Sashya Jay

Artistic Director | Choreographer

Sashya Jay is Australia’s most recognised Brazilian Show director and Performing Artist. She is an internationally acclaimed Choreographer, Passista and Samba Professora. Sashya is the Director of Rio Projekt, Samba Internacional and Escola de Samba Internacional. 


Sashya performs at an elite level in Rio carnaval annually and is an official Passista (professional Samba dancer) for three of Rio’s top Samba schools: Tuiuti, Salgueiro and Império Serrano. The only artist in Australia officially endorsed by Carlinhos Salgueiro (Rio’s King of Samba), Sashya teaches 

Samba workshops nationally and internationally at premier events such as the Brasil Samba Congress in Rio, the International Samba Congress and Samba Queen Competition in the USA. 


Throughout her career Sashya has produced and choreographed an impressive array of stage shows, event entertainment and televised performances. Some of Sashya’s many credits include “Best Choreography” awards at the Sydney Mardi Gras; the official Brazilian performances for the Australian Olympic Committee’s Rio 2016 events including the “Welcome Home” ceremonies for the athletes in Sydney and Melbourne; and half time entertainment for major sporting events such as the NRL. 


The creation of Rio Projekt was sparked by Sashya’s ever evolving vision and fierce dedication to artist progression. Inspired by her intensive work in Rio and Brazilian performing arts for well over a decade, Rio Projekt has set an international benchmark.




  • Globo Television (Brasil’s largest national TV network) interview and feature on Samba Internacional.

  • Globo Television interview and feature on Paraiso do Tuiuit for Rio Carnaval 2019 and 2018.

  • Bandierantes TV feature on Salguerio for Rio Carnaval 2019

  • Rio Carnaval Globo Television features on Salgueiro and Imperio Serrano 2019

  • Dancing With The Stars, Brasil filmed at Imperio Serrano in February 2018




  • Camilla With Love “From Rio With Love” 2017 fashion collection campaign.

  • Official Rio 2016 “welcome home” events for the Australian Olympic team.

  • Official “welcome home” celebrations for the Australian Paralympic Team.

  • Channel 7  “Road To Rio” 2016 coverage and events.

  • Australian Olympic team official Rio 2016 uniform unveiling.

  • Channel 7 national announcement of their media rights to the 2016 Olympics.

  • Channel 7 unveiling of the official FIFA World Cup 2014 Match Ball, The Adidas Brazuca.

  • Fox 8 launch of the The Adidas Brazuca.

  • Major print media across Australia for the Rio 2016 Olympics.



Sashya’s forte in Brazilian Samba has evolved through immersing herself in the culture as well as training and performing with the top Samba artists and aficionados in Brasil, the USA and Australia since 2005. Her dance training includes a variety of genres from Afro Caribbean, West African and Cuban to Salsa, Jazz and Bollywood. In addition to Brasil and Australia, she has performed in various countries including Cuba, China and Fiji.


Sashya is also renowned for her extensive background in the music industry. Starting out as a music journalist and presenter, then as a concert promoter and tour manager working with artists such as Coldplay, Will.I.Am, The Roots, Pharrell Williams, John Legend, Kanye West, Beck, De La Soul, Jurassic 5 and U2 to name a few.

ensemble bios

Sky Bailey is a technically trained dancer, choreographer and instructor with a background in commercial dance. Her focus on Brazilian performing arts for almost a decade has seen her become one of the leading Samba dancers in Australia. A multi-skilled artist with logistical prowess, Sky is an invaluable member of Rio Projekt’s creative production team. She is also the co-director of Prana Entertainment and creative director of her own Cabaret ensemble, Cabaret No.5.


Sky is an official Passista of Sao Clemente and Imperio Serrano in Rio and parades in Carnaval at a professional level. She has spent extensive time in Brazil performing and training with the best of the best. Sky has a wealth of experience in Brazilian entertainment in Australia and has performed at major Brazilian events in Sydney including The Australian Olympic Committee’s Rio 2016 events, South Juniors auditorium, Brazilian Carnaval events, The Sydney Mardi Gras, CarnivArgyle, The Brazilian Festival, Darling Harbour Fiesta, Bondi Latin Festival and FIFA World Cup events.


