Daysi Hernández and her son, Melvin Varela, two leading professional salsa dancers in El Salvador

In April, the professional dancer received recognition from the Legislative Assembly for her invaluable career and significant contributions to the art of the country from the dance field.

Daysi Hernández is a Salvadoran who from a very young age was passionate about rhythm and body movements that are interconnected through music. It is about dance, a discipline that, when executed, transmits positive emotions and energies.

Before becoming a professional dancer and a reference for salsa in El Salvador, Daysi worked as an announcer and was part of several musical orchestras, until in 1998 she had her first contact with the salsa dance genre, thus discovering one of her great passions. .

“My contact was giving classes, then I realized that I had a great vocation and I wanted people to know salsa, and that there were men and women dancing salsa, since there were none before,” explained the artist.

It is for this reason that Hernández never abandoned her dream and this led her to become the first salsa teacher in Central America. She also founded the Salsero and Bachatero Movement in El Salvador, as well as the Salsero and Bachatera Community in San Salvador, Santa Ana and Nejapa.

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La Teacher has also competed in dance events in El Salvador.

“Before starting in salsa I had been in a musical group. From a young age I started in jazz and urban taking classes, and then I started with music, it was in a professional group and I worked with the media, that’s why I was already a bit acclimated when I got to salsa”, detailed, Daysi, who She is known in the artistic world as “La Teacher”.

Later, in 2000 he founded the first salsa institution in the country called Salsalatina Dance Company, in which he has trained many generations of dancers who today have raised the name of the country.

Among those professionals is his son, Melvin Varela, who from a very young age followed in his footsteps in the artistic field until he became an international dancer.

“He is a little gift from God because he has given me many surprises. He is a warrior because he has fought for his dreams and I am very proud that El Salvador also has a person who fights for this genre and for his dreams. He is also making history, he is the first champion we have in the professional couples category and he has represented the country for 8 years, ”she commented enthusiastically.

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The Salvadoran has been a professional salsa dancer for more than two decades and has trained generations of professionals in this discipline.

The 26-year-old young man won for El Salvador the first Central American Salsa Congress Championship in the professional couple category held in Guatemala in 2019. He has also had the opportunity to share the stage on several occasions with his mother.

According to Daysi, being a single mother did not prevent her from moving forward with her artistic career, on the contrary, her son became her life force to never abandon her goals. Now, she is very proud of the achievements he has been able to achieve as a dancer and choreographer.

Ironically, it was she who taught Melvin his first steps when he was little, but also when he started in the world of dance. Being a mother, teacher, best friend and colleague of her father has been the best gift life could give her, she said.

“We have been a good team, because I feel that I would not have achieved all this if I had not had a good son, because I was always a single mother, so I had his support all this time. My son, without a doubt, has been a team for me. He has always been patient, he always understood all my stages until he began to live this passion too, “he stressed.

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In April, he obtained recognition from the Legislative Assembly for his artistic career and his contribution to art.

Achievements and accolades

On the other hand, on April 25, Daysi obtained recognition from the Legislative Assembly for her invaluable artistic career and her significant contributions to art in El Salvador.

“It was a recognition that I did not expect. It had always been folklore, ballet, but I think it’s the first recognition given to another genre, in this case, salsa. So it was a recognition that they gave me for the trajectory in relation to the International Day of Dance”, she coined.

After 24 years of being a professional dancer, this award honors the commitment, discipline and considerable contribution that La Teacher makes for art and culture in the country.

“It is a privilege that I have and I will always thank God, who has been close to me at every step and every stage. I feel very happy to be able to represent salsa and to be able to be a benchmark of this genre in the country”, he detailed.

Receiving this award and winning innumerable national and international dance competitions for more than two decades have allowed her to be highly recognized in the country and to be considered “Ambassador of Salsa” in the field of dance.

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Melvin Varela has followed in his mother’s footsteps and has become an international professional dancer.

However, achieving these awards has not been easy for her, since she has had to fight twice as hard to get them. However, she describes her passion for salsa as “a happiness in the life of every human being, because she transmits positive things.”

“As a woman I think that dreams can be fulfilled. I had many dreams that people would know this culture, and now it is a reality. So, it is a satisfaction that I feel to be able to see now a generation transmitting the culture of salsa at an international level”, she affirmed.

Challenges of being a salsa dancer

“It is very difficult for there to be a woman teaching salsa, because you have to have the skill to be able to dance as a man and a woman. That was what characterized me from the beginning, because I never had a man in my relationship who gave me classes. So it is a gift to be able to have developed the skills of men and women in all styles of salsa. That is not easy because the man does one thing and the woman does another, so in salsa there always has to be a man and a woman who teach”.

And it is that for the artist “dancing as a couple is an art and when you enter that world it is very difficult to let go”, for this reason, she wants to continue transmitting her knowledge of dance to many more generations. Her longing is to see young Salvadorans enjoy salsa and compete like the greats outside their national borders.

For those who wish to learn ballet, cabaret salsa, online salsa On1, On2, Cuban salsa, chachachá, classical bachata, merengue, urban and many dance styles, they can go to the Facebook page of Salsalatina Dance Co. El Salvador and ask for the courses.

One of her dreams is to see her son become a worldwide reference in the salsa dance genre.