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The pity of the petty-ness in the Philly Salsa Community….Part Dos (II)


(Ok, this was supposed to come out in the spring- well, at least I started writing it in the spring…)


But I decided to hold off till the summer time and after the 3rd Annual Philadelphia Salsa Congress (hmmm, I wonder why, well, once you read on you’ll figure it out.) So, crazy folks are washing their cars on Saturday mornings, it is hot outside and finally, new Latin/ Salsa nights have  started up….so now it is time to flip the coin and show the positive side of the Philly Salsa Community….if there is one!  Plus we have a whole bunch of other goodies to talk about……    


So here is the table of contents for these music notes, spring/summer 2006 ( divided into a spring and summer session- just like college):


  1. The impact/feedback from Fall-Winter Music Notes 2005

  2. Is there a flipside to the pettiness in the Philly Salsa Scene?

  3. A series of  interviews with Philly’s local salsa street DJs

  4. “Batichica” revealed, the lingering EFFECTS of sour grapes that just will not go away, AND SEE HOW UGLY BOCHINCHE CAN GET.  

  5. Why are Philly Salsa Dancers so cheap?     

  6. Hey, Philly Salsa dancers, you did it again…. and shame on you.  

  7. 3rd Annual Philadelphia Salsa Congress report card

  8. Internet radio….what good is it?





1- Feed Back and Impact from Part I: 


“It makes me extremely happy to see so many people learning how to dance the music which I was born to. The Salsa events around the world have played a major role by offering dance workshops by top instructors. I hope that 2006 can bring more awareness to the music. For many years there have been musicians, promoters, club owners, dancers, DJ's, etc... who do this primarily for the love of the music. Now is the time to begin to pay more attention to the music and learn about the artists who are recording & performing the music which you are dancing.

In order to keep Salsa alive, it will require an effort from everyone. 1- Try to purchase at least one CD a month (not a bootleg) to support the musicians who put their blood, sweat & tears into these recordings. 2- When you are dancing to live music, at some point stop for a few minutes and look at the band and find out who is on stage. This will give you more awareness and help educate you more to the music. Aside from that, it shows a bit of appreciation to the musicians. 3- When you go to a salsa club, try to buy at least (1 or 2) bottles of water if you don't drink alcohol. This will help in maintaining the salsa nights open. Many clubs have discontinued their salsa nights, because they can not cover the overhead (expenses) with the money generated at the bar. Remember that the money generated at the bar is what covers the expenses (rent, insurance, security, promotion, electric bill, etc...) I know a bottle of water may seem expensive at a nightclub, but you have to look at it as a drink...not a bottle of water. 4- Dance Instructors... Please mention at some point in your workshop these points. Ask your students to try and purchase at least (1) CD a month. You can compile a list of the proper music to recommend to them, because most people do not know what to buy. I will be more than willing to compile a list for any instructor. Stress the importance of supporting the clubs by buying at least (1 or 2) bottles of water, to maintain the night open.

If we all come together to make everyone aware of these points, it will help keep Salsa alive and strong! And remember it is all about the music... Dancing is an expression of the music.”

 - DJ Henry Knowles   Jan. 2006



“All packages will be checked at the door as there have been several incidents where salseros were caught sneaking in beverages. Remember to always support the venue you attend by purchasing your beverages at the venue. Venues depend on your revenue at the bar to support the establishment, not just at the door!” – Eileen Torres/ Salsa –sponsor of Salsa Wednesdays @Zanzibar, Washington DC


Hmmm, I have been saying these statements for the longest- just read my past music notes as history will show, before the art of dancing, was the music and without the music, there is no dancing, for how can one dance without feeling  la clave/ the beat of the music within us all?! In order to have Latin Nights survive, you must support them from the inside out, not the outside in. Huh, to quote Carlos Mencia “ti..ti..tiiii”   “ Now David, why do have to make us sound so rrrretardddded?”  Well, because you don’t seem to get that unless you spend money IN the places that are hosting a Latin Night, then they just won’t survive. Hellllooooo, they’re open to make money, not just so you can dance.            







“You have no idea how upset I became when I found out that there are people out there “stealing” music from the internet instead of buying it in the record stores or elsewhere. I spend between   $300- $400 ever time I buy Latin music!” – Philly’s own DJ La Clave.


 “This Addamo person is a cheap bastard, even I know as a musician that the best way to keep music alive is by purchasing it, because that helps everybody, musicians, customers and the recording industry.” –Papo “Buhdah” Sanchez / local Philly musician.


“I agree with you David, the Philly salsa scene is in a sad state of mind and it keeps getting worse.”- Sandra Santana/ South Philadelphia






I love what Henry Knowles wrote, and I love what Eileen Torres has implemented down there in Washington DC.  And I love the feedback to Part I. I received over 50 emails supporting /agreeing with what I wrote, not to mention the letters I received at WRTI. Yes, I stirred the pot, raised the thermostat, flipped the mattress and did everything I could to bring this “situation to light. After all, 15-20 years ago, these situations didn’t exist in the Philly Salsa community.  



