Esther Gutiérrez Sloan, a native Colombian, is the President and founder of SALSArobics, Inc.
In February, 2010, Esther received the annual “Keeper of the Flame” award from the Chicago International Salsa Congress for her lifelong efforts to keep Latin music and dance alive in our culture.
She was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame on March 14, 2010, in recognition of her pioneering efforts to introduce authentic Latin rhythms and dance steps into aerobic exercise more than twenty years ago when she created SALSArobics.
In 2011, Esther was honored by Aetna and included as the featured performer for the month of August on the 2011 Aetna Latino Calendar titled "Dancing to be Healthy."
Esther began performing South American Folkloric dance in Colombia at the age of four. In 1965, at age 12 she moved with her family to the United States. In 1978 she received a B.S. in Computer Science with high honors from Northeastern Illinois University. She worked for several years in the field of Information Science, including marketing, financial, and manufacturing systems. In 1988 her love of people, music and dance drew her to change her career and create SALSArobics, the pioneering form of aerobic exercise that combines authentic Latin rhythms with the steps to popular Latin dances. Participants in SALSArobics not only get a whole-body workout, they learn Latin dancing while they exercise.
In addition to being President of SALSArobics, Inc., Esther created and managed the FITKIDS children’s fitness program for the Lake Forest Health and Fitness Center, and is currently Director of the Youth Fitness Program for the Lake Forest Fitness Center. She also teaches land and water master classes and is a certified personal trainer. In addition, she previously was fitness counselor at Women's Residential Services, a Lake County addiction recovery program for women and their children.
Since 1998, Esther and SALSArobics have been a part of the Pathways to Learning “Be Well/Take Care” curriculum for continuing education for K-12 teachers. Since 2000, Esther has been teaching SALSArobics to Latin dancing instructors at the Chicago International Salsa Congress. Esther was a presenter for the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, introducing young girls (K -8) throughout the Chicago area to a fitness lifestyle through the “Fit to Be Me with SALSArobics” program.
Esther is ACE certified and is trained in Total Body Training Systems. She is a popular presenter, having led land and water workshops and SALSArobics exhibitions nationally and internationally, at fitness industry conventions, resorts, health clubs, wellness centers, hospitals, dance studios, recreation centers, fund raising events, conferences and ethnic festivals. She is a sought-after motivational speaker and presenter in the educational industry, continually presenting at elementary, middle and high schools, colleges and universities for both students and faculty alike. Her presentation topics include Hispanic heritage celebration, cultural diversity, physical education, language arts, communication skills, and building relationships.
Esther's community involvement has included being a school board member and board president. She has taught Spanish to preschool and elementary age students. As a PTO volunteer in the Lake Bluff public school system, Esther has taught Fine Arts History, served as a speech tournament coach, co-chaired her school district’s annual Pumpkin Chase Family Run/Walk for two years, and has been an active room-parent. Esther was a member of the Board of Directors and Board President for the Montessori School of Lake Forest. She also teaches religious education and leads the Liturgy of the Word for children as part of the Sunday mass at her community's parish. Esther was an advisory board member of CenterStage in Lake Forest, the community's theater group. She has also volunteered her time for City of Hope, The American Heart Association, Aids Walk Chicago, Dance for Life, and Latino Entertainment, by leading warm-ups and exercise segments, and participating in promotional events.