Bella Diva World Dance & Escola de Samba Denver’s Road to Rio 2023

Carnaval is known worldwide as the world’s largest party. Every year hundreds of thousands of people gather in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate Carnaval with blocos, pagodes, parades, and of course lots of Samba. Residents and tourists all come together to watch the culminating event, Carnaval Carioca. Escolas from all over Rio come to compete and perform. Each school has one chance to wow the audience and judges. But behind each show is months and months worth of hard work and dedication.

This year,  10 of the performing company members of Escola de Samba Denver at Bella Diva World Dance will be traveling to Rio in only a couple weeks to be immersed in Brazilian culture during this Carnaval season!

The ESD dancers will join three different Samba Schools in Rio and parade down Sapucaí as members of the Escolas, organized by Sashya Jay and Nubia Santos as part of Samba Internacional. 

The process for earning their place in each escola started in June of 2022 when each of the ESD dancers had to audition. A video submission to each school was required for every dancer to be selected to join various “Alas” (a wing or group of each parade).

Passista Ala with União de Jacarepaguá:

Escola Diretora Caitlin, Addi, and Grace auditioned to be a part of the passista ala at União de Jacarepaguá. Uniao is part of the Series Ouro Grupo (Gold series group).The passista ala includes some of the best dancers in each school. Many people auditioned and only 10 dancers were selected. In order to participate in the Passista Ala, Caitlin, Addi and Grace will spend 5 weeks prior to carnaval in Rio training with the Escola. During this time, they will become a part of the community, train with the resident dancers, take part in the Technical Rehearsal in the Sambódromo (Ensaio Técnico), ensaios de ruas, and perform at other community events. União will perform on Saturday February 18th at 9:00 PM (BRT).

Sambista Ala with Unidos de Bangu:

7 of the ESD dancers will join Unidos de Bangu as part of their Sambista Ala. Bangu is part of the Series Ouro Grupo (Gold series group). Chelsi, Anna, Andréia, Ali, Alina, Candice and Luki will head to Rio two weeks prior to carnaval in order to train with their Escola. The sambistas also had to submit a video recording in order to audition for their place in the Ala. 

During their time in Rio they will train with their Ala directors, participate in Ensaio de Ruas (street rehearsals) and dance with their Escola in the big show. Bangu will parade on Saturday February 18th at 10:30 PM (BRT)

Float Ala with Império Serrano:

Coming off of their win in the Series Ouro Grupo in 2022, Imperio Serrano will move up to Grupo Especial this year. Three of the ESD dancers will join Imperio as members of their Float Ala. Caitlin, Chelsi and Luki will help Império open the grand competition as they perform on one of the floats as part of the Escola. Imperio Serrano will parade on February 19, 2023 at 10:00 PM (BRT).

While in Brazil the ten ESD dancers will also participate in multiple workshops with some of the best samba dancers in Brazil. It is an immense honor and privilege to participate in Carnaval with the local comunidades. They hope to bring their new knowledge and commitment of samba back to Denver to help continue to grow the samba community locally! 

Want to check out the parades live? Tune into Globo at: for a live streaming of all of the parades!

  • União de Jacarepaguá will perform on Saturday February 18th at 9:00 PM (BRT)
  • Unidos de Bangu will parade on Saturday February 18th at 10:30 PM (BRT)
  • Império Serrano will parade on February 19, 2023 at 10:00 PM (BRT)

Follow ESD on IG & TikTok to keep up with their Carnaval journey and travel blog. @EscoladeSambaDenver 

RIO COMES TO COLORADO! Samba Workshops April 21-25, 2016

April 21st-April 25th, 2016

Bella Diva Dance & Luciana da Silva Samba Dancer are proud to present master teachers, Rodrigo Marques & Vanessa Nascimento, straight from the streets of Rio de Janeiro!

Prepare yourself for an intensive training in Samba No Pé (Rio de Janeiro style), Samba de Gafieiria (partner dance) and Malandro (male samba style). This is an opportunity for you to learn from the source and increase your Samba vocabulary.

