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LA Salsa/Bachata community survives the pandemic & reunites to The World Salsa Festival May 2022


The year 2020:


My partners and I were deep into production of the World Salsa Festival. It was a tremendous honor as well as an enormous undertaking to carry on such a responsibility. We were ready for the challenge. Armed with enthusiasm and ambitious goals, we set out to make the 2020 festival a success.


Over the decades, Los Angeles had prided itself with a thriving, established salsa dance/music scene. One could always find an array of venues to host the best salsa dancers and musicians and jam the night away. On any given night Angelenos and the surrounding counties had countless choices of venues, socials, concerts and festivals to choose from. No one could have imagined anything would bring it to a grinding halt.


Or so we thought....


Enter the era of Covid-19.


It was like a bad movie, unimaginable, but was happening. Everything we loved to do which had been considered a contribution to society overnight became a danger.


Navigating through this new 'normal' was a shock to our system as we were left to watch everything unravel.


LA had carried on a tradition of gathering every Memorial Weekend, led by world renowned producer Mr. Albert Torres (rest in peace), to dance Salsa since 1999. Angelenos had grown accustomed to 'stay-cation' in town as to not miss out on the biggest Salsa party of the year. The event would be the host for many Salsa dancers who would travel to Los Angeles from around the country and globe to partake in all its festivities.


Although necessary, postponing the festival was a huge setback. Luckily, we had a great support system with our hotel. The Burbank Marriott helped us navigate through the complexities of postponing our event to the following year.


We confidently felt an entire year of postponement would be sufficient time to produce the festival with the assumption everything would return to pre-pandemic normality.


Wrong.


We watched in frustration as Governor Gavin Newsom announced California would re-open to full capacity without restrictions on June 15, 2021. Our event fell within 19 days before the re-opening date. Once again, we were left with no choice but to make a public announcement the festival wouldn't happen.




Instead, we produced a Virtual Festival where artists such as Stephanie Stevenson Dance Co., Jarek Hernandez, Liz Lira Dance Co, Laroye Aña, Mambo Beats, On2ourage, Solino Dance Co., Beto and Dasha and Los Rumberos Dance Company performed. We also brought musical talents, Guicho y La Tríbu to play live to the virtual audience. Super star Salsa DJ's such as DJ Robby and DJ Charlie also joined us in the mix to continue the party.




We made the best of it. We were grateful the artists showed up to support and to the public who stood by us once again to wait for another festival.


2022 began on shaky ground as the Omricron variant was ravaging through the nation. This time there were no shut downs but many things did stop.


I was nervous once again but held on to the hope the variant would quickly come and go.

Once we saw the Super Bowl and Coachella were going forward and Governor Newsom wasn't resorting to any more lockdown mandates (because it's an election year), I knew this was finally going to be our year.


After so much heartache our community has suffered with the loss of loved ones, hospitalizations, dance studios/nightclubs going out of business and our fellow dancers/musicians losing their livelihoods, we can finally turn a new chapter and look to better horizons.



We are finally reuniting at the Burbank Marriott on May 27, 28, 29 2022. During the afternoon portion, the event will primarily consist of Salsa/Bachata dance workshops. We will also feature dances such as Hustle, Guaracha, Lifts and tricks, Ladies Heels and more. The pool parties will be hosted by the hottest DJ's. The evening line up will be an array of great musical entertainment with bands such as Habana Kaliente, Guicho y La Tríbu and 7 Na' Ma. Salsa and Bachata dance companies will feature their latest shows resurrecting out of the ashes of lockdown.


We are also very excited to announce 7x Salsa world champions Carine and Rafael from Brazil will join us to teach and perform.





We want to dedicate this festival to the community who have been patiently waiting for a long 2 years! We also want to thank our dedicated sponsors for always having our backs.


The time is here LA!


On behalf of my partners, Rogelio Moreno and Francisco Vazquez we cannot wait to reunite with all of our fellow Salsa/Bachata community......y........


Que Siga La Tradicion!


Janette Valenzuela

World Salsa Festival - LA Producer

































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