Sky has been an active figure in the Latin dance scene performing and choreographing in major events and competitions such as the Australian Bachata Championships, where her team achieved 2nd place. Sky has also performed for Juliette Verne (choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance Australia) in her company ‘J Foxx Productions’, performing a Russian Cabaret show around Sydney. She performed at the Australian Dance Festival 2009 in Veronica Beattie’s piece ‘What Is Jazz’ and has performed for many other choreographers such as Travers Ross and Tiana Canterbury.


With professional training at the Australian Dance Performance institute (Brisbane) in musical theatre and Urban Dance Centre (Sydney) in performing arts, Sky’s extensive dance conditioning and experience has provided her with a sound technical base and a diverse stylistic background. Her versatility has allowed her to perform, choreograph and teach across a variety of genres including jazz, hip hop, tap, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, street Latin, Brazilian and Afro.

Sky’s forte also lies in digital marketing, brand and social media consultancy. She works with various artists and creative brands to build and promote their profiles across a range of digital platforms.

Sky Bailey

Associate Producer | Passista

Victor Brito was born and raised in the heart of afrocentric Salvador, Bahia. A multi-talented and versatile musician, Victor specialises in a range of percussion instruments playing various genres from Axe, Pagode and Samba to Sertanejo, Pop and Latin. He is also versed in string instruments such as the acoustic guitar and cavaquinho and sings harmonies and melodies with bands.


Growing up near the famous historical city centre, Pelourinho in Salvador and with a family of music lovers, Victor’s natural gift for music was evident from a very young age. At just 17 years old Victor was playing percussion professionally with some of Bahia’s most renowned bands and musicians including Dignow, Super Samba and Rapzolla. He frequently performed at large concerts for audiences of over 50,000 people as well as in Bahia Carnaval atop the famous trio-electricos to crowds of over 1.5 million people.


Since moving to Sydney in 2014, Victor is one of the most sought-after and respected Brazilian percussionists in Australia. He has performed with Brazilian superstars touring Australia including as Banda Jamil and Tatau ex Araketu as well as alongside the leading Brazilian artists in the country such as Banda Terremoto, Telma Calado, Samba Roots and many more. 


Victor regularly performs with Rio Projekt and Brazilian bands in Sydney and interstate and plays percussion alongside electronic music DJs.


A well-rounded individual with music as his first love, Victor studied percussion at the Bahia Federal University. He is also a qualified Engineer with a degree from Area 1 University in Salvador.

Victor Brito

Lead Percussion | Band

Nubia Quele Santos is a dancer, choreographer, actress and philanthropist born in Minas Gerias, Brasil and raised in Sydney, Australia.  She is a sought after Samba Instructor officially accredited by Carlinhos Salgueiro (Rio’s King of Samba), director of Samba Internacional and associate choreographer and performer for Rio Projekt. Nubia is an official Passista for three of Rio’s top Samba school: Imperio Serrano, Tuiuti and Salgueiro and performs in Rio Carnaval annually at an elite level.


Nubia’s experience in Brazilian dance and entertainment is extensive. Based between Sydney and New York City, Nubia is an internationally acclaimed artist. She is the founder and director of Casa Brazilia, a NYC based Brazilian entertainment company. Casa Brazilia was the officially entertainment for Team USA on their Road to Rio and during the 2016 Olympics. Casa Brazilia worked with Olympic partners and the USA Olympic Committee appearing on the Highest rated morning show ‘The Today Show’ multiple times.  Nubia was the assistant choreographer and principal dancer for NBC Universal Rio Olympics launch event held at the prestigious Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Nubia has also performed in major Brazilian shows in Australia for over a decade.


Nubia has choreographed in Australia and the USA. She has choreographed for the successful Off Broadway Show ‘Rio The Musical’ and the Off Broadway show ‘Futurology’. Nubia was the choreographer for Indeed’s first TV Commercial, as well as doing choreography for the prestigious Estee Lauder brand ‘Mac Cosmetics’.


Nubia is in demand for her teaching techniques and has traveled around Australia, USA, the Middle East and Europe to promote and teach Brazilian Samba. She is versatile performer with over 15 years experience in traditional and world dance styles. Her accomplishments include being a dancer of the international hit dance show ’Mystic India - The World Tour' and was also Top 40 on So You Think You Can Dance (Australia). 


