Posted July 16, 2012 by Takeshi
My thoughts (and gripes) on the 3rd Annual US Salsa Open
The 3rd Annual US Salsa Open was the biggest one yet, with more competitors from the Bay Area competing than in previous competitions, as well as professional competitors from Colombia and Mexico. It was also the longest competition so far, which started to wear everyone down by the last day of the competition.
This year’s competition was held in D’Venue in Campbell instead of the Oakland Marriott as in previous years. There was some furor over this, and it was slightly less convenient not having the event in the same location as the hotel, but overall I think it worked for a competition of its size. However, if the US Salsa Open hopes to expand, it will need to find a bigger venue.
There were more divisions than ever this year, giving more dancers a chance to compete with dancers of their level. The Pro-Am division especially grew in popularity this year, with the top instructors dancing in dozens of contests with their students.
My main complaint with the competition was its incredible length, mainly due to the many last minute additions and instructors competing multiple times in the same division. This resulted in the competition being pushed back for hours and virtually eliminated any time for social dancing. This needs to be changed so that competitors can only make additions the day before the competition, and competitors should only be allowed to compete in each division once.
Another thing that needs to be more strongly enforced is competitors competing in the appropriate categories. Obviously, this is something that is difficult to determine, but there were obviously many competitors in the Newcomer (<6 months) and Novice (<18 months) categories that have been dancing for years. This is incredibly unfair to actual newcomers and novices. People need to step it up and compete in the Advanced and Pro Rising Star categories where they belong, especially if they dance on “Pro” teams.
Other than that, the US Salsa Open was an improvement over previous years, with more competitors and divisions than ever. A special thanks to Ricardo & Romarie, the judges, the international competitors, and all the volunteers who helped to put on this event together. It’s events like these that help to grow the competitive salsa scene and raise the level of salsa dancing in the Bay Area.