Our Instructors


_BTF2356 (1)Meet Luciana Brussi, founder of the Pittsburgh Samba Group and AIM PGH Studio Partner: Luciana Brussi was born in Brazil.  She began to study classical ballet at the age of 7 and at 13 she moved on to other dance styles, such as Modern and Jazz.  At the age of 17 she joined the dance professional group in São Paulo where she began to teach children’s dance lessons. At the age of 19,  she began her international career in Europe where she lived for a  year, performing in Brazilian shows in various countries.

In 1998, she arrived in Osaka, Japan.  In the year 2000, she became a choreographer in the cities of Yokohama and Tokyo,  working with various Japanese and international artists and taking part in TV shows and commercials, as well as other important events such as the Asakusa  -Tokyo Samba Carnival until 2010.

Luciana currently lives in Pittsburgh. She performs with her group “Pittsburgh Samba Group”, and teaches samba and other Brazilian rhythms for kids  and adults.

Pittsburgh Samba Group: Luciana Brussi’s “Pittsburgh Samba Group” has been performing frequently throughout the Pittsburgh region since 2012. They perform often at various shows, festivals and private parties. The group performs choreographies but also enjoys dancing freestyle with Timbeleza (Pittsburgh’s high energy Batucada band). They perform all forms of Brazilian dance:  from Samba no pé in feathered headdresses to the more folkloric Carimbo style, Forró and more.  They invite you to feel the samba beat and enjoy dancing along with them!

Janim-3.jpgMeet Janim, AIM PGH Partner:

JANIM, Jen Gallagher, (the Steel City Bellydancer) is a professional performer, certified HipCurve instructor, and Director of the Pittsburgh Bellydance Academy

Janim has dedicated herself to the study of Middle Eastern Dance, its traditions, nuances and deeper meaning and expression through performance, instruction, and continuing education. Her love of the dance can be seen in her dynamic performances and within her thoughtful instruction of her students in both workshops and classes where she presents the fundamentals of bellydance as well as the nuances of zilling and veil work. Join her to discover the love of the dance!

As an experienced, personable, and respected performer and instructor, “Janim infuses classical styles with individual grace and charm, expressing the essential feminine in dance,”- Angele Ellis, Pittsburgh PA. Her understanding of dance movement and technique and her training in Egyptian, Lebanese, and Turkish Oriental styles as well as American Cabaret lends spirit, spontaneity, and heart to her dancing, captivating audiences where ever she performs. To round out her dance education and to infuse a special twist, she currently studies ballet, hip hop, and samba.

Jen is the director and founder of Troupe Faraatha which can be found performing around the city! Jen also organizes events in town. In 2016, join her for the 6th annual Belly-Off competition as part of the Pittsburgh Bellydance Festival! When not performing, organizing, or instructing, Jen is a landscape architect and graphic designer.

FB_IMG_1461108082831.jpgMeet Cynthia Jackson

Cynthia Jackson is a second generation dancer and performer, growing up the daughter of Betty Love Gibbs. Dance was a natural part of life as her mother was a professional dancer. Cynthia started formal training with her mother at the YWCA Downtown when she created the dance department in 1971. Cynthia is trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, Baton, International Latin Ballroom Dance and Brazilian Samba, but has a particular passion for Tap dance. Cynthia twirled baton for the Blue Flames Baton & Drum Corps of Monroeville and the Golden Triangle Baton & Drum Corps of Swissvale in the summers through high school. She also twirled baton for Gateway High School Marching Band and was a member of the University of Pittsburgh’s Golden Girls in the Varsity Marching Band.

Cynthia remained a student and teacher at the YWCA until 1985 when the family owned Love’s Academy of Dance opened. Love’s Academy of Dance trained dancers from the age of four and up in ballet, tap, jazz and pointe. Cynthia was the competition team director, winning many awards for dance and choreography.

Cynthia is one of the original members of WAMO’s Hot Tracks Dance Team and was a featured “jitterbugger” in the movie An American Dream: The Making of the Jackson 5.  Performing credits also include Xpressions Dance Company, Art & Style Dance Studio, Kuntu Repertory Theater (Sophisticated Ladies, Bubblin’ Brown Sugar and Jelly’s Last Jam), Greer Reed (Cotton Club), Joy School of Dance, and the Father Ryan Arts Center. Cynthia is currently a performing member of the Pittsburgh Samba Group under the direction of Luciana Brussi Constantino.