By standardizing a series of salsa figures according to the placement of hands and feet, Gueites has devised a system in which anyone who sticks with the program can learn to look good on the dance floor. In six years of operation, Salsa Lovers has cranked out nearly 30,000 technicians of the turn, with as many as 400 people showing up for a single class session. Although the synchronized motion of human bodies shifting in and out of a circle can be fascinating to watch, the Salsa Lovers' stage presence was decidedly unspectacular. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Salsa still is a vibrant, popular dance with limitless variations in Miami and across the world. The final meeting of the Bacardi Salsa Congress 2000 will take place in Puerto Rico in July, bringing together delegates from every stage in the salsa world. Like representative democracy, the pleasures of the professional salsa congress can sometimes feel a little too vicarious. Whatever comes of that summit, people will continue to dance salsa in their own neighborhoods in their own more or less spectacular way. However global salsa may become, the barrio will always be the homeland, and the salsero the syncopated citizen of the street.