This year marked the 16th annual Chicago International Salsa Congress, (CISC). The four-day event took place on Thursday February 9 to Sunday February 12 at the O’Hare Regecy Hyatt. The Salsa Congress is an event where different dancers from all around the world meet to share the same love and passion of dance. The event was full of non-stop excitement and features dance workshops, performances, competitions, vendors and social dancing to the live band and DJ.
Due to the many workshops available during the day I was able to go to a few even though I wish to have done them ALL! My first workshop was Vogue with Instructor Carlos 007 of Latin Rage Dance Company in Los Angeles. The class taught me how to incorporate voguing with salsa moves. Just like Salsa, Carlos explained the importance of moving your body and telling a story through vouging.
“Using pain to create the creativity and to create masterpieces,” said Carlos 007.
Another workshop that I took was Ladies Styling with Blanca Aviles of Latin Rhythms in Chicago. She taught the class how to style your hands, arms, and legs while dancing Salsa. The fluidity of each body gesture is what makes any dance unique. Another important tip I took away from the class is that each movement should come natural when dancing.
“Take the stuff that feels organic to your body,” said Blanca.
A few other workshops that I did was Partner-work on 2 intermediate/advanced with Tamara Livolsi and Tito Ortos and Salsa Turn Patterns on 2 beginner/intermediate with Ernesto and Maritza. Both classes involved practicing with a partner and most importantly having the patience to get the steps right.
“Keep training and discipline whatever you can grab your hands onto,” said Tamara.
Each workshop was tailored to what the instructor teaches and a great way to learn the many different dance styles. Although, some classes were more challenging than others it still gave people an opportuity to step out their comfort zone and learn.
“Never stop learning and have fun,” said Maritza.
And that is exactly what each performance exuded from the afternoon and evening showcases. From the costumes to their facial expression each dance group and or solo dancers gave their all and showed. This year in particular was extra special and emotional for some of the performers because it was their last debut. Ericka Crespo who dances with Urban Vibe Dance Company in Chicago performed her last mambo routine. The group danced to Celia Cruz’s “Caramelo,” and you felt the love and passion that was put into the choreography.
“This was an emotional and bittersweet performance overall. I’m grateful to have been part of the dance world in general and to have a oppportunity to show others the art of dance,” said Ericka.
Another dance company who closed the 16th annual CISC on Sunday night was Gifted Souls who also came to an end as they debuted their “Last Roar,” a Lion King inspired choreography. Director Rocky Quinones of Gifted Souls moves on to become a new father and at the end of their performance a machine exploded with pink and white confetti to reveal the gender of his baby to be, a girl. There was a total of 56 dancers who performed the “Last Roar” the majority being from Gifted Souls and some from other dance companies who auditioned. Overall, the performance was breathtaking and unforgettable.
At the end of every performance each night the Grand Ballroom was cleared in order to have an open space to dance, hence the term “Social Dancing.” Some of the live bands/artists who closed the night were Jimmy Bosh and the All Star Orchestra featuring Yoko, Herman Olivera and Nelson Gonzalez on Tres, La Japonesa Salsera and all the way from Spain Tromboranga Salsa Orchestra.
This year’s Salsa Congress was another success! And I hope to see you at next year’s CISC, until thenDANCE!
What better way to bring in the 16th annual Chicago International Salsa Congress then by hosting a press party just 9 days before with a few sneak peek performances.
On Tuesday January 30 I had the pleasure to attend the press party held at Chicago’s Block 37 inside of the restaurant Latinicity. The evening consisted of music, performances, socializing, appetizers and drinks.
So what exactly is the Chicago International Salsa Congress (CICS)?
The founders Rosita and Saladeen Alamin of Cultural Expressions Productions and the Chicago Intercultural Alliance created a multicultural community through Afro-Latin music and dance. In 2002, both Rosita and Saladeen formed the first CISC.
The goal was not just about having music or dancing but to empower personal awareness, creativity, passion, leadership and inspire. The CISC gives an opportunity for up and coming artists to perform alongside some of the most elite and well-known artists. The event also showcases dance companies from Chicago, other states/city’s and even different countries.
