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Salsa Dance Competitions at Roccapulco, 2009

By Maya/SalsaLoca


Last year Oscar and Tony O, who have been organizing the Bay Area event for almost a decade now, were ready to quit due to lack of support from local salseros.  After giving it one more chance they were pleasantly surprised: quite a few fans showed up.  Not so this year.  The balconies seemed to be full, but the dance floor was almost empty even after 10 pm.  It was quiet and the atmosphere lacked excitement.

Are we that jaded? Where's the spirit of the competition? Where are all these groups that reduced social dancing to a shadow of its glorious past? Are they so touchy they can't stand a chance of losing? Where are the dancers who made the clubs come alive years ago? You want to learn NOW, perform and strut your stuff? Think of it this way: if you don't do your part there will be no spectators left to watch you and no venues for you to showcase your skills.

Instructors have a major role to play if they're smart enough to think ahead and  assure their own future.  Social dancing is the lifeline that feeds the groups and inspires new recruits.  Troupe members and instructors must revive the old tradition of collective outings as an integral part of their training, mandatory for improving leading and following skills.  Watching others and getting new ideas would also help prevent stale routines that look all  alike  
Sorry to start from this lament, but unless we all support the events someone is willing to offer we'll have no one to blame but ourselves if they give up.

And now the competition.  3 groups competed in Amateur division with Proyecto Mania deservedly taking the first place.  The skill level of all Salsamania dancers has improved tremendously over the years. So much so that even the student group is breathing on the necks of their senior members from Son de Mania.  PB&G Rising stars and Rica Sensacion presented solid routines and were placed second and third respectively.

For the Pro division Salsamania family signed up 2 groups: the pros and the junior team Son de Mania, thus increasing their chances of winning for the team.  The Fresno group Danza added the much needed variety to the competition breaking the Salsamania and Ricasalsa monopoly.  Even though their technical performance was not perfec,t this group presented an interesting retrospective of Latin dances with  creative choreography.  Mistakes were made and they did not place, but, hopefully, they will not be discouraged and will return in the future.

With Ricasalsa's daring decision to include 9 couples it was a bit crowded and hard to absorb the intricate choreography that distinguishes this team.(especially watching from the side).  And yet, their presentation was  polished and exuded high energy. However, a couple's mistake  may have ruined their chance to retain the last year's trophy so they placed second.

Son de Mania showcased an old routine and was placed third, but .Salsamania took back the first prize after confirming once again the team's technical skills in classic salsa. Their fast-paced and demanding new presentation included some daring lifts and had only 2 couples dancing so synchronization  was not a problem.

2 "half-time shows" spiced up the competition. A kid's group presented a hip-hop routine and the Bay Area favorite Enrique showcased his gorgeous new partner in a tantalizing performance that enthralled the audience.

Of course we could use more competitors especially considering the abundance (overabundance?) of Bay Area troupes.  This event is indicative of the overall health of the salsa  community so let's support it, shall we?

Maya Salsaloca


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