San Francisco - Events
HOT SALSA FRIDAY DANCE COMPETITION FINALS - REVIEW AND TRIP REPORT

Location: Dance Spectrum, 1707d South Bascom Ave., Campbell, CA 95008

Date: March 15, 2002

See the photos here!

Contestants in the "Final 6":

Alex & Hiroe
Brian and Marari
Fili & Abbey
Jairo & Linda
Kevin & Soyoung
Luis Antonio & Adrienne

Competition Judges:

Albert Torres

Ava Apple

Felipe Polanco

Holming Lee

Jake Jacobs

Michelle & Ricardo

SEE THE PHOTOS HERE!

FINAL COMPETITION NIGHT

It was a very packed and exciting night at "1707d", as we were eagerly anticipating the final round of the Hot Salsa Friday competitions! For those of you who have watched all or part of the qualifying rounds, you know this was going to be a high-caliber bunch of men and women! I didn't realize how tough this was going to be for the judges, as they had to face up to six couples who worked very hard to perfect their routines and were all at the top of their form.

A variety of styles were on display for the audience. Alex and Hiroe as "Fuego", showed off their experience dancing with Latin Symbolics, performing a flawless routine with impressive and difficult tricks. Brian & Marari and Fily & Abbey showed a little of the L.A. flair with dance routines complemented by a theatrical side, in which the performers become actors on stage; the latter as a couple confronting and reuniting, and the latter as Zorro and the Catherine Zeta-Jones character from the movie! The other three sets of competitors, Jairo & Linda, Kevin & Soyoung and Luis Antonio & Adrienne, were more of the New York-style/Mambo variety with some fast shines and partnerwork. Using tricks simply and sparingly, they were primarily 'lead-and-follow' with showmanship! Furthermore, Jairo & Linda and Luis Antonio & Adrienne performed "on 2", which is growing in popularity in our corner of the Salsa world called the Bay Area.

JUDGING THE FINALISTS

Just a brief background on the judges. All styles, backgrounds and timings were represented. We had our own Ava, Holming, Jake and Michelle & Ricardo. As special judges, we had the privilege to have Mr. Felipe Polanco (who dancers Puerto Rico-style "on clave") and the ultra-hardworking promoter Albert Torres. The latter is the promoter of, among many, Felipe Polanco, Johnny Polanco y su Conjunto Amistad--no relation to each other--and, not least, the current Pretty Boys and Girls' salsa competition.

How do you even begin to separate the wheat from the chaff in this situation? Tough job, judges! I can imagine how nerve-racking it must have been, sort of like the Olympic judges without all the public drama surrounding it! Just like the Canadians and the Russians, it seemed like six gold medals could have been awarded. When it came down to the crunch, the final results were:

3rd Place-Luis Antonio & Adrienne

2nd Place-Kevin & Soyoung

1st Place-Jairo & Linda!

See the photos here!

Not only were two of the three sets of contestants performing "on 2", five of the six individuals were from John Freddy and Liz's Salsamania Dance Company! Adrienne comes courtesy of Mambo Romero; Abby, Fili and Marari from PB&G; and Brian from Rumba Rumberos. Jairo & Linda: you really knew how to work a crowd and proved it again at the Salsamania party the following Sunday!

AFTER ALL IS OVER...

For those who hung around after the awarding of the trophies (the event went on until almost 2:00 a.m.), you might have caught a glimpse Felipe Polanco being his suave self on the dance floor. He glides on the dance floor to the beat of the clave, and in good company, leading Ava and Maya (Albert's wife) at the same time and switching back and forth between them.

I wished I had my own video camera to capture the whole event!!

Thanks to all the participants and competitors for making this a great finals event! Not least, kudos to Ricardo & Michelle for working their butts off and for making sure everything ran smoothly!

Stay tuned for more info on the upcoming PB&G event (April 5 and 6, 2002): Yemaya Dance Company from Los Angeles, CA.

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