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SalsaNewYork Reviewed Instructor:

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Instructor Stats:
( on 9/98)


Compiled by Manny Siverio
Luis Zegarra 

(Originally posted on Salsaweb NY on 9/98)
Luis Zegarra is no new comer to mambo in the New Jersey/New York area. He has taught most of the other mambo instructors working in New Jersey and is considered to be the most experienced instructor of the Garden State. He not only is a mambo instructor, but a choreographer, performer and promoter of mambo dance events. His very extensive resume includes performing for the Puerto Rican Day Parade, has performed in Italy & Peru, has danced on stage with Manny Pacheco, Jerry Galante, Los Hermanos Moreno, Edgar Joel, India, El Gran Combo, Jerry Rivera, Michael Stuart and Victor Manuelle to name a few. He has been featured in the "Somos Differentes" music video by Orquesta de la Luz, as mambo dancer in Carlito’s Way and has appeared on such T.V. shows as Sabado Al Medio Dia, Sabado 47, and has been the winner of many dance contests like the "Sabado Gigante Salsa Dance Contest. He is known as the promoter of the Mambo Showdown events and is the director of the Fuerza Latina Dance Company

I originally met Luis while he was busy promoting one of his mambo dance events. As a promoter he seemed very aggressive, energetic, and aware of the business of mambo music, mambo dancing and mambo instruction. It was then that he invited me to check out one of his classes and I promised that I would. Several months later when my schedule allowed me to, I found myself checking out one of Luis's classes out in New Jersey.

Luis class is broken down into down into three learning levels. The raw beginners were allocated closest to the door, beginners with some experience were in the middle and the more advanced members of the class (the beginner-intermediates) were at the other end of the room. Luis runs each class with the help of his assistant instructors. Though Luis would focus mostly on the advance students in his class, one could see him floating around the room to check out the progress of the other attending students.

While the two group of beginners start to work on open floor shines, Luis takes his more advanced students through partner work (turn patterns). Luis has a simple system to teaching turn patterns that can be divided into four parts. First, he demonstrates the turn so that the student can see what the final product looks like. Second, he has the students gradually perform the turn without worrying about the count (clave) so that they can get the feel of the pattern. Third, he teaches them to do the turn to the count so that they understand how to fit the moves to the timing of the music (clave). Finally he has them try it out with music.

About midway into the class before students take a recess break, Luis lines them up for a heavy Afro-Cuban series of floor shines done to music. All very high energy, designed to pump you up and make you look forward to recess. Recess is granted after a few minutes of healthy work when students break out into a good sweat. The remaining half of Luis’s class continues much of the same work as the beginning portion.

I liked the fact that Luis dedicates the last portion of his class to music theory. With music theory, Luis teaches his students to hear the music and to understand the clave. He gathers his students around his boom box and has them listen to the music. While the music is playing he has them count out loud the beats of the clave, find individual beats within the clave and practice when to start the basic step for partner work (-especially important to guys who have to lead and thus initiate the partner work). Being able to hear the clave, knowing when to break and change directions during the basic step is the key to dancing "On2". Luis knows this which is why he includes this segment in his classes.

Luis's Style in a nutshell:
If I were to compare Luis’s style to other mambo instructors I would say that he has a very energetic and explosive style of dancing (much like the man himself). Luis looks thin, but this is deceptive. I’ve been told by some of his dance partners that he has a very strong lead. Even though he sometimes is hard to understand (because English is a second language for him) he is able to get through and relate to people because of his sheer willpower and enthusiasm. So if you are looking for the more explosive style of mambo dancing than Luis Zegarra may be the man for you.

Social Dance:



  • None at this time.

Instructional Videos

  • None at this time.

Dance Company

Contact Info:


  • Luis is currently available to teach private classes. Those interested should contact him directly to discuss fees and scheduling.


  • Luis mainly caters to an adult mambo student crowd.

Class Schedule:

Luis Zegarra
  • Drama Nightclub
    201 Broad Street, Fairview, NJ 
    Club Phone: ( 201) 943- 9500
    8:00 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Class Fees/Tuition:

  • $15 per person, per class (includes free entry to Drama Nightclub for the night).

Classes are subject to change without notice  
it is always a good idea to confirm classes or clubs before heading out




  • NYC Transit : NYC Public Transit Authority Website which supplies you info on train/bus routes, transportation, etc.

  • Mapquest.com : Map/direction providing website for those using their own vehicles to get to class location. 
    Yahoo.com: This is the link to the Yahoo maps starting page. According to Steve Shaw, it may be the better of the two Map websites.














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