• Valeria Ruggieri
    Event Director

    Valeria Ruggieri has been involved with the Brazilian community in Los Angeles since 1999. Moving up in the ranks of SambaLa Samba School in Long Beach, Valeria quickly became an integral part of Brazilian events in the Los Angeles area. Valeria worked with David and Doris de Hilster many years with the Brazilian Street Carnaval of Long Beach as well as the Brazilian Day Los Angeles in 2012 and 2013. Valeria also started her own yearly event "International Summer Beauty" which is a beauty pageant as well as a generous donator to help children around the world. Valeria is also a master samba dance instructor as well as Godmother of the Drum Corp of SambaLa Samba School where she also served as Vice-President and President for many years.

    In 2015, Valeria was chosen director of the event along with her events company "Rio Bela Productions" where she is working closely with local business owners, the Brazilian Consulate, and city leaders in the Los Angeles area.

    Valeria is also the business owner of New Leaf Staffing in Long Beach California and is married to Michael Ruggieri, and has two children Kayla and Vinne.

Executive Directors

  • David de Hilster
    Executive Director

    David de Hilster founded SambaLa Samba School in 1994 and the Brazilian Street Carnaval in 1996 and has done community work for over 20 years.

    In 1997, he started the World Samba Home Pages where he helped organized the samba schools from around the world.

    Via the World Samba Home Pages in 1998, David founded the project later entitled "Unidos do Mundo" (United World Samba School) where he found Alexandra Pirotelli, webmaster for the League of Samba Schools in Rio de Janeiro (LIESA) Brazil. Together with Alexandra, David brought samba schools from 19 countries around the world to join up with Brazilians to parade in the Sambadrome during the day of champions to form the first samba school comprised by gringo samba dancers and drummers. There, David de Hilster became the first non-Portuguese native speaker to sing in the sambadrome along with Neguinho da Bejia Flor. The project also had the support of the Brazilian government who applauded the project with a standing ovation in 1999. Other support came from Beija-Flor Samba School, the League of Samba Schools of Rio de Janeiro, Composer and musician Martinha da Vila who wrote the samba for the parade, Bete Carvalho who admired David's work, and Carlinhos do Jesus who participated with Unidos do Mundo during the parade.

    Through the years, David has forged lasting friendships with people such as Valeria Valenca and Hans Donner, the president's family of Beija-Flor Samba School, Alex de Oliveria (Carnavalesco for Vila Isabel), Thatiana Pagung Samba Queen of Mocidade, and Roberto who manufactures Contemporanea drums in Sao Paulo - all who have been involved with the Brazilian Street Carnaval in Long Beach, California.

    In 2009, David, his wife Doris and daughter were honored during New York City's Brazilian Day by Regina Caze for their work with SambaLa Samba School and the Brazilian Street Carnaval. There David got so see the workings of the Brazilian Day in New York up close an personal hoping to someday grow the Los Angeles version in the growing phenomena known as "Brazilian Day" started in New York by Joao de Matos.

    In 2010 on New Year's day, SambaLa Samba School became the first samba school to parade in the United States' granddaddy of all parades, the Rose Parade.

    David de Hilster makes his "real" living as a computer scientist, artist and filmmaker. His documentary Einstein Wrong was released in early 2014. David is also involved with scientists world-wide who challenge mainstream science. Currently, David resides in Boca Raton Florida with his wife in family where he continues as President of SambaLa Samba School working with the Brazilian Beat festival in Boca Raton.

  • Doris de Hilster
    Carnavalesca / Artistic Director
    Dris de Hilster, a Brazilian and native of Rio de Janeiro, is a natural-born clothes and costume designer. Dris clothes and costumes have been featured and seen all over the world including the 2010 Rose Parade, the Latin Grammys, Dancing with the Stars (2 times), in the Rio Sambadrome in Brazil in the year 2000, a national Honda Commercial, and in front of celebrities including all the Fondas at Bridget Fondas wedding, and Carl Lewis 45 birthday party to name a few.
    Doris has been a director and has been the right-hand person with many of her husband's projects including the Brazilian Street Carnaval, Unidos do Mundo, and the 2010 Rose Parade where her costumes where an integral part of of the float design.
    Doris is owner of Samba Collection and currently resides in Boca Raton Florida where she has her studio also maintaining a studio in Long Beach California.

SambaLa, David, and Doris honored in 2009 at the Brazilian Day in New York by Marcelo D2