When it comes to people and their passions, the phrases, it’s in my blood or I could do it before I could walk, are common.

For Liliana Jimenez, the path to pursuing her passion wasn’t that simple.

With a little bit of high school musical theater under her belt, she knew that she really enjoyed dancing. So when her college friend took her out salsa dancing one night, not only did she think those high school plays would help, but that it would come easy. “I’m Puerto Rican. I know stuff,” she thought.

Needless to say, she was “humbled very quickly.” But that one night changed everything for Jimenez.

She had an instant hunger to learn and started taking private dance lessons, ranging from ballet to stretching classes. While most who have a career in dance took those classes when they were toddlers, Jimenez was playing a little catch up and doing everything possible to put herself down that path.

“If you want to start something in your 20s, I’m living proof that you can just do it,” Jimenez said.

Whether that means starting a brand new profession or learning a new hobby, she doesn’t believe that age should be a limiting factor to finding or following your dreams.

Now, at age 38, she is the proud owner of Lili Latin Dance, which offers private and group lessons, wedding choreography, studio rentals, workshops, and more. Her studio differs from the other salsa and bachata communities in that they specialize in partner acrobatics as well.

For 15 years, she was an instructor at a studio in Cambridge. The pandemic really gave her the chance to think about what she wanted her next chapter to look like. That chapter was finding her own studio spot and starting her own business.

After almost 2 years of uncertainty, lots of stressful nights and hoping that someone would take the risk on her, she finally got the keys to her space at 423 W. Broadway.

“I still kind of don’t believe I have my own studio,” Jimenez said. “It feels too good to be true.”

But, after almost a year in business, she better believe it!

Bringing Latin dance to Southie was definitely something new. At first, she felt the community was a little shy, which she totally understood. But, she wants folks to know that there is nothing to be scared of.

If you’re worried that you are a “bad dancer”, don’t be! To Jimenez, there is no such thing! All that matters is that you are happy and having a good time.

And while she has definitely been having a good time over the last year, she has learned a few things.

“In the beginning, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be successful. I felt like I wasn’t doing a good job because I didn’t have 30 students [immediately] coming through the door,” Jimenez said.

She was able to do it at her previous studio, so why not here? It was a scary moment where she wondered if she had done the right thing. Since then, she has learned to give herself some grace and to just be patient. Everything takes time.

“I felt like I had to prove something, when I don’t have to prove anything,” Jimenez said looking back.

In fact, all the proof she needed came in the form of her very first student.

The student was shy at first, but came per the recommendation of one of Jimenez’s students at her old studio. After sticking with it for the whole year, at times being the only student in class, she is now one of the best dancers in the program and showed Jimenez that it’s all worth it in the end.

As for what this next year holds, the studio will be adding some dance parties, furthering its salsa and bachata team by attending showcases and even performing at the Boston Salsa Festival this summer in August!

If reading this inspired you to get off your feet and try something new, check out the different classes you can take at Lili Latin Dance.

And remember, it’s never too late…and there is no such thing as being a bad dancer!

Images via Steve Osemewenkhae


  1. Helen March 28, 2024 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    You Go Girl !!!!
    Your LIVING PROFF, that if you put your mind and heart to it, you CAN and WILL do it.
    Congrats !!!
    Welcome to the neighborhood.

  2. Ginny April 3, 2024 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Lili’s studio is my favorite in all of Boston. She is amazingly supportive and takes time to teach technique in a smaller setting. You definitely don’t have to be a good dancer to start. They say the happiest/healthiest cultures dance, I encourage everyone to try out the Latin dance culture at Lili’s studio!

  3. Shelly & David Salinas April 3, 2024 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    So happy for you . You are a beautiful dancer and a great teachers 😊

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