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LOREN DA SILVA LINKE

Director

A professional Brazilian dancer, performer and instructor specialising in Samba no pé, Baile Funk and Fit Dance, Loren is the co-director of Escola de Samba Canberra.

Loren’s family is from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil the “cidade maravilhosa” and home of Carnaval. Drawn to the sounds of Samba since a young age, Loren grew up dancing to the beat of the pandeiro that her dad played and she enjoys watching her family play in Pagode bands to this day when she visits Brazil.

With the rhythm of Samba naturally in her blood, Loren started training Samba technically in 2015. In 2018 she was selected to be a part of the official Ala das Passistas (professional Samba dancers section) for Imperio Serrano and paraded with the renowned Samba school in Rio Carnaval 2019. Loren spent six months dedicated to daily training in the lead up to the parade and four solid weeks training and performing in the ensaios (rehearsals) for Carnaval in Rio. Her experience as a Passista is an honour that Loren holds dear to her heart and she returned to Australia and stared teaching Brazilian dance with an even greater level of passion than ever before.

Loren is dedicated to the integrity and authenticity of Brazilian dance education and extremely passionate about her culture and loves to share that passion with others. She is proud to represent the Canberra branch of Australia’s leading Brazilian dance school Escola de Samba Sydney.

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NICHOLA LANGHAM

Director / Head Instructor

Nichola started dancing in 2011 taking classes in Salsa and Bachata and discovered Samba in 2012 at Subsdance studio in Canberra. In 2013 she travelled around South America and after spending 2 months traveling from the north down through to the south of Brazil, she fell in love with Brazilian music, culture, attitude and way of life. Freshly inspired and hungry for more she continued her training in Samba as well as Afro Brazilian dance in Canberra and returned to Rio again in 2015. 

In 2016 Nichola moved to London and continued her Samba training and started performing across London with the DanceMyWay company before joining the London School of Samba in 2018. With the London School of Samba she trained with a range of instructors and performed in various events most notably the 2019 Notting Hill Carnival, Britain's got more talent, the London New Year’s Day Parade (2019 2020) and the Coburg Samba Festival in Germany 2019. 

In 2020 Nichola fulfilled her long term goal and paraded in Rio Carnaval with Imperio da Tijuca in their International Samba Ala - an experience she says was one she'll never forget and can't wait to repeat. The challenge of training in the months leading up to Carnaval as well as the experience of training in Brazil and attending the Brazilian Samba congress left her with an even deeper respect and passion for Samba and Brazilian culture.

In April 2020 while still in the UK in Lockdown Nichola kept up her training online and joined Alex Coutinho and Alessandra Jansen and their 'Poderosas do Samba' project which she has continued with to the present day.  

In June 2021 after relocating back to Canberra from London Nichola joined Escola de Samba Canberra. She is excited to teach and share her passion and experience of Brazilian dance and culture with the Canberra community.

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SONIA BATTISTEL

Funk Instructor

Sonia dance journey began at the age of 17 with Bellydance in her hometown of Griffith. After moving to Canberra at 19 years old, she was inspired to ‘follow the drums’ from Bellydance to Samba and also took classes in Salsa, Bachata, Reggaeton, Axe and Funk from 2009-2012.

 Sonia’s passion for Brazilian dance grew stronger and she decided to focus on developing her Samba from 2013 by dancing professionally (with Subsdance Glamourousas). Sonia took her first trip to Brasil in 2014 where she participated in Carnaval and returned to Brasil again in 2016 and 2019. In 2019 she experienced the Brasil Samba Congress and trained in Samba and Funk with renowned instructors. The highlight of  her 2019 trip was participating in Carnaval again, this time parading in the International Samba Ala for Alegria da Zona Sul and travelling to Porto Seguro to experience Axe Moi where she danced to Funk and Axe choreographies for hours every day.

 

Sonia’s love saw her participate in a ‘dance for every day of the year’ challenge in Brasil – ending in Australia - dancing every day for a whole year, which helped her win the Australian Samba Congress competition in 2019.

Since dancing with Loren, Sonia’s love for Funk has grown deeper as the two researched and trained more in the style began teaching Funk together when they returned from their trip to Brasil in 2019.  Sonia has an incredible passion and respect for Brazilian dance and culture and continues to invest greatly in all aspects including learning key Portuguese phrases so she is able to translate to her students. She looks forward to sharing her love and infectious passion for Baile Funk and Fitdance at Escola de Samba Canberra.

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CHASE WHITFIELD

Funk Instructor

Chase’s funk journey started in 2019 when she went to a funk party with her Brazilian best friend and fell in the love with the music. From there she began looking up YouTube videos and learning basic Funk movements.
 
Later that year Chase started taking Baile Funk classes where she met her teachers Loren and Sonia and began learning the correct technique. Since then Chase has barely missed a class and her passion has only grown.
 
Chase enjoys connecting with her Brazilian friends and learning about Brazilian culture through music and dance. She has recently started taking Portuguese classes to deepen this connection.
 
As well as taking Funk and Samba classes at Escola de Samba, Chase also does her own training at home and is passionate about learning the viral Funk dances online. She is excited to continue this journey alongside her students and to get them hooked on Funk.

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KATE THORNBAR

Samba Instructor

Kate started dancing at a young age, trialling ballet, Jazz and Hip-Hop before focussing her energy on Irish dancing for 12 years. After a couple of years off throughout university, Kate found her passion for dancing again when she first tried a Samba class in 2018. Kate loved the way Samba made her soul feel and enjoyed the discipline and challenge of learning a new dance style. Kate also fell in love with the different rhythms of Brazilian music and began learning Baile Funk to add in some extra flavour into her Samba!  
 
In 2020 Kate travelled to Brazil to parade in Rio Carnaval with Unidos do Porto da Pedra in their International Samba Ala. This opportunity redefined what it meant to dance Samba no pé for Kate and opened her eyes up to the culture and community behind the dance. Having the opportunity to learn from the best Samba dancers in the world through intensive workshops and the Brazilian Samba congress, Kate left Brazil with a deeper understanding and respect for the art. Parading down the Sambodrómo Avenida was one of the best experiences of Kate’s life and a feeling she'll never forget (and can’t wait to do again!)
 
Coming back to Australia, Kate took up the opportunity to train online with Escola de Samba and Nubia Santos throughout lockdown. This pushed her to refine and train her Samba technique before joining Escola de Samba in Canberra when face-to-face classes resumed. Kate is so excited to continue strengthening her knowledge and love of Samba and can’t wait to share this through teaching others.