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Francisco De La CallejaFrancisco De La CallejaGet to know us!

As a professional dancer, choreographer and coach, Francisco De La Calleja has spent most of his life on dance floors, dance studios and show and competition stages; pursuing and sharing the dream of learning to dance and expressing his love of music, movement, emotions, words and people.

For over three decades as an instructor, teacher trainer, motivator, public speaker and author, his goal has been to make it easier for everyone to learn and teach partnership dances such as salsa, bachata, rueda de casino, swing, Argentinian tango,cha-cha-cha and many others.


Francisco's biography

  Francisco was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. He was only fourteen years old when his family emigrated to Canada, choosing the Montreal area as their new home. There he took his first dance lessons and was taken under the wing of one of Montreal’s best dance teachers of that time: Antonieta Cortés Bareño.  He was so impressed by the teaching abilities of his instructor and by the impact the benefits of dancing had in his personal life that only a few months later he made the commitment not just to work as an instructor, but to  become the best dance teacher he could be.

Francisco De La Calleja (third from right, last row) with students at amateur show 2012Francisco De La Calleja (third from right, last row) with students at amateur show 2012 Today Francisco is a dance teacher and instructor trainer of multiple talents, a veritable walking encyclopedia and one of the most experienced Salsa instructors in the Montreal area. His dance experience ranges now from Mexican and international folklore, classical ballet, ballet-jazz, tap, lambada, American and International Style Ballroom, Swing, different styles of Salsa and other Latino dances as well as aerobics, fitness and rhythmic gymnastics.

 In a teaching career spanning thirty-five years, Francisco has worked with more than twenty thousand students and dancers in six different dance schools and nine dance troupes.

He has performed in and choreographed for films, TV shows, music videos and almost a thousand live performances across the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. He has also performed at Salsa Congresses in Montreal, Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Puerto Rico. He was a member of Salsa Team Canada from 2002 to 2005 at the World Salsa Congress in Puerto Rico and the team’s Quebec choreographer in 2005. Francisco De La Calleja (extreme right) at the World Salsa Congress in Puerto Rico, 1999Francisco De La Calleja (extreme right) at the World Salsa Congress in Puerto Rico, 1999

 Francisco was co-founder of the fabled San Tropez Dance School in Montreal in the 1990’s. Besides being one of the school’s top teachers for the first fifteen years of its existence, he developped curricula, teaching systems and trained the teaching staff. He was recognized by his students and his peers as one of the most resourceful dance teachers in eastern Canada, as well as a Rueda de Casino Master teacher.

 Forty-two of the most renowned salsa and latino teachers in Quebec got their first training with him, including the current directors  of several dance troupes or schools. 

Francisco De La Calleja (fourth from the right, last row) with Salsa Team Canada, Puerto Rico Salsa Congress, 2005Francisco De La Calleja (fourth from the right, last row) with Salsa Team Canada, Puerto Rico Salsa Congress, 2005

 Starting in 2015 Francisco began a writing career, documenting the knowledge acquired over so many years of teaching experience. His first book, now available, is Words We Can Dance, a collection of inspirational, motivational proverbs is . Soon to be released, She Dances Salsa... With Him! brings to light the untold facts of learning, teaching and dancing salsa. 


She Dances... With Him! 

    She Dances… With Him!  is a dance teaching and learning method that was developed by Francisco De La Calleja between 1997 and 2009. It is structured specifically to help students in partnership dances, particularly Salsa, to learn to dance more easily. 

    Francisco questioned why most dance teachers (and their students) believe that women learn to dance easier and faster than men. He found that a lot of them simply did not understand what it means to lead and to follow. Francisco realized that some student’s progress slowed down because the men were told (and shown) to make their partner dance. This places a lot of stress on the leaders. So he simply asked the followers to -literally- do their part. 

    Basically what She Dances… With Him! does is to redistribute each  task evenly between the dance partners. For the system to work effectively, the student and the teacher must integrate four basic ideas into their dancing perspective: 

-The sense of sight is the quickest, most powerful and reliable way of perceiving movements.  

-To dance with the leader the follower will move without assistance, under her own power. 

-Following means the follower has to move after the leader has moved, not at the same time. 

-Leading means the leader has to show what he is doing at the present moment, nothing else. 

     Since She Dances... With Him! deconstructs most of the leading and following principles that a majority of dance students and their teachers have been told to believe in, you may want to learn more about this teaching and learning system by joining one of Francisco's classes, finding an instructor who has trained in the application of this method or read all about it in the upcoming book She Dances Salsa... With Him!

  Learning to dance is definitely not what it used to be!