Sexy, passionate, full of life and rhythm, Isabelle Pampillo brings her students into a world of Latin flavor at Isabelle’s Dance Academy. Entering the studio, which is nestled in a discreet office building on Lincoln Boulevard, is like walking into a scene from Strictly Ballroom or watching “Dancing with the Stars” when the pros take their nervous celebs to ballroom boot camp.

Pampillo is a dancer, choreographer and teacher in Salsa, Argentine Tango and pole-lap dancing. She works in film and television as a dancer/choreographer, is the host/instructor at Casa Escobar in Marina del Rey and an instructor for Norwegian and Carnival Cruise lines, and Santa Monica College.

On Friday night, Isabelle teaches regular salsa classes and then hosts a “Social Night,” which is fun for the advanced dancer or the person who has made salsa dancing their New Year’s resolution. For only $20 students take a class and then test out their skills at the social, where free wine and refreshments are served.

The scene is extremely inviting and friendly. Upon check-in, the beginners go to one studio and the intermediate and advanced students move to the main room.

The class begins with a warm-up and then proceeds to a routine. Pampillo gives her students encouragement while also noting what they need to improve.

After the warm-up, the room breaks into couples, the music turns up and everyone moves like they’ve been dancing together for years. All the while, Pampillo continues to give notes.

“It’s about quality, not quantity,” she says.

By 9 p.m. the social begins and the studio transforms into its own world of dancing, fun and (let’s not forget) calorie burning.

Isabelle’s Dance Academy is located at 1334 Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica. For more information, visit or call (310) 392-3493.