New Latin Studio Proves Dance is for Everyone 

By Ginger DeShaney

Dance is for everyone. 

“Some people think they’re too old or they don’t exercise enough or you need to be in tip-top shape to do it,” said Liliana (Lili) Jimenez. “I’m just trying to break those myths about dance. That’s what we’re about. I really just love trying to show everybody that anyone can dance if you just try it.”

Lili owns Lili Latin Dance, which opened in May above the CVS on West Broadway in South Boston. She offers classes and private lessons for all ages in salsa and bachata. There is a partner tricks class for advanced dancers and wedding choreography classes for engaged couples. She has four other instructors who teach classes.

“I like to let people know the anatomy of things,” said Lili, who has a nursing degree from Northeastern University and worked in nursing for a while before realizing she loved dancing more. 

“Working with different body types, we can achieve a lot of things. Having that knowledge, it gives a lot of power to people who will think, ‘Oh, just because I’m taller doesn’t mean I can’t dance. If I’m shorter or I’m bigger, that doesn’t mean I’m unable to do it.’ We will find solutions for your physical capabilities and then show you that it doesn’t matter what limitations you have. So there’s zero excuse. I will find an answer.”

Lili, 38, had been an instructor at Rumba y Timbal Dance Studio in Cambridge for many years before branching out on her own. She was thrilled to find a space in South Boston. 

Boston has a really welcoming community for Latin dance, she said. “I’m just trying to show people that Latin dance is not scary. A lot of people seem to be intimidated by it and they shouldn’t.”

In her studio, the bachata style is more popular than salsa. Lili, who was born in Puerto Rico but raised in Boston, explained that salsa is a more structured, more strict style of dance whereas bachata has a simpler structure and easier steps.

She currently has about 30 students. New dancers can sign up for class packages or memberships on Lili’s website: After getting to know each dancer’s experience, Lili suggests a starting level.

“I want people to know they can dance,” Lili said, “and this is an amazing way to meet new people and not feel like they have to be in a relationship or they have to be dating.”

Lili has heard from many students who were experiencing rough times and the partner dancing pulled them through depression. 

“That’s just the power of community dancing,” she said. “And you don’t have to be a pro to do it. You just need to know the basics and you’ll have a great time.”

The benefits of dancing are many. Dancers feel more confident, have more self-esteem, make new connections, and feel happier, Lili said, noting it’s ideal for introverts and extroverts. In addition, it’s a fun way to get fit.

Back in college, a friend invited Lili to go salsa dancing. Being from Puerto Rico, she thought she would be fine. “And I was very humbled by what I saw. I was mortified that I didn’t know what I was doing. So I immediately was like, ‘I have to take classes.’”

Dance teacher Vera Rowe whipped Lili into shape. “I was told I had the flavor, but I was definitely missing a lot of steps. I had a lot of cleaning up to do.”

If anyone is hesitant to try dance, Lili tells them about her journey. When she started dancing, she could barely touch her toes. “But through hard work and patience, I was able to achieve my goals.”

Lili has always loved dancing and is a natural teacher, so she is living the dream.

“I want everyone to know that we are very welcoming and everyone is invited to dance!” Lili said. “Our goal is to just make sure you have a great time and you enjoy it.”

Follow Lili on Instagram at @LiliLatinDance