Magna Gopal is one of the leading instructors and performers in the global salsa industry with over 15,000 followers across her social networks. She is world renowned for her teaching methods, her creative musicality and her ability to effortlessly connect, relate and transfer knowledge to almost any demographic. A leading role model for dancers and women in general, she started with zero background in dance and has built her brand to become one of the top solo female artists and instructors in what is predominantly a male-dominated industry.
Originally from India, she moved to Canada with her family where she obtained her B.A. in Economics and International Relations at University of Toronto and simultaneously was exposed to the Latin dance culture. After completing her degree she decided to pursue her passion in dance relentlessly. She started out with performing and choreographing for Toronto-based student and professional teams and later branching out on her own and moving to the New York/New Jersey area, where she is now based. She is one of the self-taught wonders of the salsa world and accredits her teaching methodology to the fact that she had to discover, analyze and understand the movements of the body by herself. Combining her methodology with her affable nature and genuine desire to see individuals grow has made her one of the most respected and sought after instructors and dancers. She has taught and performed in over 55 countries and has shared 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, to name a few.
Magna was a Featured Dancer and an Assistant Choreographer for the short film “Mano” which won Best Cinematography at the Sol Dance Film Festival and has choregraphed for many other teams and couples since. She has released two instructional DVDs under her own name, has been featured in two others in Salsa and Kizomba and is working on new releases. Though salsa is her forte, she can also dance some West Coast Swing, Bachata, Kizomba, Semba, Tango, Forro and Samba de Gafieira.
Her 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 within dance. One of her mottos is ‘Learn the rules, master the rules, break the rules’ and she encourages others to explore this philosophy as well.
BACKGROUND: HOW SHE GOT INTO SALSA
Inspired by the movie Dance with Me, Magna was moved to learn salsa. She began taking lessons to learn the basic timing and steps of Cumbia and then when the lessons weren’t moving fast enough she decided to take a hands on approach by social dancing as often as possible. Going out every night of the week and trying to dance with the best leaders as often as possible, she dramatically improved her ability to follow and spin. With that foundation she began to experiment with the music and different ways to use her body to interpret it. In this self-taught manner she also developed a keen ability to really understand the body and how to explain that to help others improve their dancing. Her creative interpretation of the music, ability to effortlessly follow any lead, spin with speed and accuracy makes her dance a pleasure to watch and to experience; her limitless energy often ensures her presence on the dance floor all night.