Whether on stage or in front of the camera, Nubia’s vibrant and colorful personality always shines through. Her acting credits include film and stage productions, such as the Off Broadway plays ‘OY!’ and ‘Black Latina’, and the movies ‘Nowhere to Run’ and ‘Me, Myself I’. She has had roles on the hit TV show ‘Deadly Women’. She has appeared in various commercials including Kodak, Virgin Blue Airline and Milana Bra. Currently she can be seen in commercials around the world for Indeed, Staples, Carmax and Fidelis Care.


Nubia also has a Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Technology, Sydney and completed an acting conservatory program in New York.  

Nubia Quele Santos

Associate Choreographer | Passista

Felipe Faria is a professional Brazilian musician specialising in Samba and carnaval bateria (percussion). He is the mestre de Bateria for Rio Projekt and co-director of the band Samba Roots.


Born and raised in the world of Samba, Felipe’s love for Brazilian music began when he was a child and his passion for Samba in particular was strong. From a young age he was influenced and inspired by his father who was a ritmista (percussionist) for the Samba school Nene de Vila Matilde in Sao Paulo, Brazil where Felipe is from.


Felipe’s dedication to Samba led him to study and perform as an official ritmista in the bateria (drum section) of the Escolas de Samba (Samba schools). He has invaluable experience performing and parading in the Bateria with various Samba schools in Sao Paulo Carnaval.


Since moving to Australia in 2012, Felipe has been performing as a professional Brazilian musician in Sydney with various bands and Brazilian show groups where he developed his skills and repertoire even further.

Felipe also launched his own band Samba Roots which has become one of the most authentic and sought after Brazilian bands in the industry. 


Felipe’s work with Rio Projekt is a culmination of his extensive experience in Brazilian Samba percussion. He is dedicated to the evolution of the art form and artistic integrity and he is passionate about devloping and showcasing this Rio style Bateria in Australia and internationally.

Felipe Faria

Mestre de Bateria | Band

Chima Olujie is a professional dancer, dance educator, Pilates instructor and model. An accomplished and versatile performing artist, Chima is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and The Ailey School. Known for her long lines, brilliant technique and dynamic performance style, she is a well known face of Brazilian dance in Australia and is proficient in many other genres including classical Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Jazz, Street Latin and West African.


Chima has spent significant time training in Brazil and paraded as an official Passista in Rio Carnaval with Imperio Serrano. She has a wealth of experience in Brazilian shows in Australia and has performed at several benchmark events and on major media networks such as Channel 7 and Fox Sports. She has performed at prestigious local events for the FIFA World Cup, Rio 2016 Olympics, Brazilian Carnaval, the NRL as well as for a host of corporate clients and brands including Camilla with Love, Kia, Optus, Honda and many more.


Chima has performed in numerous theatre productions, live stage shows and commercial work throughout Australia, Brazil and the USA. Some recent credits include: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Sony Music, Timomatic, Manu Crooks, LAOLU Senbanjo, Aryana Sayeed, Rolling Loud Miami, The Empire Strips Back tour and Keune.


Chima is privileged to work closely alongside Iquail Shaheed Johnson and Alvin Rangel. She plays a significant role in preserving the integrity of the Horton technique in Australia and is currently a resident trainer at NAISDA Dance College.


With extensive training in the modern dance technique known as the Lester Horton technique, Chima is privileged to have had many opportunities to refine her skills in the professional division of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre School. Chima possesses a Bachelor of Arts (Dance) from the Victorian College of the Arts, a Certificate of Independent study from the Ailey School, and is STOTT Pilates and Lagree fitness certified, all of which provide her with a vast knowledge of dance artistry and body mechanics.

Chima Olujie


Michelly Moreira is Brazilian dancer from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Surrounded by music, dance and carnaval culture since birth, Michelly is a natural talent with a passion for representing her culture with integrity and authenticity. An invaluable member of the Rio Projekt ensemble, Michelly embodies the Brazilian diva vibe and exudes the spirit of Brazil and love for what she does in all her performances.


