Latin dance lessons with Yana Naftaliev.

HD video of Yana dancing with her friend Kyle.

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Editorial review for Yana Naftaliev

To be considered a good dancer, the ladies must learn how to follow and the gentlemen must acquire the skills how to lead well. To be considered a good instructor, it’s necessary to know how to do both. Yana Naftaliev not only knows how to lead or follow, but one of the benefits of having her as your private dance instructor is her skill to “back-lead” very well. If you are learning the steps as a leader, the ability of your instructor to “back-lead” will cut your learning curve in about half. What does it mean to “back-lead?” When you are learning to dance the instructor will usually show you the steps as many times as needed for you to be able to repeat them. In addition to just showing the steps, Yana can lead (or back-lead) you through your steps as a leader, while stepping her steps as a follower. To “back lead” is something that is extremely hard for a girl to learn. I have been dancing for about 1.5 years and Yana is the only female dance instructor that I currently know of who can “back-lead” well. I put a lot of emphasis of Yana’s ability to “back-lead” because I have not met anyone else who does it as well as Yana. Besides that, she is just a great Latin dance instructor in general, and fun to be around.
Yana specializes in teaching salsa on 1 (also called Los Angeles style), salsa on 2 (also called New York style, or mambo) bachata, merengue and cha-cha. Yana also knows most of the ballroom dances, however, teaching Latin dance is her specialty.
To contact Yana for a private lesson you can either call her cell phone or email her. You can also “try it before you buy it” so to speak. Yana teaches beginner group class at Mijana on selected Fridays. She is not there every week, so call/email to find out the specific days she will be there. After taking a group class, you can decide if you would like to take private lessons from her.

Yana has been teaching Latin Dance for about 5 years. She is always super busy working with dancers referred to her by numerous people in the salsa community, as well as former and current students. She is a very popular instructor but always makes room for new students.

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Have you taken any private or group lessons from Yana? Did you enjoy the lesson? Would you recommend a lesson with Yana to a friend?


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Average rating:  
 27 reviews
by Garrit & Iliana Visser on

We had a couple private dance lesson with Yana to get ready for our wedding. Yana choreographed the most memorable first dance for us. People came up to us and couldn't stop talking about how beautiful it was.We learned the basic moves, a couple spins, lifts and dips. She was great and definitely made us feel better about our first dance. I'll never forget her patience, how she communicates clearly, her creativity to create the dance and ability to teach us. Yana leads with such confidence that you just know you're in good hands!We would definitely recommend her if you feel you need dance lessons for your first dance.

by Leo Montoya on
Highly Knowledgeable & Extremely Patient!

I would highly recommend taking a dance lesson from Yana Naftaliev. She's highly knowledgeable and extremely patient. She is very good at breaking down each sequence of the pattern she is teaching. She is also very creative so no two lessons are the same, it may appear similar initially, but her creativity takes over and her students are in for a pleasant surprise. We are all very fortunate to have an instructor with Yana's abilities in the Phx area. Thank you Yana, please don't ever leave us!!!

by Josh Bierman on
First solo lesson

I've been to group dancing sessions and received instruction from my friends in the past but I made more progress in one hour with Yana than I had in all the salsa dancing I had done before put together. Thank you for the jump start Yana! These priviate lessons are well worth the money! I hope to be dancing at an intermediate level soon.

by Emmanuel Moore on
Knowledgeable & Patient

Yana is an excellent instructor! Not once did she make me feel embarrassed when I did something incorrectly. Her expertise is highlighted by her ability to observe her students and make all the correct adjustments to improve their technique. Yana is a jewel to work with one on one, and she manages groups with ease. Her lessons evoke the euphoric effects that dance has on the mind and body. Thank you Yana!

by Kevin on
Excellent Dance Instructor

I have been taking salsa lessons with Yana for a year and enjoy them. Yana strengths are that she is able to back lead for the guys and do the guys foot work and leads. For a guy like me this allows her to demonstrate and walk through the new move / combination and then once I have a handle on it she can then dance the move with me. Taking lessons with Yana is enjoyable since she is very personable and listens well to students concerns. She is flexible in scheduling appointments and is prompt and courteous. I highly recommend her as an instructor.

by jesus montejano on
muy divertido

Muchas gracias yana por todo el tiempo que te as tomado para ensenarme abailar gracias aty eperdido casi 20 libras en menos de 3 meses con todo el ejersicio k emos echo bailando muchisimas gracias eres la mejor yana ;)

by Ben on
One of the Best!

