La Vida Es Un Carnaval says Celia Cruz and any Latin dancer takes her word for it. And it is great that they do, because it is from that mind-frame that the zestful choreographies they perform come from.
Whenever I see someone dancing Salsa it feels like I am watching someone who truly understood what being happy feels like and it makes me want to dance to too.
There’s something about that rhythm that simply won’t let you sit down. It’s contagious and I love it.
What To Look For
Born in Cuba, Salsa is a fresh combination between the Danzón, African Rumbas and Són, which are traditional dance styles coming from people all around the world.
Its expansion to the United States is a very important milestone in the history of dance, with a peak in popularity around the ‘70s, as it allowed for amazing artists like Hector Lavoe (please watch El Cantante), Fania All-Stars, Ruben Blades, Ismael Rivera, Joe Arroyo and of course our beloved Celia Cruz to rise to fame.
And when there’s good music, great dance will follow – so great that they make movies about it.
Recommendation For You - Shine (2018)
If you are already a salsa dancer or plan on becoming one, there is one film I recommend you watch before your next rehearsal – Shine (2018).
As the winner of the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2017 Urbanworld Film Festival this movie pays homage to a rich and beautiful culture and tradition, while telling the story of two brothers Ralphi and Junior, two highly acclaimed Spanish Harlem salsa dancers.
In the face of tragedy, Ralphi wants to abandon everything that defined his life, including his family, his culture and his lover.
He returns after seven years and upon reuniting with his brother he realizes they are on the opposite sides of gentrification.
Junior became an elite salsa dancer and an activist who fights to preserve his community, while his brother is the perfect emblem of the corporate world.
This movie shows once again the power of dance through the community that comes to life around it.
The dance scenes are high-powered and underline how important it is to save one’s traditional heritage from being engulfed by money-hungry corporations and globalization.
Ralphi, who needs to confront his past and risk his life to help his brother save the community that was once so dear to both of them, is portrayed by a very talented dancer Jorge “Ataca” Burgos.
Together with his partner Tanja “La Alemana” Kensinger, Burgos turned into a celebrity in the Latino dance world in 2008 when their bachata routine on “Te Extrano” by Xtreme became viral on YouTube.