Santa Ana resident Marissa Rivera is currently a top ten finalist to be the next face of GFranco shoes, a leading Latin dance shoe company that is a staple in the world of Latin dance. Bachata, Salsa, Brazilian zouk, and even hip hop dancers swear by GFranco’s quality, style, and lifespan.
Here is Marissa’s story:
“We are never more truly and profoundly human than when we dance.” This quote by modern choreographer Jose Límon describes my last 15 years of dancing. I started my dance journey in high school. This is when I knew I found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I studied dance at Mt. San Antonio College and earned my Dance Teaching certification. This led me to train in many styles such as Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Hip Hop, Contemporary, and ultimately Latin Social Dance.
My Dad is Puerto Rican, so Salsa and other latin music has always had a strong influence in my life. I took Salsa formally and learned what true lead and follow was. This eventually led me to Bachata and then ultimately Zouk. Latin social dance has been the most freeing dance for me. Being crossed-trained gave me an advantage to create, be more free and open when dancing, and gave me a different style than other dancers.
I have been in Latin dance scenes for the last 8 years. The last 2-3 years I have been an active member of the LA/OC latin dance communities as both a dancer and instructor. My main focus is now Brazilian Zouk Lambada but I am still active in the Salsa and Bachata communities. I direct and teach with RhythmicFusion under the direction of Mike Zuniga. My partner, Rinaldo Melo, and I also work with DJ Mayimbe as well as Luis Aragon teaching at and hosting the Zouk rooms for UnifiedOn2 Project and Cielo. In the last year Rinaldo and I have grown the Brazilian Zouk scene in Orange County with our company Zouk Vibes. We host weekly classes and now host one of the biggest Zouk socials in LA/OC. We will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary at the end of December. Unlike other socials we play Zouk, Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba all in one room to make sure all dancers from all forms feel welcome.
If I become the Next Face of GFranco, it would give me a platform to promote the cross training and mutual respect in all the latin communities. My goal as an instructor is to show how cross training only adds to your dance as well as grows the scenes around you. This video shows my versatility and how my back ground enables me to dance multiple styles, with different partners to just one song. GFranco is the choice for many dancers because of its versatility. GFranco shows us it can be classy, bold, and modern just like the dancers who wear their shoes. From the professional to the everyday social dancers there is something for everyone. I believe I will be a great candidate for the Next Face Of GFranco because I can be just as versatile as the shoes I wear. Being a dancer who avidly dances and enjoys all styles, I can can appeal to dancers in all latin dance communities. I don’t just represent the Brazilian Zouk community, I represent all dancers in all communities.