Women dressed like brightly colored street walkers? Check.
Men costumed, gelled, and glittered for a night at a gay night club? Check.
A Cher tribute concert? RuPaul's entourage? Nope and nope. There must be a salsa competition brewing...
Cali is salsa. Salsa is Cali. Unlike any other place in Colombia, you hear the horns and cowbells everywhere you go. It pours onto the streets from the radios' of taxis and eminates from little tiendas all across the city. There are sections of Cali where club after club - sometimes for several consecutive blocks - are all salsa bars.
It seems only appropriate then, that Cali is the host of the 2010 World Salsa Festival, a celebration of the dance that Caleños hold with such pride. The festival features concerts of reknowned salsa bands, interviews and forums with famous musicians of the genre, and a dance competition.
We attended the first round of competition on Saturday at the Cristales Open Aire Theatre. Even the "bad" groups were pretty amazing. Both of these videos are of the group portion of the contest. We arrived in time to catch the last handful of contestants in the pairs division, but unfortunately, I didn't have the mind to record any of that.
Despite the glitter and often-times ridiculous hair-styles, this dance has evolved to a point known as "Cali-salsa," adding flairs to the footwork not found in other salsa styles. When coupled with theatrics, cheerleading-like lifts and throws, not to mention the fact that women are in very high heels, this is a sub-culture all of its own. As evidenced by the crowd's reaction and screaming throughout, this is kind of a big deal here.