Oscar Naranjo – a dancer, teacher, choreographer, fitness and martial arts enthusiast and so much more.
Where It All Began….
Oscar was born in Ecuador and spent his childhood immersed in rich Latin culture and music. He has developed deep appreciation for sounds and flavour of rhythms of Cumbia, Merengue, Salsa and traditional Ecuadorian music. Growing up watching family and friends dance started the passion for dance and provided cultural foundation to become a true Latin Dance professional that he is now.
From Passion to Profession ….
At 16 years of age Oscar discovered the world of professional Latin Dance. He was fortunate to have trained with the world renowned Latin Dance instructors such as Jesus Aponte, Salamon Rivera and Vasquez brothers. He also had the opportunity to train in Argentine Tango with the World Champion Fabian Peralta.
Oscar started travelling at the age of 18 competing nationally and internationally. His big break as a performer came in 1989 when he performed the opening act for Eddie Santiago. Since then Oscar brought his high energy dance to performances of such well known Latin entertainers as Mark Anthony, Carlos Vives, Jose Alberto “El Canario”, Aventura, Carlos y Alexandra, Gente De Zona, Maelo Ruiz, Oscar De Leon, Sonora Carruzeles, La Sonora Dinamita, Latin Brothers, El Gran Combo, Victor Manuelle, Gilberto Santo Rosa, Los Adolecentes, Salsa Kids, Luisito Carrion, Junior Gonzalez, Grupo Niche, Frankie Negron.
Oscar has competed extensively and was awarded first place in 25 Salsa Competitions and crowned Vice World Champion at the Miami World Salsa Federation Championships in 2003. Oscar takes a lot of pride in representing Canada in various Congresses around the world. He has performed, taught workshops and judged competitions in China, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Cuba Puerto Rico, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Italy, France, USA, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia.
As Oscar’s professional reputation grew, he was invited to appear in movies, most notably “Take the Lead” starring Antonio Banderas as well as other movies with leading actors such as Danny De Vito, Steven Seagal, Meg Ryan and Omar Epps.
TV Commercials, Music Videos, Choreographing life performances – is all a part of Oscar’s extensive creative portfolio.
Learning and Teaching….
“I am always a student, I want to be absorbing and learning” – Oscar Naranjo
Oscar is well known in Canada and internationally as an engaging and fun instructor. Having taught over 3500 students and counting, his students range from 4 years old to those who start dancing well into their advanced years, from absolute beginners to professional performers and instructors, teams, amateur, semi-pro and pro levels.
Mostly known for his Salsa classes, Oscar also teaches Bachata, Cumbia and Cha-cha-cha. His Salsa instruction includes Salsa On 1, Salsa On 2, Cuban Salsa, Rueda de Casino.
Oscar was one of the first in Toronto, to teach Salsa On 1, having co-founded “Strictly Salsa”, then “Latin Energy” with Vanessa Stay, moving on to opening “Latin Groove Production” in 2009. Many of Oscar’s former and current students went on to become performers, competitors and instructors. Seeing his students grow, taking their art across the Globe to Europe, United States and throughout Canada has been one of Oscar’s most satisfying career achievements.
What to Expect When Taking Classes with Oscar Naranjo….
If you decide to join one of Oscar’s classes, you will find atmosphere that is warm, welcoming and fun. Years of experience have taught Oscar how to create environment that is non-intimidating to even most novice learners while making sure everyone is working hard and getting the most learning out of each and every lesson.
You can expect to work hard on your basic steps – the hardest part of learning Salsa according to Oscar. Give it time, expect to work hard and your efforts will be rewarded on the dance floor.
Expect to learn about Salsa Music, listening to it and feeling it. You will learn how to connect with your partner and how to adapt yourself to different dance styles.
You will find Oscar to be a true professional who is committed to his work and to his students. Expect well organized classes that start on time, run according to schedule and are always full of excitement and joy of dance.
On Being a Part of the Dance Community….
“Dancing is what I do best, this is what I love doing. I hope to keep dancing as long as I am alive” – Oscar Naranjo
If you were to attend any Latin Dance or cultural event, chances are, you will run into Oscar Naranjo. Oscar is very happy to share his passion for dance and music with anyone who is looking to become a part of the vibrant salsa scene in Toronto.
Fitness and Martial Arts ….
In addition to being accomplished Dancer, Performer, Choreographer, Instructor, Oscar has an impressive record as a Fitness Professional. Oscar has loved Martial Arts since he was a child. Oscar has trained and continues to train in Boxing, Kickboxing, Muy Tai, Jiu Jitsu, and Mixed Martial Arts. When he is not dancing or teaching dance, Oscar can be found training at Evolucao Thai. He trains with Alfonso “Alfi” Shihan and continues to grow and develop, concentrating on active, healthy lifestyle, discipline and motivation.