Jonia McClenney has performed in every major Samba group in Los Angeles area, had the pleasure to be in important stages across the U.S such as in the Hollywood Bowl, Fox Theater in Detroit and Ceasar ‘d Palace in Las Vegas. This native from Recife, state of Pernambuco, Brazil, has performed in U.S with superstars like the international legend Aretha Franklin in her concerts as well as Brazilian music stars Sergio Mendes, Seu Jorge and Bebel Gilberto among others.
Besides Samba, she has trained in Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary and Hip Hop, in Brazil as well in Los Angeles (at the EDGE, Millennium and Athletic Garage Dance Center). In the past 4 years, Jonia has been studying also the Brazilian ballroom dance “Samba de Gafieira” which she is performing for the past 2 years. “I fell in love with this Brazilian partnering style” said Jonia.
Her love for Dance and Performing Arts was transferred to her love for Samba and other Brazilian Dances/Art Form, what led her to start her own dance company. In February of 2008 she had the debut of Raiz Brazil Dance Company in the Sambala Carnival Ball in Long Beach. Raiz Brazil under Jonia’s direction has done shows all over the U.S, and last summer (2016) the dance company performing for Sérgio Mendes at the Hollywood Bowl with a team of 24 dancers (Jonia directed, choreographed and danced). Raiz Brazil has also performed in Mexico, China, Thailand and Russia.
Jonia also has won important titles and samba competitions in California such as “Queen of the Drums” (“Rainha da Bateria”) of Sambala Samba School of Long Beach, “Samba Queen” of San Diego Brazil Carnival and “Santa Barbara Carnival Queen”. In 2015 Jonia was honored for being chosen to be the Hollywood Carnival Queen 2015 by the Los Angeles Culture Festival Organization. In October 2016, Jonia won the national competition in U.S for the “International Samba Queen” to be held in Rio de Janeiro in February 2017, and where she will be competing against Samba Dancers from all over the world.
“I want to thanks my sponsors and supporters; Athletic Garage Dance Center, BrazilCarnivalShop, Kravings Fusion Brazilian Steakhouse, Rio Grill Brazilian Steakhouse Clovis, The Conga Room Nightclub, the Hollywood Carnival, Brazilian Nites, Latinos Media Group, Mother Plucker Feather Company, Gigi’s Dance Closet, Brazilian Dance Company, Riobela Productions, No SandTan tanning salon, and Soul Brasil, said Jonia. We wish her good luck in Rio. Keep doing the great job and the professionalism you have!