A convocation of salsa music dancers and fans from around the world is set to descend upon Westchester at the upcoming ninth annual West Coast Salsa Congress.
The festival of Latin music and dance, organized by Albert Torres Productions, is scheduled Thursday through Sunday, May 24th through 27th, over the Memorial Day weekend, at the LAX Radisson Hotel, 6225 Century Blvd., Westchester.
Both full-event passes and evening-only passes are available for the event. The full-event pass includes all workshops and pool parties on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; afternoon performances and evening shows on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Evening event passes include evening shows and live band performances from 7:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. Evening passes are $25 for Thursday, $35 for Friday, $45 for Saturday and $30 for Sunday. A full event pass is $330.
Each year, the West Coast Salsa Congress is themed “Creating Unity through Salsa,” using the art of salsa music and dance as a common ground to unite people of all ages and backgrounds, organizers say.
Thousands of salsa dancers and spectators are expected to travel to Los Angeles from countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Lebanon, Colombia, France, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, United Kingdom, Africa, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sweden, Syria and Venezuela for the event, putting their own cultural interpretation on salsa dancing.
Latin music legend Papo Lucca y la Sonora Ponce“a is a headliner at this year’s event, and will share the bill with Chino Espinoza y los Due“os del Son, Tabaco y Ron and Johnny Polanco y su L. A. Conjunto Amistad.
Ponce“a is a multi-instrumentalist (versed in at least 11 instruments) from Puerto Rico best known for his piano skills. He co-founded the band Sonora Ponce“a with his father Don Enrique “Quique” Lucca Caraballo, with which the pair made waves on the Puerto Rican music scene. Ponce“a has also played and recorded with the Fania All Stars, Willie Colon, Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco, Bobby Valentin, Ismael Quintana, Gloria Estefan, Adalberto Santiago, Andy Monta“ez, and Pablo MilanÈs.
Johnny Polanco y su L. A. Conjunto Amistad are said to be favorites among the salsa dancing community. The group has 35 years of experience in Latin instruments and rhythms. Polanco has toured, recorded and performed with salsa greats including Johnny Pacheco, Cachao, Ray De La Paz and Charlie Zaa.
Orquesta Tabaco y Ron plays a high-energy, hard-edged brand of salsa music. The group performs as a 12-piece big band orchestra, made up of musicians from Latin American countries including Puerto Rico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. Organizers say the group’s contagious energy revives the almost-extinct salsa sound of generations past.
Chino Espinoza y Los Due“os Del Son features Costa Rican-born salsa singer/bandleader Mirley Espinoza, known by fans as Chino El Salsero. Espinoza was raised in a musical family, as his father and younger brother were percussionists. But it was his mother (along with the great ballad vocalists of Latin America and Spain) who inspired and passed on the love for singing to a young Espinoza. He cites El Gran Combo, La Sonora Matancera, Tito Puente, Tito RodrÌguez and Machito as influences.
Organizers say attendance is up over 30 percent at the West Coast Salsa Congress in recent years, helping to attract international dancers and salsa fans from around the world to the event. In addition to the nightly dance and music performances, participants will have the opportunity to take part in approximately 70 dance workshops, 150 dance shows and several seminars on Latin/Salsa music and dance.
Albert Torres, known in the salsa music world as the Bill Graham (famed rock concert promoter) of Latin Entertainment, promotes salsa music internationally. For over 30 years, Torres has been involved in providing only the finest in Latin music and dance entertainment.
Information, (310) 445-9705 or www.alberttorresevents.com/.