IMPACT (End results: to be determined)


Rippled wave effects for sure have been created. I was corrected on a portion of the last article I wrote and I heard the side of the accused and withdrew and deleted that portion of the article as friendships were refreshed…and even a truce was made.  Conversations carried from salsa dance classes to website message boards, and yet no one could deny the truth of my article, nor tell me that I was wrong. You may have disagreed of what I wrote, only because you do not like to see the bruised part of the peach, but the bruise does exit.        


I was told that I was bold for standing behind what I wrote, but then again I wrote the truth, why wouldn’t I stand behind what I wrote?  Every time you clean the window, the view becomes much clearer. Apply the same formula when the truth is spread instead of gossip, false accusations or rumors and you will see as I do.

And in this issue, MORE TRUTHS are revealed (again, you just have to read on.)





“On the sunny side of the street….the sun always shines!”   Hmmm, you think this could apply to the Philly salsa community, let’s give it a try and point out some of the positives.


 Well, there are the dance groups, and yes, I’ve heard the tales and the rumors and the gossip (bochinche) of certain things that happen within and amongst said local dance groups, but there are folks trying to make a difference in the community like Hector Serrano and his dance group, Grupo Fuego. Hector recruits kids from the community, teaches them to dance and gives them an alternative to hanging out in the streets of El Barrio in North Philadelphia. He teaches them to dance salsa, cha cha, cha and so much more. He teaches them about the music and the cultural value of the music and how it applies to their everyday lives.  Also Adaliz Mitchell-Rivera leads and coordinates a youth dance group called Merecumbe, and she too promotes the awareness of the cultural value of Latin music as she teaches them to dance. Their fundraisers are not only for the group’s needs (costumes, etc) but partial proceeds go to Aides Awareness and other awareness needs within the Latino community.  Another group, Kids Con Estilo, directed by Ivette Serrano and Michael Andino also follows this same format and the same cultural and community awareness teachings as they educate their young group to dance salsa.  And it is not only the children that are learning about culture and unity. Sonya Elmore has held a Philly Instructors All Stars workshop and salsa social weekend for the second consecutive year where local instructors are invited to show their way of teaching and share the knowledge to both fellow instructors and students. A display of salsa unity is the intent, and the mission has been accomplished. Three years ago, www.djjoserodriguez held a fundraiser not only to bring instructors, dancers and DJs together, but the proceeds went to the “Make a Wish Foundation”   So yes, there are signs of hope within our salsa community.  Twenty years ago when local Latin bands ruled the planet once called “Salsadelphia” (yes back in 1986, salsa was so strong in Philly there were actual tee-shirts with that slogan all over the place), a truce was formed amongst the local bands, and time of unity, respect and harmony covered the area like nothing ever seen. Bands got along and respected every other band’s musicians and did not try to lure them to play in their band.  And so today, a peace can exist between dance groups, instructor, DJs and the different venues that exist in our area. Time to lay down the sword and raise the glass in respect and in honor of your fellow salsa supporter, after all, we are the minority, no matter how many salsa congresses exists, just look at the commercial radio stations’ play list, look at Billboard magazine.  Look everywhere else, and we are the “minority.”  Why, you can’t even have a whole night of salsa around here, it has to be flavored with bachata, merengue, reggeton and club music, on a “salsa night,” there is more on the menu than just salsa. The socials are our last stand. But in the other venues, where the object is to maintain a Latin night, rules of just salsa have to be bent a bit more if the “night” is to survive.

So in retrospect, no matter what differences we may have, salsa unity can exist if we try.  Let’s start by supporting (and by supporting I mean going to the events that you have to pay to get in, not just the free outdoor salsa concerts) the Philadelphia Salsa Congress 2006. It is scheduled for June 22-25 at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Philly. And if you don’t like the promoter, if he has shunned you in the past, or slighted you, please grow up and get over it. The Philly Salsa Congress is our salsa congress in “our house” and it is your duty to show up and support it. This is the perfect opportunity to show that Philadelphia has unity and stands together to support a salsa related cause. No excuses, just be there and show the world that Philly is united towards and supportive of salsa.   


Again, the object of my music notes and the direction of this article is to stir the mind, set fire to the soul, and bring a question to light, for if salsa unity does not exists or it exists only in our children who dance salsa, then what does that say about us the adults. I challenge the salsa community to show a unified front, put pettiness aside, and support the Philadelphia Salsa Congress.


