Juan Tato Paredes
Native of the Dominican Republic, Juan “Ta-To” Paredes began his dancing career in the Tampa Bay area over 14 years ago. Raised in Spanish Harlem New York City, Juan has always embraced his Caribbean culture, especially the music. His love and passion for dance has always been a part of his life from a young age. Juan’s most rewarding joy is to cultivate, grow, and teach the dance community around him, and to see others find joy in dancing.
As one of the pioneers of the On1 Salsa style and On2 Mambo New York style in Tampa Florida, his exciting dance journey has landed him in many major international, national, and local concerts and events. In 2005, Juan was cast in a dancing role in the movie “The Punisher”. Later in 2007, he released his first Bachata Instructional DVD “Sabor Dominicano”. He has also shared the stage dancing for Bachata artist Alexa Velez. In February 2007, Juan opened the doors to Latin Groove Dance Company, which provided weekly group classes, club classes, workshops, corporate events, and social events in the Tampa Bay area.
In 2010, Juan took a small detour and moved to the city of Chicago IL, where he stayed heavily involved in the dance scene teaching regular group, private, club, and workshop classes. He also served as a judge for several local Salsa and Bachata competitions. In March 2014, Juan, along with his family, relocated back home to Tampa where he and his wife started their new dance company TATOSALSA.
Due to his fun energy and dynamic style of teaching, Juan has been invited to teach and perform at major Salsa events and Congresses. His travel includes: Canada, Japan, Mexico, Curacao, Aruba, Panama, and all over the U.S
Cristina Paredes (Zavala) has had Salsa/Mambo in her heart for as long as she can remember. Growing up to mimicking dance videos and Chicago house dancing with her older sister, it was 13 years ago that she began to take her development as a dancer more seriously when she accepted an open invitation from Sekou McMiller. Cristina was one of the founding members of the Descarga Caribe Dance Company in Chicago IL. Through the complex and inventive choreographies that the group became known for, Cristina developed into one of the principle female dancers in the company and eventually became the traveling partner of the Director, Sekou McMiller (2003-2008).
While a relocation forced their successful partnership to come to an end, she started a new partnership with Rodrigo Cortazar from Veracruz, Mexico from August 2008 – 2009. Rodrigo and Cristina won the hearts of many with their animated choreographies and style.
Her last dance partner was Chicago native, Adrian Tenorio. Adrian and Cristina met while dancing with Descarga Caribe Dance Company. They have won several dance competitions together and have represented Chicago in many major events.
Cristina was a seasoned instructor and performer in the Chicago Salsa scene and one of the truly recognizable homegrown stars to emerge from Chicago. She recently relocated to Tampa, FL. and she and her husband, Juan “TaTo” Paredes are excited to start teaching Salsa/Mambo in the Bay area. Her travels include: Italy, Belgium, Korea, China, London, Venezuela, Curacao, Canada, Japan, and all over the U.S.A.
May Golez is one of the most dedicated and warm hearted individuals you will ever meet in a lifetime. Born in the Philippines, May and her family moved to Orange County, CA right after college. In 1993 May decided to give Florida a try and she found herself moving to the Tampa Bay area. In 1999 She started taking dance classes with Simone and Carlos and in 2004 she joined Juan TaTo and Erika Occhipinti assisting at Salsa Caliente Dance Studio. She quickly learned the leading and following techniques in Salsa and became instrumental in the growth of others at the studio.
In 2007, Juan TaTo Paredes branched out and started Latin Groove Dance Company and May was asked to come on board as an Assistant Instructor. When Juan left to Chicago for 3+ years, May continued to assist Latin Groove in Tampa. Now that Juan TaTo is back, she has reunited with him and his wife Cristina Paredes to be a part of TaToSalsa in Tampa, FL. May has performed in several Salsa Congresses and socials across Florida and in Washington D.C. You can find her happy spirit and energy on the dance floor.
In addition to Salsa and Mambo, May belongs to a Filipino Folkloric Dance Company here in the Bay area. She also performs at various cultural events throughout Florida. May also has a passion and love for tennis which began at an early age in her life. She was part of the tennis team in college and has competed in various adult tennis leagues in Tampa.
ShaCoda Monroe is a prime example of what happens when you inspire & cultivate the love of dance into a new student. ShaCoda is a native of Florida originally from St. Petersburg but now resides in Tampa. His Salsa journey began in 2012 as a novice with Simone Salsa Studio but those initial steps quickly grew into what would develop to become a life-long passion. He completed all fundamental levels as well as Post Graduate classes with a strong focus on lead, technique, and dance creativity. Assisting in the classes in the development of peers and new students was and is an on-going priority as well.
