Salsa with style


"Jazz Kitchen Salsa Competition

Saturday, Oct. 20

Live Band starts 8:30 p.m.

Demonstrations between 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.

Five couples from qualifying rounds compete 10:30 p.m.

Latin Dance party begins 9:00 p.m.

Salsa Thursdays have been a tradition at the Jazz Kitchen for over a decade.

“We were one of the first to recognize Salsa as a true art form and to open a night weekly for dancers to gather, dance and generally enjoy being with each other,” Jazz Kitchen owner David Allee said.

Allee says he and his staff have been thinking about sponsoring a competition since their tenth anniversary last year to spark what’s become a regular event for dancers spanning ages 20s to 50s-plus, and in some cases representing second and third generation members of families who have been coming “since Thursday one.”

A year ago Salsa dance lessons were added, with Barbara Whiteside of Organic Rhythms Studio at 7:30 p.m. and Indianapolis’ “self-proclaimed queen of Salsa” Cynthia Limon at 9:30 p.m.

“But when you’ve had a night for eleven years, it also seemed nice to introduce something new perhaps to get a whole other group of people learning how to dance and let them see what they can aspire to through a competition that brings out really fine dancers,” Allee said.

“We set up four rounds on consecutive Thursdays Sept. 20 to Oct. 11 to give everyone who wants to enter a chance. Each week the crowd dictates who wins, but couples can keep coming back along with new entrants. We will have chosen five couples for the finals and from that group judges will choose first, second and third place winners.

“We want to keep it relaxed and fun. It’s not highbrow. It’s inclusive for the whole Salsa community. People come to cheer for their friends or just to see what it’s all about. We’ve had a great response,” Allee added.

“Marco Dominguez helped start Latin night eleven years ago and Marco and Fernando Ramirez have been DJ’s over the years. They have been part of the competition planning and execution process.”

With prize money of $500, $250 and $100, and a yet-to-be-named roster of respected judges, “The buzz is on,” Allee enthused. “Oct. 20 the whole package includes the usual ladies free before 10:00 p.m., specials from our Latin dinner cuisine and a live Salsa band, the eleven-piece Or Questa Bravo. And oh yes we’ll stay open until whenever after the crowning ceremony.”