Excessive levels of goodness aren’t always good. Like with cotton candy or chocolate cake. Or the performances at the seventh-annual “Lucky 7” Texas Salsa Congress in Houston, Tx. They were exceptional. So good, in fact, that I couldn’t possibly begin to narrow down the best ones over which to gush. It’s not for a lack of trying; I’ve put forth painstaking efforts to do so. Every routine and every dancer brought something distinct and refreshing to the evening, proving just how versatile salsa is. There are an infinite number of ways to interpret a type of music and I saw close to 50 of them between Friday and Saturday night. And as luck would have it, I happened to have my handy dandy notebook with me to take notes on said almost-50 performances.
So since I wasn’t able to narrow down a selection, I’ve decided to share my short and sweetly scribbled notes… from every single performance. Here’s a recap of the entire line-up of Friday night’s performances, from my perspective, in a few sentences or less.
Miguel and Maggie, ReKreation Dance – What a way to open the show! There was a little bit of tango, a lot of bendy-ness and tricks from a truly talented couple of young dancers.
Agresivos Corazones – The former Starlite Dance Studio dancer has been doing this since middle school and really worked it with fast, flashy footwork.
Hustle & Salsa Houston – Okay, a routine to “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha? This one holds a very special place in my heart. Read why here.
Reflejo de Lorenz – Really fun routine from New York… I loved the shimmying shoulder sit!
Helen & Wayne, The Odd Couple – He’s 65, she’s 14… but you’d never know by their dancing, holy cow! Helen is a rising star.
Semenaya Dance Krew – Impressive choreography for Semenaya’s training team under the direction of Kenny del Toro.
Tallahassee Mambo Project – Smoooooth! Unpretentious. So in-tune with the music. Loved them!
Baby Sweethearts, Starlite Dance Studio – These little girls, maybe a third of my age, have three times as many moves as I do. Adorable!
Salsa Eddy and Kay – Dynamic couple. Eddy is a salsa icon with phenomenal style and it was hard to pull my eyes away from Kay’s commanding stage presence.
Junior Heartbreak Boys, Starlite Dance Studio – Mini-James Bonds in suits with orange water guns and and some serious dance moves. I can’t believe what these little ones are capable of!
Klave FX – Very clean routine. I can still see their facials in my mind – there was no hiding how much they love dance. So much passion!
Houston United Salsa Semi-Pro – Crazy good choreography from Salomon Amaya! Great performance.
Mr. and Mrs. Mendez – Mr. and Mrs. Mendez recited a poem, a conversation between a dancer and her music, commissioned by Ruby Rivera for the Texas Salsa Congress and salsalebrity Ismael Otero’s birthday. I was mesmerized by lines like “…melodic mambo moans…” Such a gifted couple!
Beto and Cristina, ReKreation Dance – Beto and Critina first wowed me in Dallas at the De Lara Dance Evolution social and I recognized them immediately. They have it all – personality, stage presence, chemistry and insane talent. Love ‘em.
S’tilo Ardiente, De Lara Dance – Ladies group from Dallas under the direction of Sandy De Lara. A sexy, steamy, feverish performance.
Salsa for the Soul – A former Starlite dancer, it quickly became clear why this young dancer was the first recipient of the Texas Salsa Congress scholarship. Talent, talent, talent!
Edwin & Greysa – Thanks for the rude awakening, Edwin and Greysa. I no longer believe the silly little myth that perfection cannot be attained. Because this couple was perfect. Perfect.
Rumba & Fuego – Cold shower, anyone?! I think I actually stopped breathing while they were on. I love bachata! The crowd loved it and I’ve never been so proud to hail from Dallas.
Jesse & Mikhaela, ReKreation Dance – These young dancers were simply A. Mazing! Literally. That’s all I wrote because I couldn’t look away for even a second.
Heartbreak Boys, Starlite Dance Studio – Slow, rhythmic cha-cha, hot mambo and… the six-step?! Did I see that right? The Bronx boys got it going on!
Tropico Entertainment – I knew something was amiss when these three supremely charismatic ladies from Dallas took the stage. I didn’t see their usual energy and passion… After their performance it was announced that after arriving in Houston their car had been broken into and their costumes stolen. Rather than canchttp://hornface.com/node/30830526/editelling their performance, they went to the mall, threw new outfits together and took the stage despite the set-back. They were awarded a 2011 TSC scholarship in the amount of $500 in appreciation of their professionalism. So proud of our Dallas girls!
Sal-Rica – This Houston-based training team was a pleasure to watch!
Greek Salseros – The university group directed by Ms. TSC herself, Ruby Rivera. Fantastico!
Edwin Rivera and Lano Medina – Sick, sick, sick! These two guys started out with the Black Eyed Peas and the robot, and ended with a big trombone and Willie Colon. You have to watch a video of them move; they’re so good it would be remiss to not share their greatness. No, make that “criminally negligent” to not share. Check ’em out here.
ReKreation Dance – Salsa dancing in cheerleading uniforms is so very dear to my heart and one of the best things ever! And man, can these kids dance?!?!
Read about Roberto Roena dropping it like it’s hot and find out who made me blush like a schoolgirl in Too much of a good thing Part II: Saturday Night, coming soon!
*Please visit the Texas Salsa Congress website for more photos by Matthew Kelly of Phuture Photography, the official photographer of the Texas Salsa Congress since its inception. Phuture Photography-related inquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.