By Daniela Ortega, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – For the eighteenth year in a row, the Miami Salsa Congress (MSC) will bring even more flavor to the City of Miami Beach from July 24th through July 27th. Starting with two nights at Miami’s top nightlife venues on Wednesday and Thursday, and then taking over the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, at 4525 Collins Avenue.
The Miami Salsa Congress is one of the top five in the world of its kind. It is described by organizers as ‘The Ultimate Summer Salsa Congress, five days of non-stop pool parties, pre-parties, evening galas, dance workshops, world class DJs, international dance showcases, and live concerts; all overlooking an international entertainment mecca.’
During the course of five nights, approximately 500 international and local artists will aim to shine on the stage. The line-up includes world championship dancers, award-winning orchestras, famous DJs, and the most sought-after dance instructors in the genre, from all over the world, from Milan, to Venezuela and Mexico.
Event producer, Rene Gueits, of Salsa Lovers studio in Miami, founded the congress after attending many Salsa congresses worldwide. Gueits commented that he started the first Salsa Congress in 2002 in the Kendall Miami area, and “I then took it to Miami Beach where it’s been growing ever since.”
“We started with 400 attendees and last year registered approx. 5,200 attendees, even some from as far as Japan.” In terms of what the future, Gueits describes, “I see this event evolving to a week long Salsa event around South Florida and Miami Beach with showcases, concerts, workshops, live music every night.”
The festival also includes over thirty hours of workshops, master classes, and even bootcamps. For example, there is a Mambo Master Class by the famous Adolfo Idacochea in Saturday July 27th, followed by an Afro Cuban Master Class by Marisol Blanco, and a myriad of daily workshops including starting Friday, July 26h, at 11AM.
These workshops include rhythms and styles such as Salsa Casino, Pachanga, Cha Cha Cha, and even a “Diva in Heels” class, taught by the very best instructors in the world. Of course, the five-day Miami festival will not fall short of lively parties with a lot of dancing. The opening party will be Wednesday, July 24th, at Blue Martini Brickell.
On Thursday July 25th the “Official Kick-off Party” will take place at Ball and Chain in Little Havana, and it will include a free salsa class. Over the weekend, there will be pool parties at the Eden Roc Hotel, a Bachata Party Room, a Cuban Party Room, a Mambo Party Room, a Colombian Party Room, and silent headphones after-parties until the wee hours of the morning.
No music and dance celebration could go without its share of renowned live-performances. Grammy nominated and world-known artist Edwin Bonilla, will present “Edwin Bonilla y Su Son,” Friday, July 26th, at the Eden Roc Hotel at 9PM. Miami’s own Cuban powerhouse, Timbalive, will bring his high-energy performance to Eden Roc, July 27th, at 9PM.
Multu Kucuk, General Manager of the Eden Roc Miami Beach, commented on the festival “We’ve seen that locals are more likely to attend the festivals. These events have evolved into family-oriented outings where people of all ages come out to enjoy food and drink of the culture being represented and who are also interested in learning about the history and background of the dance.”
The MSC experience also focuses on the future Latin dance stars. Since the 17th Annual Miami Salsa Congress, children and teenagers are welcome to join the party through their “Kids Experience.”
This includes full access to all workshops, classes and even parties all weekend long, as well as a special workshop and performance just for them, and an entry to the “MSC Youth Championships.”
Tickets for the 18th Annual Miami Salsa Congress range from $25 up to $330 according to the events.