Sunday, August 29, 2010

NC Salsa Festival, Part 2

Night 2...I was seated in the back row, literally making for a crap shoot, yet I made out with a few souvenir photos that will give you an idea of how the second night of dance performances went.

NC Salsa Fest - day 2

Quick review of the dance showcase:

1) Serena Cuevas
From: San Diego, Deseo Dance Company (director)
Danced to: Rodrigo & Gabriela, "Diablo Rojo"

NC Salsa Fest, Day 2

Commments: Truly a beautiful dancer, with a real body she knows how to move. I liked Cuevas' costume for the solo piece, as well as her choice of music--the very hip, young guitar duo Rodrigo and Gabriela. I'm psyched to see a woman leading her own company and dancing her way into the zeitgeist--Cuevas appears in that Gatorade commercial, "Is It In You?"

2) Jose Maldonado, Lucy Lu + one pair [TBA]
From: Atlanta, Paso Fino Dance Company
Danced to: TBA [modern salsa, with some fast pumping saxes]

NC Salsa Fest, Day 2

Comments: I'm stealing from MC Eric Baez when I say, simply, this was a high energy routine with nice tricks. Definitely true; Lu and Maldonaldo seemed to have switched partners for the double act, with another couple whose names are TBA.

3) Natalia Weedy and Pedro Paz
From: Raleigh, Cobo Brothers Dance Company
Danced to: Tito Puente & La Lupe, "Oriente"

NC Salsa Fest, Day 2

Comments: Solo debut for this bold, sexy pair, with big lifts and dynamic chemistry. Great musical choice with this La Lupe/Tito Puente pairing; this version of the Cuban guajira starts slow and morphs into an uptempo coro, perfect for showcasing different moods/moves.

4) Victor & Burju Perez

From: Boston, Hacha y Machete Dance Company
Danced to: Bobby Rodriguez, "After Midnight"

NC Salsa Fest - day 2

Comments: Very Broadway, with wild costumes and pumped attitude. This couple favors fast Latin jazz instrumentals, which makes sense to me as a musical choice for what they do.

5) Tito y Tamara
From: Puerto Rico
Danced to: Ortos Gutierrez y De Menor A Mayor, featuring Gilberto Santa Rosa, "Swing Boricua"

NC Salsa Fest - day 2

Comments: Music written exclusively for them by Tito's musician father; Gilberto Santa Rosa recorded the featured vocal as a favor on this non-commercially released recording. I mean, dayamn! The tune also features a break with a couple of coros from Bobby Valentin's "Soy Boricua," so it don't get any more boricua than that. High professionalism and style, mil-kilowatt smiles, and cool dance breaks where they showed off their individual shines.

6) Erell Niane and Mike Very
From: Nice, France, U-Tribe Dance Company
Danced to: Alicia Keyes intro, and Celia Cruz & Ray Barretto, "Bambarakatunga"

NC Salsa Fest - day 2

I got a bit of a Zap Mama vibe from the opening, with an Alicia Keyes sample and costumes kinda like tribal lingerie. Very has a belly button piercing--unusual for a man? But definitely something he carries off. Unpretentious dancers with a lot of reach, Very told me this couple dances ALL regional styles of US salsa (mambo, L.A., etc.), plus Cuban rumba, hip hop, and African dance vocabularies like soukous and dombolo. "I dance the way I feel it, I don't think about it, it just comes out that way," says Very about integrating elements.

7) Milton Cobo + Erin Leger, James Cobo + Isabel Freiberger
From: Raleigh, Cobo Brothers Dance Company
Danced to: [Artist TBA] "Dulcerito"

NC Salsa Fest - day 2
Erin Leger and Milton Cobo

Comments: Festival hosts the Cobo Brothers flaunted their distinctive mambo style in double pair format. Cocky and playful, always a big "wow" factor, even with the home court advantage.

8) Oliver Pineda

From: Sydney, Australia
Danced to: Michel Camilo, "Caribe"

Comments: A Chilean born in Australia, Pineda's muscle control is prodigious. Similar influences as Friday's solo performance.

NC Salsa Fest - day 2

"It's time to show what the rest of the world can do," said Milton Cobo as he brought Pineda and U-Tribe on stage at the end of the show.

COMING SOON: Reportage of the "Battle of the Bands," as Tropic Orchestra and Orquesta Gardel faced off on Friday and Saturday.

Erell and Burju
Old friends: Erell Niande of U-Tribe and Burju Perez of Hacha y Machete

Isabel's cha cha cha
Doesn't this look like an Impressionist painting?

Isabel's cha cha cha
Isabel Freiberger at the afterparty with Tropic Orchestra.

Rick and Frank
Clockwise from top left: William Villalba, Ricardo James, Frank Vila and Rick Radian

Tropic's new Venezuelan rhythm section: Andres Leon and Rey Riera


See Friday night: NC Salsa Festival, Part 1

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