Rodrigo Marques

Originally from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Mr. Marques began his dance training in youth social programs in Rio de Janeiro. He received training from several great names of the Samba de Gafieira in Rio de Janeiro such as Alvaro Reys, Rachel Mesquita, Carlos Bolacha, and Carlinhos de Jesus. Marques started dancing professionally at age 15.

He presented his early work in Rio de Janeiro at numerous dance spaces and founded Gafieira Brasil, an annual event that is constituted by a series of workshops and Gafieira Competition, which allow four choreographers and twenty-four dancers to present the most traditional and contemporary styles of Samba de Gafieira. Rodrigo is recognized internationally in Brazilian dances like Samba No Pé, Samba de Gafieira and Malandro (male style of Samba.) He has been granted several awards for his choreographic work with the most traditional Samba schools in Rio de Janeiro.

Vanessa Nascimento

has been dancing since childhood and is one of the most important dance teachers in Rio de Janeiro. She works at Casa de Dança Carlinhos de Jesus in Rio and has been a main dancer partner of Carlinhos de Jesus. She has travel internationally to perform and teach dance styles like Samba no pé and Samba de Gafieira. Her samba dance style is contagious and inspiring.image2

SAMBA NO PÉ and MALANDRO ( all levels )

Sunday April 24th 
6pm to 8pm
Bella Diva Dance
4309 E. Mississippi Ave.
Glendale, CO. 80246
Register here

Register here for Boulder Workshops

SAMBA NO PÉ ( all levels )

Thursday April 21st
6pm to 7pm
Pre Eminence Hall – 3213 Walnut St, Boulder 80301
$20 ( $35 if you attend 2 )
You may see Rodrigo & Vanessa at Chegando Lá after class
Laughing Goat

MALANDRO (this workshop is for men and women alike, all levels )

Friday April 22nd
6pm to 7pm
Pre Eminence Hall – 3213 Walnut St, Boulder 80301
$20 ( 35 if you are attending 2 )
Join Rodrigo & Vanessa at San Julien after class.

FREE Samba class by Luciana da Silva at 8pm

SAMBA DE GAFIEIRA ( Beginners and up )

Saturday April 23rd
2pm to 4pm
Avalon – 6185 Arapahoe, Boulder 80303
$35 per peson ( partner not necessary )

SAMBA NO PÉ and MALANDRO ( all levels ) image4

Sunday April 24th
6pm to 8pm
Bella Divas $ ( see

SAMBA NO PÉ LAST CHANCE ( all levels )

Monday April 25th ( Replacing Luciana’s class )
6:30pm to 7:30pm
Flamenco Denver – 1934 S Broadway 80210
$20 ( 35 if you are attending 2 )

For more information call: 719-200-6054
email:[email protected]



Athena Project Evening of Dance March 26

Athena Project March 2016


Saturday March 26th 8:00 PM
Armstrong Center for Dance, 1075 Santa Fe Dr. Denver

Get tickets today

Ghost of Us at Athena Project 2016An “Evening of Dance“, co-curated by choreographers Caitlin Brozna-Smith & Lauren Beale, will be an interpretation of this year’s festival theme, “Ghosts of Us”, and the methods by which women convey art and expression in our society. From Belly Dance to contemporary and

From Belly Dance to contemporary and Dance Movement Therapy to tap dance, each style carries with it the wisdom gained from the trials and triumphs from generations of women who created these dances to express and reflect our growth. Art by those brave souls who have come before us! The dancers’ bodies are conduits for creativity, passion, perseverance, and their generosity of spirit allows us to experience these things with them.

Choreographers  met last February, to collaborate and network; showing pieces they had created, inspired by the theme Ghosts of Us. At that time, they received feedback from peers had 30 days to incorporate the suggestions/put the finishing touches on the piece, and this weekend is the final product. Saturday, the dance will culminate in community dialogue about the choreographed pieces and how they can serve as our guides by reminding us of the limitless capabilities of the human heart.

The 2016 Athena Project Arts Festival, being held since March 4 until April 10, includes a Jazz Festival to celebrate women in Jazz, an evening of dance with choreographers and art installations, among many of the activities and events that will take place. Read more information about the plays, dance shows, visual arts displays, fashion, music, pop-art performances and more.

