Meet the Salsa Machine Team

I am very lucky: I have the best Instructor Team in the entire Universe! Not many people can say that!...well nobody else actually when you think about it.

Teaching people to dance is not just about being knowledgeable and experienced and wise. It's not just about being a good dancer either. It's not just about the stack of qualifications and certificates. And it's also not just about being a creative and passionate dancer.

To be part of the Salsa Machine Team, on top of all of the above, you have to be a good Educator.

You have to understand your student's journey.

Be able to resonate with their experience, and guide them through learning something soul-filling and life changing.

In essence to be on the Salsa Machine Team you have to nothing short of amazing!

When you meet the Team in person, you will see that I have understated all their qualities...they are quite simply the life-blood of the club.

This family of friends will be your guides, confidants and mentors in your journey to accomplished and creative dancer.

That's it really...now below you can find out a little more about the superheroes of Salsa Machine :-)

Ben

Red Leader

I love Salsa Machine! It's my Baby!
The reason I run Salsa Machine is that I absolutely love teaching and I absolutely love dancing. All my boxes ticked :-)
The kind of people in my team reflects that. A genuine concern for quality, with an accent on fun, and at the same time empassioned and friendly.

Salsa Machine for me is a part of life. I run it because I feel I can make a difference. I endeavor to bring quality teaching to the table, and also a fun a friendly social environment.

My other careers include Electronics Design after completing a Degree in Electronic Engineering, Life Coach, Photographer, Property Developer, and I have drawn from all of these to create what I think is the best teaching system for Salsa, with the help of a creative Instructor Team.
Nothing beats dancing as a way to be creative, express yourself and with all your best mates! It really is a soul-filling experience, and although I have been fortunate enough to experience varied vocations and much travel, nothing comes close to running Salsa Machine.

My original Vision for Salsa Machine has naturally undergone an evolution from its inception, and finding the right people and the best methods has been a journey, and we still update our methods and structure. Always improving and keeping up to date. I regard Salsa Machine and its Team as organic and intelligent, but our joined-up Mission is always to provide the best teaching and most social environment. It's no accident that the atmosphere on a Thursday night is electric!

I hope that gives you an idea of who I am and what I am about :-)
I'll hand you over to the rest of the Team, read on and find out who they are....

Maria

Thinks she's the Boss but she isn't.

Once asked why I loved dancing so much I recall saying how you could completely lose yourself in the dance, and at the same time find yourself. I have always believed that there is a dance inside everyone, and all we need to do is find the key to open the door and set our inner dancer free.  When Ben and I started Salsa Machine we had a shared vision that we could offer people the opportunity to discover the joy of dancing and perhaps provide them with a key to a new and exciting adventure.

One of the great pleasures at Salsa Machine is seeing people progress through the levels, from absolute beginner to proficient dancer. To be able to share that journey with them is both a joy and a privilege.  Dancing alongside individuals to help them find their groove and feel that Latin beat makes me smile.

My day job as an assistant head teacher certainly keeps me busy.  I am a teacher through and through and  I bring with me some of the patience and practicalities from the day job into Thursdays (my loud voice and the fact I seldom need the microphone to make myself heard not the least of these features).  I am usually the one clock watching, remembering to get cake for birthdays or reminding Ben he has an important announcement to be made.  But, all in all, we all work together to ensure people have a great evening with excellent instruction, and with a shared vision we help people to become better dancers than they ever thought possible.

Over the years Salsa Machine has become our family.  We have made lifelong friends and friends that we can share the highs and the lows, the fun and the laughter.  There is always a warm welcome for new members on a Thursday evening and we are always happy to see distant friends when they return.

Elery

Instructor [Level 5]

Hi there, my name is Elery and I have been teaching at Salsa Machine for many many years now. If this is your first foray into the world of Salsa you’ve come to a great place to be eased through those early and crucial first steps.  For me, learning Salsa is all about taking the time to understand and ‘bed in’ those core principles right from the very beginning.

My interest in dance began during my college years where I spotted an amazing contemporary dancer. I subsequently auditioned and joined a dance school and quickly found myself performing duets and group pieces in front of an audience. I also auditioned at the now famous Pineapple Dance studios, London, whilst trying to decide between a career in dance or a more secure one in the Telecoms industry.

Well, I chose to have a go at climbing the Corporate ladder and to continue studying the Korean Martial Art - Taekwondo I’d enjoyed since my early teens. Having earned Black Belts, umpire and refereeing qualifications I taught and did demonstrations around the country promoting the sport and opening new clubs. However, following a knee injury putting an end to this sporting interest, I was intrigued when asked to join the teaching line up at Salsa Machine. I readily accepted the challenge to see if I could repeat my success and help others make their own positive contribution but in the Salsa scene. Now, and some 10 years later, I still get a real buzz every time I manage to deliver that one nugget of information or that one well crafted explanation that throws a bright light onto an individual’s understanding. I really enjoy hearing/seeing the: “Ah yeah!…I get it now” moment. It is a great feeling and I’m always looking out for more of the same. So come on over, say hello, and help me help you to give yourself a reason to have and share a smile through Salsa.

