What a fantastic evening Friday turned out to be! With almost 700 people in attendance the 2008 Toronto Dance Salsa Amateur Competition Finals was a smashing success. The evening started off with a beginner lesson with Velina and Jennifer and an intermediate lesson with Rob and Sonya. Despite the large crowds both classes were fun and by the end of the hour the students were able to execute the combinations.

Social dancing began immediately after the lessons until 11pm and although we had so many people in attendance there was still lots of elbow room to really dance.

At 11pm sharp George(ous) began the competition. As usual he was funny, engaging and entertaining and the crowd really enjoyed the introductions and funny stories. The judges were introduced: Teddy and Rene from United Salseros, Angus from iFreestyle, Ana Machada and Salsa Steph from Go Dance Mambo.

Then it was time for the competitors to do their warm up. All the couples warmed up on stage for 2 minutes at which time George called each couple to perform. Each couple had been working for the past 4 weeks to create a choreography to a 2 to 2.5 minute routine and the effort was evident on stage. I was really proud of everyone – most of them had been in my level 1 a year or two ago and to see them on stage in costume performing in front of hundreds of people was amazing and inspiring.

Once the competitors finished I ran to add up the scores with Sara. At this time we had 5 performances by iFreestyle, Go Dance Mambo and Mambo Mosaic. Each one was unique and very entertaining. Thank you to all the performers who took the time and energy to perform that night.

Immediately after the performances George announced the winners – it was a very exciting moment for everyone! The winners were:

1st Place – Kelly and Barry
2nd Place – Camela and Manuel
3rd Place – Therese and James
Runner Up – Marsha and John
Runner Up – Jennifer and Tyrone

Barry and Kelly won the following:
A full Canada Salsa Congress Pass for each of them, a full Miami Salsa Congress Pass for each of them with 1 night hotel stay, a full World Salsa Competition Pass for each, 3 pairs each of dance shoes from both Century Wide shoes, Gabellini Shoes and Addicted to Dance Shoes, dinner & show from Plaza Flamingo, Peridot Rest Lounge Gift Certificates, 1 year membership to Lula Lounge’s salsa Fridays, t-shirts from Shokkwear, Meet Market Adventures Gift Certificate and Trophies

Congratulations to everyone for competing. It is such a courageous thing to do and many people don’t realize the amount of work that goes into performing so I am very proud of everyone.

Thank you to everyone who made the evening rock – Evan, George, the judges, the performers, the sponsors and the competitors. Looking forward to seeing you all next year at the 2009 competition!