As stated in the Chicago Salsa Congress website their mission is to:
“unite cultures and generation, engender leadership through empowerment opportunities in its showcase and to keep alive the history of the many cultures collaboration in the creation and evolution of Latin and Afro-Caribbean music and dance.”
On February 9 – 12, 2017 the CISC will take place at the O’Hare Hyatt Regency. The non-stop entertainment event will have dance workshops throughout the day and it will include different levels of dancing from Salsa, Bachata, Jazz, Hip-Hop and more. The night performances begin at 7:00p.m. inside of the main ballroom where the different dance companies and solo performers will showcase their finest choreographies followed by a live band for social dancing until 3:00a.m. Outside of the main ballroom there will be a DJ playing music and vendors.
This is definitely an event you don’t want to miss!
If you haven’t heard yet J.Cole is set to release his new album titled, “4 Your Eyez Only,” on December 9. He also provided a 40 minute documentary titled, “Eyez,” which previewed some of his new music from his album. One song in particular has everyone talking. The music video, “False Prophets,” is giving people the impression that he is referring to Kanye West and his mental break down. In one part of the song he says…
Ego in charge of every move, he’s a startAnd we can’t look away due to the days that hecaught our heartsHe’s falling apart, but we deny itJustifying that half ass shit he dropped, we alwaysbuy it.When he tells us he a genius but it’s clearer latelyIt’s been hard for him to look into the mirror latelyThere was a time when this nigga was my here,maybeThat’s the reason why his fall from grace is hard to take.
The Dreamville leader always produces strong poetic lyrics and it is no wonder why his fans are raving about his new project. I’m a fan myself and after seeing him perform at Lollapalooza this past summer I definitely can’t wait to get my hands on his new album this Friday because it, “BE LIKE THIS.”
“Patience is a talent but it is also the main reason why so many people give up early. This business isn’t an overnight success even though it may feel that way. It takes years. Look at me, 13 plus years and I still love it,” said Abel Lopez.
Born and raised in New Jersey Abel or also known by his nick name Amess is an aspiring artist who writes his own music but noted he has been creating music differently. “Many call it freestyling but to me it’s deeper than that. Now i just turn the mic on and let the words come out,” he said. At the moment he is working on a mixtape named “Take Your Time / TYT.” “This project is basically about a man and woman going through “love problems” in their relationship. The boyfriend happens to be an artist so it becomes harder for his girlfriend to hold on since his career is starting to take off,” he said.
Ever since Abel was a young kid he was into music and then decided to rap one day. As he grew so did his passion for music and with the help of Youtube he taught himself how to build a recording studio in his home. Consistency and patience are two attributes Amess carries in order to continue succeeding as an artist. His biggest motivator is his mother who raised him and his brother on her own. In the music industry his motivator growing up was 50 Cent. In the mist of working and creating music a typical day for him would be checking his stats on social media to make sure his brand is growing on a daily basis. He also takes time to set up his daily promotions on social media and depending on how much is needed he will go to the studio to record. When I asked where his brand name Lamborghini Dreamz came from he said it was something he once said in a song and ever since it has stood with him and it is also his favorite car. He also clarified what the brand name means for his music career. “Lamborghini Dreamz doesn’t mean “the car” it means to live a life that not many get a chance to and just live the Lamborghini Dream. Not everyone owns a Lamborghini and not everyone is going to have that Lamborghini Dream in them,” he said. His music career has taken him to perform in venues from New Jersey and New York. If there is one artist he could open for it would be Drake because he is a huge fan and feels he can relate to his audience.
The art of creating music has not always been an easy journey and was at a standstill for Abel. However, all that changed when his best told him about the show Empire on Fox which then motivated him to do music again. He appreciates how the show illustrates what goes into a record label and how a family can go through obstacles but still stand together and own an elite record company. At the time Abel is learning how to play the piano and drums and hopes to own his own clothing line and record label. This is an artist you don’t want to miss out on!
You can follow Abel on his social media outlets below.