“Dance instruction with Val has changed my life. Not only am I able to get out dance and meet people, coaching from Val has given me confidence and poise off of the dance floor as well. My body now moves with ease and fluidity, my posture is much improved, (I think the girls have noticed). Val has helped me see how the mind/body connection can increase awareness, making my mind sharper which has been invaluable in my work life as well as my personal life. Walking and standing with confidence gives one the ability to command the room in business situations. I have always loved music, but never had the appreciation of music I have now. I can feel the music, my body moves easily with the beat and I can hear nuances in music that I was never aware of before I had lessons with Val. It is rare to find creativity, a sense of fun, and the gift of the ability to instruct all in the same package. Val Cunningham is that package” - Douglas Jamieson
“I recently took salsa lessons from Val, and she was just what I needed to really grasp the dance. I have tried to learn salsa before but never could quite get it. When I started with Val I quickly got the steps and was learning the dance! Val is a great teacher; she is direct and fun in her instruction and makes learning very pleasurable!” - Roxanne G.
“I could not dance. I had no sense of rhythm. But I had to learn to dance to be able to ask out a woman who would appreciate a decent dance partner or at least someone making the attempt. Val, with a light heart and infinite patience, met with me as often as I cared (i.e., flexible scheduling) and taught me to loosen up and enjoy what was possible. You really haven't met a person as positive and as full as joy as Val. And you're learning at the same time!” - Jeremy Crandal
I've taken a pile of Lindy and Salsa lessons with Val and they were all terrific. Most importantly Val is always tremendous fun and believe me teaching me how to dance requires a very well developed sense of humor. Plus, Val is a lovely yet smallish human being, which makes her really easy to spin and toss. Wheeee! Dance with Val dance with her immediately.” - Clay Williams
“Val taught my husband and I a dance for our wedding. Val is very encouraging and upbeat and has a way to make you feel really comfortable and really good about yourself, despite how many times you might trip over your own feet learning the steps. She showed a lot of patience with us and managed to teach us a beautiful dance that will be a memory that we hold for the rest of our lives.” - Molly Seimers
“I had the great pleasure of taking a salsa choreography class taught by Val Cunningham. Not only is she a fantastic dancer, she's also a fantastic teacher. Every minute of every class was fun, and I ended the class a much better dancer -- and performer. Also, Val is also one of the most stylish women I know -- it's fun just to see what she will wear next.” - Daniel S.
“Val is a miracle worker! My girlfriend and I could not dance together to save our lives and constantly pointed at the other one, stating was their fault. Val had a very diplomatic way of helping us out, focusing on weak points that our partner saw, but could not communicate. We learned so much and had a great time while doing it. We'll be back for more lessons.” - Kevin K.
“Val taught me to use my core to create impeccable form, and she did it in a warm, fun, patient way. You can tell she's passionate about dance, and it's contagious. I also like the way she ends the lesson with positive, spiritual energy, so I left happy to face the day. I would totally recommend her: she taught me more about dance than any other instructor.” - Marlene M.
“Val is one of the best dance instructors I have ever taken lessons from, and I have taken a ton of dance lessons from some pretty amazing instructors. She is patient, enthusiastic, and makes dancing fun. I definitely recommend Val to anyone who is interested in dancing at any level!!!”
- Jenna F.
“My (now) wife and I had both never had formal dance lessons before but we were determined to put on a "bit of a show" for our wedding guests. We had heard about Valerie Cunningham from some friends of ours and signed up for private lessons, not really knowing what to expect or how we would do considering our lack of experience. We explained the song we wanted our first dance to be danced to (Frank Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight" - a foxtrot as we were to later discover) and Val pretty much took it from there.” - Nam Doan-Huy
“Val turned out to be a Godsend as she was able to quickly assess our individual dancing abilities (and quickly figured out that we both had no idea what we were doing!) and adjust her teaching to our combined pace of learning. Her infectious energy and enthusiasm made the lessons fun and her ability to explain technical aspects in terminology that my wife and I could both understand and implement were invaluable.” - Mary F.
“As the lessons progressed she pushed us to learn more, challenging us with new steps whenever we got comfortable with what we had already learned. And when we were ready she hit us with fabulously choreographed opening and closing sequences that just absolutely made the dance. The wedding dance brought the house down and my wife and I will never forget the immense sense of joy and relief at being able to share that dance with all of our close friends and family; all of which we owe to Valerie Cunningham. Bravo Val!! Brao!!!” - Alexandra C.
“Val is creative, talented, and patient and will create not only a memorable first dance for you and your partner, but a memorable journey of getting there.”
- Saoirse D.
