Here is part 3 of Linda’s adventure in Miami…

“Miami Salsa Congress 2007…thoughts by Linda Domenichini!

To jump-start the morning, we got a taste of Colombian Style Salsa partner work with Son de Cali. It was so interesting to experience this style of salsa, which will certainly add some flair to my dancing. We learned the Columbian basic, mark, elevation, fours and a basic with a cha cha cha, the latter being a move we were told is used often to replace the standard basic during really fast songs. With just a few basic moves, we were dancing with some Columbian flavour! We were scheduled to take ladies styling on2 with Griselle Ponce for our next class, but unfortunately, Griselle had a hairline fracture and couldn’t teach that day, so Nelson Gaston Vidarte from Energy One (Miami) stepped in to take over the class. He performed the night before, so we knew all about his fantastic body movement, but now we know that he is also a fantastic instructor! My shoulders still ache from the isolation exercises and shines combo he took us through. Shake, shake, shake! While some of us took Ismael Otero’s (New York) turn patterns on2 class, I decided to take some casino rueda with Rene Gueits & Salsa Lovers (Miami). They had three circles going – beginner, intermediate and advanced. I’ve never taken a casino rueda class before, but since I consider myself a strong enough follower, I decided to jump in the intermediate circle. It was a lot of fun whizzing around the circle and I think I had a permanent smile on my face the entire hour. If you have yet to try rueda, you should definitely give it a go. Next, we dove into on2 territory with Jayson Molina (Puerto Rico) who challenged us with a shines routine. The advanced class was tough, but I learned a lot by pushing myself to try something out of my comfort zone. After Jayson’s on2 class, I finished the day with an on1 turn pattern class with Salsa Karibe (Miami). I’m glad that we rotated frequently in this class because I got to dance with some great dancers. After a tough day, I needed a little cat-nap before the performances and evening dancing, so I decided to snooze by the pool, but of course, it was non-stop action at this event – with poolside dancing!

At any given salsa congress, the Saturday evening is usually known to be the biggest night of entertainment, and I was once again blown away by the talent on stage. My favorite performances of the evening included Al & Karla Espinoza (L.A.) who inspired me to keep working on my multiple turns! Griselle Ponce (N.Y) braved the stage in her wrapped foot (that beautifully matched her costume I might add) and proved that even with an injury, she is one of the best dancers around. Billy Fajado and Katie Marlow (Ft. Lauderdale) gave a stunning cabaret style performance with incredible lifts and graceful style, while Jhesus Aponte and Sheila De Jesus (Puerto Rico) injected salsa with a swing/jive feel. A most amazing performance was given by a troupe from Montreal (I’m still trying to track down who it was because they were so fantastic) and I absolutely loved the show by Santo Rico (N.Y) The future of salsa looks bright as we watched a group of high school kids from Massachusetts – Salsa Con Clase – who brought down the house with their funky flavour.

Once again, I was exhausted by midnight, but I wanted to check out the social dancing for a bit, and I’m sure glad that I did because Sonora Carruseles from Columbia was in the house! What a great concert.”

Last part on Monday!