"Being someone who utilizes the internet as a source for learning salsa,  I learned of Erika of "Salsa Caliente Dance Studio" from her E-How video series. Living in a smaller city in Georgia with a non-existent salsa scene, I'd often travel to Atlanta and try classes, but I never found the right fit.  I could tell from the video series that Erika was a good instructor. So during some time off from work, coinciding with my birthday, I gave myself the gift of  "Salsa Caliente."

Starting with a group lesson, I could tell that the classes are well-structured, following a syllabus that emphasizes the fundamentals as building blocks.  The instructor, Aaron, kept the class moving while offering individual attention as needed.

I was fortunate to be able to take a couple private lessons with Erika, as well.  She started off by correcting bad habits I've acquired from the "soup of knowledge" gleaned from the pages of the www and others.  Her insight as a follower was particularly helpful: giving tips on leading weak followers, as well as being a proper lead.  We progressed through her syllabus, getting into the intermediate level.  All along, she gave tips on how to string together the building blocks into more complex patterns.

While dancing with Erika, one can tell she is passionate about salsa and teaching. The experience was everything I hoped for and more!  If only I lived closer...."

Thomas Bone
Salsa Caliente student
"Not only is Erika spectacular on the dance floor, but she also has a fantastic ability to translate her dancing skill into teaching insight. She and the Salsa Caliente staff consistently stress attention to detail and emphasize solid fundamentals, helping students establish proper habits from the very start. This approach has generated a motivating and highly rewarding experience for me, and my colleagues at work can always tell when I have been to class the night before."

Jim Hilton
Salsa Caliente student

"By far the best, anywhere in the country!  I’ve been dancing on and off for 10 years, and the instruction, feedback, and organization at Salsa Caliente is unlike anything I have ever seen.  Salsa Caliente is the preeminent dance studio.  Erika and her friendly staff teach you everything you need to dance with confidence and panache. And you’ll have fun doing it!

Thanks for all the great instruction!"

Rob Veland
Salsa Caliente student

"Thank you so much for allowing the Salsa Team to perform this past Saturday at Latin Dance Moves & Fitness!  They were quite the impressive young couples and their beautiful technique was top notch! Their artistry, moves, and level of enthusiasm, coupled with confidence was the highlight of the evening!  Please give the performers my thanks and if there is anyway I can reciprocate the favor, simply ask.

Again, thank you.  Much, much appreciated!"

Marcelino Velez
Owner of Latin Dance Moves & Fitness


"Dear Erika,

Thank you so much for sending your dancers to enhance our Hispanic Celebration Day.  They did a perfect job by dancing superbly and engaging our students and staff."

Patricia Velazquez
Art Teacher at Roland Park School

"Dear Erika and all at Salsa Caliente,

I wanted to add my own testimonial about your gracious teaching style and the general 'good vibe' at your studio. I've found that this isn't always the case with instructors and studios. Anyone who wants to learn salsa dancing will feel welcome here.  Your classes and workshops are always worth attending.

I wish you continued success here in Tampa!!"

Theresa Suslov
Salsa Caliente student
I wanted to compliment you on our first lesson. You left a great impression on me and I left your house really surprised at how much I learned. You really put me at ease quickly. I found it easy to pick up the techniques. I definitely need to work on adding some style/movement to the steps, but hey it’s a good start. I saw some of the videos on your studio website and you are obviously a talented dancer. Its one thing to be a great dancer and anyone can claim to teach, but it takes a special skill set to be an effective teacher; especially to beginners."

Fred Sotelo
Salsa Caliente student

"Dear Erika,
I just wanted to let you and your staff know that before I came to Salsa Caliente I tried another studio and the people were real nice, but the level of confidence and skills I feel I have learned at your studio in only a few weeks can only truly be described by the smile on my face when I leave.  I feel like I am getting closer to my goal with every class.  At the other studio, I developed a confidence problem and was about to give up because I thought it was hopeless, but from the first moment I stepped inside your studio I felt relaxed and welcomed.  I have learned so much in such a short period of time and even though I have to learn so much more, my confidence is high.  I feel like I can do it and have met some really nice people who also help and I have the confidence to go dancing now at a club.  My first goal was just to be able to dance well enough not to embarrass my partner.  Now my goal is to be the best dancer I can be thanks to you and your staff."

