St. Louis’ finest stylist, Carmen R. Guynn has been known for the past 23 years for her unique, distinctive styling. A St. Louis native, she is considered one of the most solid and articulated instructors the city has to offer. Her dance background includes not only Afro-Latin styles but also tap, jazz, modern, and hip-hop. She was the winner of Miss Salsa St. Louis in 2002 and has performed in several cultural awareness festivals and fundraisers in St. Louis, Chicago, New York, Miami, Cincinnati, Las Angeles, Memphis, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. Carmen has also been a certified ZIN ZUMBA® fitness instructor since March 2010 and enjoys implementing her dance skills and technique into the fitness training program ZUMBA offers. She is also certified in Zumba Toning and Zumba Kids.
Carmen has performed and taught in several Salsa Congresses, including the Northwest Salsa Congress, Chicago International Salsa Congress, Memphis Salsa Festival, Cincinnati Salsa Festival, New York Salsa Congress, New Jersey Salsa Congress, St. Louis International Salsa/Bachata Congress--which she founded--and many others. She was the choreographer of "Las Damas Con Ritmo" (performed at the Texas Salsa Congress in 2013), "Salsa Sabor" (performed at Fair St. Louis in 2013), and "Conexion Divina" (first performed at the Chicago International Salsa Congress in 2012).
As the Founder, Owner, and Artistic Director of Almas Del Ritmo Dance Company LLC, in St. Louis, Carmen specializes in training movement and body isolations, footwork technique, partnering, ladies styling, leading, and following. She also started the first St. Louis Touch Franchise for both co-ed and ladies styling teams from the world-renown Island Touch Dance Academy. Carmen coached these teams to perform for the St. Louis’ Thanksgiving Day Parade, Fair St. Louis, Festival of Nations, Dancing in the Streets, local corporate companies, and many salsa and bachata Congresses across the country. Her team "Conexion Divina" performed on Season 1, Episode 2 of OWN's Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s in 2011.
Twenty years ago, Carmen had the desire to bring the first Salsa Congress to St. Louis. With hard work, dedication, and love of Afro-Latin culture, music, and dance, her dream came to fruition in October 2010, with her as the Executive Producer of the St. Louis International Salsa/Bachata Congress. In its fourth year, the production landed itself on the hit TV show MTV’s MADE (2013). With major events such as this nationally and internationally, Carmen is the first African-American woman to be the founder, owner, and promoter of these major productions. The Congress celebrated 10 years of Latin dance production in St. Louis on October 23-25, 2019.
In June of 2013, Carmen choreographed the Latin dance scenes in the epic play SOY YO! (I AM ME!), an Afro-Latina suite which confronted the silent struggle of mixed identity in the Midwest. The play was well received and was performed by the Hazelwood School District in January 2014.
After 14 years in the field of engineering, Carmen walked away and began the work of full-time advocacy against human trafficking. As the leader of Coalition Against Trafficking and Exploitation (CATE), she works with community members, service providers, and the Missouri Attorney General to build resources, create best practices, and implement laws to fight this crime. Her goal is to always be a voice to the voiceless.
In 2020, during the pandemic, Carmen created the online virtual Resilience Dance Festival to highlight the lack of African-American female instructor representation in the larger Latin dance community. The purpose of the event is to allow dancers in the Latin dance world to see talented Black female instructors and to hopefully spur more representation of Black women hired for major Latin dance conventions, productions, and events that represent Afro-Latin culture.
Carmen believes in using her platform as an artist to bring awareness to pressing issues that are overlooked or ignored, such as human trafficking, sexual violence, and racial injustice. She is committed, through her dance company and events, to keep them at the forefront and to educate those in the dance community about these issues.
Carmen is a Christian and not afraid to share the good news of Christ to anyone who will listen. Family means more to her than anything, and when she is not teaching, dancing, or producing events, she is with those she loves. Carmen is a motivational speaker and a life and business coach. She is also a member of the Tapestry Network, a Christian Women Business organization. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Webster University, a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Fontbonne University, and a certificate in Evidence-Based Coaching (EBC) from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!