Whilst in Sao Paulo, Michelly used to participate in the ensaios for Vai Vai and Nene da Vila Matilde Samba Schools. Her uncles were ritmistas in the bateria (drumming section) and she was always with her family dancing. She took classes in various Brazilian dance styles including Axé and Fitdance as well as participating in local competitions.


Since moving to Australia in 2012, Michelly has been performing as a professional dancer consistently specialising in Brazilian Samba, Funk Fitdance style.  She has performed at a host of significant functions including the official events for the FIFA World Cup 2014 and Rio Olympics 2016 as well as major corporate events, weddings and most of the Brazilian parties and festivals in Sydney. 


Prior to Rio Projekt, Michelly ran her own show group called Balaco Brazil performing authentic Brazilian Funk and Fitdance style and she often teaches these styles for Escola de Samba Internacional.

Michelly Moreira


Born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Erick Florêncio is a highly accomplished Brazilian musician. With percussion as his speciality, Erick’s is diversely talented and his versatility allows him to play a range of instruments with a dynamic flair.


Erick has performed with some of the Brazil’s top Samba bands including Jeito Moleque, Turma do Pagode, Réfla, Nova Morada, Flâmulas, Almir Guineto, Reinaldo, Materia Prima and more. He has travelled and performed in various countries including South Africa, Mozambique, Japan, Brazil and Australia.


Erick is an invaluable member of the Rio Projekt Bateria. He is a core member of the Samba Roots band and has performed with other bands such as Samba Australia, Ganza and Samba Black.

Erick Florêncio


Jeska is a passionate and dedicated Samba dancer and instructor with a powerful and captivating performance style. She is an official Passista of Imperio Serrano and performs at a professional level in Rio Carnaval. Jeska was one of only 24 dancers worldwide selected to be part of the prestigious Brasil Samba Congress World Champions 2019 in Rio. She spent months in Brazil training with the top choreographers, competing and performing with elite level Samba dancers from Brazil. Needless to say Jeska is now one of the world’s most watched Passistas.


A Samba instructor at Escola de Samba Internacional, Jeska has a natural talent for nurturing students and managing teams. Jeska’s passion for Samba has seen her travel to Rio de Janeiro multiple times over the past 4 years to parade in Rio Carnival and train with top Brazilian instructors including Patrick Carvalho, Evelyn Bastos, Carlinhos Salgueiro, Kellyn Rosa, Diego Nasciemento, Egili Oliveira and Sheila Aquino.


Jeska has performed at several major events across Sydney, some of which include the Sydney Latin Festival, The International Bachata Festival, The Darling Harbour Latin Fiesta. Jeska was also part of a Samba team that took out 1st place in NSW for the 2015 Australian Latin Championships, and placed 2nd for Nationals. Jeska has appeared on television show Maximus Academy in 2013 for Fox Sports.


Jeska’s professional life also involves working with disadvantaged youth, supporting individuals and providing emergency relief for those in crisis, and working with children and families to keep children safe. Jeska believes in the benefits that dancing brings to people, including providing an avenue for individuals to express themselves.


Jeskahas a strong commitment and passion in giving back to the community. Her volunteering work includes being a Lifeline crisis telephone counsellor, mentoring and supporting refugee children with St. Vincent de Paul, and working in orphanages in Nepal and India to help underprivileged children. 

Jeska Jane


Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Jennifer Salles (Jhenny) is a multi-skilled vocalist, songwriter and dancer. From pop and rap to Samba, Jhenny’s diverse vocal talents never cease to blow audiences away. The definition of Brazilian diva, Jhenny owns any stage with her commanding presence and raw energy.

Whilst in Rio, Jhenny was part of the rap group called Naif where she wrote and recorded original material including her first single. She was also a dancer for the Beyonce cover group in Rio “Bee Flawless”.  She participated in several music and dance contests and performances from a young age and her natural talent has shone bright ever since.

A dedicated professional artist of many years, Jhenny came to Australia to further her artistic career and share her culture with us. In addition to performing as a vocalist and dancer, Jhenny is also a Brazilian dance instructor at Escola de Samba Internacional. 

