David Melendez

David MelendezOur Starlite Forever!


About Our Founder David Melendez was considered by most an icon of the mambo community. He had been in the scene for over 30 years as a dancer, performer, choreographer and director of several dance teams. He didn’t just preach unity within the mambo world, he truly believed in it.

Through his genuine character he was one of the few credible, honest and humble leaders in the New York Mambo community. He lead by example. What you see is what you got with David Melendez, no agendas, no promotional schemes or exploitations of any kind. He was a veteran, and what we affectionately called an old timer.

In 1992, David opened the doors of his dance school, the Starlite Dance Studio. He decided to dedicate himself to passing on his love of dance to our future generations by teaching children how to dance Salsa. Many people told David that he would never succeed in teaching kids how to dance Salsa. They said it was too difficult for them to comprehend. But of course, he was too bull headed to listen to them and went ahead and taught the kids.

David is credited of teaching thousands of kids at his school. Today some 18 years later, David still has his dance school and it is as popular as ever. Currently there are 5 dance teams that represent the school by going to events and performing. These teams are the Baby Sweethearts, Fuerza Gigante, Jr. Heartbreak Boyz, Heartbreak Boyz, the Sweethearts. Recently, aside from being the pioneer of the NYC Salsa Congress, David had been behind the organization of several events around the world and also recognized as an MC at many international events.

He was a natural entertainer and kept the crowd going with spontaneous interactions with the crowd. On February 8, 2007, David passed away and left his legacy to be continued by the Stars that he had created at his studio which he had established.




David Melendez Video Tribute

15 Responses to “David Melendez”

  1. lucy says:

    david as another year approches your legacy continues and u would be proud of the kids , they are all doing an awsome job so continue to look after from above . u will always be loved and missedn

  2. Kym Despiau says:

    I was in Davids first mambo class – 4 yrs old and i loved it ! Danced with Starlite until 2001 and I miss him and Starlite dearly. I see you doing your thing Eddie, keep up the good work ! David Melendez – you are gone but NEVER forgotten :)

  3. Jp says:

    I love you david… now and always… I miss you dearly.

  4. Aleksa says:

    David I miss you a whole lot. As I get ready to spend my ninth year at Starlite, I feel so grateful that you opened up such a sucessful dance studio. We know that you are always there at congresses, and there to support your starlite family. I love you so much, and miss you.

  5. Venus says:

    I love you and miss you…I wish you were still here.

  6. alanis says:


  7. An1ny says:

    David is truly missed.
    He is a ICON in Salsa dancing. His legacy will continue on with each child that learns to salsa dance.
    May his spirit carry on with every 123,567 beat.

  8. You have been sorely missed – I can still hear your laughs everytime I remember our conversations. It breaks my heart that my newer dancers never got a chance to meet you – but I’ll do my best to help them understand what you meant to all of us.

  9. Evelyn Ramos says:

    It has been a great honor to have come back to my roots where it all began for me as a student,Professional dancers, Instructor, and now choregrapher to your students in Starlite. Thank you Eddie for inviting me to be a part of your family once again. And thank you “David Melendez” for giving me the beginning of a passion that is inbedded in my heart. You live in my heart forever.

  10. Mike Acevedo says:

    I knew David since the late 90′s when I was singing with the group Mi Mayor. He was always a very cool guy. Very approachable, considerate person. He was not a person who shunned others away because of his great credentials. I was serving in the Army overseas when he passed away. Wish I could have been there to pay my respects. So in my own way, For Alex, Shy, Mike, Louis, and Robert, the guys from Mi Mayor, we pay our respects to not just a great Salsa instructor, but to another great person that came from the Bronx.

  11. Bendicion tio .. You have no idea how much I miss you and wish you were here with me to witness the woman you said I would become. I’m sure you’re watching from up and above with a smile on your face, because I didn’t stop dancing after all. I want you to know that whenever I’m on stage, I’m not alone .. you’re there with me and you will always be. You are our Lite and we are, have been and will ALWAYS be your Stars. Love you more than you’ll ever know. Smooches your babygirl <3

  12. Luis Rivera says:

    I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since your passing. You are sorely missed. From your infectious smile that would bring everyone in the room up to your dedication to salsa for children and adults, you have left a lasting impression on our world. I will never forget my time and experiences with you and Starlite. Thank you David, forever.

  13. Robert.LGreen says:

    Providing the gift of art to children to me is one of the most amazing thing’s someone can do. I took classes at Starlight as a child and those years were some of the most memorable of my life. Thank you for being a pioneer of our culture and music.


  14. Tatiana H. says:

    I was in David’s first pee wee class with Kim who commented earlier when I was 4. I will always and forever have him in my heart. He taught me my first steps and he taught me what dedication and passion was. I can’t believe its been almost 6 years since he passed. My memories of Starlite will always be dear to me because they were my second family growing up. Glad to see that this will continue for future generations.

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