To Those Who Make it Possible
The enduring images from this year’s salsa congress were not of the performers. The 20-feet tall pictures of David Melendez dominated the start of Friday and Saturday nights’ performances, and the tribute dance was great because it told the most poignant story of all: the absent MC, the absent promoter, the absent teacher. And what I recall about Edwin Rivera and his partner’s tribute performance was not just their dance, but their silvery angelic costumes and the final frozen gesture: hands and eyes raised to heaven. Their pose seemed to say what we’ve always suspected: dance speaks divinely.
Albert Torres, carrying on Melendez’s legacy this year, said he wouldn’t have wanted to fill David’s shoes. But while we agree that he couldn’t outshine David Melendez, we would like to give him a few gentle suggestions. While on the plane to
An enduring memory I have is Torres in the spotlight with his arm around Jennifer’s shoulders, saying, “This little lady has done so much to professionalize the salsa scene.” Jennifer stood there demurely but said nothing, just stared at her lovely shoes. This exchange took me right back to my first lesson with Jennifer and Giovanni, where they explained to the class that salsa was a space in which men lead and women follow. Interestingly, this year’s performances did show at least two women leading.
One dance this weekend that did break a number of rules was a competition performance by
Thanks most of all to Jennifer, though, who made the whole experience possible. She hasn’t just professionalized salsa, she’s reinvented what it means to go to a salsa congress. Cushy seats for everyone, pro lighting/music/photography, an attractive stage, and a smooth-running performance schedule—these don’t come cheaply (and I’m not talking about the all-inclusive passes). No—all these are borne with the blood, sweat and tears of Jennifer Aucoin. Thanks for making our divine time possible, Jennifer.