Carolina Cortes
Salsa Caliente student

Just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed the 2 classes I took last night.  Your instructors are great!  Thanks."
Salsa Caliente student

"Erika and her staff are true professionals!  I have been to different studios, both on the East and West Coast, and Salsa Caliente is by far the best salsa instruction I have ever received. I lived in Tampa for 6 months and was blessed to discover the studio early enough to get 5 months of instruction.  I was amazed by the structure and organization Erika and her staff provided, and quickly became hooked on salsa. The staff showed me how to succeed and improve my dancing, with much technique and above all lots of fun. I was sad to leave Tampa, and have yet to find a studio like hers in California. People here are amazed that I can dance so well with only 5 months of instruction; I always tell them, “I wish you knew Erika.”  The instruction here is not the same quality; I sure miss Tampa…  My time at Salsa Caliente will forever be treasured and never forgotten. Great people (and friends) as well!  If you want to learn salsa the right way, go to Salsa Caliente!!!"

Ricardo Trevino
Former Salsa Caliente student

"Erika, thanks for an awesome weekend!  What a well-organized event!  I know a lot of work goes into it so I have no idea how many hours you put into it, but I personally had a great time.  Loved the smell of the grand ballroom because it reminded me of the very first time I took my first salsa lesson 3 years ago.  The exhibitions were inspiring, and workshops were non-stop learning.  I know all of the girls had very sore quads the next day.  I learned everything I could from everywhere else in town and ran out of material.  I'm so glad I listened to some friends and dropped in.  Every time I come I feel like my technique, ability to follow, and repertoire of moves increases tremendously.  Before I came to Salsa Caliente I went to the Orlando Congress in July 2006 and was completely lost the entire time.  I had never even heard of "on 2" or had any familiarity with most of the moves.  After coming to Salsa Caliente, meeting fellow students and being able to dance with them in the clubs, it seems like I just soak Salsa in through the skin now.  Your students are great teachers, just like you and Juan.  I think May has to be the kindest and sweetest, most caring assistant ever known to the Salsa world.  I love her and Roz's style. Anyway, after meeting everyone, taking classes, and dancing practically every night of the week, I was able to follow the same instructors who had me completely lost 2 months ago.  So thanks for everything!"

Michelle Beckham (regarding the 6-Year Anniversary event 9/06)
Salsa Caliente student


"I am loving this group; you guys are so dynamic, talented and upbeat.

I love the flexibility of your schooling system, in that it allows the students to move at their own pace. This is one thing that always got under my skin, because I pick-up quick, and I see other people getting so frustrated at the same time. People move at different paces, and your system works around it.

I love the big group, people can interact with folks at all different levels, and there is never a dull moment.

I love the fact that the instructors are approachable and friendly, it feels like you are a peer, not a student.

I love that you are all Salsa and know your stuff.  It allows students to focus on Salsa and nothing else. You guys are involved in congresses and what not; you keep your stuff up-to-date. You can bet I'll be making a few recommendations.


Sergio Mansill
Salsa Caliente student

"Dear Erika,

I just wanted to take a minute and let you know how much my daughter Stephanie Snipes and I enjoyed our first class. You have a very well-run organization and very good teachers as well as really nice fellow dancers.  We look forward to our next class.  Thanks so much."

Linda Cadle
Salsa Caliente student
"Salsa Caliente,
My wife and I participated in yesterday's Casino-Style class.  I must admit, it was the most fun we have ever had as a couple.  Also, the instructor is very knowledgeable and his demonstrations were extremely effective and easy to learn.  HE WAS AWESOME!!!  I am definitely looking forward to our next class and many, many, many more to come."
Felix Asencio
Salsa Caliente student
"Dear Salsa Caliente people,
I would just like to show my thanks and gratitude for you guys.  I've been taking classes there for about 2 months now and every night I enjoy the atmosphere and the lessons and of course the music.  The staff is great, their students are just as great, and the experience is excellent!  Thank you again for just being great (insert cheesy grin here)." 
Jonathan Otero
Salsa Caliente student
"Hola Salsa Caliente!!!!

I just want to thank all of you for providing me with an amazing first night of classes. Juan (instructor) was incredibly knowledgeable in what he does and has a great character when it comes to motivating his group!!  Also, thank you to Carlos (assistant) who was very patient with me while I stepped on his feet a few times.

I really enjoyed my first night of classes and am honestly looking forward to Friday, the 5th Year Anniversary of Salsa Caliente!!!  Again, thank you for your patience and for sharing your amazing talent."

Yesenia Nuñez
Salsa Caliente student
"The website looks great.  And the videos of you dancing...Wow!!!  Especially the one with you and Mario.  Also, I wanted to thank you for providing such an incredible environment to learn in.  I'm really glad that I chose your studio to continue the process of becoming a better dancer."

