Extra Saucy Miami Salsa Congress Starts Tonight

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."

The 10th

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

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

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