Azucena Perez
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Photography by Celeste Casas
Born in: Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico
College Degrees: Computer Sciences, B.S. and French, B.A., University of Texas at Austin
Spoken languages: Spanish, French, English
Competitive Sports: Competitive Swimmer and Triathlete (1994-1998)
Dance Training: Salsa, Flamenco, Modern Jazz, Hip hop, Latin Ballroom, Ballet
Teacher Certifications: Hatha Yoga, June 2007
Titles: 3rd place at the 2008 World Salsa Open in the Team Division, Puerto Rico
4-time Texas Salsa Open Champion (2005-2006)
2nd Place at the 2005 International Bay Area Competition
6th Place at the 2005 World Salsa Championships. 
 
Azucena grew up dancing Modern Jazz, Ballet Folklórico, and Hip hop in Mexico until the age of 17 when she moved to the United States for college. At the time, she was a competitive swimmer ranked #2 in her country; looking to further her swimming career, she joined one of the top swim teams in the U.S., the University of Texas Women's Swim Team in Austin, TX, under the direction of Jill Sterkel, a former Olympian. During her last year of college, Azucena moved to Grenoble, France for a year to study Computer Sciences at the Université Joseph Fourier where she also swam and competed for the university's swim team. 
 
After graduating with top honors, Azucena accepted a position as a Software Engineer at National Instruments; this event marked the end of her swimming career. But where one door closes another opens, and Azucena rediscovered her passion for dance through Salsa in the clubs of Austin. And from that moment on she devoted her free time to mastering the beautiful dance of Salsa. Her first victory came in May 2005 when her partner Carlos Leon and her won the Texas Salsa Open, Professional Category. 
Later in the year, and to her surprise, Azucena found herself in the finals at the World Salsa Championships where she and Carlos placed 6th. In February 2006, she left her engineering job to pursue dance professionally. In 2007, she moved to New York city to train and perform with the prestigious Salsa dance company Santo Rico, under the direction of Tomas Guerrero. And in 2008, one of her dreams came true, to perform with the world-renowned Jayson Molina from Puerto Rico.
 
Since then Azucena has performed in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Acapulco (Mexico), Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), San Juan (Puerto Rico), San Miguel de Allende (Mexico), Memphis, Washington DC, and throughout Texas.

Azucena has been featured in various TV shows such as the Cristina Show, Univision’s Que Pasa, ESPN International, Fox 7 News, TV Azteca, and Escandalo Latino. She has also been interviewed by Yahoo Health, Ahora Si, and most recently by American Latino TV.
 
As an instructor, Azucena is well known for her natural ability to inspire and motivate others to achieve their very best. Her motto is “Everyone can dance!” and her students are a testament to that belief. Azucena has taught workshops internationally and nationally in Salsa events such as the Acapulco Salsa Congress, International Festival of Dance in San Miguel de Allende, Washington DC Salsa congress, and the Houston Salsa Congress to name a few.

Azucena continues to teach, choregraph, and perform in major Salsa events around the country. She's based in Austin, Texas. Along with her partner Carlos, she co-directs her own dance company, Jazzy Dance Company, the first on2 dance company in Austin.
 
© 2006 Jazzy Dance Company, All Rights Reserved
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