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Gearing Up to Salsa at the New York International Salsa Congress

by Marilynn Larkin
September 1, 2009
Hilton New York
1335 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019
212-586-7000
New York International Salsa Congress
September 2-6, 2009
The Hilton New York
www.nycsalsacongress.com
For the past two years, I attended the NY Hustle Congress and looked longingly at its neighbor, the much larger NY International Salsa Congress. The energy was electrifying, and everyone seemed to be having fun.

This year, I'll be there! So I was pleased to hear event director, Choco, say this will be the best congress ever. "We've definitely taken the event to the next level," Choco told me in a pre-event interview. "We have better dance groups, better instructors, better bands — and live music throughout the four days. My goal is to make the New York International Salsa Congress the best salsa event in the world!"

He seems to be off to a running start. More than 35,000 attendees are expected over the four-day weekend — more than last year, despite the rough economy. Although the emphasis is on performances and dancing, the competition schedule has also grown — preliminaries on Friday, finals on Sunday (as opposed to everything on one day, as in previous years), and even Jack and Jills. Choco promises that everything will run on time, which would be a refreshing change from some of the swing and hustle events I've attended.

Also new this year is a bachata room. Choco observed that bachata people, in contrast to salsa people, "are more relaxed and tend to enjoy the nightlife." Salsa people tend to be "hard-core dancers," and the top dancers often run with their own groups or cliques. I'm eager to suss out the differences, enjoy the shows, and dance as well as my 8 months of classes at Piel Canela will allow. Look for perspectives and an event roundup shortly.
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