So you think you can dance, salsa? Well actually, this past weekend you could have, and you could have also watched some of the finest salsa dancers and salsa musicians from all over the world perform at the 15th Annual Los Angeles Salsa Congress which ran for five days from May 22-26.
This marathon of an event, produced by Albert Torres, started in the morning and continued until the morning, and yep, it would start all over again the next morning.
With dance workshops during the day for the public starting at 9am till 4pm, and dance performances showcasing fantastic local, national, and international dance companies and dance teams in the evening from 4pm to 11pm, you would think that would have been enough to send anybody home ready for a full night of sleep.
Not at the L.A. Salsa Congress. That was just a warm up leading up to the main event which kicked off when legendary salsa musicians hit the ballroom’s stage at midnight and the crowds grabbed their partners and swarmed the dance floor to salsa their hearts out until the wee hours of the morning (like 4, 5,and 6am in the morning).
That’s right, The Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles hosted this event once again to help keep things saucy around this city, and to keep us up all night dancing.
Even with over 12,000 people in attendance over the five day event, the crowds were able to easily maneuver amongst the hotel’s ballrooms and lobby areas with ease due to the hotel’s ideal layout and roominess for such an event.
It also is conveniently located right off the 110 freeway which makes it easy for those with full event passes who are not staying at the hotel to commute home after all the festivities each night and get a quick cat nap in before they head back for more the next day.
All ages and all levels of dancers and wannabe dancers (you know you are in one of those categories), were in tow at this event.
Beginners were able to get a handle on things by attending workshops that taught them the basics, while advanced dancers were able to enhance their moves by attending more advanced technique workshops. In the lobby area, shoes and other accessories were available for purchase, and for anyone that wasn’t aware of the special soft sole shoes that you wear for salsa dancing, you will love how much easier it is to cut a rug with the proper shoes on.
Along with all the dancing and musical performances, seminars on the origin and history of salsa were also presented, and let me tell you, it brought a tear to my eye to know the legacy behind this style of dancing.
With the beat of salsa stemming from Afro-Cuban beats, and ultimately Africa, the legacy of salsa music can be attributed to the many slaves that brought intense rhythmic drumming skills with them as they were enslaved and forced to move to other continents. The L.A. Salsa Congress does a swell job in making it clear that while the 1970s was when the salsa explosion occurred here in the states, and all the people that made that explosion possible are to be honored, it also stresses the importance of paying homage to all of those that help pioneer the music and dance up until that point.
Next year the L.A. Salsa Congress will be held again at The Westin Bonaventure Hotel as well, and if I were you, I would go online and check the dates and get my ticket for one or more of the days of the event.
For anyone that has always wanted to dance, it is a great environment to be inspired and to no longer delay your journey; and of course, for all of you who are already amazing salsa dancers, it is the place to show off your spicy moves, hence salsa!