It's the "Coachella of Salsa" and this weekend the 15th annual Los Angeles Salsa Congress comes to downtown L.A., showcasing Latin and American styles like bachata, merengue, kizomba, hip-hop, animation, and hustle. The 4-day shindig includes workshops for dancers of all levels, films, seminars, a dance competition, performances, and open social dancing to live music. Whether you’re a beginner stoking a fledging interest in salsa or an expert with years of experience under your feet, there will be plenty to do at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. Buy a weekend pass for $400 and do everything or go for a day ($100).
If you want to pop in for an event or two, here are a few things to check out. (Advance purchase is recommended, as prices increase at the door.)
Party and Dance Production featuring "Tripudium" – Thursday, May 23
After a performance by Tripudium, an international troupe with more than 20 dancers from Columbia and the United Arab Emirates, dance the night away to live music by Johnny Polanco y Su Conjunto Amistad. Doors open at 8 p.m. and social dancing continues until 4 a.m. Westin Bonaventure. $30.
Workshops Galore – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 24-26
Improve your technique and practice your moves with world-class instructors who teach almost every style from Afro-Cuban to zumba. Classes accommodate dancers of all levels, including advanced classes in lifts, tricks, and partner work. Come for the weekend, or purchase one day, and go to as many classes as you can. Workshops run Friday from noon to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Westin Bonaventure.
Dance Competition – Saturday and Sunday, May 25-26
Watch dancers show off their best moves in a light competition. Preliminary dancers compete on Saturday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., while the best of the lot return for the finals on Sunday, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Included in your day or weekend pass, or attend the competition by itself for $15 a day. Westin Bonaventure.
Fania All Stars Concert: Legends of Salsa –Saturday May 25
Kick up your heels while socializing and dancing to live music from salsa legends Fania All Stars. Hosted by “Mr. Salsa,” Izzy Sanabria, the evening features Ismael Miranda, Domingo Quiñones, Roberto Roena, Orestes Vilato, Larry Harlow, Adalberto Santaogo, Oscar Hernandez, and more. Doors open at 8 p.m. followed by a dance performance at 9. Westin Bonaventure. $75.