CARNAVAL SF 2018: ROYALTY COMPETITION

 

It is our honor to present to you the 2018 Carnaval San Francisco Prince, Princess, King, Queen, Royale, and Drag Royalty:

 

Drag Majesty Black Opal

King Adonis Damian

Carnaval Royale Ambassador Jaylyn Abergas

Queen Tainah Damasceno Harvey

Teen King Octavio Gutierrez

Teen Queen Assata Conley

 

Black Opal (Drag Majesty)

Black Opal has always had a love for dancing and performing. When she stumbled upon drag it was like a whole new world opened for her! She has trained in dance styles such as jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary for around 15 years and to this day dance is the strongest part of a Black Opal performance. Black Opal is definitely an aspiring look queen who finds strength in looking fierce and having an even more fierce performance.

Adonis Damian (King)

Adonis Damian Martin Quiñones was born in Contramaestre, a province of Santiago de Cuba. He holds a degree from Jose Maria Heredia Dance Academy of Santiago de Cuba in Modern & Contemporary Dance. Adonis joined Danza Teatro del Caribe in 2008 under the Direction of Eduardo Rivero Walker and became a soloist in 2010. In Santiago de Cuba, he also performed with Locomotion, an audiovisual and interactive dance company. In the Bay Area since 2013, he has danced for Joanna Haigood’s Zaccho Dance Theater (an aerial arts dance company), Dance Brigade, KAMBARA+DANCERS, SoulSkin, Tandy Beal & Company, Alayo Dance Company, Kim Epifano, Raisa Simpson, and Dance Theater of San Francisco (DTSF). He is nominated for a 2018 IZZIE Award.

Jaylyn Abergas (Carnaval Royale Ambassador)

Jaylyn Abergas has been studying Afro-Brazilian dance for over 25 years and merges her Filipina background to create a modern multi-cultural presentation. Let Jaylyn Abergas inspire you and ignite you. She comes to the stage representing many people. Her strength and sexuality represent the true diversity of La Misión!

Tainah Damasceno Harvey (Queen)
Ginga Brasil

Tainah Damasceno Harvey is an Oakland native who has been dancing her whole life. Her dance training began with her mother, Conceicao Damasceno, and included various styles of traditional dance from all over Brazil. At the age of three, Tainah also began ballet training, and her passion for ballet led her to study for five years at the San Francisco Ballet School. As a teen/young adult, Tainah began to explore her roots with Brazilian dance with more depth and scope, eventually taking over teaching the youth classes that she had participated in as a child. Tainah acts as Assistant Artistic Director at BrasArte and has helped produce such shows/festivals as Yemanja Arts Festival, SF Bay Brazilian Day & Lavagem, and Sambrazil! She recently fell in love with Samba de Gafieira, and earlier this year traveled to Rio to explore and train in this mesmerizing style of Samba.

 

 


 

COMPETITORS

Aimee Zawitz (Queen)

It is hard to break down two decades of dancing in the Bay Area, but for the last five years Aimee has been passionately focussed on learning the ins and outs of Jamaican Dancehall and culture. She participated as a spectator of Carnaval for many years before joining Loco Bloco three years ago, choreographing routines for their teen and adult dance section. She is excited about her new role this year as one of Loco Bloco’s stilt teachers.

Angelina Avila Lopez (Queen)
Comunidad Yucateca

Angelina has been practicing Jarana for twenty years. She has been part of comparsa Comunidad Yucateca for the past five years and on at least two occasions has been in charge of the artistic and choreographic elements of the contingent. She has helped Grupo Jaranero Mayab with dance performances for Cinco de Mayo Celebration and Fat Tuesday celebrations.

