Gulsaya Tuleubayeva was born and raised in Kazakhstan. She joined a classical ballet and world dance company at the age of 7 and continued to dance throughout her childhood, winning several city-wide competitions for solo pieces in bellydancing and the traditional dances of India and Uzbekistan.
At the age of 16, Gulsaya won a competitive scholarship from the Freedom Support Act Future Leaders Exchange Program sponsored by US Government. This gave her the opportunity to come to the United States as a cultural ambassador of Kazakhstan while going to high school and living with an American family. She found opportunities to dance in school productions as well as sports dance teams and eventually decided to pursue dance as a career, double majoring in dance and business at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles. This was when she was introduced to a wide range of dance styles, including hip-hop, jazz, tap, African, Cuban, and Salsa. As soon as she heard salsa music, she fell in love with it. She learned LA style salsa “on 1” by first taking a performance class, and only later did she discover social dancing, the aspect of salsa that she loves most.
Gulsaya then moved to New York City to attend Baruch College. There she focused on traditional Kazakh dance with elements of modern dance, choreographing and performing at various events on the East Coast. As a member of two non-profit organizations, PURE and Kazakh Aul, she performed and taught traditional Kazakh dance to adoptive children from Kazakhstan.
After graduating from Baruch College with a degree in Real Estate and Metropolitan Development, Gulsaya returned to her most intense passion – salsa – this time taking the opposite approach. She learned New York Style “on 2” entirely through social dancing and then decided to dance professionally with BAILA Society, where she grew to become a principal dancer and instructor.
Gulsaya has traveled performing and teaching internationally in the world’s cosmopolitan cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Tokyo, Dubai, Istanbul, Vancouver and Toronto for a few years and has completed several successful projects in Toronto, including establishment of BASo Canada, Toronto’s New York style salsa school. Aside from expanding her student and apprentice base, Gulsaya is directing and choreographing for a performance dance company, currently known as BASo Alto Ladies.