Art director Sergio Sampaoli
Sergio Sampaoli, a second-generation dancer, took his first dance steps at the age of three in the School founded by his father, Glauco.
He began studying classical dance and then transitioned to modern dance, followed by hip hop, Afro dance, tap dance, and eventually to partner dances. Throughout his career, Sergio Sampaoli has been mentored by some of the best national and international instructors. This extensive and diverse training has enabled him to cultivate a unique dance style that stands out from the rest.
Today, Sergio is recognized as a leading figure both nationally and internationally in the realm of Latin Caribbean dances: a multi-time Italian and world champion, a lead instructor at major global dance congresses, and a prime-time TV star on both Rai and Mediaset shows. Having already trained world champions and Italian champions, he has earned a reputation in Europe as the “teacher of teachers”.
Sergio began his professional career with his sister Sonia in the early 90s, first graduating in Italy and then at the ISA (Higher Institute of Art) in Havana, Cuba.
By winning many professional Italian championships from their very first editions, he set an unbeaten record for the most wins in professional Caribbean dance competitions. Their victories at the Championships and their extensive training with master Papito Jala Jala, along with other world-renowned instructors, earned them an invitation to represent Italy at the World Congress in Puerto Rico, from its historic first edition in 1997.
In the following years, Sergio, again partnering with Sonia, won the first and second editions of Mediaset TV’s show “Campioni di Ballo”, broadcast respectively on Rete 4 and Canale 5.
Sergio, inspired by the overwhelming wave of Salsa, ventured into production. In 1998, in Turin, he organized Europe’s first-ever World Salsa Congress, making it the second in the world, following the inaugural event in Puerto Rico.
The sibling duo quickly gained international recognition for their distinctive style, earning them the honor of representing Europe on the world tour sponsored by Bacardi. They joined dance legends such as Eddie Torres, Palladium Mambo Legends, Tito Ortos, Jayson Molina, Jorge Santana, Vivian Ajala, Luis, Francisco and Johnny Vazquez, Vanessa Millan, Felipe Polanco, and Frankie Martinez.
Invited to perform and teach at the world’s most prestigious and significant congresses, from New York to Mexico, Los Angeles to the Netherlands, Miami to Germany, Orlando and Denver to Spain, Detroit to Panama, they were chosen as international spokespersons for the World Congress for over a decade. This association also led to Turin being recognized as the Italian capital of Salsa.
Sergio and Sonia also joined tours with musicians such as El Gran Combo, Sonora Poncena, Andy Montanez, Josè Alberto El Canario, Roberto Roena, Tommy Olivencia, Tito Nieves, and even the legendary Tito Puente in Mexico.
Years of international successes and acknowledgments led to Sergio Sampaoli receiving an official commendation for special merits from the Puerto Rican government for spreading Salsa worldwide.
Meanwhile, accolades kept coming in, both as a pair and as a group, from Salsa, to Latin Show, to Rueda, as well as the Salsa career “Andy Awards” in Puerto Rico.
Sergio was enlisted to produce instructional DVDs, nationally published and available in newsstands, paired with magazines such as Gente, Tv Star, and Novella 2000. He participated as a choreographic instructor, specialized in Caribbean dances, in Rai Uno’s TV show “Ballando con le stelle”, partnered with Francesca Reggiani, in the edition paired with the Italian Lottery. This edition featured major stars like Maradona, Cipollini, and Masciarelli, and was won by the stunning Cristina Chiabotto.
In the following years, he was invited to the show as a judge, technical commentator, and later, choreographer. In 2011, Sergio participated as an instructor alongside Barbara De Rossi in Pippo Baudo’s show “150”.
For several years, Sergio has been the sole judge representing Europe at the “World Salsa Open”, the World Salsa Championship held every July in Puerto Rico, which is, undoubtedly, the most important salsa competition in the world.
The Turin maestro coordinates the Italy Salsa Open nationally, which is the official national selection for the world championships. Recently, Sergio was honored as the “Founding Master” of the Puerto Rico World Salsa Congress, an event that has shaped the history of Salsa and is now in its seventeenth edition.
To easily find the school, from the monument on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, looking towards Porta Nuova, the first street on the right is Via Via Andrea Gastaldi; we are located near the corner with Corso Vittorio Emanuele.
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