Vanesa’s Dance History & Background:
You have to learn how to crawl before you walk.
But for Vanesa Stay, she was taught the love of dance as soon as she was about to stand.
When she was merely three years old, her mother asked her what she wanted to be in life. Without skipping a beat, she answered, “a ballerina with feathers.”
Fast-forward three decades and Vanesa is now one of the top-rated professional certified Latin dance, yoga and zumba instructors and choreographers not only in Canada, but the world.
“It’s my passion, my way of life, and what gets me up in the morning,” says Stay. “I love to dance, I love to watch others dance, I love to learn new dances, it’s like the air I breathe. The best feeling is when you share your knowledge with someone else as passionate as you are and they grow to be even better than their teacher.”
In 2002, she founded her own private school, Latin Energy Dance Company in Toronto, and began teaching five students. Over the years, enrollment has boosted to the thousands.
And as a performer and choreographer herself, she is an established World Latin Dance Cup judge since 2010.
Born and raised in Mendoza, Argentina, dancing was in her blood from the very beginning. At age five, she strapped on ballet shoes and began intensive training at Argentina’s private ballet institute where every day over seven years she learned the art of ballet, flamenco, jazz, Argentine folk and tango.
She progressed so quickly, the following year she debuted her talent and grace in local theatres.
After re-locating to Canada, Stay discovered – and fell in love – with the hypnotic energy of salsa in 1999 and began researching dance training.
She sought out different congresses around the world and began private training with renowned instructors and world champions in each genre.
In Argentine tango, she worked with a number of instructors, including Tango World Champion “Fabian Peralta,” Mora Godoy and DNI modern Tango School in Buenos Aires.
On top of that, Stay has in-depth experience with bachata, cha-cha, kizomba and international Latin ballroom dance.
Later in 1999, she began competing in local salsa competitions in Toronto and walked away with first place many times. She’s toured to the South America to dance in the Puerto Rico Salsa Open in 2002 and nabbed title of 2003 Vice World Champion at the World Salsa Federation Championships held in Miami.
Stay’s magnetic and down-to-earth attitude has translated both on and off the dance floor, with an inevitable transition to film and television.
She’s starred in a number of TV shows, commercials, including Take the Lead with Antonio Banderas, Death to Smoochy with Danny DeVito, Univision in L.A., Our Toronto on CBC, DayTime Toronto, Mansions, Party Mamas, Style by Jury, Paso a Paso por el Mundo, and TO Latino. The dance queen has also been featured as a guest star or expert on CBC News and many local radio shows.
Her esteemed reputation has producers of popular dance shows take notice and invite her on board alongside So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars judges Jean Marc Genereux and Tre Armstrong.
Stay has taken centre stage during major concerts – El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Willie Colon, Jose Albert El Canario, Son De Cali, Gilberto Santa Rosa and more.
But teaching is also a great love for Stay. At her Toronto studio, she devotes her time and resources to help her students, regardless of age.
Some of her younger students – ages five and seven – have gone on to win first prize in the 2012 and 2014 World Latin Dance Cup. Seven students without any previous knowledge of Latin dance have accelerated and succeeded into the World Amateur Champions in just a short time with her coaching and choreographing skills in 2015 alone.
Two other students – Roberto and Daria – took home first place at the World Latin Dance Cup in Miami two years in a row, persevering and recovering past a debilitating neck injury.
Stay’s coaching has led to a medal count of nine golds, two silvers and two bronze in 2014 and 2015 alone.
“I make the classes fun while giving all the tools necessary to become a great dancer,” she says. “If someone comes to me to coach them to compete, my teaching style would be very different than if someone comes to me to learn as a hobby to social dance.”
In 2015, Latin Energy was chosen to represent “Salsa” in the multi-cultural Pan Am Games opening ceremony, which was televised internationally and had a sold-out crowd of over 56,000 spectators.
In order to prepare for the dance, Stay trained with Cirque Du Soleil to nail down choreography for the act, which featured four couples from the Latin Energy school, who performed at the opening ceremony at Rogers Centre on July 10, 2015.
Stay has been a certified zumba instructor since 2013.
To add zen to her work, Stay studied Yoga in Rishikesh, India, in 2012, and also completed a 200-hour training course at registered yoga school Anand Prakash Ashram with Yogi Vishvaketu. She also has a Yin Yoga Certification and a Restorative Yoga Certification.
“Yoga enhances my balance and flexibility,” she says. “It helps me understand better the anatomy of the body to be able to better relate to students and to incorporate more breathing techniques into dancing.”
Performances, TV Appearances, International Events, etc.
- CURRENT JUDGE at the WORLD LATIN DANCE CUP hosted by Albert Torres Productions every year in Miami – the Biggest Latin Dance Competition in the World. *See Judges Photo HERE
- PAN AM GAMES JULY 2015 – OPENING CEREMONY – Latin Energy was part of
the amazing choreography created by Cirque du Soleil for the Pan Am Opening
Ceremony that took place at the Rogers Centre in front of over 50,000 live
audience and televised live all over the world. *View the CERTIFICATE HERE
- Vanesa’s creative and outstanding choreographies and coaching won her school 9 GOLD MEDALS, 2 SILVER & 2 BRONZE in December 2015 & 2014 WLDC competition!
- Vanesa Stay is the HOST of the WLDC QUALIFIERS in Toronto every year in September.
