|Quisiera||Juan Luis Guerra||Salsa||Dominican Republic|
|Salsa y Control||Los Hermanos Lebron||Salsa||Colombia|
|Quisiera Ser Demente||Charlie Cajares||Salsa||Colomiba|
|Comentario De Solar||Albita||Salsa||Cuba|
|La Negra Tomasa||Vocal Sampling||Salsa A capella||Cuba|
|Bonita||The Pimps of Joytime||Salsa Funk||USA|
|Ciego Del Amor||Aventura||Bachata||USA|
|Que Pasara Mañana||Joan Soriano||Bachata||Dominican Republic|
|Dominicano Soy||Oro Solido||Merengue||USA|
|Prepárate||Antony Santos||Merengue||Dominican Republic|
|Después De Un Beso||Havana D’Primera||Son||Cuba|
|Otro Muerde el Polvo||Los Miticos Del Ritmo||Cumbia||Colombia|
Saskatchewan Salsa and Bachata Congress
At this time last year the Latin dance community of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was partying it up at the Mega Mambo Show and Fiesta. The event, organized by Carmen Gonza of Danza Morena Latin Dance Academy, attracted a local crowd as well as dancers from the surrounding area. It consisted of a small number of workshops and a few performances many of which were put on by students of the Academy; it was an intimate event that had lots of local support. This year Carmen organized another Latin dance event in Saskatoon only this time it wasn’t just a local affair. Carmen went all out and brought the Saskatchewan Salsa and Bachata Congress to this prairie town. By comparison, the the Mega Mambo Show and Fiesta was held in a small 100 person capacity church hall, featured primarily local dancers and instructors and organized by a small group of dedicated volunteers. The Saskatchewan Congress on the other hand was held at the Saskatoon Inn Conference center with the capacity for 1000 people. There were 10 different dance schools in attendance from all over Western Canada showing off their best as well as seven incredible international dance groups. This year’s workshops were put on by internationally renowned instructors who have taught at congresses from Europe to Asia. The organizers were again a dedicated group of locals, however they know had the support and guidance of the most successful Salsa congress organizer in the world, Albert Torres.
I had the opportunity to attend the Congress, take some of the workshops and meet some of the amazing dancers, as well as Albert Torres himself. For a man who travels 50 weeks of the year promoting some of the most successful and talked about Salsa congresses on the planet, Albert Torres is a very down to earth and approachable guy and very hard working. Not only does he help promote and provide dance talent for the events he co-produces, he also attends most (if not all) of them and helps out with the selling of merchandise. On top of that you will find him dancing the night away until the wee hours of the morning. The man apparently does not sleep.
I also had the opportunity to speak with the main DJ for the event, Robert Arnold Rodriguez who has been working with the Albert Torres’ Salsa Congresses since the first LA congress 15 years ago. Back then it was purely a Salsa event. However, Rob explained that these days with the huge surge in the popularity of bachata, the congress format has changed to highlight both dance styles.
The Congress was well organized and a ton of fun: performers, dancers, spectators, and volunteers had nothing but good things to say. Albert Torres had a lot to do with the success of the event but much credit needs to be given to Carmen Gonza. This lady had a dream of bringing the excitment of Latin dance to the middle of farm country Canada in a big way and she did it with this Congress. My understanding is that this will not be the last big congress we see in Saskatoon. I (and many other people) am expecting a repeat of this awesome event next year and when it happens I highly recommend you check it out. The price is right, the location is beautiful and the dancing is some of the best in the world.
I’ll leave you with some videos of the international performers featured at the Congress. Unfortunately, I was only able to find one video from the congress itself; the other videos are of the same routines but filmed at other venues.
Alien Ramirez – Cuba
Jefferson Benjumea & Adriana Avila – Colombia
Dave and Zoe – New York
Rodrigo & Selene – Mexico
Jorge Contreras & Alien Ramirez – Cuba and Dominican Republic
Questions, comments, requests? Send me an email.
Hasta la próxima