CeeCee Bertoglio (Queen)
SambaFunk! Carnaval Explosion

CeeCee Bertoglio is proud a 3rd generation Bay Area native. Since 2013 she has had the joyous pleasure of dancing exclusively with SambaFunk! Carnaval Explosion where she has learned dance styles including African Brazilian, Samba, Maracatu, Samba Reggae, Passinho, West African, Funk and Stepping. In August 2017 she joined SambaFunk’s Funktyme Playahs and is fulfilling a lifelong dream of learning and performing percussion instruments. She now plays the Surdo 1, 2, and 3 drums, Agogo Bell, Chekere, and Tamborim. This will be her 5th year performing at Carnaval San Francisco. She has also performed in Oakland Carnival, SF Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday, San Diego Brazil Day and a host of other Bay Area festivals.

Chrissy Costello (Queen)
Gente da Cidade

Chrissy is a Middle School Special Education teacher by day, Zumba instructor by night, and this will be her 6th year passionately performing in Carnaval San Francisco! She is full of fire, energy, and light, and has studied dance around the world. Chrissy is always the first to start dancing regardless of the occasion and makes dancing accessible and inclusionary for all people. She loves how Carnaval brings community together as well as inspires others to celebrate themselves with both their inner and outer beauty. This will be her 6th year performing in the Carnaval San Francisco Grand Parade. She first danced with Norma Talmadge in the group, Paixao and later co-founded the group, Gente da Cidade. She has danced her entire life, studying and performing Ballet, Irish Step, Hip Hop, Salsa, Capoeira, Maculele, Afro-Brazilian, Samba, Bachata, Merengue, and Dancehall.

Clarence Bowen (King)

Clarence is a self-taught dancer, having learned primarily by watching his family and relatives dance to Calypso as a child. However he does not constrain to himself to any one form of music and instead adapts his dancing style (free-form) to musical styles such as Samba, House, Salsa, etc.  As a Caribbean-born person and new resident of SF passionate about Caribbean and Brazilian Carnaval dance music, Clarence would love to use music to connect others of all diverse backgrounds within his new community.

Corina Aguilar (Queen)

Corina’s dance journey as a little girl taking classes at Mission Cultural Center. After a long break, she came back to the dance community taking afro-Brazilian, Samba at ODC, Dance Mission, and Mission Cultural Center. The magic of Carnaval began with Loco Bloco as a dancer and for the past two years she has been part of the Fogo Na Roupa Carnaval contingent. She sees dance as an act of resistance and revolutionary love for her barrio and her gente. She dances to keep the Mission alive. She has performed for Baile en la Calle, Fiesta de las Americas, as well as the Carnaval Festival stage show.

Daniela Camacho (Queen)
Kantuta Ballet Folklorico De Bolivia

Daniela has been part of Bolivia Corazon De America and is currently the Co-Artistic Director for Kantuta Ballet Folklorico De Bolivia. She has performed with these groups in events such the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Rumi Awards, the opening show for the Golden State Warriors, and many more around California. She has danced in the Entrada Universitaria and for the Senor Jesus Del Gran Poder in La Paz Bolivia. Aside from Bolivian dances, she has been part of Hip Hop dance company, Havoc and has also taken belly dance, tango, salsa, and samba classes. She has performed for Bolivian Music Artists such as Llajtaymanta, Proyeccion, Jacha Mallku, Maria Juana and Eddy Navia.

Fortuna Vivanco (Drag Majesty)

Fortuna Vivanco is a strong Latina drag queen that embraces her hispanic identity as well as embracing culture and diversity. She loves having a platform to share her art and passion with others. She comes from a small town that is very conservative and heavily machismo and she is excited to show them as well as others that drag is an art form and a wonderful way of expression.

Garza (Drag Majesty)

Garza is originally from Perú and a San Francisco resident, she is already a powerful presence in our various LGBT and cultural communities across the larger Bay Area. Besides being a classically trained ballet dancer, choreographer, actor, drag performer and rehabilitation dance instructor for people with Parkinson’s disease, Garza works with Dance Through Time, a 25 years old Bay Area dance company specialized in historic and social dance. She is the star recruiter at Bridge HIV of the San Francisco Department of Public Health and its many HIV Vaccine Trials, Prep and other HIV Prevention Studies since 2005.
Garza has won many royal titles like Miss Gay Latina 2003. He’s also the longest reigning queen emerging from the Mr. & Mrs. Gay Safe Latina 2004-2005 of the Instituto Familiar de la Raza, Inc., Queen of the Canine Film Festival 2006 for PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) at the Castro Theater and Miss Desperate Diva 2007. Queen of the SF Mardi Gras with Krewe de Kinque.

