Miami and salsa are almost interchangeable - there's hardly an ad or commentary about Miami that doesn't include a salsa soundtrack, with exclamations of "caliente!" It's a cliché, but also true: the heart of the salsa sound -- Cuban son and its Afro-Caribbean rhythmic roots -- makes Miami move to a beat unlike anywhere else in the USA.
It's no surprise then that the 10th edition of the Miami Salsa Congress is bigger than ever. This year it features over 400 national and international stars, 30 dance workshops, live concerts, and, of course, parties that last till 6 a.m., all centered at the newly gleaming Fontainebleau Resort on Miami Beach. We caught up with executive producer Rene Gueits to ask him about the 10th anniversary extravaganza.
New Times: After a decade, what differs most from the inaugural event?
Rene Gueits: The
shear size of it. And more then ever locals from across Florida have
taken an interest, giving the event more of an arts festival feel. This
new wave of attendees adds to the international [feel] of the past
Why the emphasis on the Fontainebleau?
It's the best South Beach has to offer -- and that's what we like to offer.
Have the audiences changed in 10 years?
the audience has become more diverse, with attendees traveling from as
far as Japan, Australia, Europe, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United
Have salsa styles changed over the period?
Yes, styles and preferences are constantly evolving. The shows have become much more elaborate and exciting.
Would someone who danced salsa in the beginning days of the 1970s recognize the salsa of today?
They would definitely recognize the dance, although they would most certainly notice an evolution.
Will anything surprise us this year?
extraordinary compilation of talent. Over 400 performers including
three nights of dance showcases, five bands and world renowned DJs,
including some of the biggest names in the industry."
edition of the Miami Salsa Congress starts Wednesday and runs through
Sunday. The big weekend events begin at 8 p.m. with a two-hour
performance from leading salsa companies. On Friday night alone, there
will be groups from D.C. , New York, Japan, Caracas, and of course Miami
-- 26 performance troupes in all that night. Then the 4,000-square
dance floor is opened up to all. After that, DJs and live acts take over
until 3:00 p.m. There's also a Beginner Salsa Boot Camp at noon on
Saturday. A closing workshop on Sunday at 4 p.m. is simply called Ladies
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Styling. For details on times and events for the five-day affair at the
Fontainebleau Resort on Miami Beach, go to www.MiamiSalsaCongress.com.
--By Anne Tschida, artburstmiami.com