The 2009 Colombia Salsa Congress

Orquesta La Sospecha
Orquesta La Sospecha

As I continued to try to squeeze every drop of enjoyment out of my time left in Medellin, I decided to check out Grupo Gale July 11th.

They had performed the prior night at Colombia’s 2009 Salsa Congress party, and were now offering a free show at Premium Plaza.

Once there, I met up with Astrid and a few of her American friends who were visiting, Jesusa, and several other Colombian couchsurfers.

The show was being staged underneath the mall, which was a bit strange, but I suppose it was good promotion and addressed the potential for rain.

The music wasn’t doing much for me, but once I started dancing, I realized it was fine.  Unlike going to a rock concert, a salsa show necessitates dancing!

Edwin Rivera (USA) in blue
Edwin Rivera in blue

After the show, Astrid and I were given a ride to the Universidad de Medellin.

I was curious to check out the Colombia Salsa Congress party that night.  At the least, I knew I could count on Astrid for a dance or two, but otherwise, I was stepping into the unknown.

Luck was a lady this night, in the form of Yamile, one of my dance instructors.

She spotted me at the entrance, before we’d even stepped inside.  We were equally thrilled to see each other.  I had been wanting to dance socially with her before leaving town.

She invited us to the table she got with her Swedish friend, and before long, more friends arrived and we were sipping water (her) rum (me) and talking.

One of the guys in the group had a professional cameraman following and filming his life.  Apparently it was for some type of internet video project.

Junior Alabi
Junior Alabi

Yamile pointed out a few of the world’s best salsa dancers for me.

They were sitting on the opposite end of the dance floor from us – Edwin Rivera (USA) in blue and white and Junior Alabi (USA) in pink jeans and a sport coat.

I guess if you’re that good, a little flair in your wardrobe can be pulled off.  I’ll be sticking with t-shirts and jeans for the near future.

Busy dance floor
Busy dance floor

Most of my dances were with Yamile.  After all, she knew the moves I knew, so it eliminated most of the awkwardness you get dancing with someone new, especially when the guy in that equation is the least experienced (by 5-10 years) on the dance floor.

It was a cool experience to be dancing with Yamile, just a few feet from Junior doing his thing.

More so than feeling intimidated, I felt motivated to continue improving after watching so many great dancers.

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