Iyani Lopez-Ison (Queen)

Iyani is an Oakland native who's been dancing for over 20 years. She's been performing in SF, Oakland and Hollywood Carnaval for 4 years. She's currently a principal dancer for Tamika Harris of AfrikaWeDance and she's also an active artist for ialisartistry. She is a woman that grooves to her own beat! She has studied with Jackie Barnes, Tamika Harris of AfrikaWeDance, Carla Service and performs with Karribean Vibrations.

Karina Liptay (Queen)

Karina has been through some struggles but she is a strong woman and is proud to represent her beautiful Guatemala. She has experienced Carnaval since a young age.

Lungusu Malonga (Queen)

Lungusu Malonga began performing professionally at the age of nine, with Fua Dia Congo (Fua), a traditional Congolese performing arts company founded by her father, Malonga Casquelourd. Ms. Malonga has served as a principal dancer with the Fua for over fifteen years. Today, she continues as Principal Dancer and Assistant Artistic Director. For close to two decades, Lungusu has studied, performed and taught with a wide range of masterful instructors, dancers, and percussionists, within and throughout, the United States, Europe, Canada and Congo. She currently teaches (all ages) and continues to perform.

MamaDora (Drag Majesty)

MamaDora is an entertainer, entrepreneur and a health educator. She has been in San Francisco working for non-profit organizations educating and supporting community. She is the 2007 Mr and Mrs Safe Latino queen and has participated in San Francisco Pride 2017, AIDS Life Cycle, and San Francisco Latin Pride. During these difficult times for our community it is important to give people home and happiness with entertainment.

Molly McGee (Queen)
BeadSquad

Molly is a Bay Area native that has been dancing her whole life. She has studied various styles of traditional dance forms like West African, Belly Dance, and Hip Hop. She currently works as a body positive personal trainer, encouraging others to live their best life. She deeply believes in the transformative power of rhythmic movement to create positive change. She started dancing in Carnaval 10 years ago with Aquarela and has also danced with Brasarte.

Myles Ezra Bristow (King)
SambaFunk! Carnaval Explosion

An illustrator, choreographer, and spoken word performer, Ezra is an ambitious and multitalented independent artist. The Newark, New Jersey native received his BA in Studio Arts with a concentration in Drawing for Illustration at Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 2014. Despite never declaring as a Theater and Dance Major at Trinity, Ezra was an extremely active participant in the performance community while co-founding and leading Elemental Movement Dance Crew with singer/dancer dual threat Ella Wechsler-Matthaei. This dynamic duo continued their collaboration abroad in Spring 2013 at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, where Ezra began to consolidate his talents within the study of Carnival Arts, Cultural Performance, and Hip-Hop/STEAM education. Ezra has only continued to expand his skills and deepen his connections to the rich cultural community in the Bay Area. He has been a lead dancer and volunteer Media Manager for SambaFunk! Carnaval Explosion since 2015, studying samba extensively under Carnaval San Francisco King emeritus "King Theo" Aytchan. Theo’s mentorship was instrumental in helping Ezra finish as first-runner up in the 2017 Carnaval King and Queen Competition, his first year competing. He currently teaches Hip-Hop dance to youth across the Bay Area, works as an independent graphic designer, muralist and illustrator, and as a Production Assistant at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts.  

