MARCHANT & DAVINA BIRCH are directors of Alchemy Dance Company and Alchemy
Dance Academy, the UK’s largest Salsa On2/Mambo school. Both come from trained dance
backgrounds, each with more than 30 years of experience in the dance world. The are
known for their smooth jazzy style and excellent teaching methods.
MARCHANT was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. His formal dance training in
competitive Ballroom started at the age of 7 and continued up to professional level. He
won hundreds of trophies in various competitions all over South Africa. He was also heavily
involved in Cape Town’s street dance scene, and with his brother’s dance team won many
competitions. In 1999, Marchant won the National Cape Jazz Championship in South Africa,
competing against over 500 couples (Cape Jazz is a partner dance similar to salsa). It was
the prize money from this competition that bought his ticket to the UK in 2000 where he
discovered salsa. Marchant was the 1st representative of South Africa in the international
Growing up in Africa undoubtedly contributed to Marchant’s intricate sense of rhythm, from
the raw sound of the carnival drum, to the sophistication of the Cape Town jazz musicians.
In his years in salsa he has taken his studies in salsa, and blended it with ballroom
technique, boogie dancing, jazz and afro movement, developing a smooth, elegant and
rhythmical style of salsa. He has a reputation for being one of the world’s best leads, is
renowned for bringing ‘smooth’ and ‘flow’ to UK salsa, and has taught many of the current
salsa teachers in the UK.
Accolades given to Marchant during his time in Salsa include Best British Newcomer, Best
UK Dance Act, and a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the development of
Salsa in the UK.
DAVINA is one of the leading ladies of the UK salsa scene, described as having a smooth,
sophisticated and sexy style. She has a reputation for the highest standard of teaching,
excellent following techniques for ladies, and how to style within the natural flow of partner
work with smooth rhythmical body movement and flowing arms.
Davina holds ISTD teaching qualifications in Modern Theatre Dance and Tap. She trained in
Modern, Jazz, Tap and Ballet from the age of 3, taking Modern and Tap to advanced status.
Further qualifications include a BA Honours degree in Drama & Theatre Studies, and various
fitness teaching certificates.
Since 1996 Davina has taught at many dance schools and colleges around London and was
also a freelance fitness instructor. Davina was Head of Dance at a community youth theatre
and taught the dance in secondary education. She has entered many students for dance
examinations, and choreographed for numerous showcases, theatre productions, and
Davina was first introduced to salsa in the late 90s in the iconic London salsa club La Finca.
On a trip to Cuba in 2000 she took lessons in Son, Cha Cha and Cuban Mambo. In 2003
she discovered cross-body salsa and attended classes with Marchant who soon spotted her
potential and undertook her training. It was from this that Alchemy Dance Company was
formed, Davina’s jazz dance experience being part of the core technique training for the