In 2014, ShaCoda began taking classes with Juan TaTo Paredes and his wife Christina and very quickly recognized how much he could learn from their instruction to take him to the next level of his dance evolution. His outlook on Salsa: “It’s all about reaching your personal level as a dancer and enjoying every step of the journey. Salsa has been a major influence in my growth as a person. And if I can give just a portion of what I’ve received from it by passing that joy forward, then that makes it all worthwhile.” Based on his focus, desire, commitment as well as his continuous positive approach to helping others reach their dance potential, he was asked and welcomed on-board as an Assistant Instructor in 2015.
In addition to Salsa, ShaCoda also enjoys other Latin-based dance genres such as Mambo, Bachata, Cha Cha Cha, Salsa Cocolo, and Guajira. He also maintains a vested interest in expanding his dance vocabulary into additional areas such as Tango, Kizomba, and others. His blend of style is heavily influenced by music he was exposed to as a child: R&B, Neo-Soul, Jazz, and Blues. So much that Christina often refers to him as “Sade”, the famed British soul singer, because of his smooth delivery on the dance floor. He enjoys sporting & concert events and is always on the lookout for a good recipe to create at home during his downtime.
Darlene was born and raised in New Jersey, but has always been a true Floridian at heart. Her profound love for dance started in 2007 at Simone’s Salsa Dance Studio. She later went to explore the teachings of Juan TaTo Paredes with Latin Groove Dance Company. When Juan relocated to Chicago, Darlene continued teaching at Latin Groove in Tampa, FL. She has studied different styles of dance, but her passion definitely lies with Salsa, Bachata, and Cha Cha. She has participated in several state dance events, and has assisted instructors at several dance festivals and congresses.
Darlene always shows compassion and patience while teaching her classes and she strives to instill the proper etiquette of partner dancing. She is a strong voice for the follows and absolutely loves social dancing. You’ll never see a frown on this woman, she is all smiles! Darlene is excited and honored to be reunited with Juan TaTo back in Florida, and part of the TaToSalsa team.
A true Florida native, Daniel has shared his home between Tampa & Miami for most of his life. Family life has always been diverse for him. His parents with their unique cultural differences helped to instill the love for life, through the Arts, Music, and appreciation of family. While this young Italian-German-Native American never grew up in a Spanish home, his love for the culture, and the diversity of it, can be seen in all he does. His heart can easily be considered pure Latino.
During casual class conversations with a younger Cecilia, a former student of Latin Dance, he was encouraged to step out of the normal and visit some of Tampa’s festivals during the summer months. It was there, when met with the deep island ritmo, and charismatic flare of salsa, that his heart and soul were taken by storm. From those very first moments in 1998 he sought out classes, late night venues, and friendly parking lots to listen, dance, and learned from whom ever was willing to help and teach a poor double left-footed gringo!
It was a fellow student, which suggested Daniel as the final 8th person, in a four couple talent show. While performing a Rueda displaying the Cuban salsa heritage at USF a bond was made. Thus in 1999, Daniel became one of the founding dance instructors for Salsa Caliente Tampa Florida. The love and acceptance in Tampa for Salsa grew rapidly for Salsa Caliente and the core instructors. The “new” interest provided an extensive exposure for the group. Dancing became a full time life with 6 days a week in various venues, class nights, corporate events, festivals, commercial films, prints, social gatherings, and local newspapers along with some of Tampa’s most popular quinces ever.
From 2000 to 2011, Daniel has been a part of a story, a life connected to the clave, to the ritmo of dance and the people around it. While taking a brief break from the day to day dance affairs, life has welcomed into his world family and 2 younger daughters to Tampa. Daniel has recommitted his Love, and appreciation to the Arts and the Tampa salsa scene. As a photographer, and old-school instructor he is here to capture, and welcome a new story and generation of people to the family of Dance.
Shani is that one person you know who learned how to dance at family parties and made up her own rules as she went along. Born in Puerto Rico, raised in New York, lived in the Midwest and is now in Florida, Shani loves dancing as much as traveling and learning about cultures through music and dance. Although she had the heart for music and dance, she never took it seriously enough to take classes or think there was more to it than just dancing with her friends from time to time.
In 2015, after living in Tampa for a couple of years, Shani realized there was a Latin Social scene she was interested in exploring. Of course, like many “street dancers”, she came across some negativity, a couple of bad dances where she felt lost and was discouraged for a little while. But the great joy she felt while dancing was undeniable, so she got up the courage to try again. This is when she met some great friends in the scene who brought her to Juan TaTo Paredes to learn from him and everything changed. He was able to quickly help her get more polished in her follow techniques for social dancing and her love and confidence for salsa and bachata exploded. A teacher at heart and a true dance enthusiast, Shani is thrilled to be part of the TaToSalsa team to welcome and encourage everyone who feels that beat in their heart and that need for dance in their soul.