Raul Torres Bonilla (King)

Raúl Torres Bonilla has been dancing since age 7. His training includes Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, African Diaspora styles, Salsa and other Latin styles. From a young age he recognized the value of dancing as a way to connect with the community. In 2015, he moved to San Francisco to pursue his passion for dancing and he has been working as a freelance dancer ever since. He has collaborated with Aguas Company, TMD, Presidio Dance Theater, James Graham Theater, Urban X Indigenous, Mark Foehringer Dance Project, Catherine Turocy and Larry Arrington, among others. He would like to keep on inspiring people through his artistry, and extending the invitation to (re)discover through movement the divinity that resides within us all.

Roshonda Parker (Queen)

Roshonda has been dancing since the age of 7. She started her professional dancing career in 2003 at Laney College taking West African Dance with Momma and Poppa Diouf, as well as Afro Haitian with Linda Johnson. She has been dancing in step teams, school shows, full productions and creating her own choreographies since then. She is now training in Afro house Angola style and Kuduro from Angola, Africa and has studied with one of the best Kuduro dancer/choreographer of INspira Danza, Manuel Kanza.

Stephanie Rebecca Tomasulo (Queen)
Latin Dance Grooves / Loco Bloco

Stephanie has been part of Latin Dance Grooves for 5 years and has been part of Loco Bloco for 4 years. She is a San Francisco native and is working for her community with Loco Bloco. She has long been a Carnaval audience member for four years and is excited to compete as she loves to perform!

Tadd Onomowale Scott (King)

Tadd has been in Carnaval San Francisco since 2009. He has paraded with Loco Bloco, Sambafunk! and Fogo Na Roupa. He has been a dancer, drummer, costume maker and float builder.

Tory Teasley (King)
The Goddess

Tory has studied Haitian dance in high school and college and has take class with both Linda Johnson and Portsha Jefferson and later studied Samba Funk!  Tory has also taught ballroom dance and knows the foxtrot, waltz, tango, swing, salsa, bachata, and ballroom samba.

Weslei Luiz Guimaraes Cunha (King)
Ginga Brasil

Weslei Guimaraes is a Rio de Janeiro native and dancer. Weslei has been teaching since in Rio since he was seventeen, and in the Bay Area for almost a year and a half. He specializes in Brazilian partner dances, especially Rio's beloved Samba de Gafieira, as well as Samba no pe and Baile Funk.

 

MASTERS OF CEREMONIES

 

Jose Carrasco and Mayela Carrasco
Adult Royalty Competition Emcees

The spirit of Carnaval flows through veins of this father-daughter duo! Jose and Mayela are well known performers in cultural celebrations throughout the Bay.

Jose and his partner Karla Castillo founded Loco Bloco in 1994, a drum, dance and theater program for youth of color group that has rocked the streets from the Mission District to Havana Cuba, to Bahia Brazil, to Vieques Puerto Rico. Karla and Jose gave birth to Mayela in 1995 during the weekend of Carnaval SF. Mayela has danced since learning to stand on two feet. She learned to dance on stilts at age 9 and was Carnaval SF's first Princess at 12 years old. Mayela has trained and performed with Loco Bloco, Grrrl Brigade, Tania Santiago, ABADA Capoeira, and Fogo na Roupa. She recently returned from a seven month stay in Rio de Janeiro Brazil where she trained in samba dance and capoeira.

Jose currently trains and performs with Fogo na Roupa and MJ's Brass Boppers and can be seen dancing with Karla at all of the summer outdoor salsa concerts.

Joze Lopez
Children and Youth Competition Emcee

Joze is a 34 year old father of three wonderful and talented kids. He was raised in the San Francisco Mission District, and at a young age gravitated towards the arts. In his teenage years he had the privilege of having the famous artist Juan Fuentes mentor him at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Through Juan Fuentes' artistic guidance, Joze was fortunate to get accepted to the San Francisco School of the Arts. At the age of 27 he began his gastronomical travels with his kids to beautiful Mexico, and after traveling for 6 years with his family he came back home to the San Francisco Bay Area. He is currently the proud owner of Stardusted.Events and Stardust photo booth company that he runs with his eldest daughter Tecaliana.

