Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Africa article pic

There’s Salsa in Africa?!?!?! Yes there is and it’s bigger than ever.

October 9th, 2014

I love Salsa Festivals. However, living all the way in South Africa means I don’t get to attend as many festivals as I would like. A plane ticket costs between $1000 – $2000 to travel to Europe or the US depending on the time of year and location. As a result, every year I have to sit down and carefully select a festival or 2 or 3 that I know will deliver a unique satisfying experience. I can vividly remember the first Salsa Festival I ever attended; It was 2011 and the festival was actually a Salsa cruise down the Mediterranean. We kicked off in Venice, then made our way down to Croatia, Greece and Turkey. When we hit Croatia, we stopped off for a Salsa party that was so amazing it begun my love affair with Croatia and now, that is the only Country that is guaranteed to appear annually on my list of festivals to attend.


3 Years down the line (and 14 festivals under my belt), my love for congresses only continues to grow.


Why do I love festivals so much? Lots of reasons, but let me put down just a few:


1. I get to dance with all the people who inspire me. When you live in Africa, you watch a lot of you-tube videos of all the pros and these are the people who inspire you to learn and grow. To attend an event where you can take workshops from these instructors, social dance with them or even just have a drink – that feeling is priceless.


2. The unfathomable amount of unknown Great Dancers. One of the things I love the most about Congresses is you will never stop being surprised by people and you never know where that surprise moment will come from. As human beings we usually judge a book by its cover and a person’s dance ability based on things like styling, posture, dance shoes etc. However the most amazing dances I have ever had have usually been with the people I least expected. There is nothing better than travelling thousands of miles across the World, walking up to a total stranger, asking them to dance and then having a connection that words cannot even begin to describe. This feeling is priceless.


3. You get to see the World. If you plan your congresses carefully, you could become a World traveller dancing and sightseeing the whole World one congress at a time. You meet people from so many places and walks of life who just like you have an insane love and passion for this thing called Salsa. There really is no better way to travel and see the World in my opinion.


So, being all the way in Africa, why am I writing to you about Congresses? What’s the relevance with what’s happening on the Continent? Well, the answer is simple. I decided to do some research into the number of festivals that happen in Africa and even I was surprised. If you were to do a survey about how many festivals were in Africa, the majority of people will say 1 – Marrakesh. Others would say 2, including Cape Town.


The Cape Town Salsa Festival is now slowly making its way onto the big Congress scene.  Only being in its 2nd year, this is definitely a festival you want to keep an eye out for.


Now my question to you. Have you ever thought of visiting a country in Africa? If the answer is yes, then why not do that and combine it with a Salsa Festival?


I did some research and below are some of the festivals happening in Africa for the rest of the year. I have also included, the dates, a link where I could find one and the name of the artists who will be attending.


Afro Latin dance festival in Egypt. (17 – 25 Oct)

Artists: Leon Rose.


Luanda Salsa Festival (12 – 16 Nov) Angola

Artists: Troy and Brittney, Alien Ramirez.


Cape Town Salsa Festival (20 – 24 Nov) South Africa

Artists: Terry and Cecile, Karel Flores, Magna Gopal, Alien Ramirez, Mark-Anthony, Troy and Brittney.


Accra Afro Latin Salsa Salsa Festival (28 -30 Nov)

Artists: Tony Pirata, Troy and Brittney, Vito & Stefania


Africa Salsa Congress, Ivory Coast. (May 2015)


West African Salsa Congress (unknown) Nigeria


There are apparently also festivals in Tanzania and Kenya and others. You know, I actually wonder how much more are out there that I have never even heard of? Have no illusion, its real hard to make a congress work in Africa. The distances are far and costs, expensive. None of this helps when the average income is so low that most people can’t even afford the passes. Overall though, I am  real excited about these events and others coming up because they bring this ‘thing’ that I am so passionate about closer and at a much cheaper price than travelling overseas.


Overall, I am curious to see what the future of African Salsa congresses hold, till we get an answer – I hope to see you on the dance floor here in Africa or somewhere else in the World.


Article Written By: Chilly Alisar

Chilly Alisar is a Salsero based in Cape Town, South Africa. He writes a blog with lots of insights and information on all things salsa called and is also a contributor to

He loves Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba and runs a school called Alisar Dance Company. As a member of All Out Salsa, he is also one of the Organisers of the Cape Town Salsa Festival and Promoters of ‘TEAM SA’ who work to encourage South Africans to travel and attend salsa congresses all over the World.


Posted in Uncategorized |


Salsa (dance)

August 21st, 2014

Salsa is a popular form of social dance that originated in New York with strong influences from Latin America, particularly Cuba and Puerto Rico. The movements of salsa have its origins in Cuban Son, Cha cha cha, Mambo and other dance forms, and the dance, along with the salsa music


Salsa dancing originated in New York in the mid-1970s. It evolved from earlier dance forms such as “Cha cha cha” and Mambo which were popular in New York, and incorporated elements of Swing dancing and Hustle, as well as elements of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean dances such as Guaguanco and Pachanga.

There is some controversy surrounding the origins of the word salsa. Some claim that it was based on a cry shouted by musicians while they were playing their music. Others believe that the term was created by record labels to better market their music, who chose the word “salsa” because of its spicy and hot connotations. Still others believe the term came about because salsa dancing and music is a mixture of different styles, just like salsa or “sauce” in Latin American countries is a mixture of different ingredients.


In many styles of salsa dancing, as a dancer shifts their weight by stepping, the upper body remains level and nearly unaffected by the weight changes. Weight shifts cause the hips to move. Arm and shoulder movements are also incorporated. The Cuban Casino style of salsa dancing involves significant movement above the waist, with up-and-down shoulder movements and shifting of the ribcage.

The arms are used by the “lead” dancer to communicate or signal the “follower,” either in “open” or “closed” position. The open position requires the two dancers to hold one or both hands, especially for moves that involve turns, putting arms behind the back, or moving around each other, to name a few examples. In the closed position, the leader puts the right hand on the follower’s back, while the follower puts the left hand on the leader’s shoulder.

In the original Latin America form, the forward/backward motion of salsa is done in diagonal or sideways with the 3-step weight change intact.

In some styles of salsa, such as LA and New York style, the dancers remain in a slot or line (switching places), while in some Latin American styles, such as Cuban style, the dancers circle around each other, sometimes in 3 points. This circular style is inspired by Cuban Son, specifically to the beat of Son Montuno in the 1920s. However, as it is a popular music, it is open to improvisation and thus it is continuously evolving. New modern salsa styles are associated and named to the original geographic areas that developed them. There are often devotees of each of these styles outside of their home territory. Characteristics that may identify a style include: timing, basic steps, foot patterns, body rolls and movements, turns and figures, attitude, dance influences and the way that partners hold each other. The point in a musical bar music where a slightly larger step is taken (the break step) and the direction the step moves can often be used to identify a style.

Incorporating other dance styling techniques into salsa dancing has become very common, for both men and women: shimmies, leg work, arm work, body movement, spins, body isolations, shoulder shimmies, rolls, even hand styling, acrobatics and lifts.

Posted in Uncategorized |