June 19, 2024


Salsa Dancing for Phoenix, AZ

Shawn Sallee & Shira James

Shawn Sallee & Shira James

Shawn Sallee & Shira James



Shawn Sallee

Shawn Sallee embarked on his salsa journey in 1997 in Seattle. He relocated to Phoenix in 2002, where he became a key salsa dance instructor, teaching hundreds of people from beginning to advanced levels, contributing to the growth of the local salsa community. He founded Salvaje Dance Company, performing at local, state, and national events like the Los Angeles Salsa Congress and Palm Springs Salsa Extravaganza.

Shawn established the weekly events Salsa Social Sundays @ Paragon (now NRG), and Salsa Thursdays @ Mythos in 2003.  The nights at Mythos featured a live salsa band and earned the title of “Best Salsa Club” by Phoenix New Times in 2005.

Shawn Sallee‘s dedication to salsa dancing and music was acknowledged at the 2004 Los Angeles Salsa Congress, one of the top five salsa events in the world at the time, where he was honored for “his significant contributions to the world of Latin music and dance.”

He paused his salsa dancing career late 2013 for personal reasons, and he re-launched it in 2023 along with his dance partner Shira James and founded Unity Salsa, a public charity organization charted to preserve and promote the culture of Latin music & dance while offering help & hope to those in need. 

Shira James took her first Salsa lesson in 2003 while traveling through Central America. She quickly fell in love with Salsa, and started to dance with every opportunity she had. In college, Shira used both Salsa and ballroom dancing to help manage depression and anxiety, and understands that dance played a major role in helping her become who she is today.

Shira has been a part of the dance scene on and off for the past two decades, and returned to dance as a form of self-care after having kids. In Arizona, she has trained under Brenda Smith, Shawn Sallee, David Olarte, and Lawrence Garcia, and is grateful for the opportunity to have learned from a variety of skilled and passionate instructors.

Shawn Sallee has been in the rotation schedule of TUMBAO Latin Fridays since August 2012.
They are available for private salsa classes and can be reached as follows:
Shawn, (480) 453.65.38, shawn@unitysalsa.org
Shira: (602) 318.48.77 or shira@unitysalsa.org

Salsa For Phoenix, AZ
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