Festival season is upon us and I am onboard to take part, live and in person. During the weekend of June 24 to 26 I hiked up the Blue Mountain to Salsa at Blue. As advertised it was hot, hot, hot, Muy Caliente! The heat advisory was no joke, it reached a scorching 31 degrees Celsius, on and off the dance floor.
The first thing my partner and I encountered, a Salsa dance lesson with Mr. and Mrs. Shines, also known as Oscar and Tania. This would prove to be super important for what was to come later.
The first live musical group entertaining the newly trained Salsa dance crowd was the Juno award winning The Imbayakunas. The band serenaded the audience with their blend of Ecuadorian, Latin American, pop infused rhythms. Uplifting and joyous music that was a perfect blend of Andean indigenous music and soothing rhythms.
The theme for Salsa at Blue Mountain was one of exploration. Each group that performed represented a different part of the Latin musical world. Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Columbia and Brazil to name just a few of the represented styles.
Frenesi Latin Band combines Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru, Mexico and Colombia to the line up of musicians, cultural and musical backgrounds. The band plays Latin American music, Salsa, Merengue, Cha Cha, Bolero, Cumbia, Bachata among other styles, and they had the audience moving and grooving with their spirited performance.
A Bachata dance lesson with Araquacu Dance Co. followed and it was intense. The two dancers on stage put on a show and a great lesson on Bachata. Now, those earlier lessons really paid off.
A bit of a break with the performance by Yambeque, a dance couple representing Colombia and its favourite dance, Cumbia.
Then we were off to Brazil, with the Samba of Dance Migration. The excitement built to a fever pitch as the three dancers swung their hips and moved with grace to the pulsating rhythms of the Samba music.
All of this dancing and Latin music brings on an appetite and a late dinner was the next order of business before settling down to watch the sun set over beautiful Georgian Bay.
Note: The author is related to one of the principal dancers of Dance Migration
All photos by Paul J. Youngman