Malia San Nicolas started dancing at the age of 2 when her mother realized her daughter was a bit accident prone. She was enrolled in tap, jazz and ballet, and that started a lifelong love of dance. In the early ‘90s she started dancing with a country dance team. It was during her stint there that she saw West Coast Swing for the first time and absolutely fell in love with it. Soon she was competing with her partner in the West Coast showcase divisions, which feature dramatic lifts and drops.
She worked as a real estate broker for 13 years and put her dancing on the back burner while she focused on her career. She gave up West Coast Swing for a time but missed dancing. Through a friend she got involved in ballroom dancing and started competing again. When her normal dance buddy moved overseas, she was introduced to fellow dancer Ben Morris , who encouraged her to get back into West Coast Swing. He encouraged her to give teaching a try, and once she met Shesha at his Orange County venue, Tijuana’s, it wasn’t long before she was part of the ATOMIC family.
What Malia loves about West Coast Swing is that she can dance it on any dance floor. “You can take it anywhere and dance it anywhere,” she said. “You really can dance West Coast Swing to any type of music.” It was also one of the only dances that for her, felt like a bit of challenge. “It’s ever changing and evolving and there’s always more to learn.”
Now she finds that she and her dance partner are competing solely in the classic West Coast Swing division. She and her partner compete in Jack and Jills and strictly West Coast Swing competitions all over the world. When Malia San Nicholas is not teaching West Coast Swing and ballroom dancing at the ATOMIC Ballroom or showing off her latest West Coast swing routine she travels as an instructor, choreographer and coach. This year Malia is also judging national and international competitions.
Check out her smokin’ new routine here with partner Ryan Crutcher.