Curtis Weeks
Salsa Caliente student

"Erika, Juan --

Your salsa demonstration (or should I say fireworks?) after class on Wednesday night (6/8/05) was terrific!  You both really showed everyone what it means to dance with heart... and what it means to let the music dictate the flow of the dance and to use your bodies to interpret and express the music the way you did with your incredible breaks and stylistic movements... and to do all this without need of (yippee!) pre-set choreographed patterns.  It's what dance is all about.  I, for one, loved it.  Can't wait to see more."

Mike Francis
Salsa Caliente student
"Is this much fun legal?  I am truly enjoying my experience.  I love the step-by-step instruction for those, like myself, who are challenged.  I have completed 9 classes so far and am gaining a confidence on the dance floor I never had before. Salsa Caliente is Tampa’s premier dance school!  Thank you!"

Stephanie Stapleton
Salsa Caliente student

"My husband and I went to our first class yesterday 5/2/05 and I have to say that you guys THROW DOWN!!!  Juan's a great instructor. His patience and enthusiasm made me relax and enjoy the class better.  I was a little skeptical at first. I didn't think I could do it.  I always thought of myself as someone with two left feet when it came to salsa dancing.  I always tried to stay away from the dance floor when it came to salsa, but I feel more confident now. I know now that when I am ready to go out there and show my stuff I'll be able to hit the dance floor and not feel intimidated by the other dancers around me. I know I need some more work, but I am confident that when I am done with just the basics I will be able STRUT MY STUFF!!!  Thank you for making my dream come true....  I can dance salsa."

Maria Algarin
Salsa Caliente student

"I just attended my first salsa lesson yesterday 2-7-05 at the Dale Mabry/Waters studio club.  All I can say is WOW!  First impressions are lasting impressions, and I was really impressed with the instructor Juan, as well as each of your staff, and how quickly they made me feel very comfortable from the beginning. His thorough explanations and demonstrations of each step, as well as his sense of humor, sparkle and wit, made me feel right at home. You can be sure that I will be back again, and that I will recommend this club to everyone that I know--you are First Class!  Thanks again for making my evening so enjoyable.  I also enjoyed meeting all the new friends at the club as well."

Charles Digby
Salsa Caliente student

"Yo creo que las clases son muy pero muy buenas porque todos son como hermanos te ayudan mucho y te explican hasta que tu entiendas.  Tienen Erika y Juan el dominicano mucha paciencia y todos los queremos mucho.  Por eso gracias guys..."

Elizabeth Padron
Salsa Caliente student

"Dear Erika:

I have only attended four classes, but I am currently a faithful dance student.  Every time I come into the studio, I feel a positive atmosphere.  Everyone, including the dance  instructors, is friendly and pleasant to be around. The studio’s liveliness always seems to energize me for the class that I am about to attend. Moreover, I am very impressed with the instructors, and how they teach their classes.  It really seems like they enjoy teaching salsa.  I plan to tell everyone I know about Salsa Caliente."

Lela Taylor
Salsa Caliente student

"Hello Dancing Friends!

I just wanted to request your business address so that I could send a thank you note and picture to Juan Paredes. I had a wonderful wedding and danced my little heart out... all thanks to his wonderful lessons, and I wanted to let him know. My lessons made my wedding more than just special and sentimental... it made it FUNNNNN (cause I could actually dance with my new husband and guests)!  YOU ALL SAVED THE DAY!"

Jenelle Garden
Salsa Caliente student
"Just wanted to say thanks for an awesome salsa experience.  I take both N.Y. style and Casino. All of the instructors are great.  They are very dedicated and passionate about what they do, and it shows.  Also, they are very approachable and willing to help you out after class.  I have taken from another instructor in the area with little feeling and results.  I am so glad to find a group that can challenge me and fulfill my passion for dancing.  I encourage others to take advantage of the practice sessions at Mirage on Friday nights.  Juancito is an excellent teacher. It is also a lot of fun.  Buena Suerte Salsa Caliente." 

Michelle Drew-Perez
Salsa Caliente student

"I just started two weeks ago and I wanted to commend you and your great staff on creating a very positive and supporting system and culture to learn salsa!  Everyone is so dedicated and professional.  Juan Nunez was great and the other Juan who taught class Beginners 3 was super.  My niece,  Alexandria Tollinchi, took the first beginners class and loved it.  The  greatest thing is that your staff are VERY encouraging and complimentary and you can tell they really have a passion for what they do.  I attended another salsa class outfit in Tampa and still after 6 weeks the instructor did not know my name or seem interested in adding the human touch.
So...Congratulations on your super star staff.  My wife, Liz, also attended class Beginners three (although she is a salsera from back in Brooklyn and already knows this stuff) and she enjoyed it very much.  Liz and I attended the first Latin Night at Harpo's in Brandon last night and saw your Beginners One instructor there and saw several students that I recognized from classes on Tuesday night.  Looking forward to one day really being good at salsa."