Jhenny Salles

Vocalist | Dançarina

Cherie Sandoval is a professional signer and dancer of Chilean descent. In addition to being a dancer and vocalist for Rio Projekt, Cherie is the lead singer of her own band, The Cherrybombers.


Cherie has been performing Brazilian Samba across Sydney for the past 6 years and is known for her musicality and the unmistakeable swing in her style. She has a great passion for the Brazilian music and dance and has spent time in Rio training in Samba and immersing herself in the culture.


Cherie has been performing since the age of 11, singing at various Latin events in Sydney. At just 14 years old she was invited to perform on national television in Chile on the program “Rojo” (the equivalent to Australian or American Idol).


With a powerful and versatile vocal range, Cherie performs regularly as a singer for a diverse range of events across Sydney and interstate. She has performed on the P&O Cruises and most major live venues in town.


Cherie has a Bachelor of Music from Western Sydney University. She is a vocal tutor at Western Sydney High School and also teaches private singing lessons.

Cherie Sandoval

Dançarina | Vocalist

Jonathan Oliveria is a dancer from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Raised in humble upbringings in the interior in Indaiatuba, dance is simply a way of life for this bright young star.


Jonathan’s raw talent and passionate expression is testament to the power of dance to overcome hardship. Having lived through difficult times in Brazil, dance was Jonthan’s saviour and the passion he has for the art form and his determination to rise above struggle simply beams through all his performances.


Whilst in Sao Paulo, Jonathan performed with an Axe group and also a Funk group called MC Favela. Jonathan also developed a deep passion for the art of Samba and the “malandro” male Passista style which he now performs.


As a key member of Rio Projekt, Jonathan brings an invaluable raw street style and a bucketload of umatched vibe and soulful energy to all his work.

Jonathan Oliveria


Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Karla is a professional dancer with 18 years of diverse technical training under her belt. In recent years Karla’s passion for Brazilian dance and culture and has seen her focus significantly on Samba and Funk. She is an instructor at Escola de Samba Internacional and teaches and choreographs her fierce Brazilian Funk style for both the school and Rio Projekt performances. In 2019 Karla spent almost 2 months in Rio training, performing and parading as official Passista (professional Samba dancer) in Rio Carnaval with Unidos de Bangu and Alegria Zona Sul.

Having trained at the nationally renowned, Brent Street Performing Arts, Karla has been exposed to all areas of the Entertainment Industry. She has worked with artists such as Charli XCX, Dannii Minogue and Redfoo, under the direction of numerous choreographers such as The Squared Division, Cameron Mitchell, Matt Lee and Jason Coleman to name a few. She has performed on numerous Film and Television Projects such as X-Factor, NRL Footy Show, AACTA Awards and was a dance extra in the Feature Film ‘Gods of Egypt’. 

Internationally, Karla has travelled the globe all thanks to her commitment to dance. Having recently returned home from a 9 month cruise contract onboard the Royal Princess, Karla had the incredible opportunity to work with Broadway’s elites. She was selected to be the original cast member of Princess Cruises new musical ‘The Secret Silk’ produced by the iconic Stephen Schwartz, working very closely alongside Director John Tartaglia and Choreographer Shannon Lewis. She brought her Brazilian training with her and was also selected as a soloist in Liz Imperio’s show onboard, ‘Colours of the World’ as the Brazilian Samba Queen. She has also had contracts across Asia as a Cast Dancer/ Associate Choreographer at Studio City’s ‘House of Magic’ in Macau and a Back Up Dancer for Briden-Starr’s China Tour. 

Karla Mura


Tana is a professional Samba dancer with an effervescent performance style that reflects her pure joy and love for the art form. Her passion for Samba and consistent desire for artistic growth inspired her to spend two months in Brazil training and performing. An official Passista for Unidos de Bangu and Alegria 
Zona Sul, Tana paraded at a professional level in Rio Carnaval 2019.

Tana has 9 year of experience as a Samba dancer performing in Brazilian and Latin Shows. She has performed at a range of public and private events in Sydney, some of which include The International Bachata Festival, The Darling Harbour Latin Fiesta and Sydney Latin Festival.