The works will be premiered at the studio space at the Armstrong Center for Dance followed by a community dialogue and reception.

Tickets $15
$12 for students/seniors/military
Get your tickets here!

Join Bella Diva Dance Studio and the Athena Project Arts Festival 2016 this weekend.


Join us this Saturday at the Athena Project Pop-Up Entertainment

Anthena Project Arts Festival 2016

Athena Project Pop-Up Entertainment
along the RTD Light Rail

Athena Project Denver 2016This Saturday, March 19th

Join Bella Diva Dance at 1:00 pm outside Union Station as we present a Bollywood flash mob celebrating the new light rail line that will open in April. This will be one of the many pop-up art happenings along the W-Line throughout the day.

The 2016 Athena Project Arts Festival, being held from March 4 to April 10, will include a jazz festival to celebrate women in Jazz, an evening of dance with choreographers and art installations, among many of the activities and events that will take place. Read more information about the plays, dance shows, visual arts displays, fashion, music, pop-art performances and more. 

The event will be held along the W-Line beginning at Colfax and Wadsworth and along the C-Line, culminating in a celebration at the Museum of Outdoor Art on the evening of March 19, 2016.

Athena Project’s mission is to empower women and strengthen the Denver community through developing and showcasing women’s and girls’ artistic contributions, while inviting new audiences into the creative process.

Saturday, March 19th, 2106
Light Rail W-Line @ 13th and Wadsworth @ 11 am*
End: Union Station approx. 1:15 pm* for group flash mob by Bella Diva Dance.
Light Rail D-Line @ Theatre/Convention Center Stop @ 6pm*
End: Museum of Outdoor Arts @ 7:40pm*
Reception at Museum of Outdoor Arts from 7:30-9pm*

RTD Light Rail c-line

Join Bella Diva Dance Studio and celebrate the opening of the new light rail line.

Support local art and performances and our celebrations in Women’s History Month. We will be having many performances in the month of March. Last week, Bella Diva Dance was part of the Ginga’s Brazilian Carnaval at Mercury Cafe in Denver. Last night we were also a part of a Fundraiser for the non-profit Verifica. As you can see, we have the month scheduled with live shows, don’t miss out on any of the performances. Read more about other events and live dance shows in Denver.

Bollywood Dance Performances & Lessons in Colorado

Bollywood is a word made up by two: Bombay (another name for the city of Mumbai) and Hollywood. The Bollywood movie industry is among the largest on the planet, and its beautiful dance and colorful rhythms have become popular all around the world. Bella Diva Dance Studio offers lessons to learn this unique world dance.

Free bollywood community class

Bella Diva Dance performed last year at Colorado’s Indian Wedding Festival

Last September 2015, Bella Diva Dance was part of the performing acts at the Indian Wedding Festival in Colorado. Indian Weddings are very particular as they follow traditions that are hundreds of years old.
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Here are some interesting facts about these type of events.

  • Indian tradition: most marriages in India are arranged between families. The purpose of an Indian wedding is to bring two families together socially.
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    Still, some couples do consummate “love marriages” in which both partners decide to marry each other without family involvement.
  • Indian wedding reception: you might have heard of how fun and crazy these events can be. There are folk dances like bhangra but Western music is also played. Food plays an important role and you can find naan (flatbread), curries (spicy and non-spicy), samosas (pastries filled with meat or vegetables), pakoras (fritters), cake and kulfi (Indian ice-cream).

Watch Bella Diva Dance perform at Colorado’s Indian Wedding Festival 2015

Bollywood Dance Lessons in Colorado

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We offer Bollywood Dance lessons for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced students. This fusion dance class brings you the best of the expressive beauty and contagious energy of Bollywood’s most stylized dances and mashes them up with the influences of Hip-Hop, Latin, Jazz, Funk and Street styles.

Our prices:

4 week month series = $52

5 week month series = $65

$15 Drop-in rate (if spots are available)

Read more about easy stretching exercises for dancers and also learn about our newest class offering Introduction to Middle Eastern Drumming.

