About Magna Gopal
For official biographical and press information, please see Magna’s official press materials.
Through a dedication to my craft and building relationships, I have become one of the leading instructors and performers in the global salsa industry. I have developed a reputation for exceptional teaching skills, uninhibited creativity, and a philosophy that respects the harmony between personal expression and respect for others. I started off with a zero background in dance but have since built my brand to become one of the top solo female artists and instructors in the industry and a leading role model for the members of my community.
I was born in India and moved to Canada at a very young age. My first exposure to the Latin dance culture happened around the same time that I began my studies in Economics and International Relations at the University of Toronto. After completing my degree, I decided to pursue my passion in dance, relentlessly. I started out with performing and choreographing for Toronto-based student and professional teams. Later, I branched out on my own, finally settling in the New York City area, where I am currently based.
My methodology in teaching, something I’ve come to be internationally respected for, is primarily a result of the fact that I’m self-taught. I had to discover, analyze, and understand the movements of the body on my own. Combining this methodical approach to dance with my genuine desire to see individuals grow has provided me with multiple occasions to disseminate my philosophy across the globe. I have done this through dance related travels, public speaking gigs, as a research subject for a few PhD theses , Toastmasters, and as an advisory board member for the Modern Moves Project at King’s College in London, UK.
This career has provided me with abundant opportunities for travel and cross cultural interaction. Visiting over 74 countries and having the honor of sharing the stage with many well known dancers as well as famous Latin music bands such as Jimmy Bosch, El Gran Combo, New Swing Sextet, Mambo Legends and the Bronx Horns, are just a few of the advantages of this career. I was a Featured Dancer and an Assistant Choreographer for the short film “Mano” which won Best Cinematography at the Sol Dance Film Festival and continue to choreograph for couples and teams. I have released two instructional DVDs under my own name, am featured in two others in Salsa and Kizomba, and am working on new releases. Though salsa is my forte, my sensitivity and responsiveness to non-verbal communication allows me to easily adapt to and interpret other dance forms including, West Coast Swing, Swing, Bachata, Kizomba, Semba, Tango, Forro, and Samba de Gafieira.
My desire is not only to teach and motivate people to be better dancers but also to inspire them to grow as individuals and challenge cultural norms through an increased awareness and respect for the human connection. I believe the best way to do this is by understanding existing rules of engagement, laying a good foundation, and expressing yourself in a manner that always retains a level of respect and compassion for others.