St. Louis’ finest stylist, Carmen R. Guynn has been known for the past twenty-two years for her unique, distinctive styling. A St. Louis native herself, 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 of dance 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, and New Jersey. 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.
She 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 Artistic Director and owner of Almas Del Ritmo Dance Company LLC, in St. Louis, Carmen specializes in training 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). The Congress celebrated 10 years of Latin dance production in October 2019.
In June of 2013, Carmen choreographed the salsa 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 remounted 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.
Carmen is a teaching artist for Springboard to Learning St. Louis and a trained Wolf Trap Artist who teaches arts integration to the St. Louis Public School District teachers and students.
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 from Fontbonne University, and a certificate in Evidence-Based Coaching (EBC) from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!