Laura Canellias -
Also known as the "First Lady of Salsa" is one of the foremost salsa instructors on the west coast. Originally from Texas , Laura started dancing jazz, ballet & tap at an early age and continued on into musical theater where she developed her skills as an actress & stage performer. She later focused her energies on various social dances which encompassed everything from ballroom to swing, Latin & country western. After moving to Los Angeles 28 years ago, Laura has made a name for herself in the world of salsa, affectionately referred to by some of her students & friends as "LA's Salsa Queen," "The First Lady of Salsa," or "L.A.'s Salsa Diva" she has been teaching as well as choreographing for television & stage while also appearing as a featured dancer with dance partner, Albert Torres, in films such as "The Mambo Kings," "Out To Sea" & "Dance With Me." One of the high points in her career was choreographing & performing "Oye Como Va" & "Ran Kan Kan" with the late, great Tito Puente in 1998 at the 4th Annual Achievement in Arts Award Show sponsored by The Whitney Houston Foundation. Another exciting night was performing in front of 50,000 people at the 2004 Montreal Jazz Festival with The Spanish Harlem Orchestra from NY. She was also the 2nd dance instructor, after her friend, Eddie Torres (NY) to be honored with the Andy Vasquez Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the salsa community, in San Juan , Puerto Rico at the 2000 Bacardi World Salsa Congress. She was recognized again for her contributions to this industry at the 1999 & 2003 West Coast Salsa Congress in Los Angeles & honored once again at the 10th Annual World Salsa Congress in Puerto Rico in July 2006. She produced & created Cardio Salsa™, an aerobic workout video/dvd using the basic steps & turns in Salsa, Cha-Cha & Merengue, which has been featured on the cable fitness program, Power Living By Jake, on the Warner Brothers hit sitcom, The Gilmore Girls as well as Smart Solutions on the Home & Garden Network. Even though her dance training covers a broad spectrum of dance, her first love has always been Latin music & dance which led her to produce 7 CDs for Rhino Records, the first three charting on Billboard's Tropical Music Charts: Salsa Fresca: Dance Hits of the 90's, Mambo Mania: The Kings & Queens of Mambo and Mondo Mambo: The Best of Perez Prado. In addition to these, she co-compiled four other CDs for Rhino Records: Let's Dance Ballroom Favorites (2 volumes), The Best of Tito Puente and More of The Kings & Queens of Mambo.