“Val is an INCREDIBLE teacher!!! I always look forward to our class - she is warm, encouraging and makes each lesson FUN. Most instructors teach the basic steps, but Val takes the time to share the subtle movements that transform her students into great dancers!” - Christa Hill
“Val was AWESOME! We had 3 lessons with Val for our wedding's first dance. First and foremost, she listened to us. She asked us a series of questions, to make sure she would be able to help us the best way possible. She was always open to our suggestions, very warm and understanding when we faulted, and even more encouraging when we finally got it RIGHT! AND even MOST importantly, Val is a truly talented dancer AND instructor. Thanks again Val!” - Michael A.
“My fiance and I were looking for someone to teach us a GREAT 1st dance. BUT, we didn't want your typical, ho-hum, predictable, run of the mill, average first dance. We checked out enough You-Tube dances and they were so BORING (sorry!). And we were not at all familiar with any type of couples dancing, the most we ever did was the finger poke/chicken/sprinkler dance...together. So as you can see - we had some big expectations with very little experience.
Overall, she is a dedicated instructor and she is not a clock watcher (that’s what I mean by a Pro!). In fact she is very technical and because of this, she is a great teacher. You can't even cheat! She has a beautiful way of explaining things as well, to help you understand even more! She has a very high work ethic and wants you to succeed, hence the many times we had to go over the segments, late into the night, until we were all both satisfied. We are both very happy and pleased with Val's dance lessons and couldn't thank her enough. Ps; we ended up doing a sensual rumba rhythm number!
You can tell right away that Val is a PROfessional. And I mean PRO. She is very perceptive of her client. She understands your level of comfort, your rhythm and your expectations. She is very creative and has a vibrant energy. You want to please her too, because she is so motivating and encouraging and the best part, you get RESULTS.” - Julie Kim
“Val Cunningham not only taught me to dance, she helped me improve my posture and my style, and even made me a better person! Seriously though, Val is an incredible dancer, a fantastic instructor and an absolute pleasure to be around. She's extremely knowledgeable and detail oriented, but never overly critical. Whether you're just learning to dance or refining your technique, Val can help. Give her a call and you'll know immediately that she's the instructor you've been looking for.” - Mike F.
“Val is the best! She's a great dance instructor and stylist! Val has a great personality, making any form of dance fun, enjoyable, and upbeat. Swing, salsa, rumba, you name it, Val knows it and will have you dancing - leading or following - with confidence. I know I'll enjoy lessons with Val, always friendly, encouraging with a glow :)
Val has incredible sense of style; creative, tasteful and ever-inspiring.” - (Irish girl o reily) Alfie R.
“My husband and I have been taking dance lessons from Val for over 7 years. We were definitely beginners and wanted to learn a dance for our wedding. She not only helped us learn the fundamentals of swing dancing, but helped us choreograph a great dance to go with our chosen "first dance" song. She made sure we learned some fun, flashy steps so we could really have a great time sharing our new skills with the guests. She made the learning process fun and she always came in with such amazing enthusiasm and energy. Val has a real gift at explaining principals of dance so that anyone can understand. We have moved on to salsa since then, and plan to continue taking lessons from Val indefinitely! I would recommend her without hesitation to anyone.” - Carrie Beard
“Val is an awesome dance teacher. She is great with all levels, including beginners. She can break down the steps so it is easy to learn the basics, then she gets you moving to music and makes it fun. You can progress quickly with her private classes. She has a passion for dance and teaching that is infectious. She is very upbeat, has a great sense of humor and she's a great motivator. I recommend her highly.” - James B
“Another five star review for Val! She is passionate, attentive to details, enthusiastic and genuine. My fiance and I love going to her sessions and she always makes us feel great. We found her on Yelp and I must concur with all the other stellar reviews.
As novices she quickly got us to a point where we feel comfortable with each other and dancing. She's a skilled teacher and can break things down so that your body can feel not only the steps but the rhythm. We're blessed to have found her!” - Dan Yoo
“I signed up for salsa by Val and ended up learning a whole lot more. She is reliable, positive, knowledgeable, and a world-class dancer, but that's just the beginning.
Val teaches the theory as well as the practice of dance, building up from nuances of movement, to individual moves, to small patterns, and to dance. She understands musical theory as well, and ends up teaching what can be best described as "body language" - a way to carry yourself and move with the grace that dancers seem to have, but ordinary people lack.
She's also extremely fashionable and positive. Val's an automatic pick-me-up, and will always get you in the mood for dancing. She'll make you happier and more successful in your social and physical interactions, and what's that worth?