And to the local street DJs, I respect all, support all and admire all who do battle on the front line at the socials and the night clubs for your battle is ongoing in so many ways.  Thanks for keeping the music alive out there and the people on the dance floor!   (But, I am still a record collector and give a higher respect to my fellow record collectors, it is not a sense of being bias, a salsa record collector is just that much more passionate about the music, it is a natural state of mind and heart to a salsa record collector, no shun intended to the street DJs.)


Can salsa unity exist in the Philadelphia Salsa scene, well, let us pray, shall we!  







3. THE INTERVIEW- With some of Philly’s own……

    “Passion”- some definitions are: “a zeal” (devotion) and a boundless enthusiasm for something. Such a word can be used to describe these local street DJs and there love of salsa. One was taught by listening to his father’s record collection and further educated by sneaking in to places like Silvy’s Night Club up at 5th and Pike Sts. and another DJ, although a lot younger has a firm grip on both the classic and the present sounds of salsa, another left the New York Disco club scene to venture down Route 1 some 10 years ago to add one more log to kept the fire burning in the already intense salsa scene. And then there is some Sugar to sweeten up the mix. (INTERVIEWS COMING SOON)   






4. Batichica revealed AND the lingering effects of sour grapes, plus SEE HOW UGLY BOCHINCHE CAN GET. 


Ok, strap on your chin guard, buckle up and get ready to take a roller coaster of a ride.  Here is an ugly trip down memory lane, but at the end of the ride, everybody must disembark from the vehicle as this ride will be officially over!


Time waits for no man, and change can leave you behind if you refuse to accept, but gossip (bochinche) can catch up to you and cling to you like one of those thorny cones that drop down from certain trees and get stuck to your clothes and eventually make your skin itch.  So, what is this all about, it is about settling all debts, shooting off the gun to end the game and putting a certain gossiped theme to rest, if not buried for good. I hate gossip, and the end results, or damage it can do and such is the fable that we shall tell.


Some time ago, there was some bad blood spilled between myself and a DJ who hails from another website, and as I see, both parties were equally guilty in failing to come to an accord and exist in peaceful harmony. I shared my ill disposition with another who took it upon themselves to attack the DJ on my behalf, and this was done through his message board, needless to say, I was accused of being the attacker and since the attacker refused to divulge her true identity, I was left as the culprit even when the guilty party revealed herself to the DJ at the 2004 Aspira Dance.  Still, I remained quiet all the long, keeping to myself. And even as an officer from the Philadelphia Police Dept, a sergeant I believe, with the initials K.S., but on the message board, he is know as…..well let’s give him our own little code name “El Arenoso.”  Now, El Arenoso used the time and effort to create all these message board “characters” to belittle me with such full hearty merriment on his part. K.S., you didn’t think I knew about your little sequence of made up message board characters created with the intent of belittling me behind the closed doors of that message board, did you? Tsk, tsk,  and oh what a crime on your behalf as Philadelphia taxpayers supply the funds for your salary, and that was your method of earning said “salario” at the taxpayers’ expense….shame, shame, shame… on you, and to think….I’m using nice words. “Now, where is that cop when you need one…why he is on website message boards playing character assassination……” – tsk tsk again, Officer  Ssss…..dd……llllller.( ooopppsss, did I almost just reveal the officer’s name, oh well.) Some folks acted like cops when they were little kids playing “cops and robbers” and some cops act like a kid, even when they pretend to be a grownup.…..    


Now see, above was a perfect example of the damages gossip can create, the ill side effects of how one mind can be so tortured to “secretly” try to belittle another person using a version of character assassination  (simply because ….. never mind, let’s not make any excuses for his childlike behavior) , through a message board no less. How low can a juvenile mind go……”next stop: sub, sub, sub…basement” That was sort of sad and pathetic, now that I reflect back on it. Hmmm, and this person is allowed to carry a gun to serve (?) and protect (?)….O…k… now…… If I was a resident of Philadelphia, as a taxpayer, I’d want my money back….plus interest.


And still, the plot thickens, and the ride gets bumpier as you soon shall read…..

So why was “Botichica” created?  Why was anger released? And better yet, how to deputize blind men to follow you over the cliff, or created a posse that can not see….


In the fall - winter 2005 music notes, I shared a good helping of truth around, and yes, I was corrected on a particular subject and after speaking with the party involved, I retracted that portion of the article. But based on the emails and vocal feedback that I received, which was 95% positive/ in agreement to what I wrote, it seemed that I stirred a little anger in that 5%. And of course as it goes, anger creates uncommon senses of rage and at times hostility…and so “Batichica” was born…and from that birth, further hostility and even a mini lynch mob was formed to post insults left and right against me. Now, we won’t reveal their real names, although they were identified as members of this cyber space message board, and their real names were provided to me along with a copy of said posting. So, to not reveal the guilty, I will use alias to identify them, as in Paprika, Shazizzle……and last but not least….A- Dom -O well, let’s call him by his given name at birth (or at least, that’s what I would have named him) ….”Ben Zonah.” (I know that he knows what this means in his native tongue.)


