On Sunday April 26th we held our 3rd annual Toronto Dance Salsa Amateur Salsa Competition Preliminary Round at Six Degrees Nightclub at Yonge & Eglinton.

It was an awesome evening – our most organized by far! We opened the doors at 6:30pm and by 7pm when the lessons began we were already starting to fill up the huge venue. Sara and Farnoosh taught the intermediate lesson on stage and Tracie and Mark taught the beginner lesson upstairs.

At 8pm DJ Efren started spinning his very high energy salsa tunes and the lights went down. By this time we had about 400 people in attendance dancing up a storm. Upstairs in the dancer’s lounge the 18 competitors were getting their makeup done professionally by Alice from Mary Kay Cosmetics who volunteered her time to spice up the competitors. A huge thank you to her and her colleague – they were amazing and did a great job!

At 9pm sharp George(eous) our host began the competition. Funny as always (and making fun of me as usual 😉 George thanked our sponsors, the judges and introduced our 18 competitors who warmed up on stage for 2 minutes. Then each competitor was introduced with their bio and performed a freestyle performance for 2 minutes. Here are the names of the competitors in no particular order:

1. Winnie Fung and Manuel Alvarez
2. Mridu Das and Elton Martins
3. Michelle Sui and Bobby Cabral
4. Karen Di Monte and John Radtke
5. Julia Brodyansky and Vincent Cheng
6. Marta Slowik and Alex Florescu
7. Stephanie Cansino and Nick Sagias
8. Eva Wen and Derek Wisniewski
9. Maysa Tani and Dan Tahirkheli

The energy of the crowd was excellent and the judges had the very difficult job of rating each couple. Once all competitors performed Sara and I ran upstairs to tally up the scores and get the names of the 5 couples with the highest scores. At the same time, the adorable kids from Latin Groove Productions performed on stage. Thanks to Oscar for bringing his group to perform – the crowd loved the group!

Finally it was time for the results. Once again, in no particular order, here are the 5 finalist couples who will be competing for the TDS Champion Title:

1. Winnie Fung and Manuel Alvarez
2. Mridu Das and Elton Martins
3. Karen Di Monte and John Radtke
4. Marta Slowik and Alex Florescu
5. Maysa Tani and Dan Tahirkheli

Everyone received an awesome gift bag with prizes like a year’s VIP pass to Six Degrees, TDS t-shirt, El Rancho VIP 4 month pass, passes to Lula Lounge, Plaza Flamingo, Baila Society classes and more. Thank you to the sponsors for the great prizes!

Overall an amazing evening. I can’t wait to experience the final round on Sunday May 31st at 7pm at Six Degrees. Hope to see you all there!