Salsa Burning Up in China
Salsa dancing is growing wildly popular throughout Asia, with China at the center. This year alone, it has been home to numerous successful salsa congresses, with World renowned performers: Griselle Ponce (USA), Shani Talmor (Israel) , David Zepeda (Mexico), Reda Becili (France) and Rafael and Carine (Brazil). Each of these events involved workshops, shows and social dancing, with between 500 and 1000 attendees. Large-scale events like these began in 2008 in first-tier cities and now continue to pop up in second-tier cities as well.
Dancing on the Great Wall of China
Interest in Salsa most likely began in China’s capital, Beijing. In 2013, the city celebrated the 5th Annual China Salsa Congress, during which attendees and professionals spent the day social dancing on The Great Wall. Salsa favorites, such as Alien Ramirez and Albert Torres danced among a large crowd while tourists stood by in awe. What dancer wouldn’t love to add that to their bucket list?
The Salsa Movement in China
Much of Salsa’s popularity is thanks to passionate expats who started teaching and hosting Salsa Nights at local clubs. One exception, however, is Yuan Chu, Chinese native and founder of the Salsamemucho Movement. He started putting on large events in 2012 in Shanghai and continues events in other cities. His most recent success was this year in Shenzhen, a 3-day event which hosted over 30 overseas performers in addition to local performers. For many attendees, this event was their first exposure to Colombian-style Salsa, performed by New York-based studio Cali Salsa ‘Pal Mundo.
Bringing Salsa Back
Yuan’s passion for Salsa began while growing up in Latin America, where he began learning to dance and, as a child, made a name for himself as the only Salsa dancing Chinese, earning money as a performer at birthday parties. He says that Salsa is “a cultural fire that burns in my soul,” and wants everyone to experience the friendships and happiness that Salsa brings. When I asked him why he puts so much time and energy into spreading Salsa around the world, he said, “so someday when we are too old to dance or walk, we can look back and still feel that fire in our soul”. Now living in New York City, Yuan’s strong connections with the salsa community there will ensure that these events will keep the Salsa fire burning in China. His much anticipated Bachatamemucho Shanghai, will probably be his biggest yet, with full passes already sold out months in advance and with an impressive line-up, including the legendary Johnny Vasquez.
Salsa In Chinese
While congresses and classes attract more and more Chinese to this new hobby, they will soon be able to enjoy the music in their own language. For the first time ever, Salsa music in Mandarin is currently in production. Liane Chu’s album will be available by the fall of this year.
For more information about where you can Salsa dance during your travels, visit salsatraveler.com.