Now, these three blind mice, see how they  run…into the wall we’ll call a lie….and as they were led by gossip and “bochinche” and formed their own opinions based on anger shared with them, sort of “boys backing up their boy” -North Philly Terminology…(hmmmm, I remember doing that…..back in the third grade!)


But you have to be sure about something before you defend it, be it belief, political view or even gossip. Know what is true or not true, before you stand up to defend it…..And what does this all have to do with gossip, its’ ugliness

and regarding “Batichica”……now check out this email that I received from a message board member from that website who I don’t even know……funny, how the truth reveals itself always, and fiction can become fact, once substance comes to the surface…..


This was an email I received, in fact, I received two emails from different people from that same website  that gave revelation in detail as to “who this Batichica really is,” so read on, because like I said, the truth always reveals itself:           


(Note: I deleted the return email addressee, because (A) I want this WHOLE subject matter to finally be buried and (B) I don’t want this person being harassed via email over the information she shared with me. The point of the “revelation” of the email below is to show how ugly gossip can get……..and how dumb people can be made to look for defending false accusations….)…plus what did I just write up above about the truth?


“Those who follow godly thoughts are showered with blessings, evil people cove up their harmful intentions” – King James version/ Book of Proverbs 10:6


Those who speak godly words are helpful, but the wicked speak only what is corrupt- King James version/ Book of Proverbs 10:32


“The Lord will judge  over everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good………or evil.”  Ecclesiastes 12:10


So here for your revealing pleasure is one of the two emails….that spawned forth the truth of who “Batichica” really is:


Received: ("??" by
Fri, 17 Mar 2006 11:22:11 -0500
Subject: the identity of =?iso-8859-1?Q?=22batichica=22?= revealed
Fri, 17 Mar 2006 11:22:09 -0500
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed; charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Hello Mr. David Ortiz,

You don’t know me, but I am a member of www.djjoserodriguez’s message board. Although I don’t participate in any of the forums, from time to time I log in to read what might be happening in the area and see if there are any subjects of interest that might catch my eye. I read the topic that the individual (Batichica) in question above started and was surprised to see which way the theme of the topic had turned. I have been a member of this message board for a few years now and remember reading about a feud between you and Jose Rodriguez, but I assumed that all that had ended. When I read the latest theme and read how they were accusing this person of being you, I became a little curious as to why this person did not defend herself so I did a little research and came up with some interesting results. So I am giving you this information, so you may know that there are people who do not believe rumors or the idle gossip on message boards. After following up on some internet research, this is what I came up with:  

Batichica, could be Patricia Concepcion.  That's the result of a reverse lookup of the phone number on the account.  It could be Edward Concepcion.

Yet, a post from the child of the parent who put up this website leads me to believe it is the female:

Batichica initiated and posted this on Jose's website: archTerms=is

A child's posting shows it is their mother who put up the website:

If you put here:

You get this result:

It is registered to: Edward Concepcion
2025 galena chase drive
Indian trail
Phone:          +1.7048822202
Email address:

Edward Concepcion was "Admin" (Administrator) and Edconcep86 on Jose's website before he move away about 2 YEARS AGO.

This is my observation: There was a theme/ topic that Batichica
started that shows where deeper into the topic, they started calling her a dike, and a man and finally Jose said it was you David
calling you the Silver Surfer, but Batichica never defender
herself or posted a confused reaction or denying being any of
those "accused names," so there is the further evidence of
Batichica being Edward Concepcion. After all, if you were
Batichica why wouldn't you deny being the
Silver Surfer if the Silver Surfer incident was about three years
before Batichica even registered onto the message board, so how would that person even know what that whole Silver Surfer episode
was all about unless they were registered under another name like “Admin” or “Concep86”   It is obvious that Ed was going
along with Jose's idea to make you look like a villain and a fraud on
his message board.  

It seems sad and pathetic that the only ways Jose and the other culprits of these insults can make themselves look great is to put down other people. That is a shame for Jose, because from his postings, (aside from his personal attacks on you) I would have assumed that he was somewhat of a nice guy. And as the host of his own website, I would think that he would maintain a more professional and mature decorum in dealing with such matters, because that just makes him look very bad in other peoples’ eyes.

I have been a member of this message board for a long time and have read some interesting things, but the subject matter above took the cake. It was pretty sad reading how immature people can be, even on a website.  

Stay proud David, I do not know you nor you I, and you may not know this, but there are far too many people who love and respect you not only here in the Philadelphia area, but across the country.  



Karen S.


PS: I listen to your radio show, great music, you are the best! 



