Biographies

Laurie Shayler

Laurie Shayler has studied and pursued a career in dance her entire life. She received a B.S. in Dance from S.U.N.Y Brockport and an M.A. in TESOL from Hunter College. Her professional training and background includes Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap, Latin, Swing and Ballroom styles. She has performed and taught with several modern dance companies and choreographers throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

She was first introduced to Swing and Salsa in the clubs and immediately fell in love with this electrifying music and dance scene. Her interest quickly extended to other Social Dances. She has studied with many well-known New York City and world-class instructors. She began teaching Ballroom, Latin & Swing at New York Health & Racquet Clubs throughout Manhattan and at The Picnic House in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Eventually the popularity of her personalized instruction grew and she formed her company Dance Connection. Her program offers a variety of group and private classes in Brooklyn and she also specializes in wedding preparation and choreography.

She performs with her brother-in-law Jose Luis Leon and her husband Ricardo Leon, who are also dance instructors. Her freelance teaching, choreography and performing credits include American Express, Baruch College, Chelsea Piers, Creative Arts Studio, Cynthia King Dance Studio, Dance Studio of Park Slope, Deloitte, Eastern Athletic Clubs, LaGuardia Community College, Local Produce Festival, Mohonk Mountain House, New York Health & Racquet Clubs, Peninsula Spa, Spoke the Hub, The Montauk Club, and the Yard at Martha’s Vineyard.

In addition, Laurie received her Masters Degree in TESOL from Hunter College (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). She is an adjunct lecturer at LaGuardia Community College in the English Language Center where she created DSL: Dance as a Second Language. This is a one of a kind elective class where International students improve their English language skills through the medium of Social Dance. DSL has been featured on National Public Radio, NBC, and written about in various college journals and New York Newsday. (link to DSL section?)

Laurie’s passion and enthusiasm for studying and teaching dance is quite contagious and she invites you to join her on the dance floor!

Ricardo Leon

Ricardo Leon is a native of Guayaquil, Ecuador. He grew up in a musical family where everyone danced Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia and Bolero . He moved to New York City in 1990 and began studying other dance forms, including Swing and Ballroom. He has performed with his wife Laurie Shayler at the Creative Arts Studio, Local Produce Festival, Mohonk Mountain House, The Montauk Club and The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard. Ricardo has also performed with his brother Jose Luis Leon and his company Leon Dance. Ricardo began teaching group and private classes with Dance Connection in 2002. He especially enjoys sharing his passion for social dancing with new and beginner dancers. He is continuously studying various styles of Ballroom, Latin and Swing dancing and looks forward to further developing himself as a dancer and teacher. Ricardo is available for private instruction and wedding preparation and choreography.