we believe in progressive learning. Therefor we have over time developed a structured, strategic, easy to understand and progressive curriculum and syllabus that has been tested over and over again. 8 x 1 hour classes have demonstrated to give the ultimate result.

We stand behid the quality that 8 weeks of learning delivers. Learning to dance is not only about learning and memorising steps and moves. To us dancing is a way of life that helps develop a skill that is useful in many aspects of life, and its fun too! To learn a new dance or to further on your existing knowledge, it is important to not only learn the steps, but also learn terminology, understand the structure of the dance, the movement and have correct excecution through a variety of exercises and repetition. All of these need time to develop and process in the muscle memory.  We feel that the success of our 8 week courses has proven itself many times over through the results of our students.

On top of this, all 8wk Salsa and Zouk beginner students have access to our beginner videos or recieve beginners DVDs in their respective styles.

Q: What is the general age group in your courses?

A: At the moment all our courses are for adults only and we have had participants from the age of 18 to 70. However, we have had participants as young as 15 joining our courses. Supervision by a guardian is recommended for all participants under the age of 16.

Q: Can I pay as I go or pay for one class to see if I like it?

A: Yes you can! If you wish to simply try a class, you can just pay for that particular class at a casual rate. Please refer to our Price Structure page for more information on casual rates. However, keep in mind by joining a courses you will get to know your fellow dancers better and build friendships as well!

video 0095Q: Can I film the class?

A: We ask that you do not video the class or the instructors, however you may video yourself doing the steps or turn pattern straight after class. If you wish to have a record of some of the classes, we refer you to our extensive collection of downloadable videos in our online-shop.

Q: Can I come and just watch a class?

A: Yes, you may sit and watch the last 10-15 minutes of a class only. At Latinissimo we respect the privacy of our students trying to learn. Most people are not very comfortable learning while being watched.

Q: What if I don't have a partner to practice with?

A: We have lots of people looking for dance partners! Every week someone asks us if we know someone who wants to practice. Ask your fellow students if they are interested in getting together to practise. When Gian first started salsa dancing, he would ask everyone in his class, girls and guys. Guys can get together and practice your steps and timing. Girls, do the same! Even better, agree to go out as a group to any of the salsa nights or come as a group to one of our social parties or practice nights. The more the merrier!

Q: What is different about Latinissimo courses/classes?

why latinissimoA: Latinissimo Dance Studios (LDS) instructors, Giancarlo & Masha have over 28+ years of teaching experience. They developed their own curriculum and syllabus which transformed the development of salsa in New Zealand. Additionaly, many schools have adopted this structure their courses. It is also the foundation for all graded national salsa competitions in New Zealand.

When joining our courses you will be exposed to the following;

  • Our carefully designed syllabus to make you understand what and why you are learning what you are learning.
  • You will understand the structure of the dance you have chosen.
  • Our courses are progreassive.
  • The syllabus is updated frequently.
  • Professionally trained instructors in their dance styles that have been carefully selected for their personal qualities.
  • Dedicated instructors providing quality instruction through positive reinforcement, while being actively involved in the students physical and mental development as a dancer.
  • Our instructors are experienced in and know the difference between competition dance training, performance dance training and social dance training.
  • We are friendly, approachable and extremely passionate about everything and anything dance!

Contact Us

Contact Form


Latinissimo Dance run classes & courses from Empire Dance Studios in Auckland

2 Bond St, Grey Lynn, Auckland
Email through the contact form
0210 29 88 164


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What We Do


  • 2016 1st place World Salsa Championships
    2016 3rd runner up World Salsa Summit
    2014 2nd runner up World Salsa Summit
    2013 3rd runner up World Dance Sport Games
    2013 1st runner up US Salsa Open Championships
    2012 1st runner up World Team Salsa Championships
    2012 1st runner up World Salsa Championships Professional
    2012 1st place New Zealand Salsa Shines Team Champion
    2011 1st place Australian Salsa Open Champion Professional
    2011 1st place Swedish Professional Salsa Champion
    2011 1st place New Zealand Team Salsa Champion
    2011 1st place New Zealand Professional Salsa Champion
    2011 Semi-Finalist World Salsa Open Puerto Rico
    2010 1st place New Zealand Professional Salsa Champion
    2009 1st place New Zealand Professional Salsa Champion
    2006 1st place Asia-Pacific Professional Salsa Champion
    2003 1st place Australian Salsa Champion

