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Party of the Year

What is the West Coast Salsa Congress?

By Dena Burroughs
Published on LatinoLA: May 1, 2005


Party of the Year


WHAT IS THE WEST COAST ?SALSA? CONGRESS?

In general terms, the West Coast Salsa Congress (WCSC) is the coming together of people from all parts of the world who have ?Salsa? music and dancing as their common interest. The WCSC has been held annually -- 2005 being its seventh consecutive year -- on the grounds of the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, organized and promoted by Albert Torres, from atpevents.com.

The first Congress was held inside the Casino, but as the years went by, the amount of dancers and music lovers grew so much that a new set-up became necessary. Last year, the new set-up, christened ?Salsaland?, was raised outside the Casino, in the parking area, a complex of tents of varied sizes -- large ones for Salsa bands? performances and social dancing, a big one for dance teams? performances, and several smaller tents for vendors who offered everything from dance shoes and clothing, to professional full body massages.

More specifically, this year?s WC Salsa Congress will be held on the week of May 23rd, once again in ?Salsaland?, right outside the Hollywood Park Casino. The band line-up is the most exquisite yet in the entire Congress? history: ?Manny Oquendo y Libre? and ?Willie Rosario y su Orquesta? playing on Thursday the 26th; ?Diego Gale [from Grupo Gale] and King Bongo? and ?Bobby Valentin y su Orquesta? playing on Friday the 27th; ?Jose Alberto El Canario y su Orquesta? and the ?Spanish Harlem Orchestra? playing on Saturday the 28th; and ?Jimmy Bosch y su Orquesta? and ?Oscar D? Leon y su Orquesta? playing on Sunday the 29th.

In addition to the top of the notch music, dance teams from all over the world are flying in to perform, and a long list of vendors are ready to go. I hear even a chiropractor will be in the house this year.

Personally speaking, the WC Salsa Congress is my party of the year. For it is that I buy new dance shoes, new clothes, get on a diet, and consider a new hairdo. It is the time when I get my house ready to host dancers/friends coming from other parts of the country, and excitedly await the visit of friends from as far away as Norway.

It is the time when I read up on the singers, musicians, and bands that will be performing. When else do we get to see two bands of that caliber per night for under $40, without having to fly out elsewhere!

More than anything I am in expectation of the ?Battle of the Soneros? that is scheduled on Saturday May 28th: El Canario, Domingo Quinones, Frankie Vazquez, Ray De La Paz, Herman Olivera, Willie Torres, Marco Bermudez -- some of the most outstanding vocals in the Salsa scene, doing their thing all at once on the stage. I have seen similar ?sonero battles? only on DVD and tape so far, and this time around I will be enjoying live what I think will become memorable.

If you are a Salsa lover, perhaps you should consider an encounter, a ?Congress?, with others who love what you love. There?s more information on this event on the following webpage: http://alberttorresevents.com/congress/2005/

You don?t need new dance shoes to attend, nor new clothes? that?s only me! All you need is the want to hear good music, share a dance, and have a rather tropical Memorial weekend!






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