About the Author

Laura-Riva-Dancing-Grapevine
Based in Toronto, Canada, Laura Riva is a passionate lover of dance in all its forms. Since 2008, she has dabbled in everything from Blues and Swing to Tango and Salsa. But, her heart was stolen by the musical, improvisational, and smooth feeling of Brazilian Zouk and West Coast Swing.

In 2013, Laura’s dance ambitions grew when she entered a Zouk partnership with Darius Zi, the founder of dZouk Productions. Laura had the dream to fully immerse herself in dance – but not the opportunity, money, or knowledge to get there. Darius was a veteran of the Zouk and Salsa scenes, and together they form a powerful duo.

Laura now travels, teaches, and performs with her partner at Zouk congresses, and together they organize two dance congresses within Toronto (Canada Zouk Congress and Vision Dance Encounter, North America’s first Swouk event). They are the only North American Zouk organization that presents full-length dance productions (“See Inside Me”  and “Cirque du Zouk“). “See Inside Me” was featured as a “Best of Ontario” selection, presented in Ontario’s Celebration Zone during the Pan/Para-PanAm Games in the summer of 2015.

Laura is also the co-creator of the Vision dance program for the blind and Zouk University. Since 2014, Laura and her partner have worked with people of all ages and abilities, spreading the love of Zouk and dance with the world. Their blind dancers are featured in “See Inside Me”.

Laura has an undergraduate degree in Theatre and English from the University of Guelph, and studied Law at the University of Western Ontario. She became a licensed lawyer with the Law Society of Upper Canada as of June 2016. She loves writing creative fiction, and uses The Dancing Grapevine as a creative outlet.

During her time at law school, Laura’s passion for dance led her to drive 2.5 hours each way between her school and Toronto every weekend to continue training in and teaching Zouk.

Want to re-publish a Dancing Grapevine post? Go ahead! Simply let me know through a comment or email, and make sure to include the author’s name (Laura Riva), the blog name (The Dancing Grapevine), and a link back to the post. Some images (but not all) were taken by Laura, so please ask before re-posting images!

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Have an idea for a post, or want to be a contributing photographer/writer?  Drop Laura a line through The Dancing Grapevine’s Contact Us page.

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