Who is the best salsa dancer in the world?
That’s a difficult question to answer these days since the world has exploded in salsa talent in recent years. But we polled our readers and put together this list of the top international salsa dancers.
Since salsa is a partner dance, we decided to highlight the world’s best salsa couples. For our list of best individual dancers, check out our articles on Best Male Salsa Dancers and Best Female Salsa Dancers.
Dance of course is a subjective art form, so if we missed including your favorite salsa couple, let us know in the comments!
1) Ricardo Vega & Karen Forcano
Hailing for Santiago, Chile, Karen and Ricardo are two of the best known salsa dancers in the world. They are best known for their cabaret-style salsa which incorporates acrobatic lifts and tricks as well as their incredible energy and showmanship.
The two have won virtually every international salsa competition, including the World Latin Dance Cup and World Salsa Summit, and were finalists in NBC’s World of Dance. Karen and Ricardo more recently have turned the tables and started judging at international salsa competitions as well.
Karen & Ricardo are in-demand performers for salsa congresses around the world, and are almost always the headliners at any event they attend.
2) Jefferson Benjumea & Adrianita Ávila
Jefferson & Adrianita hail from Cali, Colombia, the city that has been dubbed the “World Capital of Salsa”, and the pair are some of the well known dancers from that city. The two have competed and won major salsa competitions such as the World Latin Dance Cup, World Salsa Open, and World Salsa Summit, and have also made appearances on TV shows such as World Of Dance.
Jefferson and Adrianita are exemplars of Colombian-style salsa mixing lightning fast footwork with incredible acrobatic tricks. More recently the pair have started training and competing in Ballroom dance, combining the finesse and technique of Ballroom dance with the pure energy of Colombian salsa to create their own unique style of dance.
3) Junior & Emily Alabi
Junior and Emily are a brother and sister duo based in LA and known throughout the world for their exploisve energy and amazing spins. The two started dancing and competing at a young age, and have competed at the World Salsa Championships and have appeared on NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
Their signature move is the tornado spin, and the two have developed some incredibly difficult variations of the classic salsa move. Emily Alabi is also an actress, and has made appearances in numerous TV shows including Teen Wolf and NCIS.
4) Rafael Barros & Carine Morais
Rafael and Carine professional salsa dancers, competitors, and instructors hailing from Brazil. Like many of the dancers on the list, they are multi-World Champions, holding titles from the World Salsa Open, World Latin Dance Cup, and World Salsa Championships.
The pair are known for being champions in the LA-style salsa division, dancing On1, their high energy partnerwork, for their incredible single-legged spinning technique.
5) Jorge Martinez & Maria Catalán
Jorge and Maria are world salsa champions hailing from Oaxaca, Mexico. They are the directors of several dance teams and are also the organizers of the Oaxaca Salsa Festival. They are known for their intricate partnerwork and energetic footwork.
Jorge & Maria are 3-time world salsa champions, holding titles from the World Latin Dance Cup and Euroson Latino. They are also both winners of the Salsa Na’Ma competition, a 1v1 footwork competition organized by Fernando Sosa of Tropical Gem.
6) John Narvaez & Dahlia Lazcares
Hailing from Mexico and the San Francisco Bay Area, John and Dahlia are two-time World Latin Dance Cup champions in the Salsa On2 division.
John is a veteran salsa dancer with decades of experience as the director of Salsamania Dance Company, and has won numerous World titles with his team. He also won the World Latin Dance Cup three years in a row in the same-gender division along with Andrew Cervantes, and was featured on America’s Got Talent.
Dahlia is a young dancer out of Oaxaca, Mexico who started dancing at a young age and quickly gained international attention for her speed, precision, and dancing technique. Together the pair are a dancing powerhouse winning competitions around the world.
7) David Zepeda & Paulina Posadas
No list of top salsa dancers would be complete without mentioning David & Paulina. Although the two have not competed together in a number of years, during their competing days they were unstoppable, winning the World Latin Dance Cup 4 years in a row in the On2 division, as well as other world titles including the World Salsa Open and World Salsa Summit.
Hailing from Mexico, the pair are known for their unique and original choreography, and intricate turn patterns.
8) Adrian Rodriguez & Anita Santo Rubin
Adrian & Anita are 6X world salsa champions from Barcelona, Spain. They have won top salsa competitions around the world, most notably the World Salsa Open in Puerto Rico which they won a number of years in a row.
The two have a big social media presence on social media, and are sought after performers and instructors around the world. They also offer online classes and are organizers of local salsa dancing events.
9) Oliver Pineda & Luda Kroiter
Oliver and Luda from Australia have won 10 international salsa dancing titles, including the ESPN World Salsa Championships. The couple are a legend in the competitive On2 salsa scene, absolutely dominating the division globally for years. Though the couple are not active competitors anymore, the pair are still some of the most famous dancers in the competitive salsa world.
10) Simone Sanfilippo & Serena Mase
Simone and Serena from Italy are another world-renowned salsa couple with multiple international salsa titles, most recently the World Salsa Summit in the On1 division. The pair are known for their difficult tricks, intricate partnerwork, and energetic footwork.
11) Terry Tauliaut & Cécile Ovide
Terry and Cécile are veteran salsa dancers hailing from Paris, France. They are known throughout the world for their incredibly unique style of salsa with complex and intricate turn patterns and creative leads. Their shows are also known for their unique mix of dance styles including afro, contemporary and hip hop.
More recently, the two have become well known across social media for their social dancing, which showcases incredible musicality and creativity.
12) Panagiotis Aglamisis & Myrto Misyri
Panagiotis and Myrto from Athens, Greece are another pair of dancers that are well known the world over for their amazing social dancing, and the two are known for their incredibly difficult and intricate salsa turn patterns. They are also the directors of the SalsaDoo Dance Academy in Athens.
13) Ernesto Bulnes & Denisse Cambria
Ernesto and Denisse, originally from Miami and based in New York City are some of the top salsa dancers from a city known for good dancers. The two are 2-time champions in the salsa cabaret division at the World Salsa Summit, and have been a part of the top salsa teams including Yamulee Dance Company and The New York Movement.
More recently the couple founded Irôko Dance Company, which won the title in the team division at the 2020 and 2021 World Salsa Summit.
14) Luis Solano & Xiomar Rivas
Luis and Xiomar are another championship winning couple from Cali, Colombia. They have won numerous titles in the salsa cabaret division, including the World Salsa Summit and World Salsa Championships, and are known for their incredibly athletic acrobatics and lightning-fast footwork.
15) Eli Torres & Yen Dorado
The same-gender salsa division has exploded in popularity in recent years, and the genre was pioneered by Eli & Yen from Los Angeles, who won the Mayan Salsa Championships and competed at the World Salsa Championships, paving the way for same gender salsa competition. Unfortunately, Yen Dorado passed away in 2010, but Eli Torres continues to compete and show the world that he is one of the best male follows in salsa.
And that’s our list of the world’s greatest salsa dancers! From Mexico, Brazil, and Chile to the US, Italy, and Greece, we think these are some of the best salsa dancers in the world. Let us know in the comments if you think we missed anyone– if we get enough requests, we’ll update our list!