Mardi Gras: Facts and upcoming show in Denver

FatTuesday Mardi Gras carnival 2016

Mardi Gras celebration is around the corner!

New Orleans is getting its beads and king cakes ready. But did you know that this celebration is not only celebrated in the US but in many other places around the world, as well? There are lots of interesting things about this colorful and joyous celebration, so today we share some of these fun facts on Mardi Gras. Plus, you can celebrate Mardi Gras in Denver at Bella Diva’s Fat Tuesday Show February 9th!

Upcoming Mardi Gras performance Denver by Bella Diva Dance

Mardi Gras Fun Facts

  • This extravagant celebration has its place in other countries like Germany: Karneval, Mexico: Martes de Carnaval, Sweden: Fastan, Italy: Martedi Grosso and in Trinidad: J’Ouvert. It’s said that this party’s origins go back to pagan traditions of the Roman civilization hence, its worldliness.
  • The characteristic colors of this celebration are purple, green and gold. Apparently, the king of the first daytime carnival in 1872 selected these colors as they have specific meanings. Purple represents justice, gold represents power and green, faith.
  • Besides the popular beads, masks are also part of the traditional costumes. Hundreds of years ago, these masks were worn to escape class constraints. This way, no one would know who they were and could mingle with other people from different classes. Today, in New Orleans, it is illegal to ride on a Mardi Gras parade float without one.
  • The University of New Orleans estimates that this celebration generates around $840 million a year. One of the largest Mardi Gras supply houses in the city sells an estimated one billion pairs of beads every season.
  • The first Mardi Gras parade took place in 1837, in New Orleans. Floats had their first appearance in 1857. Millions of colored bead-necklaces are thrown from the floats for people to wear and add to their collections.Bella-Diva-Dance-Photo-Courtesy-of-Jim-Willis-WESTWORD-283x300

Join Bella Diva Dance at our amazing Denver Mardi Gras Carnaval Fat Tuesday show on February 9th!

When: Tuesday, February 9th at 8 pm
Doors open at 7 pm

Where: Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret
D&F Clocktower on the 16th St. Mall


SAVE THE DATE: Mardi Gras Carnaval Tuesday February 9th

Samba performance Denver


Join us for one of the most FUN nights of the year, Brazilian style!

Join Bella Diva Dance at our amazing  Carnaval Fat Tuesday show on February 9th, 8 PM. It’s a one-of-a-kind evening that will make you want to come back, year after year, we guarantee it!

Get your tickets today as it always sells out!


Denver’s hottest Mardi Gras Party

One of Bella Diva’s biggest shows of the year. In 2016, we celebrate Fat Tuesday for our 5th year at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, in downtown Denver. Get ready for lots of Brazilian Samba, New Orleans vibe, beads, feathers, glitz, glam and dance, as this is sure to be Denver’s hottest Mardi Gras Party. Special guests will include members from Boulder’s live Brazilian band Ginga, and Brazilian samba dancer Luciana da Silva! Hosted by our King of Mardi Gras Naughty Pierre. The show is held in the basement of the historic D&F Clocktower on the 16th St. Mall You can come dressed in a Mardi Gras costume or just enjoy a great Denver night out.

The hottest Samba dance group north of Rio De Janeiro!

Not only will you be entranced by the sheer amount of shaking feathers, beads & glitter, but you won’t be able to stop tapping your feet to those Samba and Belly Dance beats as our lovely dancers mesmerize you with the “can’t sit still” rhythms of Carnival. The acclaimed troupe will show off our best scintillating and sensual dance numbers.


When: Tuesday, February 9th at 8 pm
Doors open at 7 pm

Where: Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret
D&F Clocktower on the 16th St. Mall


salsa dancing Denver

Don’t miss the fun and entertainment of Bella Diva Dance events! Read more about our upcoming performances. View our gallery of photos and videos for a sneak-peek of what’s coming. Check out our classes and get started on world dance lessons in Denver!