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Giancarlo is 2016 World Salsa Champion. He has been a professional dancer and instructor since 2003. He is the director and senior instructor of Latinissimo Dance. Giancarlo has been featured as NZ's leading salsa dance professional on TVNZ's Good Morning Show, been guest choreographers for TV3's Dancing With The Stars, guest choreographer for Salsa and Mambo on the New Zealand version of TV3's "So You Think You Can Dance", sole New Zealand representatives at the World DanceSport Games in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, placed in the top 30 semi-finalists on TVONE's "New Zealand's Got Talent" 2012 and finalist and multiple champion of various prestigious international salsa championships such as US Salsa Open, Asia-Pacific Salsa Championships, Australian Salsa Open, World Salsa Summit, World Salsa Open in Puerto Rico and many more. In 2016 Giancarlo and his then partner were one of the 6 couples in world to get invited to compete in the Salsa "on1" category at the prestigious Fania World Salsa Championships held in Atlanta, Georgia. 2017 saw all their accomplishments culminate in being one of 3% in the world to be approved for a permanent "Extraordinary Talent" visa (EB1A) to the USA by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Giancarlo was born in Lima, Peru. He started his salsa dancing on the summer of 2001 in Sweden when a friend took him to Stockholm's most popular Salsa/Latin nightclub it was here that the passion and addiction to Latin music and dance begun for real. Giancarlo and his then dance partner were the first salsa instructors in New Zealand to introduce syllabus based salsa courses that would extend to any level of salsa dancing. The idea of the syllabus was to spread it to all of New Zealand in order for the schools to be able to teach the same basis and as result students would have a "universal" way of learning and competing. Today the idea of a syllabus structure has been adapted by the majority of the salsa dance schools, which in return has raised and continues to raise the level of salsa dancing in New Zealand.

Giancarlo started out with jazz dancing and gymnastics training at the age of 11 and kept doing so for 4 years, until he was given his fathers old SLR camera. He got completely immersed in photography and it took over his life for some time to come. In 1997 he got an opportunity to work as a freelance photographer with 2 major news photo agencies in both Sweden and the USA . After some time, he decided to travel to the other side of the world and arrived to the Australian continent in early 2002. Photojounalism was what he wanted to pursue in life. However, it was just a few months prior to emigrating from Sweden when his friend re-introduced him to his Latin-American roots of music and dance. It was this that would eventually turn Giancarlo's life around!

Although he loves the photography industry, he could not let go of dancing and eventually founded Latinissimo Dance Company in Melbourne in 2003. Initially it was just meant to be a hobby. As his dancing and knowledge for salsa grew, his school became more and more popular. Naturally the aim and purpose of the dance school grew and he decided it was time to put his dance school on the international salsa dance circuit. With his background in jazz and gymnastics combined with amazing natural coordination, athleticism, agility and determination – it did not take him long to get noticed and make his salsa dancing impressive and unique.

Today Giancarlo is highly respected in the salsa dance industry for his clear, precise and technical instruction. Giancarlo and his then partner had the honor of being the first salsa dance couple ever to be invited by the New Zealand Federation of Dance Teachers (NZFDT) to do a salsa demonstration at the Opening Ceremony of the New Zealand Ballroom & Latin-American Dancesport Championships. They have also been featured on a full page spread in the New Zealand Herald's "Photos Of The Year 2007", featured and interviewed for DANZ Magazine by Francesca Horsley as "...New Zealand's Best!" and were main characters and dancers in the music video "Insane" by The Sagittarian, to mention a few.

Giancarlo dances with style, energy, professionalism and precision. He has performed and taught in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Seoul, Bangalore, Miami, Los Angeles, Belgrade, Budapest and more. He was one of the choreographers, instructors and directors of New Zealand's most popular and successful student salsa teams - TEAM Latinissimo. He also coached the World Amateur Salsa Champions, Asia-Pacific Amateur Salsa Champions and the undefeated New Zealand Amateur Salsa Champions. Latinissimo won the NZ Salsa People's Choice Award in 3 out of 4 categories at the NZ Salsa Nationals.

Besides dancing professionally, Giancarlo is also a professional photographer.

About Latinissimo

Latinissimo was first founded in Melbourne, Australia in 2003 specializing in street Latin dance. 2005 Latinissimo relocated to Auckland, New Zealand.

Directed by World Salsa Champion Giancarlo, Latinissimo as a school has performed, taught and competed across 4 continents, are multiple international and national champions and have produced two World Amateur Salsa Champions.

  • Latinissimo Dance New Zealand
  • 0210 29 88 164
  • Email us HERE
  • Empire Dance Studios, 2 Bond St, Auckland

Auckland Grey Lynn

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Salsa L2 Tuesday 15 Jun @ 7:30pm
Bachata L2 Thursday 17 Jun @ 7:30pm
Bachata Shines Wednesday 23 Jun @ 7:30pm
Mambo Shines Monday 05 Jul @ 7:30pm
Bachata L1 Monday 12 Jul @ 6:30pm
Salsa L1 Thursday 15 Jul @ 8:30pm