When Tana first encountered Samba she instantly feel in love with the genre and the heartbeat drums. Throughout her life, Tana’s joy for dancing has led her to immerse herself into a variety of dance styles by taking classes in Jazz/Ballet, Tap, Dancehall, Afrobeats, Reggaeton, Salsa, Bachata, burlesque and African dance. She also has had the opportunity to teach Burlesque at Hen’s Parties in a number of different locations.

In her life outside Samba, Tana is a primary school teacher. She is dedicated to supporting young students achieve their goals academically as well help them improve their physical fitness and co-ordination. Tana takes great pleasure in teaching students the fundamentals of Brazilian Samba and African dance in order to help students develop their knowledge of different cultures.  

Tana Stojanov


Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Cristiano Lopes was born and raised in the Vila Isabel community. He has been part of the famous Vila Isabel Samba school he was just 6 years old.  With Samba culture and the spirit of Rio coursing through his veins, Cristiano is a percussionist with an innate talent for the art form.


At the age of 17, Cristiano moved to the Netherlands to become a professional soccer player. His soccer career saw him play professionally for many years and travel internationally with the sport to countries such as Germany, Thailand and Indonesia.


After a long professional career in soccer, Cristiano moved to Australia in 2016. Playing percussion in the Rio Projekt Bateria has reignited his love for Samba and his Rio roots. 

Cristiano Lopes


Fernanda Rockert is a professional dancer who was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro. She grew up in the culture of Samba, frequenting the Viradouro Samba School with her family and participating in the school ensaios (street rehearsals for carnaval) throughout her life before moving overseas in 2011.


Whilst in Rio, Fernanda performed as a dancer on various Brazilian television soap operas and movies. She is classically trained and accredited by the Rio de Janeiro Dance Union as a professional tap dancer and also studied at the School of the Bolshoi Theatre in Brazil. She participated in multiple classical Ballet repertoires and national competitions for musical theatre and Ballet in Rio.


Before moving to Sydney in 2015, Fernanda lived in New Zealand for 4 years where she performed as a professional dancer and model. Now based in Sydney, she has been performing at various events such as The Sydney Latin Festival, Parramasala, the Day With Keune runway hair show and the Sydney Mardi Gras with Sydney Dance Company dancers.


In addition to being a dedicated dancer Fernanda is software engineer by day. She is an animal lover and passionate about all things related to environmental awareness.

Fernanda Rockert


Hailing from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Leandro is passionate for the swing and art of Bateria percussion and magic of Carnaval.


He has been involved in Carnaval since he was a child, growing up in a family who were founders of the Escola de Samba Perola Negra and grandmother who was the embassador of Carnaval in Sao Paulo. His heart ais equally divided between the Samba school that his parents founded and the well known Vai Vai in Sao Paulo.


Now living in Australia, Leandro continues his passion for playing Brazilian Bateria and Samba for the soul and as a percussionist for Rio Projekt and also as a DJ.

Leandro Nogueira


Nandara Nerys Vieira is a child of dance, born and raised in Sao Paulo Brazil of Afro Brazilian and Indigenous heritage. She is a classically trained dancer and mesmerising performing artist with the soul and unmistakeable spark of her culture running through her blood and her performances.


She began dancing at the age of 5 studying Ballet and also Belly dance for 8 years as well as Jazz, Contemporary and Lyrical. For 3 consecutive years she trained with the Cuban National Ballet in their intensive Cuban Ballet courses. She performed as a professional dancer in Brazil for over 6 years and also as an actress in theatrical plays.


In addition to professional performances in Brazil, Nandara worked with dance as therapy for healing and mental health. She is the creator of a project called BASS which is a program developed to provide assistance and therapy for mental and physical health through the art of dance for people of all ages.


Nandara is also passionate about sports including swimming and handball. She played handball for the Paulista Federation for 5 years, was champion for 3 years and represented the team as captain. She also worked with children’s swimming for 6 years.


Nandara moved to Australia to realise her dream of working and living as a full time artist. She is a qualified dance instructor, dynamic professional performing artist and an asset to the Rio Projekt ensemble.

Nandara Nerys


Ivson Santos Silva is a professional and passionate percussionist from Sao Paulo, Brazil.


