TikTok star Cristobal Leyva reaches thousands and thousands dancing round Savannah

In Savannah, if you see a woman in high heeled shoes dancing with a brightly colored skirt, you may have just seen TikTok sensation Cristobal Leyva in her element.

“I like to dance with everything,” Leyva said in Spanish, translated by her nephew Victor Salazar.

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Leyva has more than 657,000 followers on the social media app, where users upload short videos, and a total of 16.7 million likes for all of their videos (@ cristoballeyva1).

Watching Leyva’s videos can become a game: “Can you spot the different Savannah locations?” She danced outside of various Savannah stores and in places like River Street, Forsyth Park, and Historic Grayson Stadium, home of the Savannah Bananas and a favorite spot of the star.

Leyva moved to Savannah from Mexico 14 years ago. She started her TikTok account in 2019 thanks to her nephew who showed her what the platform was about.

“I told her about a dance and I told her to dance it … a lot of people loved to see her,” said Salazar. “People joked that she danced like a robot with her hands up and she got a lot of likes and views on this video.”

Leyva’s first viral video was shot in May 2021 and currently has 10.3 million views. In the video, Leyva dances in her house, characteristic heels and skirt, whips her ponytail, shuffles her feet and moves her hands in the “robot” position to the sounds of “Quien Piensa en Ti” by the Mexican band El Trono de Mexico.

Much of the music she uses highlights her Mexican culture and she said most of her dance moves are random but that makes it so fun.

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Leyva and her nephew have grown into a dynamic duo, and her favorite video is actually a recent video she recorded while dancing with him. Salazar takes on the direction and creative process of the video production and Leyva is responsible for the dance and outfit of the day.

“I try to wear random things,” Leyva said. “I wear wigs sometimes and I wear a lot of different styles.”

Salazar attributes his aunt’s dancing to her popularity with the audience. It regularly hits hundreds of thousands to millions of views on each video, and TikTok users are dueting (creating content with a first video) their videos, replicating their dance, and sometimes their outfits.

Leyva recalled being nervous when she was first recognized by TikTok in Savannah.

“One day we were driving downtown and then a truck drove by and a lady screamed,” Leyva said. “She recognized me and I tried to run away.”

Cristobal Leyva and her nephew Victor Salazar pose for a photo on River Street, one of the locations for their dance videos.

While getting used to being recognized around town, the dance queen said that she is grateful for the support she has received with her videos.

“Thanks to everyone who followed and watched our videos,” said Leyva.

Leyva and Salazar will continue to make dance videos that people will enjoy, but have plans to bring different content for any supporters who see them.

Laura Nwogu is the Quality of Life reporter for Savannah Morning News. Contact her at lnwogu@gannett.com. Twitter: @lauranwogu_

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