Who is Salsa4Life and what do they do?

Group Dance Lessons

Our group lessons are an effective and economical way to learn all of the basic moves in Salsa. Along the way you will burn some calories, have a lot of fun, and meet some great people.

Private Dance Lessons

Private Salsa lessons are right for you if 1) You’ve learned the lessons in the Beginner and Advanced Beginner series of classes and you have been going out to dance regularly.  2) You don’t feel comfortable learning in a group setting. 3) Your personal schedule does not allow you to get to our group classes.

Event Planning and Management

We plan and host various aspects of Latin themed events. These include dance parties, weddings, quienceneras, and corporate and private events.

Business Consulting

Salsa4Life also provides online training for dance related businesses. This includes marketing training for a number of dance related businesses. Our online courses include dj training, dance instructor training, promoter / event planner training, dance studio marketing, restaurant marketing. We additionally offer consulting services for restaurants and other event related businesses. Coaching services are also available to those in leadership roles within the Latin Dance Community.

Clara Toro-Douglas

Clara Toro-Douglas

Founder & Owner

Clara Toro, a native of The Bronx, New York, is of Puerto Rican descent. Clara’s roots in teaching, promoting and organizing Salsa events in Richmond go back to 2006. Two years later, her successes led to the formal establishment of her company, www.Salsa4life.com. Clara’s background in dancing Salsa dates back to 1993 in the hot Salsa venues of New York City. After graduating from Baruch College in NYC with a B.B.A in accounting, she relocated her family to Richmond in 1998.
In 2017, Clara and her husband Michael moved to Portland, Oregon. Clara continues to coordinate the activities of Salsa4Life in Richmond and is an active participant in the Portland Salsa community.
 
 
Giovanni Roggiero

Giovanni Roggiero

Salsa Instructor / DJ

As the youngest of three, Giovanni (Gio) and his sisters were exposed to Salsa music and dance from a very young age. At age 16, Giovanni, a native of New York City, began helping his mom (Clara) by registering dance students. That continued to expose him to Salsa music and dance that he loved since childhood. Through attending dance socials and watching other DJ’s, he developed an ear for good music. At a certain point, his mom asked him to play at the Salsa socials. 
 
Giovanni attended John Tyler and J. Sergeant Reynolds Community Colleges majoring in Criminal Justice. Even so, his passion for Salsa dancing has occupied him as a dance instructor and occassional DJ at Salsa4Life events. His twin passion for cars has grown to include engine rebuilds and car flipping.

Gio’s skill with Salsa dance and music has taken him to entertain at some of RVA’s most reputable events including, Havana 59’s Tropical Thursdays, Richmond’s Que Pasa Festival, Addis Restaurant, Eko Lounge (Mona Lounge), Fuego Night Club (Which is now Beer is the ANswer ), Virginia Commonwealth University Fall Bash, Virginia Union University Intercultural Festival, and Off The Hookah, to name a few.

Surrounding areas include Lola’s Restaurant located in Virginia Beach, Charlottesville’s Club R2 and M&M Lounge, Tommy Smith and Tanya J Smith’s Mr. Mambo’s in Washington, DC, and more where Giovanni has taught Salsa, Bachata, and has Djed.

Michael R. Douglas

Michael R. Douglas

Salsa Instructor / Writer / Web Master

Michael was born in Portland, Oregon. His childhood fascination with magic eventually led him to build a career as a magician. After college, Michael worked as an IT Support Specialist at various companies. He eventually married and has two adult children. He also served as the senior pastor of a small church for 15 years. Today, Michael’s entertains crowds at private parties, family events, and corporate functions. Michael also works alongside his wife, Clara, in teaching Salsa dance lessons and promoting Latin dance events.

Roberto Bismal

Roberto Bismal

Instructor

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Nicole Colon

Nicole Colon

Administrator

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Dorian

Dorian

DJ

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Yulio

Yulio

DJ / Instructor

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DJ Extreme (Julio)

DJ Extreme (Julio)

DJ

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Yanaidy Gonzalez

Yanaidy Gonzalez

Photographer

Yanaidy Gonzalez, aka Yani, was born in Cabrera, a coastal town in the Dominican Republic. Although she danced her whole life, she took an interest in Salsa in 1999 after seeing some friends dancing. Yani is a Marine Corps veteran of eight years and obtained a BA in business administration from Averitt University while raising her two daughters. Yani works as an international support specialist for a water treatment company. She embraced photography in her youth and has turned that hobby into a business. She is the owner of Yani Justina Photography.

http://yanaidyjustina.wixsite.com/photo-studio-r

Renzo

Renzo

DJ

Lorenzo Haire “DJ Renzo” is a full-time mobile DJ originally from Los Angeles California who now calls Washington D.C. home. His DJ journey started in January of 2008 but his journey of collecting music has expanded many years before that. DJ Renzo has been invited to play at large festivals and local clubs up and down the East Coast, throughout the U.S., and also internationally.  He often serves as the head DJ or DJ Director for many of these festivals as he has an extensive background in managing shows and DJ schedules. Renzo is a graduate of the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) with a degree in Political Science/International Relations and is also a former officer in the U.S. Army.  For more information on his schedule and bookings please see www.facebook.com/mambolorenzo or email him at mambolorenzo@gmail.com 
Chris Michael

Chris Michael

DJ

From being the DJ at Chelsea’s, a DC Dance Landmark, to one of the Creators of LatinVIP, to promoting and playing at every Hot Latin Dance spot over the last 20 years, to Night Life Manager at Cuba Libre Christopher Michael, aka DJ Bemba, has definitely made his mark on the DMV Latin Dance and Music Scene. DJ Bemba is also a 2015 winner of the StuckOnSalsa (The Stuckies) David Melendez Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sheila

Sheila

Administrator

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Angel Rodriguez

Angel Rodriguez

Instructor

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Jessica

Jessica

Assistant Instructor

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Krizia Vargas

Krizia Vargas

Instructor Emeritus

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