The Infamous Chicki-Tufos
Children and Youth Competition Emcees

Quetzali Liliana Lopez, 10 & Valentino Sunshine, 9 are both homegrown San Francisco Bay Area natives. They are better known as The Infamous Chicki-Tufos. When they are not in school being silly and creative you could find them on their YouTube channel where you can watch "Kids Having Fun, cooking on a mini stove. The peanut butter and jelly pasta challenge." These two Chicki-Tufos are always finding ways to have the best of time through curiosity and creativeness!

 

JUDGES

 

Rexy
Drag Majesty Judge

Rexy is a trans Latina warrior, born and raised in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico in a small town. As the founder of The Rexy Project, Rexy uses the art from of drag performance to express identity and life experiences. Rexy has continued her fight for the survival of trans students in California through organizing work. You can catch Rexy performing in schools, working on new costumes and choreography, or doing a Facebook live.

Lulu Ramirez
Drag Majesty Judge

Originally from El Salvador, Lulu has been doing #Drag professionally for 10 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is very active in the Latinx LGBTQ community, first as a worker and performance host for the historic gay bar, Esta Noche, and now as a worker at Harvey’s on Castro Street. She curates and promotes Latinx LGBTQ events in places like The Café in San Francisco and Club 21 in Oakland, to name a few. Her work as a professional Drag performer has led her to present at the deYoung Museum in her show “Lulu y Las Chicas de Esta Noche,” as well as star in the 2015 neo-film noir movie, The Other Barrio. Lulu is proud to say that she has the full support of her family, and that they accept and empower her to be herself. She gravitated toward Drag because it provided her with a platform to express her struggles and triumphs as a member of the Latinx LGBTQ community.

Yazmin Macías
Drag Majesty Judge

Yazmin Macías has worked for the Instituto Familiar de la Raza for 12 years. She was the Señorita Jalisco in 1992 and has participated in Miss Universo in Los Angeles. Yazmin has been a judge for 14 years in numerous LGBTQ events in San Francisco.

Jennie Emire Rodriguez
Children and Youth Judge

Originally from Santurce, Puerto Rico, Jennie and her two sons, are longtime proud residents of the Mission. The former owner of The Elves Office Support Services, a community organizer, and co-founder of the Puerto Rican Network, Jennie has directed the MCCLA for the last 20 years. (For the last 40 years, MCCLA continues to promote, preserve and develop the Latino arts and culture.) A perpetual cultural activist, Jennie co-founded the Puerto Rican Network in San Francisco , and was a member of "Los Pleneros de la 24" folkloric group. Carnaval is Jennie's favorite community cultural party, and for the last 24 years has participated as a contingent organizer, and as a dancer. "It is inspiring to have our youth joining Carnaval, as crucial elements of this community, and more so, in celebration!".

Brenda Perdue
Children and Youth Judge

Brenda Perdue is a born and raised here in San Franciscan and is Salvadoran, French, Spanish, Irish, and Cherokee. Brenda Perdue is also a small business owner using a combination of her education in Criminal Justice, Case Management, Counseling, and Legal training to provide in her company Health Realization Transformation one of the number one stress reducers - Fitness. Brenda grew up dancing here in Bernal Heights with her church Saint Kevin's. Her grandmother was very much involved in the church celebrating Salvador del Mundo and her grandmother Maria Beltran not only made Panes Con Pabo for the whole church but also makes dresses for every quinceanera in the community. Brenda has danced for her church several forms of dance such as Baile Folklórico, Cumbia, Salsa, etc. In her education at San Francisco State University she took for years Black Dance Experience with Malonga and active members of his dance company who performed in Africa. Brenda Perdue formed in 2016 United Rhythms San Francisco (URSF), an all inclusive Comparsa that dances for happiness, fun and of course fitness. URSF promotes fitness and mental health through dance and the opening of ones spirit. United Rhythms celebrates at Carnaval the music and dance forms from all over the world with every year continuing to celebrate our lives and stories.

