We specialize in teaching social dances (salsa, bachata, cha-cha, swing and Lindy hop) along with some other specialty dances, to adults. We also offer ballroom dances in private lesson settings as requested.
My background is very diverse- I am a trained ballerina (28 years total in classical) as well as a jazz dancer. I lived, trained and competed in acrobatic swing, boogie woogie and Lindy hop, and later on in Latin social dances (salsa, bachata). I had the opportunity to train with some of the world's best International Ballroom trainers, and had brought some amazing teachers from around the world to train our students here as well. I find that the diversity of my training and experience, paired with the technical background of ballet has helped me teach just about any type of dance to anyone - as I strive to find how your mind works to help you to the "feel" of the dance you are learning.
I love people - and there is nothing better than giving them skills that improve their quality of life, bring a new social circle into their lives, etc. Seeing shy students open up and become the life of the party is my privilege.
I have been taking private salsa lessons with Dora for about 2 months. Prior to this, I had zero background with salsa, and had never tried it because I was a little self conscious about going out and taking a group class without any experience. After two months with Dora, I feel confident that I could go in a group or social dance setting and look like I know what I am doing with the basics of salsa. Again, this is with absolutely zero experience prior to my first lesson with her, so I think this says a lot about her ability to teach and build confidence . Dora is a great choice for a teacher if you are someone like me and maybe a little unsure of whether you could really learn this well enough to go out in a social setting. Dora has made the lessons fun, but more importantly she has taken a genuine interest in making sure I am actually learning what I need to know to be able to go out in a social setting and be confident with this.
I thought that Dora is a great instructor in teaching fundamentals of Salsa—frame and timing. She emphasizes these two skills until you get them, because these skills are very important. Don’t take them lightly. Why are they important? Because I have had great experiences as follows: (1) I can connect with the music and the person I dance with. Particularly, as a lead, I am responsible for the whole dancing experiences including the follow’s as well. Off-the-timing moves are annoying to the follow, although she does not show her dissatisfaction in her face to be polite (I know this from my experiences of actually following as an experiment). Keeping frame allows the dancers to feel 0 G-force during dancing when the velocities of forces from the lead and follow get to equivalent in the opposite direction. It is like excitement you would get in an amusement park. You can never get to this if you use “Spaghetti” arms. Salsa seems to look “sexy” to the eyes of watchers of it, but for the dancers, Salsa actually seems like the lead constantly transmitting force to the follow, who in turns uses it to move herself graciously. None of these excitement can be achieved without good frame and timing. (2) A great dancer sometimes comes back to me for more dances. I do not have so many varieties of moves in Salsa. Actually, I am bored with myself because it seems I am repeating the same set of moves. However, this does not seem to matter to the follows. All I do is sticking to the accuracy of timing and keeping frame all the time. Sometimes, I happen to dance with a great dancer once at a social dancing venue. Then, after some songs later, she in turn comes back to me for another dance. Experience like this is always a rewarding moment for sticking to timing and frame. (3) “No” becomes no longer personal. Social anxiety diminished. When I started dancing socially, it was a big deal of getting “no” from a lady for whatever reasons she might have had. I took it very personally, and it was embarrassing to get no in public. But, it was helpful believing to have a set of dancing frame and skills, with which I had great experiences with other dancers before. Now, when I get a “no”, simply ask other persons for the dance. Actually, it now feels like I am gently offering a dance rather than asking for it. Even if it is a good product, someone may take it; someone may not take it. Also, I found Dora kindly answers my questions about dancing. As I have more experiences in dancing, I come to struggle performing some moves that I thought I have had. It is probably because I become more aware of every single move as I experience dancing. When I ask a question to her personally or via email, she takes time to respond to me. She has given a few small tips, but they improve the move graciously. I would strongly recommend Dora if you want to learn fundamentals of Salsa and change your belief in a social setting.
I always start at the beginning!! Basics are the foundation for all the more advanced stuff.
Timing, basic steps, frame and connection are the most important elements of partner dancing.
I have decades of training by some of the world's greatest instructors and master trainers. Classical ballet, jazz, International Latin Ballroom, Swing, Salsa and Mambo are just a few areas I have trained in extensively.
I have also been a successful competitor throughout my career, and I can offer my choreography services for my students, whether they wish to compete, or prepare a dance performance for any occasion (weddings, parties, Quinceaneras, etc.)
We have regular group classes for all levels in Salsa offered in a 4-week session progressive format. Cost for the 4-week session is $65 per person.
Private lessons for 1 or 2 people (Same price):
$80.00 for ONE 60-minute private lesson
$300 for FOUR 60-minute private lessons
$720.00 for TEN 60-minute private lessons
$1,400.00 for TWENTY 60-minute private lessons
I was asked by a master trainer to teach a workshop for his Latin Ballroom competitive couples on Spins and Turns technique. He also asked me to teach progressive classes in dance fundamentals (technique) to his incoming dancers.
While I mostly work with adults now, I have worked extensively with kids of all ages. The youngest 2.5 years, through teens.
I have prepared numerous choreographies for Quinceaneras and formal Presentation Balls for groups, as well as "Surprise dances".
I often get requests from young people who are preparing for their wedding dance, and sometimes their families want to take lessons alongside with them, to have a lovely set of dances at the wedding. I even got to do a fun "Surprise dance" with their friends sometimes. :)
Many people decide to give themselves the gift of dance after their kids are grown, and they often choose to join group classes and go out social dancing. Our studio offers group and private lessons for people of all ages and backgrounds, and we also offer social dance events in our area so that you can practice, mingle and enjoy your new skills.
We are currently doing a Salsa night at The Loaded Buffalo in Mundelein every Thursday evening. There is a Beginner-friendly salsa lesson from 7 pm to 8 pm, followed by open dancing to DJ music from 8 until 11:30 pm.
The music is ALL Latin: Salsa, Merengue, Bachata and Cha-cha, plus an occasional Cumbia.
We encourage EVERYONE to come out to enjoy the music, the company and the dancing!
Make sure that the teacher actually has solid skills in the area that you are looking to learn - you can ask about their achievements, and if possible, check them out in action (at a social event, preferably)