The Dance Instructors
Deborah Fields Perez
Deborah is the Founder of By Your Side Dance Studio and one of the most sought after dancers and choreographers in the United States. Due to her love for choreography, she also serves as the best Wedding Dance Instructor in Los Angeles. Deborah teaches American Rhythm, American Smooth, International Standard, Salsa, West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop and Tap Dancing.
Deborah has over twenty years of experience as a dance instructor and competitor competing in National Dance Championships across the country. Her titles include: United States Rising Star Theater Arts Champion, Dixie Invitational American Style Theater Arts Champion, South Eastern Theater Arts Dance Champion, Fred Astaire Dixie Invitational Theater Arts Champion, World Champion Dance Cheerleader – Notre Dame University. Deborah was certified by Arthur Murray Studios and Fred Astaire Dance Studios with high honors. She trained with dance greats such as Patrick and Wendy Johnson, Chester Whitmore, Rufus Dustin, Ron Montez, Rick Valenzuela, Terry Leone, Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin. As a sideline special skill, Deborah also has a background in theatrical weaponry and has trained many of Hollywood’s stuntmen for movie scenes!
Deborah is a member of the National Dance Council of America, USA Dance, Inc. as an Athlete: Professional, a coveted member of the International Dance Council – CID and listed on the International List of Who’s Who in Dancing. Deborah has appeared and choreographed in numerous television, films, music videos & stage productions. Her latest television appearance was on “The Bachelor” as a dance instructor. Deborah now dances professionally with Craig Morris and owns the By Your Side Dance Studio as well as By Your Side Productions performance dance company.
Felipe Telona Jr.
Felipe Telona Jr. began his journey to become a professional ballroom dance teacher in New Jersey where after only three months with his first ballroom dance partner he placed Fifth in the U.S. American Rhythm division. He is now a Championship Ballroom Dancing Judge and also qualifies as a National Judge belonging to an elite group of Ballroom Dance Competition judges in the United States.
• 10 Time World American Rhythm Finalist
• 4 Time Vice-Champion in American Rhythm
• 2 Time World Mambo Champion
• World Salsa Champion
• 1999 Blackpool Latin Formation Team Champion
• Assistant Choreographer on “So You Think You Can Dance”
• Assistant Choreographer for Celine Dion Music Video
• Choreographer for an American Express Industrial Film
• 2008 World Tour Featured Dance Artist on America’s Ballroom Challenge – Seen on PBS
• Featured Performer for the Gracie Allen Awards
• Featured Performer for the “Dancers for Life Tribute” at the New York City Center on Broadway
• Featured in “Dance Legends on Broadway”
Lina has been competing professionally in ballroom since the age of five, and has won many awards over the years. She currently holds a Specialist Diploma from the Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education: Sport & Health in Ballroom dancing, and has extensive experience teaching children and helping them prepare for ballroom dance competitions and performances.
Sandor & Parissa
Sandor, originally from Buenos Aires Argentina, is a Tango Master for over three decades. He was a principal dancer in the Broadway/London hit show Forever Tango, nominated for the Tony Award “Best Choreography”. Parissa has coached several celebrities, including Antonio Banderas for the movie Take the Lead. Sandor & Parissa have been featured performing on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, and they have choreographed many of the Argentine Tangos on the show.
Laura Canellias, also known as the “First Lady of Salsa” is one of the foremost salsa dance instructors on the west coast as well as one of the pioneers of the L.A. Salsa style. Originally from Texas, her dance training began at a young age with ballet, jazz, and tap and later included ballroom dancing. Since moving to Los Angeles 24 years ago, her reputation and teaching skills in the world of salsa have placed her in high demand taking her around the globe teaching, coaching, judging, performing as well as choreographing for television, film, and stage. As a featured performer, she has danced her way into movies such as: The Mambo Kinds, Out To Sea and Dance With Me. Her performance with the great Tito Puente, was one of the highlights of her career was performing with The Spanish Harlem Orchestra at the 2003 Montreal Jazz Festival.
Shay Dixon is a very diverse professional dancer, instructor, and choreographer from Florida. He has become well known through-out the dance industry for his style, strong technique, and charisma on the dance floor. His love for music and dance has led to substantial success on and off the competition floor.
His 15 years of dance training spans from Latin, Ballroom, Hustle, Salsa and WC Swing to Ballet, Hip hop, Contemporary & Theater Arts. Over the past few years, under the leadership of Ralph Ramirez & Billy Farajo, Shay has captured six professional championship titles in Hustle & Salsa. He placed top 6 in the World Exhibition Cabaret at USDC, and won the World Hustle Championship title in 2009 at IHSC. In 2010, Shay was chosen by Maria Torres (acclaimed choreographer from SYTYCD & numerous Broadway shows) to be featured in her dance company. Since then, he has been a featured performer in numerous shows across the country.
Originally from Kiev (Ukraine), Ilona is no stranger to music and dance. Growing up in the former Soviet Union she was exposed to dance and music from the age of four. A classically trained pianist, Ilona has a deep understanding and appreciation for music and rhythm. Prior to her immigration to the US in 1979, she was trained to accompany dancers with the world-renowned Ukrainian dance troupe, Virsky Ukranian Dance Ensemble. This is where Ilona developed her true passion and reverence for discipline, form, and creative expression, qualities that set all great dancers apart from the rest.
Over the last 25 years Ilona has expanded her artistic expression once again, discovering Latin dances – Salsa, Mambo and Argentine Tango. Trained by Perry Rogovin, Sandor, Mariano Chicho Framboli and Juana Sepulveda , Geraldine Rojas and Ezequil Paludi, Fabian Salas and Lola Diaz among other acclaimed Tango instructors, Ilona has a strong foundation and deep respect and knowledge of the fundamentals upon which tango is structured.
Guillermo was trained by Champions Felipe and Carolina Telona, Nadia Eftedal, Victor Kanevsky, Valentina Kostenko, Max Sinisa and Eulia Baranovsky. He was the 2005 Silver Salsa National Pro/Am Champion and 2009 American Smooth National Finalist and has been dancing a little over ten years. He specializes in Smooth, Standard, Latin and Rhythm dances.
Batuhan Gurel is a Professional Latin-American Dancer / Instructor & Judge for over 21 years. He performed on “Strictly Ballroom” The Musical directed by Bazz Lhurmann in Sydney Opera House, Australia. He has taught as a professional dancer for more than 20 years in Europe, Australia and the US. He has trained many top competitive couples, dancers and Performance Teams. He also joins PRO/AM competitions with his students and has won countless National and International Pro/Am Competitions. Batuhan has a special, unique approach to teaching: “Dancing is not only expressed with your body, the mind has to let go and movements felt on a soul level, I need to break the limitations in your mind first to reach your maximum potential (that’s psychological), so your soul can enjoy while you are dancing, the whole point of dancing is to have fun in the end, this occurs over the course of the learning process”. Batuhan specializes in many dance styles, and is especially proficient in Latin American, Salsa, Bachata, Argentinian Tango, Ballroom, Swing, Kizomba, Zouk and Wedding Dance Lessons.
Rene has 15 years of experience teaching dance at By Your Side Dance Studio in Los Angeles. He is a competitive ballroom dancer specializing in American Smooth and Rhythm. Rene has won the Open Amateur American Rhythm and Open Amateur American Smooth titles. He is great with beginner students. His great sense of humor makes his students feel comfortable and at ease.