Bob Brotherton
Salsa Caliente student

"Hi Erika,
I would like to say how much I love your salsa classes because you and your staff really make a student feel comfortable in the class going through lessons.  You make dancing fun and I cannot wait for the next class to come a week later.  Everybody in the class is very friendly and helpful, and that is what separates your school from all of the other schools in Central Florida.  Your school is very professional and first class, and between Salsa Caliente and Salsa Heat which is located in Orlando, I think that both of you have the best dance studios in Central Florida.  Thank you for having me as one of your happiest students."

Kenny Williams
Salsa Caliente student

"I think that the Kids' Salsa classes are a great idea, especially in this day and age when kids are increasingly becoming obese and less active physically because of modern technology.  It also helps promote social skills."

Caroline Rose
Salsa Caliente student
HCC Student, Child Psychology Major

"Hi Erika, This is Tony White.  I miss you guys and I really miss the dancing.  Unfortunately I've deployed and won't be back for a while.  Wish you guys the best in Tampa, and keep up the good work. Love You Guys, Sgt. White"

Tony White             
Salsa Caliente student

"Hola, hola!  Daniel, the Latin intro class today (4/8/03) was super. Once again, thanks for breaking down the moves so well. You have great teaching skills. Me, Vinny and the rest of the people enjoyed the class very much."

Daniel Gonzalez
Salsa Caliente student

"Hello Erika and Salsa staff: I just wanted to tell you that I am really happy with how my progress is coming along and that every single member of your staff is great and extremely helpful and encouraging. You have a great staff and I am trying to do my best to recommend Salsa Caliente to as many people as possible. I went to the event in Club Joy this past Saturday and I had a great time and everyone from Juan, Liana, Ramon, Nebi, the other Juan, and all the others were very welcoming and just made Danny, Vinny and myself as part of the family. Thank you and from the bottom of my heart.  I really congratulate all of you on what you are doing and how--your formula is a sure winner."

Alex Retana             
Salsa Caliente student

"Dear Ms. Occhipinti,
Many, many thanks for sharing your knowledge and abilities in salsa dancing with the Library System.  Hispanic Heritage Month was greatly enriched by your performances and instruction.  We want you to know how much we appreciate all that you and Mr. Garber contributed."

Jodi Cohen,
Chairperson of Hispanic Heritage Program Committee

"We at the Jimmie B. Keel Library would like to thank you for your presentation at our library on October 17.  It was very enjoyable for our customers and staff, and we all learned a little something as well.  Thank you so much for giving us an interesting and popular program, well-planned and professional."

Donna Scott                 
Senior Youth Librarian

"Hey Salsa Caliente! What a night! Our party at the Cuban Club in Ybor City was nonstop fun and energy thanks to your six sizzling dancers.  Thanks to your infectious enthusiasm, everyone 'salsa'd,' from my 7 year-old to 80 year-olds.  It was truly 'hot salsa.'"

William Yanger

"I was asked by a great friend to help him plan a surprise party for his wife's 30th, and all he said was he wanted a blow out party with a Cuban/Latin theme.  I thought how fun would it be to have professional dancers demonstrate and teach authentic Latin dancing?  When I came across the name Salsa Caliente in the yellow pages, I knew I was onto something good.  When I called and spoke to them about my plans, I knew I was onto something great.  When Salsa Caliente performed at the party, I knew I was onto something sensational!  They were everything I had envisioned they would be, and more.  They were professional, young, talented, and the life of the party.  Some guests have even gone to take lessons with Salsa Caliente.  I can't wait for another party to come along where we can have fun with them again!"

Eva Krutchik                 
Inviting Business            

Palm Harbor, FL

"Dear Erika & Salsa Caliente, 

        Thank you for the wonderful performance at our News Channel 8 Company Party!!!  It was a HOT night full of energy and excitement!  Everyone had a wonderful time.  In the 5 years I have been to every Holiday Party, the dance floor has never been so full.  Everyone really enjoyed the show and most of all the dance classes.  The beautiful men & women that were teaching the dance lessons were a bonus too.  You and your group were a pleasure to work with.  Your professionalism was extremely impressive.  I wish you all the best of luck and look forward to working together in the near future." 

Isel Torres Hardwick

Note: Testimonials have been reproduced word for word with the exception of minor spelling corrections, which do not alter the intended meaning.  Newer testimonials appear at the top of the page.
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