Lee “El Gringuito” Smith Jr
Chief Executive Officer
Born in Brooklyn New York, in 1981, Lee Edward Smith Jr was always an entertainer at heart. Family members recall that he would perform dancing and singing shows to entertain them. At the age of eight, he saw his first Broadway musical, Cats. For weeks, his family had to sit through his eight-year-old rendition of the show. Actually he was probably part of the reason they closed the show. But he took his creative talents and at age ten began singing with the Famed Singing Boys of Pennsylvania Choir.
After two years of touring throughout the East Coast, he became interested in magic after his Aunt Emily took him to Tannen’s Magic Shop in New York City. After performing his first magic show at the age of twelve, his tunes turned to the art of magic. He finished High School with honors and continued to share his talents. He put on a production raising over $3,200 for a student who had leukemia. Lee, also worked with such organizations as Big Brothers, Growing Hope and Joey’s Eagles, always willing to donated his time. This gained him the George Mason Univ. Service of the Year Award as a Freshman.
In addition to this, Lee pursued his quest to be on the top College Speech Team at George Mason University. After two years on the team he became an award winning author and winner of over a hundred awards and is a two-time district champion and quarter finalist at the National Collegiate Level of Competition. That day that changed his life was when he walked into his first formal dance class, “World Dance 120.” There he learned Salsa from his first dance instructor Jim Lepore. After completing formal training through George Mason Universities intensive Salsa training program, originating in Santiago, Cuba.Lee ha studied dance from leading dancers in LA, NYC and DC. He has traveled and worked with dances in the Dominican Republic and El Salvador. He graduated from George Mason in 2003 with a degree in International Politics and a minor in Legal Studies.
From 2005 to 2007 he shot episodes for Ambush Makeover, Fox Television, NBC, ABC Univision, America’s Got Talent and Univision. Millions of people saw him teaching Latin dancing on Fox Television’s Ambush Makeover. He was nominated as Salsa Instructor of the year and has taught more people to dance Bachata in the United States then anyone in the history of the dance. He has won Instructor & Promoter of the year in the DC Metro area countless times.
From 2008 to present Lee El Gringuito and his amazing wife Kat La Gata Smith have started the World’s Largest Bachata Festival aka DCBx with over 5000 attendees from 48 States & 29 countries who attend annually. The event combines Latin dancing, music, film & entreprenaurial workshops a first in the industry. They were recently ranked as the 3rd Most Influential people in the Bachata scene in the World by DancePlanetDaily. They have also created the world’s 1st Dance New Year’s Eve aka DC Ultimate NYE with over 1800 plus attendees. Over the past twelve years they have started over 30+ Latin nights in the DC Metro area.
As true Entertainment Entrepreneur he has expanded his horizons & started many successful start ups within the Dance & Entertainment World including DCBC Event Productions, Appszing Mobile Marketing & others. He has produced events for major companies like Microsoft, IBM, ALPHA, GWHCC, Telemundo & Morgan Stanley. He has over 6 Instructional DVDs on the market, has started over 10 Bachata Meet Up groups in cities like Atlanta, Miami, DC, Baltimore, NYC, Richmond, LA & other cities spreading the love of Bachata & Latin Dance & culture! Currently he is working on new projects like DanceEgg.com, revolutionizing the online learning industry & is currently working on a book & online learning series set to launch in 2016.