The Dutch Afro Latin Dance Championship: What an experience!

This year I was given the opportunity to host the first virtual Dutch Afro Latin Dance Championship, the DALDC. It all started when I became the Dutch Salsa dance champion in the category ‘Master on1’ back in 2017. The next year I was MC-ing the Dutch Salsa Dance Championships together with Annetje Riel, who is the organizer of that event. In 2019 I’ve co-written and also presented the new rules of the competition to the jurors. This year – in 2021 – the international renowned and award winning event producer Eric Lalta of Fantasia Entertainment asked me to host the first DALDC together with Steffie van Kuppevelt, who is one of the CEO’s of Bachata Passion Dance Company, and Annetje Riel who organized the first European Salsa Festivals back in the 90’s. This is a brand-new competition, in which everybody was exploring some new roads because of the Corona Pandemic. Eric and Annetje created this competition so we can all keep dancing, despite the difficult times in this world.

The dancers had the privilege to use the Most Advanced Dance Competition application in the world: Holland is the first country to use this application and to test its success. The application they used made it possible for the dancers to record the video only one time, to give them the feeling of a regular live competition where you also only have one chance to dance. #oneshot

Because the corona rules had recently been eased in the Netherlands, we were fortunately still able to organize a live show for the event. The municipal theater ‘Het Park’ in the city of Hoorn was rented, where all participants got the chance to perform their choreography live in front of a live audience.

Anne Elise Wouters and Sederick ‘Super Salsa’ Short backstage during the first virtual Dutch Afro Latin Dance Chamionships, July 13th, 2021.

Anne Elise Wouters

One of my favorite salsa dancers in the Netherlands, Anne Elise Wouters, also participated at the DALDC, in the Female Salsa Solo Division. I’ve personally seen her growing as a very talented young dancer in Amsterdam. She has lived in New York City for the last 5 years, training and performing with Yamuleé Dance Company, one of the best salsa dance companies in the world. Now she travels the world, performing and teaching all over, to share her passion for salsa dancing with everybody. It is an honor to have had her at this event with us! Want to learn more about her? You can visit her website, her blog and her Instagram page for more info.

What’s Next?

The first DALDC was a fenomenal succes! A great thanks goes to all the participants, the DALDC production crew, the jurors, coaches and all the volunteers who all worked very hard to make this wonderful event possible. Thank you for being the light and hope to all of the Dutch afro latin dance community! At some point we had to stop the amount of viewers wanting to join in on the livestreams. So much poisitive reviews! We’re already busy planning for the next event. And maybe we’ll also come with a pleasant surprise for the international afro latin dance community. Maybe! But in the meantime, I will certainly keep you posted on the latest news. And check the DALDC website of the DALDC once in a while for more recent information.

Que viva la salsa!

The Long Queue at Summer Breeze Open Air Salsa Dancing

This is the second part of the exclusive interview I had with Mimo Argam in 2010  in which he reminisced on the prior 15 years of his Summer Breeze Salsa parties. We continue with Mimo being forced to stop his activities quite abruptly in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. After the interview I also comment on my personal experience in ‘The Queue’. At the end there’s a special announcement from Mimo himself!

We continue with the interview at the point when Mimo commented on the reasons and the conditions of his departure from the Vondelpark, “Five years ago (in 2005), Roel Veldhorst past away and the ‘Uitmarkt’ – a professional theatrical events company – took over the organisation of the events held in the open theatre of the Vondelpark. They told me that there was no room for  Salsa in their program because – in their own words – “Salsa is not Theatre”. The disillusioned Salsa party organiser continues, “The Uitmarkt also cancelled the highly successful children’s program held on Wednesdays, and they managed to stop a much loved snack bar after 25 years of service to the public. Uitmarkt struck a deal with a large beer company who took over all of the catering activities around the open theatre. But, I do not hold a grudge.”

I asked Argam about his time at the Westergas terrace. He said, “I have been working together with the organisation of the Westergas terrace from the moment I stopped at the Vondelpark.. The location was still being rebuilt when I started with my Salsa dance activities. They have been very kind to me, and they also gave me a free hand in doing things. Westergas made it possible for me to organise the big Fania Salsa parties and create extra options like an extra dance floor outside the building with extra DJ equipment.”

Contrary to common believe,the free Salsa party organiser of Moroccan descent does take some time to rest once in a while. His quotes are “Be humble, be honest, enjoy freedom and dance for your freedom”. Also, “Everything works if we work together,” and “Something has to be done right or not done at all!”

End of the interview.

Now we fast forward 8 years into the future…

The Happiest Queue Ever!

On May 31st, 2018, I had given a wedding dance class and rushed to the Westergas terrace for the kick off of the 13th edition of Summer Breeze Latin Party. On arrival at around 10.30 PM I discovered a very long queue! I had never seen this before at a salsa party. But instead of getting angry I decided to enjoy the experience. It was a great feeling to ponder and realise how far Mimo has progressed from the little group of salsa students that went to the Vondelpark to practice salsa now 23 years ago. The feeling of pride and wonder didn’t take my urge away to enter ASAP though. So, a friend and I went together to the entrance and see if there was a way for us to get in fast. There was NONE! Not even Rinio Artist could get us inside. There was a sweet lady who gave me a coin for ice cream and told me to show it to the security as proof that I had already been inside. I didn’t do it. The security got strict orders to not let anyone else go inside because the venue was too full with people!

Summer Breeze Outside, May 31st 2018

 

Around 23.30 hrs – after about an hour waiting, dancing, singing, interviewing people and talking to others who were already inside – we finally got in.

The only difference with the past years of Summer Breeze is the fact that all of us are now required to pay an entrance fee of only 5 euros after 8.30 PM. This is needed to pay for the extra expenses for security and other highly necessary measures and necessities.

But I can tell you this: It was worth the wait! And every euro penny was very well spent 🙂

A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

Mimo (FINALLY) decided to start with salsa dancing much earlier than normal at this Thursday’s edition of Summer Breeze (June 14th). The salsa will now start at 7 PM (19:00 hrs) as an experiment. Mimo is answering to the plead of many salsa dancers who requested for them to be able to start dancing salsa early in the evening.

This first ‘Early Salsa Summer Breeze’ will be powered by DJ Rick and DJ Willy!

And remember: The entrance is FREE from 7 ‘till 8.30 PM!!!

Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/163614970961295