Liz Lira, the “Rose of Salsa,” was born in La Paz, Bolivia, and immigrated to the United States at the early age of eight. Making Southern California her new home, she embraced the art of dance and excelled in both ballet and jazz.
For more than a dozen years, she trained at the most respected dance studios with top ballet coaches and traveled with her dance company, performing in front of thousands and on TV. Seen as one of the more talented young ballet dancers, she encountered numerous opportunities, including the possibility to move to New York and join one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world — The New York City Ballet.
However, personal strife and limitations hindered her dreams of pursuing a life on stage performing ballet, and nearly caused her to quit dancing forever. However, with the support of family and a strong determination, she regained her commitment to dance and transitioned to new avenues of expression.
Although professionally trained for many years in various forms of dance, including modern, lyrical and hip hop, it was not until 2001, at the age of 21, that she emerged onto the LA salsa scene. Her style quickly garnered her recognition as one of the top female dancers in Southern California. Although she desires to present an elegant style of salsa as her trademark, her dancing has also been referred to as a fusion of graceful motion and explosive energy.
Admired by many for her warm personality and exceptional dancing skills, she quickly became one of the most recognizable personalities on the club circuit. Her outstanding teaching skills also made her a favorite among salsa students at establishments such as the Mayan and Conga Room. Coveted by many of the salsa scene’s best male dancers to train as dance partners, she chose to dance with salsa veterans such as Alex da Silva and Solomon Rivera.
She went on to capture her first major salsa dance championship at the Mayan World Salsa Championships in the summer of 2002. Along with many other competitions, her itinerary also included performances on the international stage, including appearances in her beloved Bolivia, South Korea, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and Japan.
The momentum of her early success lead to commercials and music video appearances, as well as opportunities to choreograph for television and motion pictures. Liz has recently had the honor of choreographing the semi-finals and finals routines for Mark and Shawn, the first-place winners of Dancing With the Stars, Season 8. She assisted in choreographing the group hustle routine for Dancing With the Stars Season 9. And, in 2010, Liz was the choreographer for the 1st place winning couple, Derik and Nicole. In addition, she has been placed as the featured salsa choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance for both Season 7 (2010) and Season 8 (2011). She was also choreographer and principal dancer for the feature film, The Ugly Truth, starting Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl.
Although Liz is still invited to teach workshops, perform as the principal dancer of the Salsa and Argentine Tango genre around the world, she is also asked to judge World Competitions for all her experience and expertise. In 2012, Liz has been invited to judge the Acediki World Salsa Championship in Hong Kong.
Between traveling, training, and teaching private lessons, Liz donates her time to be a proud director and sponsor of the Liz Lira Dance Academy which is based in Los Angeles. The Academy unites dancers of all levels to train and learn professional level choreography. The teams have the opportunity to perform, compete, and travel!
December of 2010, she won first place in the salsa On 1 division at the World Latin Dance Cup and was crowned Ultimate Latin Dance Champion, making her a 9-time World Salsa Champion and 7-time US Salsa Champion. Liz won the salsa On 2 division this year at the Los Angeles Salsa Congress which means she will go on to compete for first place in both On 1 and On 2 this winter at the World Championships.
Liz Lira continues to share her passion of dance, acting and singing world wide. Despite Liz’s fruitful calendar, she has ongoing projects she has been working on that will be presented in 2012. Keep your eye out for new products such as new DVDs and a Liz Lira shoe line. An additional project is the Liz Lira Foundation that will be focused on presenting dance opportunities to the younger generation that live in less fortunate areas of the world. Liz strives to share her love for dance with to all she can reach.