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Top 10 Bay Area Salsa Instructors

Posted September 2, 2011 by

The results of the 1st ever Salsa By The Bay poll are in! We asked our readers who their favorite Bay Area salsa instructors were (out of our list of 54 instructors), and over 400 votes later, we have an answer!

As a quick disclaimer, the results of this poll are not scientific in any way. The results do not indicate who the best instructors are, just the ones who were able to get the most people to vote for them. The Bay Area is fortunate to have some of the best salsa instructors in the world, and all of the instructors on our list are fantastic teachers.

With that being said, here are the results of our poll:

1) Ava Apple and 3) Rodolfo Guzman

Ava Apple and Rodolfo Guzman Caricature

Surging to the top of the charts was Ava Apple, director of The Latin Symbolics dance company, and Salsa By The Bay’s Top Salsa Instructor. Not far behind was her partner and co-director, Rodolfo Guzman.

2) Wayne Melton

Wayne Melton Caricature

The number two prize goes to Wayne Melton, ex-champion skater and one of the oldest active salsa competitors in the Bay Area, winner of the 2010 US Salsa Open Championships.

4) Pantea Mazjoub

Pantea Mazjoub Caricature

Number 4 on our list is Pantea Mazjoub, longtime salsa instructor at Albertos Night Club and the Cheryl Burke Dance Studio.

5) Gabriel Romero

Gabriel Romero and Victoria Ruskovoloshina Caricature

As one of the most experienced salsa instructors in the world, it’s no surprise to see Gabriel Romero of Mambo Romero make our list of top salsa instructors (pictured here with his partner Victoria Ruskovoloshina).

6) John Narvaez

John Narvaez and Liz Rojas Caricature

In the number 6 spot we have John Narvaez, the director of the Salsamania dance company and 2-time Top Instructor at the US Salsa Open Championships, pictured here with his partner and co-director, Liz Rojas.

7) Tianne Frias and 10) Ricardo Tellez

Ricardo Tellez and Tianne Frias

Coming in at #7 is Tianne Frias, the co-director of Ricasalsa (2010 World Latin Cup Champions), along with her partner and co-director Ricardo Tellez, who was voted #10.

8) Luis Aguilar

Luis Aguilar Caricature

At number 8 is Luis Aguilar, the director of the Couture Dance Alliance and 2-time On2 Salsa World Champion.

9) Ricardo Sanchez

Ricardo Sanchez Caricature

Number 9 on our list is Ricardo Sanchez, the director of PB&G Dance Productions, 2005 World Salsa Champion, and the organizer of the SF Salsa Congress and US Salsa Open.

10) Isidro Corona

Isidro Corona and Ariel Lehaitre Caricature

Tying for 10th place with Ricardo Tellez is Isidro Corona, US Salsa Open champion and the co-director of Montuno Dance Company (pictured here with his partner Ariel Lehaitre).

11) JC Labio

JC Labio and Tellina Rezzoffi Caricature

And one more as a bonus! JC Labio, the director of Afinkao, was voted #11 on our list, pictured here with his dance partner & wife, Tellina Rezzoffi.

And that wraps up our list! Thanks to everyone who participated and voted in our poll! Feel free to leave a comment below to let us know what you think, and Follow Us On Facebook to find out about some more cool stuff we have planned for the site!

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Sep 3, 2011 at 4:46 pm


ava apple
Sep 6, 2011 at 11:13 am


Sep 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Louis — your picture is hella funny!

Sep 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Haha, knew Luis would have something to say in the comments before I even got down here. LOL.


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