Tumbao Latin Fridays at Mijana features the best salsa instructors in town and Yana Naftaliev is one of them. She has earned the spot as an instructor Yana will make sure that students understand and execute the patterns she is teaching. Yana's classes are not dull either. her smile and great personality ensures a fun time in her class. Yana has been working hard to be where she is right now. She has been a great addition to Tumbao Latin Fridays.

by David on
Great teacher for a beginner!

I have taken private lessons and group lessons from Yana. In each, she brought out a side of me I didn't know I had. I have never thought myself much of a dancer, but her patient and warm approach made me confident. Thanks Yana!

by Mary Lane Porter on
Yana is Awesome!

Yana is awesome! She has been super helpful with my non-profit, Dancers and Health Together, Inc. (DAHT), and she always makes her students smile. Whether you have been dancing for years or are a first-timer, Yana makes her class fun, comfortable, and informative. Want to learn a Latin style? Yana is the person to contact!

by Sue on
So much fun!

Have discovered my passion for dancing at age 30, I was a little intimated by getting out of my comfort zone and face the social dacing...till I met Yana! She is such an amazing dancer and instructor, making her classes easy to follow, remember, and so much fun to dance! Her happy energy and encouragement creates a place where everyone is comfortable and can just let loose and have fun!

by Joel on
Salsa For Beginners

I first met Yana years ago while attending Arizona State University. She had a real passion for Salsa back then and am happy to see that she still continues her passion today! I had never taken up salsa before I had finally attended one of her lessons. Yana breaks down every move and is capable of working with beginner and intermediate students as well as some more advanced learners. She also had some assistants that were very kind and helpful to coach me through some steps I had difficulty with. Thanks guys! If I can learn something, so can you.

The Mijana is a great environment for any size group to get togehter. Salsa with Yana makes it even more exciting. I would recommend it to anyone looking to have a great time or serious about learning Latin dance.

by Felicia Campos on
Summer Dance Intensive

Yana came out and taught some young dancers a salsa routine and was able to teach it with such grace and elegance while instructing in such an easy way for the dancers to understand easily. She has so much patience for all levels of dancers. I highly recommend Yana for any type of instruction you may need for your next event.

by Frank Beltran on
Salsa

Hola inspiring Salsa dancers! It will be an exciting adventure to learn Salsa dancing from Yana. She teaches young and old (and I can attest from my advanced age), and she successfully leads beginners to dancers. It took me a bit longer to do it right because I have 2 left feet. However, we went from beginner to competition. She teaches the very basics steps over and over. It was a lot more overs for me but I finally got it. Then we evolved into dance routines and patterns. Once I nailed these patterns we competed in a Salsa dancing contest. Yana has great patience and the personality to match. Anyone that is not taking lessons from Yana is missing out. You will be able to learn quickly and be out social dancing at Salsa venues. Have fun..........

by Gianni on
Yana dancing

Yana is an exceptional instructor.
She is natural in her dancing moves and she keeps you enthusiastic about dancing, patient and willing to show you again and again until you get it. I only had two private lessons thus far and she made me feel like I can do this with enough practice.
I highly recommend her to future students.

by Jessica on
So easy to learn from

Yana is such a doll. She is so easy to learn from because her positive attitude and happy smile help you instantly relax. I have sent several of my friends interested in learning to salsa to her and they have all left her class feeling so much more confident in their skills. As an intermediate/advanced dancer, I really appreciate how she can adjust to the needs of her student to focus on more complex patterns or styling options. I always learn something new with her!

by Sean Fa'asamala on
Yana's Group Lessons

I have had the honor and privilege of watching Yana teach introductory Salsa group lessons for almost a year now. Her positive, humorous, and inclusive attitude encourages people who are new to Latin dance and music to get out there and give it a try. I am happy that she is working in Phoenix and sharing her love for dance with so many people.

by Joey bellus on
Yana's passion

The one thing that stands out about Yana (other than her great dancing skills) is her passion for salsa. The way she teaches it, the way she interacts with her students, its all done with PASSION! She makes everyone feel comfortable when they are dancing no matter the level of experience. She is very patient and more then willing to help people continuously learn. I would highly recommend Yana as a dance teacher to whoever is looking to get into salsa or become an advanced dancer.

by Nick G on
WATCH OUT DANGEROUS!

