Eleni Antonatos - Born and raised in Greece, before coming to New York as a young adult. Eleni is a born artist enjoying anything that sparks her creativity including dance, music, design, photography, cooking, and drawing. As a teenager she studied Greek Folk dance, Belly Dancing and Jazz Dance informally. Eleni graduated business school in NYC, and went on to manage a NYC restaurant, before coming to Mende's. In September of 1999 she began dancing and training at Mende's and has been a full time teacher since late 2001. As well as teaching full time at Mende's she teaches morning classes in day care centers and senior citizen centers in various parts of Queens. Although she enjoys teaching all of her students, she particularly enjoys teaching the Saturday Children's Class because of their enthusiasm for learning and the fun that she has with them. Her accomplishments include performances at the Farmingdale Jewish Center (2003, 2005), Ballroom Dance Teacher's Society (2002), Local 804 Federal Credit Union (2005) and The Haitian Church Charity, in Jamaica Queens (2005). She has also been to many competitions and exhibitions and is humbled by the fact that she has received 2nd and 3rd place in The Yankee Classic in Boston MA, 13 1st places in The Grand National in Florida, and another 1st place in New Jersey. She hopes that she can get her students to experience the same feeling of fulfillment, joy, and excitement that she got from dancing when she first came to Mende's.
Kane - Born and raised in Singapore, and came to the U.S. in 1981. After arriving in the U.S. he worked as a chef, and eventually became the sole proprietor of a take out restaurant. He has always loved music, and was inspired to take dance lessons after a friend's wedding in 1993 when he was dragged onto the dance floor to dance a Cha Cha and didn't know how to do it. The next day, he opened the phone directory and found Mende's and has been a student, teacher, and family member ever since. Kane is one of the many students to find a lasting love at Mende's, not only a love for dancing, but a true love as well - his wife, Tessie. A few years after they were married, Kane sold his high stress take out restaurant and took an office job so that he would have extra time for pursuing his passion- dancing! Kane currently assists Eleni with the Saturday Children's Class. His accomplishments include winning a trophy in a Merengue contest at Altus Jamaica Estate Lion Club (1996), Performances at Touch Dancing in New Jersey (2000), and at the Haitian Charity Church, in Jamaica Queens. [ Read Kane's own words about the studio ]
Aida - After studying fashion art and design, she worked in the industry as a colorist and assistant designer. She currently runs a financial institution. Whatever spare time she has is spent dancing: either taking a group class, teaching a lesson, practicing at a studio party or at a dance club. She has been a student and family member at Mende's for over 10 years and has been a part time dance instructor for 4 years. Her enthusiasm for dancing, teaching, learning, and performing are endless, and her vitality is contagious. [ Read Aida's own words about the studio ]