Albena de Assis grew up in Luanda, Angola where, as a child, she started studying ballet and modern dance at the National School of Dance. She later moved to Portugal to study Computer Engineering but continued her dance training in ballet with Fernando Lima. After moving to Toronto she started salsa dancing in 2001, studied with some of the best salsa and Afro-Cuban instructors in Toronto and taught as senior instructor for United Salseros for two years. Some of her most influential teachers are Sarita Leyva (Afro-Cuban, cabaret), Ana Machado (Afro-Cuban), Teddy Olaso (north american style salsa), Yacelis Sanchez (Afro-Cuban, Cuban folklore), Félix Pupy Insua (Afro-Cuban), Mayara Santos and Carlinhos do Salgueiro (samba), Fernando Lima and Stelio Calagias (ballet).
In 2005, she founded AfroLatino Dance Company, a company dedicated to the performance and instruction of the dances of Afro and Latin origin, from her native Angola (kizomba, semba, afrohouse), to Cuba *salsa, afro–cuban, rumba), Brazil (samba), and more.
Albena has over 18 years of experience teaching (Cuban) Salsa, Samba, Afro-Cuban, Cuban Rumba, Kizomba, Semba, and much more. She has performed and taught in many stages and events in Toronto, GTA, but also abroad, such as Danse Encore Festival in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Detroit. She feels however as a teacher you are always a student, and you always learn something new each time you teach a class.