- Latin Energy Dancers participate every year at the:
* WOLD LATIN DANCE CUP held in Miami every December * LOS ANGELES SALSA CONGRESS held in LA every May
* CANADA SALSA CONGRESS held in Toronto every October * BERMUDA MAMBO NIGHTS held in Bermuda Island every Aug. by www.bermudasalsa.com * CNE International Stage Multicultural Event held in Toronto every Aug.-Sept.
- ZUMBA INSTRUCTOR CERTIFICATE – Dec. 2013
- YOGA INSTRUCTOR CERTIFICATE – Rishikesh India – Jan. 2012
- Jose Alberto “El Canario” Concert – opening act – June 2009
- TV Show “Daytime Mississauga” – Rogers Television cable 10 & 63 – Salsa Performance – May 2009
- Carassauga Latin American Festival – May 2009
- Winter Salsa Carnival – March 2009
- TV Show “Daytime Mississauga” – Rogers Television cable 10 & 63 – Tango Performance – Feb. 2009
- Twosome Ballroom Event with couples from TV SHOW “Dancing with the Stars” & “So you think you can Dance” – Feb. 2009
- Shoppers Drug Mart Convention – Halifax Nova Scotia – Nov. 2008
- BMO Corporate Gala Dinner – Toronto – Nov. 2008
- TV SHOW “First Local” – Rogers Television Mississauga – Nov. 2008
- Consular Ball Gala Dinner – Toronto – Nov. 2008
- TV SHOW “T.O. Latino” – Rogers Television – Fall 2008
- TV SHOW “Mansions” – HGTV – Fall 2008
- Canada Salsa Congress – Oct. 2008
- Ballroom Event with couples from TV SHOW “So you think you can Dance” – Sept. 2008
- “Son De Cali” salsa concert – Sept. 2008
- Mambo Nights Event – Bermuda – Aug. 2008
- BLACKBERRY BOLD Launch Tour around Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Calgary & BC) – July 2008
- TV Show “Daytime Toronto” – Rogers Television cable 10 & 63 – May 2008
- Ballroom Event with couples from TV SHOW “Dancing with the Stars” (Edyta & Alec) and Pasha & Anya from “So you think you can Dance” – May 2008
- “Luv 2 Dance” Competition– May 2008
- “Sick Kids Hospital” Gala – April 2008
- TV SHOW “Paso a Paso por el Mundo” Televisa (Mexico)
- Willie Colon Concert – opening act – Toronto – Nov. 3, 2007
- Canada Salsa Congress – Oct. 2007
- Makeover TV SHOW “Style by Jury”– W Network – Toronto – Sept. 2007
- TV Commercial – Excellus – Blue Cross/ Blue Shield, Healthy Blue health plan – Sept. 2007
- Gilberto Santa Rosa Concert – opening act – Toronto – Aug. 2007
- Reality TV SHOW “Party Mamas” – Slice TV Toronto – Aug. 2007
- CNE International Stage – Toronto – Aug. 2007
- Bermuda Mambo Nights – Bermuda Island – Aug. 2007
- FEDEX Gala Event – Toronto – July 2006
- EL GRAN COMBO CONCERT – Toronto – April 2006
- Winter Salsa Carnival – Toronto – March 2006
- CIBC Christmas Event – Toronto – Nov. 2005
- Ontario Open Championships – Toronto – Oct. 2005
- Canada Salsa Congress – Toronto – Oct. 2005
- Royal Caribbean Cruise – Bermuda Salsa Fest – Sept. 2005
- “Take the Lead” Dance Film starring Antonio Banderas – Toronto – June 2005
- Fandango – Bridge Point Health – Toronto – May 2005
- Remax Awards Presentation – Toronto – April 2005
- Canada Salsa Congress – Toronto – Oct. 2004
- Hot Summer Nights Event – Bermuda Island – Sept. 2004
- Hot Summer Nights Event – Bermuda Island – May 2004
- Sweden Salsa Congress – May 2004
- Dirty Dancing – Havana Nights Preview – Performance at Famous Players Cinema – Feb. 2004
- World Salsa Federation Championships – Miami – Nov. 2003
- Canada Salsa Congress – Toronto – Oct. 2003
- 7th Annual World Salsa Congress – Puerto Rico – July 2003
- “Fashion Cares” event – Toronto’s biggest fundraiser event in support of AIDS, Metro Toronto Convention Centre – May 2003
- Dancescape TV, A Gala Evening of Dance – March 2003
- 6th Annual World Salsa Congress – Puerto Rico – July 2002
- Salsa Team Canada Fund raisers – Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto – Summer 2002
- Dancescape TV – Strictly Dancing Downtown – Burlington – April 21, 2002
- Salsason / Okokan Arts Productions – Dundas Banquet Place – March 9, 2002
- Kaleidoscope Tango Production – Estonian House – Feb. 23, 2002
- Multicultural Event – Seneca College – Feb. 13, 2002
- BMW Christmas Party – Royal York Hotel – Dec. 2001
- The Ritz Nightclub – performed every other Sat. from Sept. to Dec. 2001
- Miss Canada / Universe Pageant – CNE – Sept. 2001
- Multicultural Event Week – CNE – performed Aug. 17 to Sept. 3 2001
- Palazzo Nightclub – performed every other Friday from March to Nov. 2001
- To Tango Review – Captain John’s Boat / Restaurant – Summer 2001
- Latin Fest – Mel Lastman Square – Summer 2001
- Carassauga Festival – Community Event / Mississauga – May 2001