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Promoting Health, Exercise, Heritage and Unity Through Latin Dance Education

Ricardo Loaiza is a Colombian native, and DC area resident of over 20 years. A teacher first and foremost, Ricardo began his dance career as an instructor at various DC venues, including Havana Village, Lucky Bar, Planet Fred, Lulu’s, and the prestigious Joy of Motion Dance Center, where he worked as part of the Latin Dance faculty from 1998 to 2002. Ricardo’s work has been featured in many major media and publication outlets, including The Washington Post, The Washingtonian Magazine, Washington Hispanic, C-SPAN, UNIVISION, FOX 5 News, and La Voz de America.

Together with his wife and dance partner Elba Garcia, Ricardo has taught,choreographed and performed more than 500 events in the DC area and in over 20 cities nationally and internationally. In 1996, they co-founded DC’s first Latin Dance Company, DC Salseros and Latin Vibez. Ricardo has been a pioneer in his field and has facilitated many firsts throughout his career, notably as the creator of DC’s first area after school Latin Dance program for students, and founder of DC’s first Latino-owned dance studio. For the past 3 years, Ricardo has organized, produced, managed and hosted the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Latin Dance Competition with the Music Center at Strathmore. In October 2010, Ricardo co-founded the After School Latin Dance Fund (ASDF), a non-profit organization that provides artistic, technical and financial support for the establishment of after school Latin Dance programs. These dance programs work to strengthen family values and heritage, and help students develop confidence, promote excellence in academics, and pave their way into higher education.

In the fall of 2012 Ricardo worked with the Kennedy Center’s Education Department to develop an instructional online Latin Dance series, “The Five(ish) Minute Latin Dance Lessons””. The first chapter of the series has seen over 3 million downloads in the first three months since release; the second chapter of the series will be released in fall 2013.

In October of 2014 Ricardo received the prestigious recognition of “The Montgomery County’s Community Award for the Excellence in the Arts & Humanities” from County Executive, Mr. Ike Leggett.

Ricardo consistently works to provide a meaningful after school dance experience to all Maryland, DC and Virginia area schools. Through the ASDF, he has developed a program that empowers students and enables them to develop their personal and educational growth. Ricardo’s work reflects his desire to share the power of dance, and give students an opportunity to become healthy and positive members of our global society. He credits the unconditional support of his wife Elba and their family as both his inspiration and motivation, to share the transformative effects of dance with the DC area community.