Laura Canellias, LA's Salsa Diva -
LA's premiere salsa instructor & has been teaching salsa in Los Angeles for the past 35 years. Laura has performed & choreographed for TV, film & stage & continues to teach, perform & judge at local & international events. Her skills have taken her throughout the United States, Canada & Puerto Rico as well as Europe, Japan & Asia. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Santa Monica College for 22 years & has also taught at CSULA & Loyola Marymount University.
She has received numerous awards & accolades most especially, The Annibal Vasquez Award in 2000 & is a
2 time recipient / inductee into the Salsa Hall Of Fame in 2019 & 2022.
She currently teaches private lessons & classes at By Your Side Dance Studio in Culver City & Marina Del Rey.
21st Annual Los Angeles Salsa Festival - May 2019
Yes, in 2019 this was the 2nd year that they were inducting people into the prestigious Salsa Hall Of Fame and I was the first woman ever to be inducted! What a great honor, although bittersweet due to the fact that this was the Salsa Festival started by my dear friend & partner, Albert Torres, back in 1998. We unfortunately lost him in 2017 due to ongoing health issues but somehow, I knew he was there in spirit. He, along with master musician & friend, Johnny Polanco, were both inducted posthumously this year by the event's new organizer, Edwin Rivera. Also inducted into the Salsa Hall of Fame this year were my two friends & well respected teachers, Eddie Torres from NY & Rogelio Moreno from LA.
Pretty much the same as 2020! God will it ever end? Still teaching online with SMC & slowly beginning to teach classes & private lessons at By Your Side Dance Studio. Of course, all throughout the pandemic I was offering my Cardio Salsa classes via Zoom at first but now, in the studio. Most events still canceled. No Salsa Fest this year - again! But hopefully, next year.
Well, this year has turned out to be an improvement from the last two years although we've not fully recovered yet. At least we were able to enjoy the return of our Salsa Festival, under new management with 3 pioneers of the LA Style as the new promoters: Francisco Vazquez, Janette Valenzuela & Rogelio Moreno. It's now called The World Salsa Fest and it still took place over the Memorial Day weekend at the Marriott Hotel in Burbank. It was such a treat to enjoy dancing with dancers from our community once again. Francisco Vasquez, surprised me that Saturday night by honoring me once again & inducting me into their Salsa Hall of Fame! Wow! What a surprise that was!
Years in Review:
As for special events, I was pleased to be invited to teach and/or judge once again at:
- The 3rd Annual Womens Dance Fest, Los Angeles, CA
- The 15th Annual High Desert Dance Classic at
Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, CA
- 21st Annual LA Salsa Fest, Los Angeles, CA where I was the first woman to be inducted into the Salsa Hall Of Fame!
- The Granada presents: LA's Top Social Dancer competition
- I choreographed a salsa piece for both the spring & fall semesters Global Motion Dance concerts for Santa Monica College.
- I also had the pleasure of performing with my students at the By Your Side Dance Rock & Roll Showcase!
2020 - Last year was off to a great start for me until the pandemic hit in mid March & everyone's world was turned upside down! Everything came to a screeching halt! As you all know we were in total lockdown with jobs ending, schools closing, dance studios closing, food shortages & worst of all, losing people we loved & cared about from this terrible virus.
It was a year of misinformation in many forms and also an election year, all of which had our country so divided with an us against them attitude that I hope is never repeated again in my lifetime! I was never so happy to see the end of 2020! THE WORST YEAR EVER!!!
Out of the two studios where I was teaching, Downtown Dance had to close it's doors last August. Fortunately, By Your Side Dance Studio managed to weather the storm.
As for my classes at Santa Monica College, they closed the campus last March and all of our courses went online. Even though our dance department's enrollment dropped considerably, I managed to hold on to my classes throughout last year.
This year has been off to a running start & passing by so quickly!
I've been busier than ever teaching, choreographing, judging & performing at By Your Side Dance Studio and Santa Monica College. I've taught my salsa course at SMC in the spring & fall of this year as well as choreographing a piece for my students for their spring world dance concert & now busy doing it again for our fall concert. The studio has been busy expanding as well. By Your Side Dance Studio now has 2 locations keeping it's original studio in Culver City but now adding an 8,000 sq ft studio in Marina del Rey.
Our grand opening was in January & since then we've had 2 student showcases, several competitions & of course monthly parties & the year is not over yet!
1998 - 4th Annual Achievement in Arts show.
Laura & dancers backstage w/ Whitney Houston & Tito Puente.
In closing, I'd like to thank all of you for your continued support. I love teaching! I feel that it's my life's purpose as well as performing, judging & promoting a healthy life style through dance.
Wishing you all the best year ever with a life of perfect health, wealth, love, success & of course....
lots of dance!
Peace & Blessings,