It’s good to be back.
So I was recently at the 15th annual La Salsa Festival & I am gonna write a 2 part series about it:
Part 1 is some of the most significant things that stood out for me at this congress – the highlights and lowlights.
Part 2 will be a bit more detailed explanation on my experience of the workshops, dancing and of course the Bands + much, much more.
THE HIGHLIGHT REEL
There are No words to describe the epicness that was the bands at the LA Salsa Congress! – Johnny Palanco, Grupo Niche, El Grand Combo, Fania All stars!
They were all insane and rocked the Congress non-stop. The bands were 65% of the reason I went to the LA Salsa fest and I must say, they did not disappoint. The entire trip would have been worth it for just Fania All stars. Now to get the other 3 bands as well, now that just made this entire trip – PRICELESS!
My favorite social dance of the entire congress was on the Sunday night, dancing with Cecile (from Terry & Cecile) to Achilipu (my 2nd favorite Salsa song) being played Live by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico.
We were so “In the zone” that people formed a circle to watch us dance and and some even took out their cameras to record .
Nina from Sweden is my absolute favorite dancer in the World. I first met her in 2011 which was also the last time i saw her, so seeing her again, dancing with her and taking a workshop with her and Zerjon (her partner) was amazing and actually 10% of the reason I went to this congress.
The other 10% of the reason I went to the congress was Emily from ‘Junior and Emily’ who even though I unfortunately never got to dance with, I did attend their workshop, talk to them and watch them perform. If you dont know who they are, do yourself a favour & watch one of their videos.
I have been trying to idenitfy my favorite workshop of the event and I have to say its a toss up between the cha-cha class with the Palladium Mambo legends and a hip hop class with Sweden’s Nina & Zerjon. Both were epic for entirely different reasons, but I can’t choose between the 2 which was better, so I declare it a tie.
There were some killer performances, but I have gotta give it up to the Colombians – every time one of them went on stage, they absolutely killed it. My favorite performance was Kevin & Gabby with Baila Conmigo also from Colombia. These 2 kids who are about 6 or 7 years old tore up the stage and brought the house down. It was positively inspiring to see kids at that age with that amount of talent, it had me hooting and hollering like a mad man.
So by now you should know I had been involved with helping get the kids from Khayelitsha to perform at the LA Salsa congress (The remaining 15% why I went to the congress). I can tell you that there were many times it seemed like things would not work out, but it all came together in the end. So on the Sunday night to finally see them walk on stage and perform and get a standing ovation, well that just made it all worthwhile.
Watching 2 guys dancing gaychata. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind guys dancing with guys or ladies with ladies. In-fact I believe that any Salsero who Teaches or performs should be 100% comfortable enough with their own masculinity to deal with abit of Bromance. But I aint gonna lie, the guy on guy dancing at the congress was WAYYY too much that it became a norm and not a novelty and the Gaychata was the biggest shock of all.
The Wednesday and Thursday parties were a bit of a sausage fest and it basically boiled down to the rules of the jungle – survival of the boldest! You had to be predatory in nature to get a dance because there were like 2 guys for every single girl.I am sure this negative was a positive for the ladies because even those who could barely do a basic were busy on the dance floor the whole night.
NB: This dilemma changed significantly on the Friday night and thankfully the ratios really balanced themselves out for the rest of the congress. 🙂
This wraps up my highlight reel. Were you at the LA salsa congress or any other congress recently? If so, what were your highlights and lowlights? Drop me a comment and let me know.
Part II is coming soon & till next week Thursday….Live & Love your Life!
P.S. don’t forget about our own Mzansi Cape Town Salsa Festival taking place 31 October – 3 November, 2013!