This by no means in an attack at the webmaster of the above mentioned website, this is directed at those individual who swallow up gossip like hot chicken soup on a cold winter’s night. Yes, those individuals who believe every word, as though it were gold and place that much more value on those words. I was surprised when a fellow DJ gave me the hard copy of the topic at La Luna’s Dance Studio during their winter show case. (Thanks Miguel Lebron for keeping an eye out for me.) I thought to myself, not to respond, to what avail would a response serve, besides, the truth always reveals itself. Yet, it was saddening to read how perfect strangers, played into the plot, and that was disheartening to say the least.  My whole resolution was to let this situation fix itself. My only anger is how cyber space “lynch mobs” are formed when they don’t even know why they are throwing insults. That is, they are going by the second hand smoke theory. Meaning: e.g. If I say something bad about you to another person, it “must” be true so the other person has to believe it. We call that “bochinche” in Spanish, gossip in English.  And gossip can get ugly, and if you start gossip you can rally people to your corner, or make people think how little you must be, or how low is your self esteem that you have to attack another to make yourself look good. And if you follow the gossiper or believe their tales, then how much more miniscule must you be, as you are the blind being lead by the blind. Although gossip is all around us, it can be resisted, simply put, just walk away. And what does all this have to do with the salsa community? Well I’ve seen dance groups break up, instructors and DJs alike lose friendships and etc. Gossip is the dirt on the bottom of our shoes, you can walk with it there, or you can wipe it off. I don’t know about you, but I like my shoes as clean as possible.   Again, this is by no means an attack on the webmaster of the above mentioned website, for we have made our peace, and have sheathed our swords. I said that gossip is ugly but even uglier are those who believe it as a truth. Then again, what did I say about the truth………just scroll up the page and the answer will be right there before your eyes.               





Wow, what an accusation, or is it one of those truths? Hmmm, explain please, welllll, if you insist. 

Philly Salsa Dancers, what can you say about them, how can they be described? Let’s see, I’ve heard….whiney, picky, grumpy, demanding and last but not least….cheap! 

So why cheap, well, they seem to want so much for so little, if for nothing at all.    

The word around the water cooler is that Philly Salsa dancers are so cheap; they made no effort to attend the last two Philadelphia Salsa Congresses and continued the trend this year.  

Here’s what I’ve been told:

Philly Salsa Dancers are so cheap (how cheap are they?) They are so cheap that they refill an empty water bottle rather than go buy a new one. They are so cheap that they drink water from the bathroom sink rather than buy a bottle of water.  They are so cheap that they want free food at the event rather than go out to buy breakfast afterwards.  They are so cheap that when they get to a venue where admission is free up to certain time, they make sure not to spend even a nickel once inside the establishment, after they’ve entered for free.  So why are Philly Dancers so cheap….is it true, you tell me!


6. Hey, Philly Salsa dancers, you did it again…..


YEP, you failed for the third year in a row, and this isn’t sad, this is pathetic. Jeez, let’s try to figure this out.  Friday June 23rd, over 200 people went to La Luna Dance Studio, and at the same time about 300 or more people were at the Friday night session of the Salsa Congress, of the 300 plus dancers there, less than 1% were from the Philadelphia area, but don’t worry, because on Saturday night, that number went up to a whopping 2% of the 500 plus people that were in attendance for the gala. Man, is this sad or what?

Although, some folks attended the work shops during the day, they were poorly represented again by local Philly folks.  Tsk, tsk, tsk… to say the least. Well, Philly salsa dancers, you decided to go to La Luna, Samba, Stardust and even Brasils before even thinking about going to support YOUR OWN SALSA CONGRESS!  

For the whopping 3% who attended the Congress, thanks, for the other 97% who didn’t attend, shame on you, but maybe next year you won’t be so cheap (“u know i went to the stardust last nite and i had an awesome dance for $12, lol!”- AS QUOTE FROM A LOCAL PHILLY WEBSITE’S MEMBER) or so non-supportive, and perhaps finally get the notion that this is YOUR CONGRESS, so why not support it?  We can put this in the Philly Book of Records: local salsa dance community fails to support their own, outside salsa communities left bewildered over this.

(” I will state again that I enjoyed the congress this year and I’ll attend next year . Even though there were things I didn’t particularly care for, the good outweighed the bad. I just feel that it’s important to support Philly events. If we don’t attend the congress in our own city, why should anyone else? Why would any other promoter want to sponsor a congress here when the one we have is so sparsely attended?



Thanks to the students that were there from La Luna Dance Studio and the Atrium Dance Studio. Thanks to the one representative I saw from Salseros International Dance Studio and thanks to the non-studio educated salsa dancers I saw there as well.


Philadelphia Salsa Dancers, for your failure to attend this year’s Salsa Congress as a whole salsa dance community, held in your own home town, you’ve earned an overall grade of: F+       



The Third Annual Philadelphia Salsa Congress is now over so let us review it and give it the grade it truly deserves.

v      Attendance: well everybody but Philly showed up (see topic number 6 just above.)