You’ll find my classes are quite busy and focussed with the odd ‘out of the box’ delivery approach designed to help you get the most out of your practice time. You’ll also see that I am always up for a chuckle with you simply because, like yourselves, I will have had a full day at work and be in need of a bit of fun and banta. By the end of each week you’ll have had fun in a content rich and imaginative session, got ‘one to one’ attention to help you through those sticky bits in the lesson and acquired something new under your belt.  Your confidence (an amazing by product of dancing Salsa) will be boosted sufficiently to take it to the dance floor. OK!…enough talk - rumour has it that the next track to play is a awesome one - Join me on the dance floor?

Chunky

Instructor [Level 6]

Hi my name is Chunky, well that's what they call me, I'm quite a shy person really who hides it well!

 

My passion for Salsa began many years ago when a friend took me to a Salsa club she had been attending for 6 months and never stopped talking about it. I was mesmerized by the atmosphere, the music and how everyone looked like professional dancers... I was hooked.

 

Salsa has been revolutionary in my life, I have been privileged to have learnt from some of the great Salsa legends, who have inspired me along my Salsa journey.

I have competed, performed, taught and DJ'd throughout the UK and further afield learning both Cuban and Cross Body which I’m told gives my dance style a unique look and feel.

 

Salsa Machine ensures a warm welcome for all, with a warm fuzzy atmosphere I originally arrived as a guest teacher and the Salsa Machine family has made me feel so welcome, I’ve stayed !!! From beginners to seasoned dancers you’ll feel at home here.

 

I like to keep classes lively and fun, centering around breaking down even the most difficult moves, techniques and components into manageable 'Chunks',  linking moves seamlessly to make them look and feel very fluid.

 

I am renowned for my cheeky (Caribbean!) charm, bad jokes and blocking the exit so you have to stay and dance at least a few tracks to practice what you have learnt!

 

For those of you who know me when I’m not being chief taster in the Eat2Fingers kitchen or training for the next Armageddon® event I am quite often seen on the dance floor dancing not only leading but also following creating great amusement and entertainment for some! Mastering and developing the basics both for the lead and follower makes dancing much more relaxed and infinitely more enjoyable for both parties.

 

You will find Salsa Machine classes to suit all levels and abilities to allow you to learn at your own pace to make an evening a fun relaxed and welcoming and if I haven’t asked you to dance please ask me, I know its daunting asking a teacher but don’t forget I’m really just a person.

Michelle

Instructor [Level 3, 5, 6]

I started dancing Salsa in 2010, as a means to an end, just a way to complete the physical requirements for an award scheme I was participating in at the time. The pep talk I gave myself preceding the lesson went something like “If you really don’t like it, it’s only for six months and then you never have to set foot on the floor again”. Well nearly five years later, and even I am occasionally surprised to find that not only am I still completely in love with dancing salsa, but that the same has happened with Bachata and Kizomba as well! I have been almost completely absorbed into a world that I never imagined I would be a part of, and I genuinely can’t remember what life was like prior to the day the counting started!! – ‘1-2-3, 5-6-7’ :-)

 

Not only am I fortunate enough to have found something that I truly love, that makes me happy even after the most difficult and challenging days, but I have also been privileged enough to train and perform with the Salsa Machine Student Performance Team, and in the last 18 months, to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things “salsa” as a Salsa Machine Instructor. More often than not you will find me teaching level 4 “Core Moves and Core Techniques” on a Thursday, and I am extremely lucky to always have such enthusiastic, hardworking, and most importantly, patient students in my class – they make my week, week in week out, and I don’t know where I’d be without them!! So thank you to my Salsa Machine Family, members both new and existing, for being part of my ongoing, ever-evolving salsa journey… I look forward to seeing you on the floor soon!

Janet

Instructor [Level 1, 5, 6]

Hey - my name is Janet and have been part of Salsa Machine long enough be to considered part of the furniture, and having so much fun! I've been dancing salsa for 9 years and many other Latin dance styles including Kizomba! My journey into instructing came after completing my BTECH Level 1 Teaching Salsa Dance Course and whilst in the middle of doing BTECH Level 2 felt ready and confident to teach. Ben offered me the most important Level, the beginners class - which I put my heart and soul into because anyone on their journey to learn salsa have to receive a good start with strong foundations at the beginning of their journey because anything learnt after this will either be done extremely well or not well at all! I believe I deliver a strong teaching quality ensuring that although I can be firm ensure students are having fun and getting the most out of their learning!

 

When I dance "I dance to Live

I dance to Breath

I dance to be Free

I dance to be Me".... 

 

Just want to dance...  

