About Me

Hello fellow dancers, I’m Robert. I’ve been dancing Salsa for about 25 years and teaching Salsa for about 4 years. It’s been a long, interesting journey…let me tell you a little bit about it!

Let’s step into the time machine and travel back to the previous century…yep…CENTURY! Welcome in 1997…in Germany!

I joined my first Salsa class in Hannover in Germany in 1997. I learned absolutely nothing. This instructor was from Chile and could not get into the German mindset. He sort of said: “What’s the big deal?? Just dance!” Yeah, right! To Germans…white people! That was the first time I realized how important a good teacher is.

After moving to Munich I kept taking Salsa classes from another instructor, Alexio Castro. I started making some progress, but his particular style wasn’t very compatible with how other people danced. I also learned Cuban style Salsa from him, and Casino de Rueda, the Cuban style Salsa dance where you dance in a circle with other couples…a lot of fun!

I went to Cuba few times, met my future wife and ex-wife…but that’s another story.

But it wasn’t until I moved to the Bay Area in California, US in 2000 that I got more serious about Salsa dancing. Having just arrived in the Bay Area I decided to check out the local dance studios. I quickly realized that they were dancing a style that was very different from what I had learned…they were dancing LA-style Salsa On 1 (sometime also called Salsa On the Line), still one of the most popular Salsa styles in the world today. I had seen it from other couples in Munich and admired the elegance and beauty of this style of dancing. I went to lots of drop-in classes (free classes before Socials) and signed up to some other classes. I was making some progress, but at Socials I was still very shy and timid and didn’t have much confidence in my dancing. You can tell by now that my start into the Salsa world was not a smooth one.

To overcome my struggles, I decided to join Salsa performance groups. Not only one, but three at the same time, most prominently the Rising Stars of Pretty Boys and Girls! Talking about getting busy…and serious! That turned out to be a game changer! My goal was to be within the top 10% of dancers on any dance floor in the Bay Area. The performance groups were clearly working for me! In the groups, you drill advanced moves over and over again, until you can do them in your sleep.

With the Rising Stars of Pretty Boys and Girls I performed at the San Francisco and the Los Angeles Salsa congresses. These congresses were visited by thousands of people! Courses during the day, performing and watching other performances in the evening and then social dancing until the early morning! We even danced in the airport at the check-in counter! With the Rising Stars I also participated in various performances and competitions all across the Bay Area.

I had reached my goal of being in the top 10% percent of dancers on any dance floor in the Bay Area, but I had also gotten very picky. I noticed that I could only dance well with other performers…that’s when I decided to quit the performance groups and only continue social dancing.

When I moved to Medellin in Colombia I quit Salsa dancing altogether, because the local style was too simple for me and the ladies didn’t follow at all. It’s kinda ironic…finally I lived in a Latin American country…and I quit Salsa dancing! The truth is that apart from Cuba, Puerto Rico and Cali in Colombia Salsa has been developed to what it is today mostly in developed countries. At that time, most innovation in Salsa dancing came from couples in California and New York .

It wasn’t until I moved to Da Nang in Vietnam that I rediscovered Salsa dancing again. A friend of mine had mentioned a Latin party on the Pedestrian Bridge…I decided to stroll by…one of the decisions that changed my life! Even though I had not been dancing for 10 years, it came right back! Move by move came back to me, as if I had never stopped!

At this time there was only one Social in Da Nang, at the Cohibar. After being a regular at this social for a while I got a bit frustrated with the level of dancing in Da Nang. With Kimi, the owner of Lava Studio and Blue Iris, a central figure in the dancing scene in Da Nang, we decided that I would start offering classes. At this time I had no idea how to teach Salsa. Working closely with Kimi over the years I developed my own style of dancing. My teaching today is centered around The Salsa Matrix, a concept and methodology that makes it easy for leaders to remember move and explore new moves while on the dance floor.

Eventually I started giving my own group classes and privates outside the Lava Studio context. I organized and ran classes in the La Salsa Dance studio as well as in Hoi An.

I also travel to other cities in Vietnam and other countries in South East Asia to be inspired by dancers in different locations and to return to Da Nang with new ideas for teaching and dancing and with new energy!

After 25 years of dancing Salsa, my dancing is more and more about interpreting and playing with the music. A dancer for me is almost part of the band and should dance as such! In my classes, I pay a lot of attention to the music, timing and how my students dance to and with the music.