I can't recommend her highly enough. She's a dancer, designer, stylist, personal trainer, and therapist rolled into one! I signed up for a few introductory lessons six months ago, on a lark, and I'm still dancing with Val! - Naval Ravikant.
“If I could put in 6 stars, I would. We did a first dance for the wedding and had very little dance experience. We showed up for our first lesson, unsure what to expect, and she put us at ease from the first moments. Also, she is very flexible and worked with our busy schedules and made the lessons something we both looked forward.
Her energy is great and she is a lot of fun to work with. On occasion we would come to the lesson after a hard day at work and not ready to dance, but she has a knack of reading you and your energy and snapping you out of it with her great personality.
As far as our first dance, we kept it a secret from everyone and blew everyone away. We could not have imagined anything more perfect. She tailored our routine to our strengths and personalities. I am sure there are many other great instructors out there, but I will recommend Val to all of my friends! We were so happy and had so much fun that we are planning to take other lessons with Val- like swing and latin dance.” - Ed & Jennifer
“We went to Val to help us with our first dance and I cannot recommend her highly enough. Val is a tremendous teacher. It is our first dance lesson of any kind and I must say Val made us feel very comfortable from the get go. You can sense her passion for the art of the dance. We opened our hearts, gazed lovingly into each other, stood tall with shoulders back, bent our knees, took our steps, and expressed our love through dance and music. Most of all, Val made dancing so much fun! We could not ask for more.” - Mike K. and Helen
“I'm going to add to the chorus here of 5-star reviews for Val. She was fantastic and I highly recommend her. She taught my fiance and I how to do a foxtrot for our wedding and boy did we surprise everyone. And the lessons were so much fun. She made us feel comfortable and relaxed. So glad I found her on yelp!” - Heather and Mike
“What more can I say about Val that hasn't already been said? She embodies "dance instructor extraordinaireî! Thank you so much for your passion, guidance, and patience during our dance lessons and of course making it fun along the way. We nailed our first dance. That’s right we did you proud, Val :) our guests loved the open heart and open shoulders and the light lean moves! Ohm and my dad were so cute during the father-daughter dance. He definitely enjoyed himself and my head moved everyone on his shoulders turn. Thank you again!!!” - Helen and Mike
“Val is amazing!! She was the only dance instructor we had talked to who was super supportive of our "we want to get our bridal party involved in our first dance" from the very very beginning! She is a creative instructor who really knows her stuff as well as being great at assessing her clients' abilities, building on the progress one by one through the lessons.
In the end, we had an amazing compilation of dances which started with a romantic tribute to Michael Jackson's "I'll Be There", followed by a sweet dance to the soundtrack of Up with whimsical moves, to finally a dance off between me and my husband, joined later by the bridal parties on both sides, to Timbaland's "The Way I Are". Coordinating these moves was no easy task given the quick yet smooth transitions and making sure that my husband and I can execute the coordinated moves was even tougher. The first dance not only set the tone of the reception for the evening but brought a smile to all of our guests which is what we wanted - for all to just have a great time. And Val was the one who made it all happen.
Thank you Val and congratulations on your own wedding!!!” - Amy and Mark
“We found Val based on her excellent Yelp rating - thanks fellow Yelpers!
Let me start my saying that Val is adorable. My new husband and I are both large people (I'm 5'10, and he's 6'4"), and to us, she looked like a charming little pixie. But make no mistake - she will teach you how to dance and she will teach you well.
We went to Val to learn a first dance for our wedding. We wanted to do something a little silly and creative, and she got us right away. She helped us choreograph a dance that was suited to our limited coordination, and gave us a routine that was alternately silly, sexy, and if I may say so, downright adorable. She tailored our dance to suit us, and she did so professionally and with a sense of humor. She was also willing to work around our demanding work schedules, which was a huge plus.
I would highly recommend Val as an attentive dance instructor who is dedicated to ensuring that you will walk away with a routine you will feel comfortable performing in front of everyone you know. She's a gem, and her accent is really cute, too. Thanks for everything, Val!
"Fair play, fair play. And good on you!" - Nicole S. and Ari
“My (now) wife choose Val for our wedding dance lessons based on her Yelp reviews and it was a great choice. She helped us put together a fun and unique dance for our Ben Harper song while working within our (or more accurately my) limited capabilities. With all the stress of planning a wedding, the hour each week we spent with Val in her studio leading up to the big day was a welcome diversion. Our dance turned out great and we will definitely be return customers.” - Mike C.
