On December 9 and 10 Atlanta’s Marriott Marquis will pay tribute to the Cuban son and its international variants with the holding of the World Salsa Championships.
Atlanta will welcome participants from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Panama, Ecuador, New Zealand, Slovenia, Italy and Spain, among others.
They will participate in a difficult competition where dance couples and winning elite teams or finalists in national or international competitions will weigh up their talent and will vie for the titles in Salsa On-1 – Los Angeles style -, Salsa On-2 (mambo), Cabaret – tricks and acrobatics allowed -, and Teams (6 or more contestants). As a novelty, for the first time the Championship will allow competing in the “same sex” division.
Organized by World Dance Group, an Atlanta-based music/sports company whose mission is to globalize salsa, the Championship will feature as attractions the performances of the Cuban group Charanga Habanera, as well as Puerto Rican Ismael Miranda and Dominican José Alberto El Canario.
Noel Roque, president of the company, said to OnCuba that they will be two days of music and dance that will venerate salsa.
Roque affirms that the genre is liked a great deal at present thanks to the increase of dance schools in the world. There has also been, he explained, a significant increase in the number of Dance Congresses. “The concept of Salsa Congress was born in Puerto Rico invented more than 20 years ago by Mr. Eli Irizarri. Now there are more than 500 of these events worldwide.”
It was expected that Havana D’Primera, one of our most popular bands, would be with you….
We were unfortunately informed at the last minute that they will not have their visas ready. Thus, today we are replacing them with Grammy nominees David Calzado and his Charanga Habanera. They will provide the entertainment for Havana Night on December 9 and will be flying directly to Cuba on Delta.
Is there any other Cuban participation among the contestants and in the artistic part?
The Championship is being dedicated to Michael Yi – “Chino casino” -, who is a salsa instructor in Atlanta and the organizer of this city’s Congress. Michael is a cancer survivor who was diagnosed this year and recovered with the treatment and also thanks to dance.
A year ago Havana tried to break the Guinness record with an immense rueda de casino on the Malecón. Will you try to establish some sort of precedent in the festival?
I was in Havana for this event and I covered it for our SalZoom.com social network. Our championship will be broadcast by ESPN in the first quarter of 2017. There won’t necessarily be a record.
Many festivals of this type have an academic part. Will World Salsa Championships have one?
We will have dance workshops given by important international dance instructors like Billy Fajardo and Katie Marlow, Tito and Tamara, Liz Lara, Nelson Flores and others.
Have you thought of choosing Cuba as the venue for World Salsa Championships in the future?
We would love to, and I was even in the November Dance Congress in Cuba where I saw a great deal of international public. The rumba also has its origins in Cuba and it would be fantastic and historic to make a TV broadcast of a world event like this one, from that lovely island.