Valeria has been a member of Salsa Explosion Dance Company since October 2002. During the summer of 2003 she had the opportunity of being one of eleven Winnipeg salsa dancers that were selected for scenes in the Hollywood produced movie starring Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere, Susan Serandon, Stanley Tucci... 'Shall We Dance' was released late 2004.
Valeria's also had the pleasure of attending the 2003 & 2004 editions of the Toronto Salsa Congress, an opportunity that led to meeting and taking workshops from the likes of Griselle Ponce, Yesenia Peralta, Al & Edie Espinoza, Tito & Tamara, Thomas Guerrero and many more of the salsa greats. These opportunities instilled a greater passion for the dance in her as she now travels to attend and participate in other congresses.
Valeria and Leonardo have had the honour and pleasure to represent Canada at a few international level events such as the 1st & 2nd editions of the International Salsa Congress - Mexico, D.F. as well as the 1st World Salsa Congress in Acapulco. Since, the SEDC group has performed in various congresses including the Montreal Salsa Convention, the Canada Salsa Congress, Salsapalooza, the Calgary International Salsa Congress and the 1st edition of the Salsa Summer Festival in Laval. In 2008, Valeria with then partner Israel Canedo, were guest performers at the Gemini Salsa Competition in Portland, OR.
Valeria also occupies the post of administration for Salsa Explosion Dance Company. Back home in Winnipeg, Valeria has also been involved in the organization of several events and workshops; including guest teachers Giovanni Torres, with his partners Ana Cristina Valencia Duque & Karen Trujillo; Orville Small, Los Caballeros de la Salsa, Yesenia Peralta, Miguelito Castillo, Latin Energy and world-ranked Marie-Josée Strazzero and Roberto Arenas Jr. of Chilital Latin Dance Company.
Valeria also happens to be the Regional Distributor for Very Fine Dance Shoes. Anyone interested in buying shoes should contact her. Great fit & styles, very reasonnable prices... New shoes always coming in, fittings available and in stock shoes for sizing and purchase. 200+ satisfied customers to date.
Leo in a Mexico City born salsero, while living there he distinguished himself as a cumbia dancer and started dancing for various groups and even performed for a mexican folkloric dance group during a period of one year.
In 1997, he moved to Chicago where he learnt to dance Puerto Rican style salsa (on 1) and by 1999 he began competing at the amateur level, where he began being recognized after winning 1st place in a competition at Inta's (the best salsa bar in Chicago at the time), organized by Miguel Mendez. This is where his salsero career, competing in various competitions, and winning all in which he and partner Leslie Ruley entered. He and Leslie also obtained the honour of Best Salsa Couple of the year, awarded by Biology Bar.
During the summer of 1999, Leonardo also had the opportunity to participate in several Chicago television programs. Caliente, (in Lake Michigan) was one of these programs. Another was on channel 44, a program called 'Adictos al Baile', a program which was inspired by Leonardo and his success as a salsero.
After this glorious period in his career, Leonardo moved once again... this time to Winnipeg; where he began teaching salsa and founded Salsa Explosion Dance Company. He is known as the 'Salsa Father' of Winnipeg as he is one who truly brought this style of dance to the city and also for the fact that he is by far the largest promoter in the city.
He is now bringing in various workshops from very talented professional dancers such as Giovanni Torres, Orville Small, Los Caballeors de la Salsa, Yesenia Peralta and many more. Leonardo is also continuously adding to his own repertoire, travelling to various cities and back to his Mexican roots, taking classes with some of today's best and most recognized salseros of the world: Francisco Vasquez, Rogelio Moreno, Victor & Gaby (Salsa con Clave), Jayson Molina, Carlos Carmona and Miguelito.
Rui has been dancing since high school in all forms of dance from hip-hop, break, even ethnic dances. He started dancing salsa in early 2002 when Leonardo Lopez, a Mexican via Chicago, moved to Winnipeg and performed. Immediately Rui started taking classes with him to improve his own dancing skilld. Il was not long before that Leonardo saw Rui's love for salsa and asked him to join the original group of Salsa Explosion.
Since then, Rui has taken several workshops at the TO Congress, Montreal Salsa Convention and various other congresses with some of salsas' best. Rui has also partenken in additional workshops with Giovanni Torres, Orville Small, Los Caballeros de la Salsa and others to improve on his skills. Rui's love for salsa continues to grow and will always remain as a very important part of his life.