      Score: 1…(sorry Philly, you failed on this category)

v       Planning & Preparation Plus Promotion: The Concert on Thursday was a disaster, not to mention “non-attended”, but then again, a Latin concert, sheesh, you can’t even get people to go to a concert for Latin music on a Friday or Saturday, why would you think they would show up on a Thursday night…hellllloooo, we’re talking about supporting Latin music in Philly.  Friday and Saturday were a little touch and go with the dance socials not starting on time, the band time varied both nights. ( Note to the promoter: lie to the sound man, tell him the band is going on at 9pm instead of 12 midnight or 1am and he’ll set up  the sound by at least 9:30pm) Some of the dance workshops were given in rooms that were carpeted, and this is a challenge to all the delicate dancers of today who have to dance on a wooden floor…. and changing the price at the door when it said a different price on the internet was a no-no. Promotion…what promotion? Oh wait, I saw a 3x5 flyer on somebody’s car.  

     Score: 2 (out of 10 being perfect)

v      Location: Unlike last year, which literally turned our salsa congress into a three ring circus, having had it hosted at three different venues, this year the congress was held at the classy Double Tree Hotel, right smack in the heart of center city Philadelphia.   Although the rooms for the gala dance social events were smaller than say the rooms two years ago at the Loews Hotel, the idea behind it was that those were the biggest rooms at the hotel and the promoter felt that based on the last two salsa congresses’ responses from the local salsa dancing population, why try to secure a venue with bigger rooms when Philly doesn’t plan to show up.  (I can see his point.  “Is the Philly Salsa dancing community here?  Errrrrr….absent!”) Granted the dance floors should have been a lot bigger in both rooms so that people wouldn’t be crashing into each other.  Overall, I thought the location was awesome, but they needed to give a discount for parking with some kind of coordination/ association with the congress, and hotel room rates etc.     

    Score:  7 (the location gives it this score)

v      MUSIC/ENTERTAINMENT:  dance shows were awesome and on point, DJs were superb. I would have had the bands play one long set and have the DJs play more music. At salsa congresses, it is the DJ who really keeps the dancers on the floor and not the live music. I think the live bands really ticked the dancers off.


Score: 9 (sorry, the bands started late and took up TOO much time, and I’m an advocate for live music always, but the situation is different at a salsa congress as dancers come to dance and don’t need an interruption to their flow. Dance shows were awesome although they started nearly two hours later than adverised.

FINAL SCORE: 19 out of a possible 40 (-C average)  



I thought the congress was great, and you can’t please everybody, and I see that by this, the third  local salsa congress,  that Philly does not have a strong salsa dancing support  community as others may claim, ( or they are too cheap- see above to know what I mean) especially if they can’t even support their own salsa congress. I liked the location. The DJs and live music were awesome, workshops were ok. Sure, there were flaws in the scheduling changes, the workshop last minute “alterations” and etc, etc but what are you going to do? And preparation and promotion….well, let’s not touch that one.        

 Recommendation for next year:

v      Go to a staffing agency and HIRE some temps who are probable more organized and professional than any volunteer would be. I saw attitude at the welcome/ registration table. And I know the organizer’s fear of asking people in the dance scene to volunteer, because at the first congress, he ask for said volunteers and in return for their services they were allotted access to all congress activities and took advantage of the offer, problem was that they didn’t do the task they volunteered for.

v      How about hiring grown-ups for security instead of members of Edison High School’s football team…  

v      Badges...instead of wrist bands….”we don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”

v      More DJ music….less band music, in fact, the band should only perform on Saturday night.

v      I loved seeing the kids dancing salsa at the Congress, but I arrived at 1am on Saturday night and there was this cute lil’ 10 year old dancing with Stacy Lopez. She was awesome, but it was way passed her bed time. Besides alcohol was being sold at the dance socials.  So put a time limit on kids under 21 or have a smaller room just for them away from the adults.

v      Promotion…promotion…promotion…..

v      Discounts for parking, discount on room rates in relation to the congress




v      I LIKE THE DOUBLE TREE HOTEL AS A VENUE FOR THE CONGRESS, IDEAL LOCATION, RIGHT IN THE CENTER OF THE CLASSIEST PART OF TOWN, but again, come on Double Tree, work with the Congress people for a future everlasting business relationship.



To the critics of the congress:

Think about this, at the First Philly Salsa Congress, instructors, DJs, Bands  were all in sync, workshops were on schedule, location was excellent and promotion was a lot better than the Third Congress, and yet Philly salsa dancers failed to attend, instead they chose to gripe and whine about the Congress. End result: the promoter lost close to $80,000.