Alberto Perez Rendón
Children and Youth Judge

lberto Perez Rendón is the Director of Programs for Asociacion Mayab a cultural and social services organization serving the Maya community in the Bay Area. Alberto joined the Carnaval family for the first time in 2003 and has since then organized the contingent representing the Maya community in the Bay Area. He has spent countless of volunteer hours bringing together families and dancers from all over the west coast to participate in our festival and producing this contingent and many other events. He has been in charge of all the artistic elements of the float including dance, music and float decoration and also managed all administrative aspects of producing the float. During off-season, Alberto is the instructor and lead dancer for Grupo Jaranero Mayab and is the producer of at least 2 large cultural festivals throughout the year. He coordinates the participation of the dance troupe in events all over the Bay Area as well as organizes such events as Dia de Muertos in Asociacion Mayab, Vaqueria Yucateca and other ceremonial and cultural events. Alberto is a public health practitioner who has worked all throughout his carrier to improve the health of underserved communities, he has a special commitment in finding and removing the barriers that prevent our communities from accessing the quality health and mental health services we all deserve.

Tania Santiago
King & Queen Judge

Tania Santiago was born and raised in Salvador, Bahia where she taught, danced, and choreographed for many well-known companies including Olodum, an arts group famous for its Carnaval parade performances and credited with developing the music style known as samba reggae. While her specialties are folkloric and contemporary Afro-Brazilian dance, Santiago is also conversant in jazz, ballet, West African, Afro-Cuban and modern dance forms. Santiago has resided in California since 1997, and has taught packed classes regularly at ODC School & Rhythm and Motion Dance Program since 2005. Santiago performs with her own company Aguas (formerly known as Aguas da Bahia), Alayo Dance Company, and Deep Waters Dance Company. Santiago's choreography has also been performed by many local groups including Loco Bloco, Axe Abada, Kuumba, Quimbanda Grupo Carnavalesco, and Abada Capoeira. Each year in San Francisco, Santiago teaches a performance workshop in the Bahian Carnaval tradition. The workshop culminates in the annual Carnaval San Francisco parade!

Tomi Seon
King & Queen Judge

Tomi Seon's involvement in carnival began in the late 70s with Connie Williams of Trinidad and Tobago in the Western Edition, SF. As a performer, cultural educator and artistic director, he filled these positions for Mas Makers, Friends of Trinidad and Tobago, D'Midas International, Island of Fire, and Jouvay Dance Co, which also performed several times at the SF Ethnic Dance Festival. His bio also includes performances at Radio City Music Hall NY, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Carnegie Hall, and a command performance for The Queen of England. As a Vietnam War veteran, his mission was to build morale as an artist touring the Pacific Command with a soldier touring show called Pacific Vibrations. He is an advisor to 2018 SF Carnaval contingent Flavaz of D'Caribbean.

Susana Arenas
King & Queen Judge

Susana Arenas Pedroso is an internationally recognized Cuban Folkloric and popular dancer. Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, Ms Pedroso began her career in dance at age twelve, studying at La Casa de Cultura de Matanzas and at Cojunto Folklorico Nacional in Havana. She danced professionally for seventeen years in Cuba with popular, folkloric and theatrical performing groups, including Tierra Virgen, Alafia Ire, Oche Olorun, Oriki, Clave y Guaguancó, Oba Wemilere, Rumberos de Cuba, and Raíces Profundas. Since her arrival in the United States in 1998, Ms Pedroso has performed and choreographed numerous pieces that have been exhibited throughout the United States, Mexico, Cuba and Hong Kong with companies such as Omo Ache, Omo Oddara, Ban Rarra, Ire Ile, Alayo Dance Company, Las Que Son Son and Obini Ashi. In 1999 Ms Pedroso founded her own dance companies, Saudunga Cubana, which specialized in Cuban Popular dance, and Olorun, which specialized in Cuban Folkloric dance. In 2004 Ms Pedroso decided to join the two troupes, establishing Arenas Dance Company, a company that has expertise in both folkloric and popular Cuban traditions.

