Friday, September 11, 2009

Salsa Congress 2009 at the Hilton Hotel NYC

My experience at the 2009 NYC Salsa Congress

It is with great enthusiasm that I share with you all my experience at NYC’s 2009 Salsa Congress held at the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan! The entire event was rich with music, fun people, wonderful instructors, fantastic dancers and plenty of vendors to choose from. Each one of my senses was delightfully tickled as I made my way through all the salsa-oriented activities that made you shake your hips in participation! I really got into it!
John “Choco” Knight did a splendid job coordinating this year’s event and addressing the needs of the salsa community. He managed to bring the congress to another level this year by making sure to provide educational opportunities to the youth and also by booking the biggest musical act to hit the congress stage in all its years, legendary Eddie Palmieri!
I had to make sure I was prepared for the 3 days of activities so I headed to the vendors to gear up. I found myself at the Salsa Footsies table where I purchased a $70 pair of dancing shoes. I felt official! From there, I joined a workshop with Melissa Rosado who taught me some sexy dance moves that were sure to attract a serious papi chulo! Thanks Melissa! I also partnered with dance instructor, Rene Gueits who taught the Casino Rueda workshop which concentrated on some serious turn patterns. I broke a sweat and got seriously dizzy so I decided to ask the real professionals how they managed to maintain their cool on the dance floor. I was fortunate enough to come across head judge Jamie Josephson, who explained to me the rules of competition for this year’s salsa congress competitors. I found out the winners took home a mega trophy, a title and 5,000 big ones to share. I was so curious what it would take to prepare for competition or performance so I headed backstage where I ran into a couple of crews preparing to take the stage. The crews included the Diamond Dancers from Caguas, PR directed by Sonia Rivera, Christine and Andrew from Lorenz Dance Studio in Queens, NY, Katherine, Victor, Franklin, and Johanna from Mambo Bravo located in Queens, NY, and the Rekreation Dance Company, a 27 person dance crew out of Houston, TX. Each of them assured me that preparation was rigorous but that the love for the dance superseded any challenges they might face along the way. They all left me in awe with their performances!
Through this wonderful experience I learned that salsa has no limits or discrimination. Anyone can participate no matter how young or old, no matter where you reside on the map, no matter what nationality or origin you come from, or what level of experience you have. And! With a little hard work, dedication and commitment to having fun, you can be on your way to becoming the salsera or salsero of your dreams! I know I’m on my way! Please be sure to look out for more shows featuring latin dance and booty shaking rhythms. My name is Leticia Reyes and I’m special reporting for En La Escena!

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