 

I love to dance with all my heart, my spirit and soul!!!!!!

 

Anyone that comes into the Salsa Machine environment will be immediately greeted with warmth, the belief system that anyone can dance and friendliness - you can come to Salsa Machine a loner and develop new found friendships with the common factor that we love to dance!

 

I turning non-dancer into a dancer and watch them progress up the levels of Salsa Machine carefully designed structure - the beauty is that you can learn at your own pace with no pressure.

Richard

Instructor [Bachata, Rueda]

My name is Richard and I’m an addict….
My idea of dancing used to involve propping up the bar and watching just everyone else. This all changed when I started helping a friend run her Zumba classes and was introduced to new styles of music that I’d previously ignored. The salsa rhythms soon got my attention so I decided to give it a go and the rest is history.
I’ve been coming to Salsa Machine since my first tentative lessons way back in 2012 and it’s always been a friendly place to be. The teachers and more experienced dancers are all happy to share their passion with everyone whatever level you are so make sure you stay after the classes!
I love the energy salsa music brings to the dancefloor which is enough to keep me hooked all night. People joke that I have too much energy as I never stop but that’s what the music does to me.
Although I still love salsa, bachata has become my real passion. I love the music and the diversity of the style which allow flexibility to tell the story. It’s a passionate and sensual dance that can be intense, funny, sexy or any other way that the music makes you feel in that moment.
 
Ooooo is that music I hear…..

Heather

Instructor [Level 2]

Hi, I’m Heather, and after my first visit to Salsa Machine as a student, I became a loyal member. I then joined the instructor team here at Salsa Machine after coming to the club for many years enjoying the classes and social dancing. Ben and Maria have always run a fun welcoming club and I have made lots of good friends here over the years. I was really excited to be asked to join the team as I am passionate about Salsa. I was part of the first student performance group, which helped me understand the technical aspects of the dance and enhanced my own dancing further.

 

I have always loved to dance (and still do) and in the past, I have discoed my way around the country. 

I am also learning ballet at the moment which gives me a real insight into what it feels like to be a 

beginner again. I am constantly asking myself if I got it ‘right’ although I can see that I’m progressing

and improving all the time which is really encouraging. Every week, I look forward to the challenge of

helping people find their own rhythm at Salsa Machine.

 

I love listening to salsa music and whatever job I’m doing it will be blasting out of the speaker on my 

phone or laptop. My husband is also a salsa dancer and he’s always finding new tracks and if I hear a 

new track at a club then out comes my phone for a Shazam check! I don’t really have a favourite

track, anything that sounds good and gets me dancing works.

Lisa-Marie

Instructor [Level 4 - Core Moves & Core Techniques (Technical)]

I guess you could say I'm the Salsa Machine newbie instructor, because I only started salsa in 2016, but I've always danced. In fact, it's what I hoped to do as a job. I started dancing when I was 3 years old, and went on to compete internationally. Then as Head Girl, I started teaching others. At 16, I was accepted into two top London performing arts schools; getting a scholarship into one. I pretty much always knew I wanted to dance and for musical theatre to be my career, but after injury resulted in a bad break and surgery, had to stop dancing professionally. I had never considered my life without dance in it.
 

Years went by and I established a new career, but my love for music and dance stayed with me and I missed it. A friend encouraged me to try Salsa, and I found that it wasn't demanding on my joints, so I went along. I was immediately welcomed into the Salsa Machine family and through the unique teaching model and quality of the lessons, started seeing visible progress in my salsa technique immediately and over time, also learned Bachata and cha-cha-cha.
 

To be asked to teach at Salsa Machine is a huge privilege and my hope is to inspire and enable people to be the dancer they want to be. Salsa is accessible to everyone, regardless of demographic. It is such an amazing thing to be able to go to a salsa club in any part of the world and dance with someone you have never met before as though you've always been dancing together! It is a conversation you wouldn't have any other way, and I think it's awesome!

Judith

Assistant and Advisor to Ben...and if I am honest I'd be a bit lost with out her!

Hi – I’m Judith, the retired one – that’s from main stream work. I joined Salsa Machine several years ago to meet people and make friends, and all I can say, I have certainly done that and more.

 

I had always loved dancing and music, so it seemed to meet everything I wanted to do. Being part of Salsa Machine has been superb, and I have now so many friends from the experience it’s great.

Over the years I have joined Salsa Machine Academy, which brought more structure to my learning and the repetition that was required. I joined the first Student Performance Group, as a means to practice and develop, which enhanced my dancing further together with a  number of close friendships.

 

I believe we are a club for the people, we are not elite but open our doors to everyone, no matter what dancing background they have. The desire of the club, and its instructors, is to create an environment which enables each individual to achieve dancing to whatever their level is – as we are all different.

 

Of all the dances I love Cha Cha, I love the music that comes  with it, would love it to be more within the club – maybe one day...

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