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Detroit Salsa Congress Sunday Review by Sofia Ivanova

The 2nd Annual Detroit Salsa Congress was held in Southfield, Michigan, May 1-4, 2003. It was held at a rather unique venue, The Volcano Grill, which is part of a larger complex known as the Starline Theatre. The Volcano Grill is a nice restaurant with a really long bar and on the right side of the room, there's even a pool table area, a buffet area and plenty of seating if you want to eat or just hang out.

The stage was a bit small as five couples fit tight, but I understand that last year there wasn't a stage at all! The area for the dancers to gather in while waiting to perform was small, but it appears everyone was conscious of the situation and considerate. Other than that, everything else is a positive. There's a huge parking lot outside where people can park for free. Plenty of reasonably priced hotels nearby, and in the Starline Theatre, game rooms and other entertainment if you feel like clearing your head for awhile.

I only caught the last day of this congresso, but had fun just the same. As the club doesn't offer the luxury of separate rooms, there was only one workshop per hour. The con of only one workshop means if you don't want to learn what's being taught, you have to sit out and wait for the next. The pro is that you don't miss any workshops while attending others. The last 2 workshops were taught by Mark Anthony and Stephanie, and the last one by Pawel and Dora. Both couples taught some really nice turn patterns and shines.

As it was the last day of the Congress, the evening performances began at 5:30pm. The show kicked off with promoter and Volcano Club Owner Elaine Marrero welcoming everyone and telling us how her 6 year old niece had been watching the performances for the last three days and had expressed a desire to perform. The promoter's good friend happens to be Maria Torres who took it upon herself to teach the little girl a routine which they both performed. She's such a little cutie, strutting her stuff on stage. Maria did a great job putting together a quick routine. The audience adored her.

Pawel and Dora, from Toronto, danced next. Dressed in white with elf ears, they had an entertaining animailistic routine. They had some innovative moves and lifts.

Then it was 180 Entertainment from Chicago. They were dressed as high schoolers sitting in a math class while some boring teacher lectured. Then the Hip Hop music broke out and they all started grooving. One of the couples then broke into a tap routine, which progressed into another performer doing a belly dance routine and then Salsa! They had a really long routine and were quite tired by the end of it. This was their first congress experience as performers and they did well.

Next to dance were Marci and Martenzi from Detroit. A mature couple that were also performing together for the first time at a Congress! They had a nice routine.

Alfred and Tivon, also from Detroit, had a really nice exhibition. Their routine started out with Tivon lamenting over her lover not calling her while dancing to a love song. When her partner joined her on stage they broke into a fun salsa routine.

Renee and Jason, another Toronto couple, had a James Bond theme to their routine. Rene was the perfect Bond girl, dressed in sexy outfit that highlighted her great legs. Jason was the roguish Bond and played his role to a tee! This was a very entertaining routine.

Toronto must love 007 because the next exhibition by Daman and Archilla had Daman playing the role of Austin Powers and Archilla portraying James Bond! This routine had a spy versus spy theme that was also quite entertaining.

The fourth couple from Toronto, John and Monica, are the amateur champions in Toronto and it was easy to see why. Their routine was really fun, and when they dance, not only are they entertaining, but the joy and pleasure of dancing was so evident in their faces.

The next performers were none other than Chicago's very own - Los Soneros del Swing. They performed their Congresso piece which incorporates a Mambo portion taught them by Miguel Mendez and were totally enjoyable as always! This group continues to mature in their performance style as well as their overall presentation.

Luis and Ashley, a young couple from Detroit, had a really good routine that included lifts, splits, footwork and really nice side by side turns. If this couple continues to dance together, they will become a great duo. They have so much potential, and once their routine smoothes out a bit as their tension decreases, they will be fantastic.

Of course, no Congresso is complete without Puerto Rico being represented. The Detroit Salsa Congress was no exception and the group Sky Dance did a fine job. This was a well choreographed routine starting with the ladies coming out first, then exiting the stage as the men came on to strut their stuff and then the whole ensemble for the partner work. Their routine flowed so well, and they performed it so easily.

The final couple was from New York although Jesus is originally from Puerto Rico. Jesus and Maria's routine was wonderful! What is it about the New York dancers? They have great routines, great costumes, great looks, great bodies and of course, great execution.

The Detroit Congress is small in comparison to Chicago, but definitely a more intimate setting. A great way to meet people as the intimidation factor is low and everyone is a bit more casual and relaxed. Highly recommend this event for anyone considering going next year.

Pictures and video clips of Sunday performances by Miguel Mendez & Sofia Ivanova.

Elaine Marrero addressing the crowd

Elaine & her cousin Maria

Jesus & Maria Clip1 Clip 2 Clip 3

Sky Dance Clip 1 - Clip 2 - Clip 3

Soneros del Swing Clip 1 - Clip 2 - Clip 3

Soneros del Swing Clip 4 - Clip 5 - Clip 6

John & Monica Clip 1 - Clip 2

Renee & Jason Clip 1 - Clip 2 - Clip 3

Marcie & Martenzi Clip 1 - Clip 2 - Clip 3

Dora & Pawell Clip 1 - Clip 2 - Clip 3

Maria Torres & Jailin Clip 1 - Clip 2

Alfred & Tivon Clip 1 - Clip 2 - Clip 3

180 Entertainment Clip 1 - Clip 2 - Clip 3

Devin & Arkilla Clip 1 - Clip 2

Luis & Ashley Clip 1 - Clip 2 - Clip 3

Miguel & Sofia

Juan and his ladies

 

  

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