Instructors

Vision

Bailamos Salsa Rueda is a team of dancers who have a shared vision. Our goal is to provide a fun and safe environment for everyone to learn salsa, the music and meet great people. We are committed to seeing the growth and establishment of Salsa Rueda in our local and greater community.

We also feel strongly about working with other local groups in our extended family of salsa rueda dancer in the greater bay area. We desire to support and learn from each other creating bonds of trust and camaraderie.

We want to touch Santa Cruz with our love of Salsa Rueda. We want to see people enjoying themselves dancing in rhythm to the beat of salsa music all the while learning how to lead and follow moves that look fabulous.

Bob McMurtry
Bob has been dancing since the age of 7, attending many folk dance festivals with his parents. As a teen he became a member of the California Imperial Ballet in San Francisco, an affiliate of the Royal Ballet in London. He performed with the company for 4 years before entering the army. In the military he performed as an army bandsman for 3 years, with one year in Vietnam. He has been a musician all his life and presently plays piano, recorder, percussion and harp. He is also a regular performer with the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers.

Bob had been dancing and teaching Scottish Country Dancing for over 20+ years and is a certified teacher of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.

He is a choreographer of Scottish dances with 5 published books and one dance music CD. The training received as a Scottish dance teacher serves him well as a salsa rueda teacher. He has been teaching a salsa rueda class at Mr.Shuffles in Scotts Valley until recently. Another beginning class will form soon in that area. He loves salsa music and fun people associated with it.

Bob is a retired firefighter from San Jose with 28 years of service. He loves cats, gardening and enjoys composing music along with writing fiction. And most of all, dancing.

Danny Pouw
Danny has been teaching in the Santa Cruz area for the last three years, and his students love him. He had performed with groups in the greater bay area, honing in on his skill and style. He continues for follow his creative love of the dance as he has choreographed his own moves. He enjoys experimenting with dancing on different down beats of the music, highlighting dancing on two with original Cuban-son style music. He has a style all his own. Come check out his classes.

Gilberto Reyes
Gilberto integrates a long history of living, breathing and studying a variety of music genres and dance styles. Being born and raised in Puerto Rico, he worked as scuba diving instructor and at the oceanographic department for the Department of Natural Resources. Moving to New York City in his early 20’s, he pursued the performing arts including music, theater, and dance. He also worked as a technical director for a Spanish theater and was the singer from the group The MAD (Music Against Drugs) Rumberos”. Salsa–both the music and dance soon became his favorite. He loves playing conga drums and singing to salsa music. You will love his classes.

Gilberto is a professional with a Salsa beating heart who knows how to make community spirit work. He produced fund raising events with live Salsa Bands as president of the Puerto Rican Association in Austin. Since moving to Santa Cruz, he became a founding instructor of "Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz”, “Fuego Latino” and “Bailemos Salsa Rueda”. He teaches classes at Spa Fitness Centers since the year 2000, relating to his students through his love of the dance and its music. When he is not dancing he enjoys spending time with his lovely wife and their rescued dog Raya on walks.

Kirsten Cohen
Kirsten is a New Yorker, born and raised in New York City. She studied foreign languages, graduating with a BA in Communication Arts, and then earned a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language from MIIS in Monterey. She has made her home in Santa Cruz, living with her husband and four children.

Her interests have always included dancing, beginning with modern ballet as a youth, moving to Israeli folk dance as an adult; both teaching and leading a local dance troupe. Through the years, Israeli folk dancing provided an outlet for fun, performance, choreography, and teaching.

Her interest in Salsa initially was for fun exercise, but she quickly became an aficionado as she enjoyed learning new steps and dancing with the friendly community that Salsa dance Casino Rueda style of dancing attracts. It became a further expression of her life as an enthusiastic and outgoing individual. After a couple of years of active involvement, the desire to teach took hold. She had the joy of teaching various level classes at "Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz" for a long time. She also teaches private lessons from her home enriching the lives of others, receiving the same in return.

In addition to dancing Kirsten enjoys spending time with her family, speaking Hebrew with friends, singing liturgical prayers, and riding her motorcycle in the great outdoors.

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