Los Angeles City officials would have been proud to see the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic crowd of several thousand salseros of all ages, gathered in Grand Park on Memorial Day just a few yards across from Los Angeles City Hall. "Creating Unity thru Salsa," stated Albert Torres, founder of the International LA Salsa Fest (formerly Los Angeles Salsa Congress).
Summer officially -- or unofficially -- got underway with the inaugural Grand Park's Got Moves: The Salsa Session on Monday, May 26, 2014. This exciting event came on the heels (pun intended) of the 16th Annual International L.A. Salsa Fest (formerly Los Angeles Salsa Congress), which featured performances by Frankie Vazquez & Mambo Legends; Jose Alberto "El Canario" & Adalberto Santiago; Tipica 73; Toby Love; from Colombia-LA 33; Spanish Harlem Orchestra; Son Mayor; Johnny Polanco Y Conjunto Amistad; Orquestra Costazul; and Ricardo Lemvo Y Makina Loca, and a Global contingent of salseros.
At this event, Salseros of all ages and dance levels had the opportunity to enjoy two popular Los Angeles-based bands, and witness dance performances for free.
The weather gods looked down favorably on this event. The event experienced tropical-like weather, perfect conditions for salseros and others kicking back and relaxing in beautiful Grand Park.
It didn't take long for it to get hotter and hotter throughout the afternoon. The temperatures went up in the park. Salseros came from near and far to showcase some hot dance moves, while listening to some fiery hot rhythms of the house DJ, and two local bands.
It's getting hot out here!
Ricardo Lemvo Y Makina Loca played a dynamic set of Afro-Cuban rhythms, mixed in with pan-African styles. This marvelous blend of rhythms is so contagious people jumped up from their seated positions to let loose, have fun and dance. The band performed "Bilolo," "Tata Masamba," "Yiri Yiri Bon," "Malambo," "Papa na Bana," and "Mambo Yo Yo" to the delight of the dancers.
The crowd and I were in for a real treat. We witnessed some amazing dance performances that astounded the crowd and I at their fluid dance moves and abilities. The dance performances consisted of Imperial Juvenil from Colombia -- an incredible group of youngsters that I'm guessing were between the ages of 8 and 10 years old, Takashi and Hotomo from Japan, MG Dance Team from El Monte, California, Junior & Emily and Adrianita and Jefferson from Colombia. These was World Latin Dance Cup World Champions. The crowd and I could see why they were crowned as champions.
The entertainment continued with the Grammy-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra led by Oscar Hernandez. The band turned up the throttle to play a fiery hot set of Salsa Dura with a dash of melodic balladry to close out the inaugural Grand Park's Got Moves: The Salsa Session.
The success of this event set a solid template to build on for subsequent events, which is already scheduled for Memorial Day 2015.