BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Fanny Olaya moved to the United States from Lima Peru about 17 years ago and she’s been teaching salsa for all but four of those years.

“The first time I tried salsa dancing was when I was eleven at a friend’s party. I always heard the music, I loved the music, but I didn’t know how to dance,” said Fanny Olaya Baila Salsa Dance Company. “So my friends asked me to dance, and I was like, I don’t know. They started teaching me right then, and I was like wow I love this.”

Dozens of people of all ages show up every week at the Olivencia Center for her Salsa lessons. Olaya says salsa is so much more than just a dance.

“The culture is so rich, the music is so rich, all the feelings attached, for us the music and the dancing means family, unity,” she said. “I feel like everyone should experience that.”

When reflecting on the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month Olaya says it’s increasingly important to educate about the Hispanic culture.

“We have so much pride and love for our culture,” she said. “It’s unity and being recognized for what our culture means for us. It’s home. It is very important to show everybody else also what it’s all about.”

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

Hispanic Heritage Month