We meet Victor and Katia preparing for the 3rd World Salsa Championships. The young Montreal couple found one another in an amateur dance troupe, and grew together as they decided to see how far they could take their dancing. The film follows them through their first international competition and subsequent decision to pursue their dance ambitions more fully. We witness their dedication, and the burden that competitive salsa dancing puts on their professional careers and personal relationship. Finding the strength and professional guidance to push themselves to the next level, all play out in the drama that unfolds.
Billy and Katie are leading figures in the competitive salsa dance world. Head judges at the World Salsa Championships, they have been a prime force behind establishing the rules and judging criteria for competitive divisions in Salsa, Hustle and other dance genre. Together they have raised the level of competitive salsa dance worldwide. After facing numerous personal challenges that forced him to leave the dance world, Billy found Katie and formed a dynamic partnership. Together they first won multiple World titles in different dance divisions, and have since gone on to become leading figures in the development and promotion of Latin dance worldwide. Their influence, through the development and teaching of dance technique, can be seen on dance floors and stages around the world.
Tito & Tamara
Tito & Tamara bring a perfect marriage to their dance. Tamara brings her classical training to their partnership on stage, and Tito brings the street. Together they have married the best of both worlds. But they also bring something else. Like many of the best performers in any art, they bring their humanity and give fully in every performance. In addition, Tito’s knowledge of the history of salsa and the dances forms that came before is deep.
It’s for a good reason that Tito and Tamara are fixtures at Congresses and competitive events around the world. Tito’s infectious smile, and Tamara’s strength and style as a dancer, makes every encounter a welcomed event.
Albert Torres is arguably one of the most important people responsible for the explosion of interest and promotion of salsa dance worldwide. He has spent the better part of the last 20 years tirelessly promoting salsa dance internationally. He has served as the MC, and /or co-producer at over 30 salsa congresses worldwide. He played a key role in helping to establish the World Salsa Championships and helped to see it broadcasted by ESPN. Much like his friend Billy, Albert too faced challenges early in his life that forced him away from dance. But with a strong personal commitment to beat the odds, perhaps aided be an early church upbringing by his mother, today we might see Albert’s tireless efforts to spread salsa across the world, as a different form of missionary work.
Eddie “Mambo King” Torres is the father of modern Salsa. Eddie started dancing at an early age and was soon winning dance events in New York City. His skill and smooth style brought him together with partners far beyond his years. One such woman is June Laberta who discovered Eddie on the dance floor of a club in NYC. That became a pivotal meeting. Eddie’s biggest contribution to the salsa dance world is his pioneering work to codify the way mambo, and later salsa, was taught. He brought the dance from the streets to the classroom and, helped by his mentor June Laberta, a Ballroom instructor, established names for many hundreds of dance steps that are used to teach. An entire generation of dancers learned from Eddie or from someone who had been taught by Eddie. You can’t overestimate the impact he has had on Latin dance worldwide.
I can’t say what it was he saw in me, but from the start of making this film Edson has given much of himself. From patiently explaining the rules of competitive dance divisions, to offering his insightful perspective on every element of salsa dance etiquette and social history, he has been consistent. He watches what others do in their dance and both learns from them, and then creates something different. This is not part of a strategy, it’s the way his mind works. And if he can’t bring some element of humour to whatever he does, he would have to stop breathing. His gifts are great. From the heart he shows his dance partners and students, to those he dances with socially, Edson is summa salsa.