Second year: less sponsorship, weaker congress, and again the Philly salsa dance community fail to attend. End Result: another financial lost.

Third year: more sponsorship, better venue, and again, Philly failed to show up for its’ own salsa congress.   End Result: ……stay tune 

Everybody blames the organizer for the past failures and even this year’s lack of “Philadelphia presence” but I blame other promoters, even other instructors who may have failed to encourage their students to attend. Even some of the DJs can share the blame for not promoting the congress as they should have. I’ll even say that other LOCAL websites have failed to promote the congress on their home page.  I wouldn’t be surprised if someone was trying to purposely put a negative campaign out there about the congress hoping that it does fail so that a David Melendez or Albert Torres will take it over. But that would only take money made in Philly out of town as in the case with the Washington DC Congress or the similar complaint about the Salsa Dura Festival held in April 2006 where the promoter was from out of town. I don’t want that, do you?

Sometimes we have to think about more than just our self glory, more than just our self popularity, sometimes we have to think about not just the “me” in the local salsa community, but more of the “we” and the aspect as to how to make the salsa community grow. And EVERYBODY supporting the congress can only make it better each and every year.  As it is supported, so the salsa community will grow.  Unity is strength, and strength is bonding.  

I just received an email today (06/26/06) letting me know that on another local website, there is a whole topic (thread) about the congress, its’ flaws and kinks, and stating what the organizers/promoter should do to improve it.  The problem is that while the topic is great, and the concerns are probably warranted, unfortunately the organizer/promoter will not be able to read the topic, because first, the website topic is “under a blanket” (only website members can read the topic, meaning that you have to register and become a member of the website to read the topic. Which doesn’t catch the organizer's eye at all because I am sure that he is not a member of that website so while their concerns are valid, they are falling on deaf ears or in this case…it would be like telling the blind man to watch out for the piano  that is about to crash down upon him.  And his answer would be “what piano?” or in the case of the organizer, “huh, what concerns, written where?”     

Something to dwell on: Does the Philadelphia Salsa Dancing Community really have the right to complain, whine and criticize their own   salsa congress, when they really didn’t show up (as a whole, not just the dance instructors or dance groups)  to support it?  I think the question answered itself.  300 or so people went to the Stardust on the same Saturday night as the Congress gala just because it was cheaper…..what more can one say, well a bird might chirp out “ cheep, cheep, cheep…” Peeeople  I guess that says it all  as to why Philly won’t support its’ own congress.


And yet the press found gold at the end of the rainbow:     

Positive Post Salsa Congress Press

Philadelphia Inquirer

June 26, 2006
Edition: CITY-D
Page: B07

They all like it hot, hot, hot
Dancers dip into the power of salsa in Center City.

Sometimes, Christy Kam and Pan Thomakos can't help themselves: They'll be walking near their West Philadelphia homes, discussing a dance move, and they'll have to give in.

"We'll do a lift in the street and people will be like, 'What?'" said Kam, 24.


It's the power of salsa.

Practitioners of the sexy Latin dance gathered in Center City yesterday for the final day of the Third Annual Philadelphia Salsa Congress. Instructors from around the country met with participants from around the world for two days of enthusiastic, and often exhausting, dancing.

Despite the perception that salsa is something limited to hip, lean 20-somethings, the dancers came in all sizes, ages and colors, for example 13-year-old Rebecca Aviles, a Philadelphia girl who started to salsa two years ago, and Amy Williams, 49, a Seattle woman who began taking lessons last year.

"When you're on the dance floor, people don't care what you look like, what age you are or what race you are. All they care about is whether or not you can dance," Williams said.

And whether or not you can dance isn't based on specific criteria:

"There was one instructor, he must have been in his 70s and he was such a role model for me," Williams said. "The dance is ageless. You can still be shaking it when you're 70."

Event organizer Willie Torres said more than 800 people came out for Saturday's dance party; at some points, the dance floor was so packed that people could barely move, he said.

"It's a passionate dance. You hear the music, it's difficult to just stand still," said Torres, 51, of Philadelphia. "It doesn't have a name. It doesn't have a color. It doesn't have a size. Everyone can do it."

The popularity of salsa and other partner dances have been on the rise thanks to television shows like Dancing with the Stars. After a long spell of going solo on the dance floor, couples are coming together again, taking lessons and joining dance clubs.

Thomakos, 20, joined a ballroom dancing club at the University of Pennsylvania two years ago and has been on his feet ever since. He and dance partner Kam picked up some new moves yesterday, including one in which he seemed to bounce her head on his knee and thigh like a soccer ball.

"He hasn't dropped me yet," said Kam, of West Philadelphia. Then she paused. "Oh, wait, he did."

"You were only this high," Thomakos protested, indicating an altitude just a few inches from the ground.

The pair, who dance together in competitions, used to date. But even though their relationship is over, their dance partnership continues. That's not that unusual, Kam said.

