Academia de Baila con Pasión is the only international Latin dance academy in the Twin Cities and whose director is a featured instructor at festivals and congresses all over the world. We are a professional academy that focuses heavily on technique creating solid, proficient dancers both socially and on stage as a part of our various performing teams. You will not just learn patterns with us that you will not remember when you walk out the door. You will become proficient on the dance floor whether dancing with or without a partner. You will learn styling that will become second nature, learn to lead and / or follow, learn about musicality, timing, footwork and how to create your own as well as find your own style on the dance floor, and so much more!
In addition to our classes and performing teams who have opportunities to perform at festivals locally, nationally and even internationally, we are also about building a community of people who also have a Pasión for Latin dance. (Salsa, Bachata, Cha Cha, Merengue, Bolero, Son, and more)
We are the only academy in the Twin Cities that teaches Authentic Dominican Bachata and with one of our owners haling from Santo Domingo, it doesn't get more Dominican than that! We aso offer an annual dance and cultural immersion vacation in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic that is truly a life changing trip!
Our director has dedicated her entire life to dance and sharing her Pasión for Latin dance with as many folks as possible.
We are a World Mastery Academy meaning that our curriculum is the best in the world and created by various World Champions. Our Director Cassandra de Mercedes, is also a coach to other instructors. We create dancers by breaking steps in families of steps so that when you graduate from each level, you are solid in that entire family of steps, how to connect them to other steps including styling. THIS creates solid dancers that have the capability to create their own patterns and add styling without interrupting the leads. We cover everything from body movement to weight placement to how to kbow what each part of a song is asking of you, dance wise. FEW schools teach this!
We can't wait to get to share our knowledge and expertise and Pasión for Latin dance with you!
EVERYTHING! There is not a day that goes by that I dont feel profound gratitude that I get to do what I do! I love seeing new dancers come through the door, some shy and timid, learn to dance and I get watch their confidence and esteem grow! I love seeing the excitement in the eyes of our students when they learn something new and master it! I love that our students truly do become friends and family and that dance is what ties us together.
I love seeing the dancers on my performing teams grow... they watch a step, pattern or even a lift in training with their eyes getting so big... wondering if they can execute what we demonstrate and then getting to see the growth from each rehearsal and each move being executed seamlessly. I LOVE getting to see the joy in their eyes in having done something that they never thought they could do! You cannot put a price on that!
I love seeing our Baila con Pasión community grow, dancer by dancer, and I get to see their Pasión for Latin dance grow as well as all of the lifelong friendships that are formed.
There is not a day that goes by that I could imagine doing anything else with my life. I love everything about what I do, even those days that you have class after class after rehearsal after rehearsal....you go home so exhausted that even your hair hurts (hahaha)....yet your soul is so happy!!
she is patience with troubled students
She is very understanding of people. When some one has trouble with steps she knows why an how to fix it. An has patience. I have thinking issues a. This is hard but I am getting it because of her
All new students to Baila con Pasión must start in our Beginning level I class. Our classes run in 4 week sessions with 1 class per week for 4 weeks and our classes are and hour and a half, not just an hour.
We focus on intensive technique, lead and follow, musicality, turns and spins, partner work and patterns within level that includes the material covered in that session as well as in prior sessions. Each level is progressive and concentrates on a family of steps and patterns in addition to adding them to what has already been covered in previous levels, creating more retention and continuity in your dancing. No partner necessary.
Due to the level of technique covered in each class, our classes are progressive and build on what was taught the prior week and session. In order to ensure that all of our students are moving forward and due to the detailed technique that students receive in our classes, we do not allow walk in classes. All students must register for a complete session. No 'drop in' classes are allowed.
All of our students, no matter what their level of dance prior to training with BCP are required to start from our Beginning level 1 Salsa (or the level 1 of whichever dance you are studying). In order to move to the next level, your BCP instructor must evaluate your skills at the end of each class session to determine whether you are ready to move to the next level or repeat the same belt level again. At some point, most students are asked to repeat a level during their training in order to solidify what you are working on. This will only benefit you in the long run and it is our hope that our students would see this as an opportunity to strengthen that particular family of steps and patterns, making you a stronger dancer overall. With our focus on technique and repetition, we are able to train solid, well rounded dancers that feel ready and excited to move to the next level and shine on the social dance floor.
Cassandra de Mercedes (formerly Parrish) is the Co-owner and Artistic Director of Baila con Pasión, the premier Latin dance company in Minneapolis, MN and in the Twin Cities area, previously in Stuart, FL, Charlotte, NC and Bavaro Dominican Republic. She is the choreographer & artistic director of Salsa con Pasión™, Bachata con Pasión™ and Las Bellas de Baila con Pasión™, her student & Professional performing teams as well as the Trainer for her World Team Project Minneapolis Teams. She is extremely proud to be a World Mastery Ambassador well as a World Team Project Team Trainer, and World Mastery Instructor.
Cassandra began dancing professionally at the age of 13 with Pacific Northwest Ballet and has spent nearly 3 decades in the entertainment industry working as both a professional dancer and a professional singer. She is classically trained in ballet, ballroom and Latin dance but upon discovering her love and passion for Latin dance specifically Salsa, Bachata, Bachatango and Cha-Cha, they became her sole career focus.
She has trained with various multi time world Champions such as Cristian Oviedo, Abel Pena, Liz Lira, Alien Ramirez, Adrian and Anita of Barcelona, Fernando Sosa, Daniel and Desiree and Edie the Salsa Freak. She has also learned specialized training from world renowned Bachateros of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Rodolfo Montono Castro, Carlos Gomez, Carlos Leaonel Paulino and Susan de Beras. She is one of few academy owners / Directors who specialize in Authentic Dominican Bachata and was one of 3 International instructors to be in invited to teach Bachata in the very home of Bachata, each year, from 2013 to now! She is also the owner / organizer / director of her renowned BachaTour! with Baila con Pasión, where she and her husband take a small group to Santo Domingo for a dance and cultural immersion vacation that is unlike any other event out there!
Cassandra has been booked for many years at the largest and most prestigious Bachata congress in the US, the DCBX which used to be called the DC Bachata Congress. Her lifts and tricks workshops are always packed as are the ones she does teaching Authentic Dominican Baachata! She also teaches at the Latin Dance Festival in Barcelona Spain where she is one of few American Directors / Instructors/ Performers featured.
Cassandra has taught tens of thousands of students from Minneapolis, MN to Washington DC to Charlotte, NC to the Dominican Republic, Spain and back again (and also everywhere in between)! She is also one of the few International Instructors that has been invited to teach Bachata, in the very home and birthplace of Bachata. In demand to teach at Salsa and Bachata Congresses all over the world, she and her partner were one of few select couples from all over South, Central and North Americas that were invited to compete in the Americas Bachata Masters competition for an opportunity to represent the USA at the finals in Spain in February of 2013.
A skilled dancer, performer and choreographer, Cassandra brings a rare joy and insatiable passion to the dance floor along with her elegant and graceful style in Salsa and Bachata. As an instructor, Cassandra has a very strong technical emphasis in her teaching, which ensures that her students become extremely well rounded dancers. Her passion for life in general along with her passion for Salsa and Bachata is truly contagious! She continues her own training with regular private instruction from various World Champion Salsa coaches and trains regularly in Santo Domingo with various Bachateros (mentioned above) so that she can bring all of that training back to her students. Not a day goes by that she doesnt have a profound gratitude for what she does for her career.