Colombia Salsa Congress: Dancing With The Stars

Astrid dances on 2 with Junior
Astrid dances on 2 with Junior (a world champion)

I had so much fun my first night at the 2009 Colombia Salsa Congress that I was looking forward to a return visit with Astrid on my last Sunday night in the country.

We arrived at the starting time, yet they were still preparing the gymnasium so we sat outside and talked.  Yamile, one of my dance teachers, then walked over with her Swedish friend.

They had just been in the auditorium for a performance, and right behind them were a steady stream of people, many of whom were about to benefit from free entrance into the evening’s party as a result of paying for tickets to the show.

Once again, we stationed ourselves at a table near stage right.  Rum, sodas, and water soon arrived, and it wasn’t long before we all began to dance again.

The night’s music was provided by the house band at Cien Fuegos whom I’d heard and danced to many times before.

Yamile (far right) snaps a photo of Albert Torres
Yamile (far right) snaps a photo of Albert Torres (salsa promoter)

Earlier in the day, Yamile had a private lesson with Junior Alabi.

While I was trying to figure out who were the stars, I thought Junior’s sister, Emily, was the blonde woman.

But I must’ve gotten mixed up, because Emily Alabi, I much later realized, has darker skin and black hair like her brother!

But I did see Emily dance a lot, and she was undeniably beautiful.  Here’s her MySpace page in case you don’t believe me.

Me and ??
Me and ??

So as the party was peaking, I summoned the courage to walk over and ask the woman I thought was Emily to dance.  While it didn’t turn out to be her, I do know whoever it was is very good!

If you can ID her for me in this photo, I’d appreciate it.

She was really friendly, and while we talked more on the dance floor than me showing her what I knew in terms of moves, I didn’t mind.

She seemed sincere, and had could even relate to my around the world trip, having backpacked the Pacific Rim herself.

Meanwhile, Astrid took the opportunity to dance with Junior, which I captured in the video below.

She said he was one of the only one to dance on 2’s, which I later learned, is basically the New York style of salsa.  Same steps, different timing.

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  1. Haha, that’s awesome Junior and Emily were there and she danced with him! Did you know they were just on “America’s Got Talent” a few weeks ago? They didn’t get very far. I saw them perform at the San Fran Salsa Congress a few years ago (they were teenagers) – absolutely incredible.