Grace Torres
King & Queen Judge

Grace Torres directs NICARAGUA DANZA, HIJOS DEL MAÍZ with Luis Léon. Grace was raised in the capital city of Managua, on Nicaragua’s Pacific side. While she was in school, Grace trained with Maestra Blanca Guardado who was also founder and director of one the national Nicaraguan folklorico dance troupes, Ballet Folklórico Tepenahuatl, with whom Grace later performed. NICARAGUA DANZA, HIJOS DEL MAÍZ has performed in the SF Ethnic Dance Festival and was the recipient of the Mythili Kumar Emerging Artist Award . Grace has also performed with Haitian and Afro Peruvian dance companies.

John Jairo Roldán
King & Queen Judge

Percussionist, DJ, and founder of la comparsa La Cumbiamba Colombiana--first place winners in the category of Traditional/Folkloric in Carnaval San Francisco 2017--, as well as a founding member of the folkloric group Tambores De Colombia.

John Jairo was born and raised in Colombia until he was 18 years old, where he was exposed to the diverse folkloric traditions of Colombia at a very young age. He moved to California in 1987 where he worked as a percussionist for several local Salsa bands. He was also initiated in the Palo and Santeria traditions which he still studies and practices. For the last 16 years John has been participating in Carnaval San Francisco as a drummer and currently as the director of La Cumbiamba Colombiana.

 

GUEST PERFORMERS

 

Fogo Na Roupa

Fogo na Roupa, founded in 1989 is a Bay Area, award-winning, Grupo Carnavalesco and performing company which combines the community's raw spirit with the technical expertise of its illustrious Founding Director, the late Mestre Carlos Aceituno. The name, which means "Clothes On Fire", is symbolic of the hot energy generated by the innovative rhythms and infectious dance moves that has created dedicated students and Canavalescos in the greater Bay Area. Under the artistic direction of Jose Rivera and Metzi Henriquez, Fogo continues to fire up the crowds, winning multiple San Francisco Carnaval Grand Championships, , Best of the Bay 2011, and a 2012 "Corazon Del Barrio Award" from Mission Cultural Center. Fogo Na Roupa’s performance highlights include Bay Area opener for Brazil’s popular Olodum, opening for Carlos Santana, internationally acclaimed Brazilian recording artist, Carlinhos Brown, SF Ethnic Dance Festivals, SF Symphony 100th Anniversary, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers halftime shows.

MJ's Brass Boppers

The swinging and singing brass-line is the Bay Area’s only New Orleans-style brass band whose founding members were born and raised in New Orleans itself. Their sound has been meticulously formed over years of practicing, composing original material, and experimenting together, fusing classic high energy NOLA performance with funk, jazz, modern pop, with a second line rhythm and twist.

Since 2008, the tight knit musicians have written, practiced, and performed together at a host of festivals, community events, nightclubs, and street corners around the Bay Area and beyond. They’ve opened for a variety of acts, including George Clinton & Funkadelic, The O'Jays, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Ave, Funky Meters, George Porter Jr., Kermit Ruffins, Glenn David Andrews, Zigaboo Modeliste, Monophonics, California Honeydrops, Dr. Michael White, Katdelic, and many more. Together, these musicians come together as the versatile MJ’s Brass Boppers, offering a taste of authentic New Orleans style with a West Coast flair.

Samba Sensation

Samba Sensation is a San Francisco Bay Area-based Brazilian dance company made up of dancers with strong ties to the local dance community. Led by 2015 Princess of Samba USA Shaunte Jackson and 2017 Diva of Samba USA Nadia Qabazard, Samba Sensation's mission is to spread the joy and spirit of Brazil through dance, education, performance, and community participation. This includes annual participation in Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco and working with BrasArte Brazilian cultural center. Known for their high energy performances and their commitment to respecting Samba and the Brazilian culture, Samba Sensation is honored to present two of their favorite pieces at the 2018 Royalty competition.