ABOUT VIKA-STANSKY HERNANDEZ: Vika S. Hernandez is a dance artist from San Diego, CA. She holds a M.A. in Global & International Studies with an emphasis on Global Culture and Religion. Her unique dance classes investigate how cosmology shapes our understanding of the universe as well as our understanding of the human body. A lifelong dancer, she credits her embodied knowledge from studying Afro-Brazilian dance and Capoeira with Mestre Mariano Silva for 15 years as well as her training in Bahia, Brazil where she trained capoeira with Mestre Angola and studied Orixa sacred dances, Afro-contemporary, Samba and Samba-Reggae at the Fundação Cultural do Estado da Bahia (Funceb) and Diáspora Art Center. She is a part of Bahia Magia Dance Co. and has performed professionally throughout Southern California, Miami, Florida and Salvador, Bahia Brazil. In San Diego she started Sambamerica Dance Collective, an ensemble integrating various genres of dances from Latin America and offering an explosive and one-of-a-kind show in celebration of the human spirit. She is the founder and creative director of the International Women’s Day Arts+DanceXchange, an annual event celebrating women around the world while promoting environmental sustainability through dance, music, and educational arts workshops with a mission to build a meaningful connection to nature through community exchange.
ABOUT MESTRE MARIANO SILVA: An artist of many talents, Mariano Silva is a professional dancer, choreographer, martial arts master, as well as an accomplished musician and vocalist. Born in Salvador, Bahia, the cultural heartbeat of Brazil, Mariano has over 25 years of experience teaching Afro-Brazilian Dance, Samba and Capoeira. His dance experience did not begin in a class room. His rhythm and soul run through his veins from his African and Brazilian ancestors and were developed in his home with his mother. Devoted to maintaining the roots and traditions of Afro-Brazilian culture, Mestre Mariano Silva runs the Brazilian Cultural Arts Center of Santa Barbara and Capoeira Relampue for over 16 years where he brings the community together through Capoeira, Afro-Brazilian Dance, Samba, Batucada drumming, and Kids Cultural Programs. He is a professor of dance at the University of California Santa Barbara as well as the Director of Bahia Magia Dance Company.