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Sonya Elmore

Sonya was born and raised in Moscow, Russia where her dancing career began. When she was 12 years old, her older sister dragged Sonya to her first ballroom dance class. Sonya resisted her tremendously because everyone in Russia was already a dance champion by that age and it was embarrassing to start "so late". Nevertheless, she was forced to take ballroom dance lessons and little did her family know it would consume her completely and eventually become her profession. Sonya especially liked the Latin dances: the fast-paced Cha-Cha, the festival-like Samba and the romantic Rumba. Sonya wanted to express the passion of music and the character of each dance through the body movements. She has always been known as a very "expressive" dancer.

In 1991, at the age of 14, Sonya and her family immigrated to the United States looking for a better life and more opportunities. She started training in Competitive Ballroom Dancing with Sandra Fortuna in New Jersey, who is considered one of the best Ballroom and Latin instructors in the US. Sonya is very thankful to Sandra for 8 years of excellent dance training and generous sponsorship. Being a very expressive dancer herself, Sandra nurtured Sonya's love for self-expression, always encouraging her to be the best she could be in dance.

In 1999, after years of competing Sonya competed for the last time at Ohio Star Ball Championships, the largest Ballroom Competition in the United States. After having successfully placed into the semi-final of International Latin Division, she decided to hang up my competition shoes and start dancing socially. And that's when she discovered Salsa, the dance everyone was talking about! It didn't take long to make her forget all other dances and she became completely addicted to Salsa.

Sonya ElmoreSonya took her first Salsa lessons with Ernesto Diaz in Philadelphia and Josie Neglia in Los Angeles. Thanks to years of training in the Competitive Ballroom arena, Sonya learned Salsa very quickly and over time have created her own distinct style, the style she describes as feminine, sexy, flirtatious and yet sophisticated.

In 2001 Sonya embarked on an European tour where she met a lot of wonderful people through dancing Salsa. She lived and taught Salsa in Paris for almost a year, quickly becoming one of the popular dancers and instructors in the City of Lights. Upon her return from Europe, she started her own classes in Philadelphia with hundreds of students following her.

Her Salsa accomplishments include:

  • Semi-finalist at the 2002 Club Mayan World Salsa Competition, Los Angeles, CA
  • Runner-up at the 2002 International Hustle & Salsa Competition, Miami, Fl
  • Finalist of the 2003 Vaseline Intensive Care Smooth Moves Competition, Los Angeles, CA
  • Instructor at Edmonton Salsa Congress 2003
  • Instructor at Philadelphia Salsa Congress 2004
  • Instructor at Puerto Rico Salsa Congress 2004
  • Featured Salsa instructor at the World Hustle Dance Championships 2003-2004, New Jersey
  • One of the judges of Tierra Colombiana Salsa Contest, 2002, Philadelphia
  • Original weekly performer at Cuba Libre Restaurant, Philadelphia, in its 4th year running
  • Salsa Instructor at Brasil's Nite Club, Philadelphia since 2002
  • Main Salsa Instructor at Wharton Business School, Philadelphia since 2004
  • Choreographer of the Salsa portion of the University of Pennsylvania’s Cultural Show, since 2004
  • Member and Manager of Luna Negra Performance Dance Troupe
  • One of the 3 choreographers of the Salsa routine danced for the World Guinness Record in Philadelphia, 2004
  • Produced “Ladies Salsa Styling Video” where she is a featured instructor in 2003
  • Television appearances include:
    TLC “Dating Story” 2004
    Fox 29 “Good day, Philadelphia” 2004
    NBC “10!” 2004

Sonya ElmoreApril of 2003 marked the new beginning of Sonya's dance career: she opened her own dance studio, La Luna, located in Bensalem, PA. This 10,000 sq ft beautiful dance facility specializes in Salsa and along with the staff of 5 best Salsa instructors in the area, Sonya is striving to bring the best in Salsa dancing to Philadelphia.

The year of 2005 promises to be very exciting for La Luna as Sonya and her husband Ryan, will be expanding the dance program at La Luna and will start offering extensive dance programs in Ballroom, Swing, Argentine Tango, Belly dancing and Performing Arts Programs for children.

 Articles by this Author

Tips for Brasil's

Brasil’s Nite Club has been on the map of the Philadelphia Salsa Community for quite some time now.  I’ve been teaching Wednesday night Salsa class before all the dancing starts for over 6 years and would like to offer some tips/trivia to make dancing at Brasil’s on Wednesday night more pleasurable ... 
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