"Finding a dance partner is harder than finding a boyfriend," she said.

Contact staff writer Natalie Pompilio at 215-854-2813 or


BONNIE WELLER / Inquirer Staff Photographer

Practicing some fresh moves they picked up at the Third Annual Philadelphia Salsa Congress are Christy Kam and Pan Thomakos. They survived a breakup to remain devoted Latin dance partners.


Copyright (c) 2006 The Philadelphia Inquirer



Finally, thanks to all the DJs who VOLUNTEERED THEIR TIME to play the music for this year’s congress:



DJ SPANKY (thanks for bringing your equipment and being patient)




DJ DAVID ORTIZ (yours’ truly)



8.  Internet radio….what good is it?

No, I don’t mean hearing your local radio station on the internet, but all those internet stations that have come up recently. Although I do catch internet radio once in a blue moon, I am now hooked on the which features salsa dura every Sunday night at 6pm east coast time. The guy plays albums never recorded onto CD…Awesome. My question is…how often do you listen to your computer ….I can’t at work, can you?  I listen sometimes on the weekend to  which is actually a Latin radio station from California, 9am to 9pm east coast time, on both Saturday and Sunday.  So I catch their programming over the web. And I know folks listen to my show via the web, because I get tons of emails from people all over the country. But those internet radio stations/programs fade in and out, unlike a radio station which is also broadcasting via the world- wide web. I’m not a fan of internet radio which is cool, but not really needed. I mean, can’t you do the same thing with an IPOD, which can hold up to 7500 songs, and you don’t even need a computer or the internet to use an IPOD. The problem with some of those internet radio shows is that the owners set up a site, but want your financial support to keep it there. Nope, give me real radio instead, or public radio where I know where my donation is going….to the radio station, plus you have live radio personalities on radio stations being heard via the web, as oppose to internet radio where the music is prerecorded.  Internet Radio, you can listen if you WANT, but I’ll pass…. on all the others out there except for  I still choose a real radio station with radio personalities and all the other good stuff real radio offers.   


   Did we cover everything, not really……

So here is a couple of thoughts that crossed my mind:

Why are people asking for bachata and merengue at a SALSA CONGRESS, HELLLLLOOO AGAIN, does the word “salsa” give you a clue as to what the event is all about. I heard the request for these types of music two nights in a row.  I also heard this same request at the Salsa Dura Festival back in April.  To quote Carlos Mencia “ di…di…diiii”  Are you really that retarddddedddd to ask for this at a salsa congress…..People, again, it is a SALSA congress…..please grasp the meaning of the word as it gives reference to a dance, a type of dance music, and the title of the event.   is new to the website game but provides an up to date weekly web-letter letting you know what’s going on around the area for your salsa dancing pleasure.  Sign up to be added to their e-mailing list.

DJ La Clave is certainly making his mark as one of the premier DJs in our area being featured at more events/ socials /clubs than other local DJ. Having a great insight into salsa music has helped his DJ-ing expansion in our area and it doesn’t hurt that he knows how to dance salsa pretty good too.

Grabbing hold of the center city crowd has always been a task, but Jay Rockswell has handled it quite masterfully for ten straight years at Brasils.  

Where other Sunday night venues have failed (outside of Rocklobster) for a Latin Night, Alfie’s has weather the Rocklobster storm and is packed every Sunday Night. Bravo to DJ La Clave and DJ De Latino for bring it  every Sunday night at Alfie’s Classic Salsa Sundays.

“It’s always sunny in Philadelphia”… here’s a few laughs to tickle  your funnybone:

v      My buddy from Chicago called me to catch up on the salsa world and the ever changing scene within it. So he mentions that he helped to produce a dance featuring Oscar Deleon and a local DJ.  Great turn out at the event, over 2000 in attendance. After the event ended, the DJ demanded more money because he stated that the 2000 people came because he was the DJ at the event, even though Oscar Deleon was the featured artist……of course my buddy cracked up on that one……hmm, seems I’ve heard a similar tale within our local area, when a salsa super star was in town a few years ago. In fact, three people told me that same story. How can a DJ be bigger that the artist, for that matter, be bigger than the music?  Too, funny, indeed.


v      If so many local websites provide the same information on our local salsa scene, how can any one website try to charge a fee for information all others provide for free.  Again, once more….way… too funny.


I think I covered all the bases, brought a few surprises to you and said it straight to the point. Then again, I’ve always said that these music notes were going to tell it like it is….and they always do…..and I have  defended every word that I have ever written since the very first “El Viaje’s Music Notes” and I always will.   



Always support the music, and Philly, TRY going to and supporting our salsa  congress next year!



David Ortiz

Keeping it all the way real, Latino style.

You can contact David Ortiz at

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Revised; April 10, 2005