This girl will get you addicted to salsa immediately!
Iv'e tried several styles of dance and one I did a salsa lesson with Yana, salsa became my passion.
Yana herself has her own passion for dance and a passion for teaching dance. She is great to be around and has helped me progress from a basic student to an intermediate student in only 17 lessons. The best part is that Yana well teach you the passion of dance.
She is a pleasure to be around and her beauty is a big plus also!

by Pedro on
Great Lessons

Yana is amazing, she explains the movements nice and clear. She has a lot of patients for beginners (my little brother is a beginner and he learned a lot from her) and always carries a contagious positive attitude. I enjoy taking a lesson from Yanaand will sure take another one from her soon, I highly recommend her.

by Cesar Licona on
Yana es Russa de corazon latino.

Yana: Estoy muy feliz de haberla conocido porque es una gran instructora de baile pero aun mejor un gran ser humano.En mi experiencia me enseno con mucha paciencia dedicacion y respeto paso a paso sin importation cuantas veces repitamos. Por esa y muchas razones mas estoy completamente seguro que Yana es la instructora mas indicada para cualquier persona que desea aprender a bailar. Gracias a ti hoy no veo bailar a las personas si no que bailo con ellas.

by Jo Lynn Clemens on

Yana is an experienced and passionate dancer. Her instruction is based on a multidimensional foundation from classical ballroom to salsa. She teaches proper form and more importantly, encourages students to have fun.

by Jessi on
amazing instruction

Yana is an amazing instructor. She simplifies things for a beginner but keeps it very interesting, challenging, and upbeat. She really understand salsa, as evidenced by her fabulous choreography and social dancing. Her personality is the crowning jewel. She is personable and considerate. Friendship comes easily as she guides, teaches, and shares her passion for dance with you.

by Jonathan Kalman on
Yana Review

Yana is a joy to learn dance with. She us fun and funny, super patient, and a great teacher. I look forward to my weekly lesson because I know I will become a better dancer and also have a great time with Yana.

by Zhanna T. on
Dancing Lessons can be Fun!

I have been taking both group and private lessons with Yana for 1.5 years! First, she choreographed our wedding dance which consisted of salsa and cha-cha. Our dance was AMAZING! Our relatives could not believe we learned to dance so well and kept saying that it was just like "Dancing with the Stars" entertainment.

Needless to say, we had so much fun that we decided to continue with private lessons: some ballroom, some cha-cha, some salsa, and bachata.
Yana's personality makes the lessons easy. She also makes sure that we learn the technique correctly and do not cheat (especially with steps:)

by James Madison on
Yana is the BEST!!!

After taking a group lesson with her at Mijana, I decided to take private lessons to learn more moves and proper techniques and she exceeded my expectations. I have danced for many years but never partner style dancing and she adapted her teaching to my learning style and pace. She broke down every routine and we practiced until I had it down and then we practiced some more. I now dance with confidence to lead my partners with style and grace, always make them look great (which is the first thing she taught me) and I am having a ball. I have even referred several aspiring dancers to her and highly recommend her to anyone wanting learn Salsa the right way!!

by Mark B on
She got me hooked on Salsa/bachatta

Dancing is well outside of my comfort zone. After one group lesson with Yana I was hooked into learning to dance. It is something to do and I have fun doing it now. I have been doing private lessons now for about a month I feel that I can dance through a whole five minute song and be confident with the moves I try.

by Sean G on
Awesome Instructor

I have seen Yana teaching before which led me to taking her class and it was the best time of my life. She made me proud to be a man dancing this hot dance they call Salsa. I think she should be incorporated into the public education system.