karen mills
bio
bio
Karen has been partner dancing since 1991, was a former Champion competitor in
International Latin Ballroom from 1995-2001 and graduated top of her class (High Honors)
from the Teacher Certification program at Ballroom Dance Teacher’s Academy.  She teaches
American Rhythm, Smooth, Nightclub Dances, International Latin and International Standard
at Preciado's Ballroom Dance studio in Santa Clarita, for the Ballroom Dance Academy in
Hollywood and privates in Santa Clarita and Van Nuys.  Karen is a very versatile dancer and
has trained and performed in many other partner and solo dances.  She has also successfully
taught 400+ beginner adults how to partner dance.

Karen started dancing as an adult, her first partner dance was salsa, travelling throughout the
US, Europe, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Cuba to explore the various dance and musical
styles of salsa.  In 1994, Karen travelled to Cuba and studied Afro-Cuban and Cuban popular
dances at Cuba’s National School of Dance (Escola National de Arte) and returned in 2001 to
train with Cuba’s top Folkloric dance group – Ban-Ra-Ra.

In 1994, a severe foot injury prevented Karen from walking for 6 months and she was left with
a limp.  Determined to dance again, she took private coaching in International Latin Ballroom.
After 6 months, the limp was gone and she was strong enough to compete and won many
Ballroom competitions from 1995-2001 (see below).  Karen trained with top coaches (National
and World champions)  in the Bay Area, Southern California, New York and England.

Karen’s diverse musical and dance interests has led her to study many other dances such as
Brazilian samba, swing, hustle, hip hop, African, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, Belly-dance,
Flamenco, Argentine Tango, Ballet and Jazz in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cuba and
Brazil.  In 2001, Karen traveled to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival and trained in Rio-style Samba.  
On her return, she performed with a San Francisco-based samba dance troupe “Hot Pink
Feathers”.  She returned to Brazil in 2003 for the Bahia Carnival and trained in Afro-Brazilian
dance.

Karen’s early creative expression was in Chemistry and Computer science.  Karen created 15
new Chemical compounds in Australia and was published in 2 scientific publications.  While in
the Computing industry (Australia, Asia-Pacific, US and Europe), she was always at the
forefront of technology, finding new applications for early innovations, prototyping and
building teams and organizations to develop, market, sell and support the new technologies.  
Karen is also a talented artist, developing her own spontaneous style of watercolors on rice-
paper, holding exhibitions in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Laguna Beach.  She
has been featured on HGTV and was selected as “Artist of the year” by the City of Buena
Vista.  Today, her art is owned by 90+ collectors and she has introduced 300+ people to art.

For over 20+ years, Karen has been coaching, teaching and introducing new concepts to
many people - from her days in the computing industry introducing innovative new
technologies to hundreds of large corporations and thousands of people, to her life as an
artist and coach, transforming lives through creativity in art and dance - helping everyone
express and find their inner joy, transforming businesses to prosperity and helping
individuals to their happiness and success.

Ballroom Dance Training
  • International Latin (Rumba, ChaCha, Samba, Paso Doble, Jive) with
    ­       Nikolai Voronovich - 2010 Blackpool Latin semi-finalist
    -       Steve Vasco, Campbell - #4 in the world American Rhythm
    ­        Stephan Krauel, Redwood City - judge, former US Latin finalist and former 5x
             World 10 dance representative
  • International Standard (Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Quickstep) with Oleg Suvorov, judge,
    former World Cup finalist and US National Grand Finalist.
  • Teacher Certification in American Rhythm, American Smooth and Nightclub dances
    (rumba, cha-cha, bolero, east coast swing, samba, mambo, merengue, west coast
    swing, waltz, foxtrot, tango, viennese waltz, nightclub two-step, hustle, lindy hop,
    argentine tango, salsa) from Ballroom Dance Academy with Michael Kuka (former US
    Finalist) and Natalia Lind (Russian Academy of Theatre Arts and Moscow Ballet),
    Hollywood.

Specialist Coaches
  • Victor Fung currently #2 in the world International Standard
  • Victor Veyrasset 10 x former US Standard Champion
  • Victor Kanevsky – 2 x former North American Latin Champion, Brooklyn
  • Nadia Eftedal – judge and former 1993 British & UK Open Latin Champion
  • Wendy Johnson – judge and former New Zealand Latin Champion
  • Ron Montez – judge and former 6 x US Latin Champion
  • Denise Jourdaine – judge, former US Latin Finalist and former 5 x World 10 dance
    representative
  • Richard Porter – former World Latin Finalist, Amateur Latin Champion
  • Julie Fryer – former World Amateur Latin Champion
  • Johan Eftedal – former British & UK Open Latin Champion
  • Jukka Happalainen – former 3 x Blackpool Latin Champion, London
  • Goran and Nicola Nordin – former British & UK Closed Latin Champions, London
  • June McMurdo – International Latin Syllabus Specialist, London

Other Dance Training
  • Ballet – Sallie Whalen and Candy Sherwin at Performing Arts Center (Van Nuys)
  • Jazz – Joseph Malone at Performing Arts Center (Van Nuys) and Red Savage at New
    World Dance (Canyon Country)
  • Brazilian Samba - samba schools Mangueira and Portela (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil),
    Queenia at Djoniba Dance Center (New York), Jackie Barnes (Oakland), Katia Vaz
    (Oakland) and Mary Dollar (San Francisco).
  • Afro-Cuban and popular Cuban dances - Escola National de Arte (Havana, Cuba) and
    Ban-Ra-Ra (Havana, Cuba)
  • Afro-Brazilian – Carlos Aceituno at Citicenter Dance Theatre (Oakland) and Mestre King
    (Salvador, Brazil)
  • Hip Hop – Terry Bixler and Chris Jones at New World Dance (Canyon Country) and
    Ronnie Reddick at Third Wave Dance House (San Francisco)

Ballroom Competitions (International Latin) 1995 - 2001
Autumn Dance Classic                 1st (Pro-Am)
Galaxy                                               1st (Pro-Am), Finalist (Amateur)
International Grand Ball            1st (Pro-Am)
California Open                             2nd and 1st  (Pro-Am)
California Winter Festival          1st (Pro-Am)

Dance Performances
2001 – 2002     20+ Samba shows with “Hot Pink Feathers” including San Francisco Music
                       Awards, San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts, private and corporate
                       events, festivals and clubs.
1994                    “Inna City Slam”  with “Third Wave Dancers”, San Francisco
1992-1994        Salsa performances in clubs and TV performances in local dance
                       shows in San Francisco


Contact Karen at 661-450 8842 or karen@ricepaperart.com   
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