“Val cunnunigham is innovative, creative, energetic, self empowered, a true professional and fashionista. Her love of live, living for today and making the most of now is highly contagious. Choosing Val as a dance instructor or fashion consultant will not only help you do more for yourself but will give you an enriching experience that will live in your heart and mind forever. She's a star. xxxx” - Fiona Hennessy
“Val taught me to move like a dancer, to connect, and to enter into a conversation in movement, not just steps and patterns or technique for it’s own sake. She’s gone out of her way to develop a language that speaks to my particular needs. Our sessions are always exciting. She’s been a wonderful friend and an excellent teacher.” - Richard Freudenheim
“While small in stature, Val exudes confidence, energy, and joy. She obviously loves to teach and the sense of pleasure she finds in dancing is totally infectious. Val understands that different students learn in different ways and at different speeds. She know just how to reach a student and just how hard to push him/her to get the results without disappointment. I cannot express the immense gratitude that my wife and I share for Val’s careful, dedicated instruction. Truly, if you are thinking about spicing up your wedding dance moves, there is no better teacher in the SF Bay Area then Val Cunningham.”
- Matthew Hall
“I was very fortunate to have my first dance lessons with Val. She opened up a new world to me that truly changed my life. Val’s talent and enthusiasm inspired me to pursue my own career in dance teaching and was instrumental in preparing me for my certification exams. Thank you Val for everything you’ve taught me and being a role model!” - Keely Naughton
“Val is an inspiration. She opened my eyes and heart to how much fun dance can be. For me, she’s taken someone who had never stepped foot on a dance floor and catapulted him into a life of social dancing and performing. When I think of dance, I think of Val.” - Morris MIzrahi
“Val has that rare gift of being able to teach you yet make you feel that you’re both collaborating as equals. She taught me technique and stagecraft while making it enjoyable to grow a a dancer.” - Steven Hamilton
“ We wanted to impress so we turned to Val to help us craft a custom dance routine that would be as unique as we are. The results were impressive, and we were rewarded with excited applause. Thanks Val for making our first dance the best!” - Angela & Nick
“I have known Val for over 10 years, first as a trainee in my Ballroom Dance Teachers College, then as my employee, and now as my colleague and friend.
The most important thing to say about Val Cunningham, is that being around her positive energy, her caring and concern for other’s welfare, and her creativity and aliveness, is a gift. There are some people who just “light upa room” and Val is one of them. She is so much more than just a creative, hard -working, honest person She delivers joy.” - Diane Jarmolow, Director of Ballroom Dance Teachers College
“My husband and I knew we had to do something different form the hum-drum “Can’t Help Falling In Love” - type swaying back and fort that seems to pass for wedding first dances these days. We decided a passionate tango would do the trick, but unfortunately we had no experience ballroom dancing. Luckily, we met Val Cunnigham. With just four lessons over the course of a month, Val was able to teach us the basics of Argentine tango, choreograph a mesmerizing routine, and inspire us to practice to perfection. Our first dance was a smashing success and many people went out of their way to tell us that it was by far, the coolest they had ever seen.” - Cassandra Pereira
“I couldn't go to bed without sending you an email to THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH for how much you came through this evening. You have no idea how much you saved the night. I believe you are an angel and you were succchhhhh a great teacher!!! I don't know you, but I love you, and I mean it.
Thanks sooooo much for your help. Please thank your performers as well, they were FANTASTIC and added so much to the night.”
- Lisa Slade
“Thanks for being so fun, engaging,& interactive. You were well organized and changed it up to keep it fun and jumped right in when the other instructor fell through, you were a LIFESAVER!”
“...and you, my dear, are a total team player. We loved working with you! Hope to have something like this again soon so we have an excuse to
work with you again. You are going in our book as "dancing instructor extrodinare!" - Sophie's Stress Free Soirees
“Thank you Val for one of the best and most excellent dance experiences of my life. You are tremendous and a delight! We all felt like we could dance and had a feeling of accomplishment in your class.” - Heather Mates
“Val, thank you so much for the wonderful choreography. You are a free spirit, an innovative young woman and a true inspiration to everyone you come in contact with. You gave me the courage to reach inside and start expressing what I feel when I dance. There is a lot more that lies beneath and I really look forward to working with you more. I certainly hope you will have more input when we do costumes for the next choreography as you have a unique and exciting sense of style.” - Pat Henry
“Hi Val, Thank you so much for helping us on Tuesday and working with us for an extra half an hour. It was such a help and Sridhar and I are doing so much better. He told me yesterday after practice he is no longer worried. He knows what to do to get me back on track if he needs to. My turns are much more balanced and I'm helping Sridhar with timing in certain sections of the song so I thing it's going to be great. I really loved how you handled us, two different personalities and you just dealt with it with such grace.” - Vanessa Lindsay