Halloween in Denver 2015: Night of the Dancing Dead

Halloween with Bella Diva Dance

When: Wed. Oct. 21st, 8 PM
Where: Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret
1601 Arapahoe St. Denver 80202


Happy Bellaween!

Our favorite time of year is right around the corner and the Dancing Dead are coming for YOU!

Celebrate with us at Lannie’s Oct 21st, as your favorite divas will be transformed into the Dancing Dead! There will be zombie belly dancers and Brazilian “Zombistas”. Naughty Pierre will be hosting as Count Dracula, special guests include Dr. Bones as the Witchdoctor, the ghoulish ladies of “Bat”-avia, Rafi’ah & the Ghosts of the Crystal Forest, and Sadakat Belly Dance.

There will also be plenty of fun for the audience! Please COME IN COSTUME or mask for the chance to win great prizes including tickets to other fantastic Lannie’s shows, & classes with Bella Diva Dance. We will also have you up and dancing, learning some of the most famous (and easy!) steps to Michael Jackson’s iconic Thriller.

It is also fun to note that October 21st, 2015 is “Back to the Future Day”, the exact date Marty McFly travels to in Back to the Future II, from back in 1985 in his time traveling DeLorean. We might just do a little “Time Warp” for you all to also commemorate The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s 40th Anniversary! Has it been that long?!


Body Painter, Mythica von Griffyn from the TV show “Skin Wars” will also be on site transforming our audience into zombies during Intermission!


Tickets are $15.00 & can be purchased via the website or by calling the box office 303.293.0075

This show has sold out the previous two years, so reserve your seat today!

Don’t miss this year’s incredible event, get your Tickets now!

Join the Facebook Night of the Dancing Dead Event Page for updates and notifications.


Here’s a video of last year’s Thriller performance to start getting your costumes out of the closet!

Don’t Miss Our Denver Luaus this July 3rd and 15th

Denver Free Hula dance lessons and performances

Join us in our dance celebrations to enjoy the Summer…

Luau in the Lot

Cherry Creek Arts Festival

Friday July 3rd

12 – 3pm

Outside Cherry Creek Whole Foods

Cherry Creek Arts Festival

Address: 2375 E 1st Ave, Denver 80206


There will be free performances, lessons & lei’s!


Denver Midsummer Night Luau

Midsummer Night Luau

Wednesday July 15th


Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret

Tickets $15

Buy your tickets here!


Join us in July for a Midsummer Night Luau at Lannie’s, where we will celebrate Hawaiian and Polynesian dance & culture. There will be a hula lesson on stage for guests, and come dressed to impress in your best Hawaiian shirts to get Lei’d at Lannie’s!

Hosted by Naughty Pierre with fun Hawaiian themed cocktails, this is sure to be a night of fun and kitsch. Your passport to the Islands!

Get your tickets now!


hot hula Denver


Bella Diva Dance’s  new studio is located in the Glendale Center on E. Mississippi Ave and Birch St, near Colorado Blvd.  We offer you: Belly Dance, Samba, Yoga, Bollywood, Hot Hula Fitness, Afro-Caribe and Kids’ World Dance. Our instructors are all highly qualified and experienced, and will grant you a thoughtful learning experience. Contact Caitlin for more information about classes: 303.359.9414 or email us at [email protected].

VERIFICA: Bella Diva Rising Fundraiser on March 18

“Bella Diva Rising” Fundraiser at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret

Wednesday March 18th
Tickets $12.00
1601 Arapahoe St.
Denver 80202

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By combining awareness with special tactics, Verifica exposes traffickers before they can exploit the innocent without risk to the targeted teams or the community.
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PIER Institute is the exclusive licensing and certification agent for the Verifica program. Licensing fees are 100% tax-deductible in the US. For more information, please contact: [email protected]

bella dance logo


Bella Diva Dance’s  new studio is located in the Glendale Center on E. Mississippi Ave and Birch St, near Colorado Blvd.  We offer you: Belly Dance, Samba, Yoga, Bollywood, Hot Hula Fitness, Afro-Caribe and Kids’ World Dance. Contact Caitlin for more information about classes: 303.359.9414 or email us at [email protected].