His story with professional music began at the age of 14 when he studied and participated in workshops at the TIM Music Company in the outskirts of Sao Paulo. He went on to study erudite percussion for 4 years at the Ibirapuera Auditorium in Sao Paulo and his music career was well underway.


Ivson performed regularly as a professional percussionist playing Samba and Pagode in Sao Paulo, performing at music festivals in locations such as Campos do Jordâo and also recorded with the artist Elba Ramalho.


Now based in Sydney and performing in the Rio Projekt bateria as well as playing in live Samba bands, Ivson considers it an honour and immense pleasure to share Brazilian culture and music with Australia.

Ivson Santos


Gustavo was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Growing up around Samba and surrounded by musicians, it was impossible for him not to be drawn to the art form.  Gustavo brings the passion for his culture playing percussion as a member the Rio Projekt Bateria.


A qualified IT professional with an immense passion for Samba and music, Gustavo chooses to live a balanced life of intellectuality, discipline and a whole lot of music.

Gustavo Perfran


Yurena Polanen is performing artist, dancer, actor and athlete born in The Netherlands to Surinamese and Dutch Caribbean parents. Growing up in Barbados, she focused much of her time on practicing sports and played tennis and karate. Nevertheless, Yurena always had a love for performing and she took part in various pantomimes, first as a dancer of the ensemble and later as a principal actor.


At 16 years of age Yurena moved back to the Netherlands, where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Physiotherapy. Still having a keen interest in sports, she began playing rugby and later became a part of the National Development Team on their road to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Yurena moved to Australia shortly after and originally planned to continue playing Rugby. However, it did not take long before her inner passion for the performing arts took over and she decided it was time to once again follow her heart and focus on the creative industry.


Since 2017 Yurena has worked diligently to establish herself as a dancer and actor. Initially focusing on the styles closest to her roots, such as Afro, Dancehall and Latin, Yurena was intrinsically drawn to Samba, feeling a natural connection to the essence and Afro centric roots of Brazilian culture. With an open mind, a willingness to learn and a natural flow, she took on Brazilian dance and has never looked back.


With natural talent and a strong commitment to growth as a dancer and performing artist, Yurena is a valuable addition to the Rio Projekt ensemble. Her positive energy, athleticism and passion shine through on stage.

Yurena Polanen


Tiago was born and raised in a small town called Brazopolis, south of Minas Gerais in Brazil. His grandfather was a band master and a major influence on Tiago’s entire family. Needless to say that music runs through Tiago’s blood and he has been in love with music since childhood.


Tiao began playing in his community Escola de Samba at just 10 years old and the rest is history. Along with this brother and a few friends, he set up a band called Samba de Rock, and performed in the city’s Carnaval and various events for 10 years.


Tiago then spent 9 years in São Paulo where he studied, graduated and worked in Information Technology. He continued playing music in Sao Paulo at events, bars and parties all over the city.


Since moving to Sydney in 2016, Tiago’s passion for music is as strong as ever. For Tiago, being a part of the Rio Projekt ensemble feels like home and it brings him great joy to create and perform with artists who are in love with the music and culture that he grew up with. Tiago is a dedicated, passionate and valuable member of the Rio Projekt Bateria.

Tiago Amaral


Alexandre Santos is a Brazilian musician originally from Sao Paulo now based in Sydney. He is co-director of the band, Samba Roots. The band collaborates with Rio Projekt on stage productions and specialised shows.


Samba Roots is a popular Brazilian band performing traditional and authentic Samba music. Founded in 2014 by Alexandre, Felipe Faria and Vinicious Leao, the three friends created the band to share their passion for Samba and the love for their culture with the Brazilian community in Australia and beyond.


Since its inception, Samba Roots has been performing both in Sydney and interstate. The band has performed in many of Sydney’s landmark live venues including Oxford Art Factory, The Basement, New Market Hotel, Jam Gallery, El Topo, Coogee Bay Hotel, The Grand Swiss Hotel, Coogee Pavilion and The Juniors.


Alexandre is a dedicated advocate for his culture and is passionate about playing guitar and performing Brazilian music. In addition to his life as an artist, Alexandre has a background in professional soccer and as an educator.

Alexandre Santos


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With thanks to our designers:

Camilla With Love

Atelier Mina de Oro  


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