Meet gay contenders in Atlanta’s National Salsa Championships

It may be winter, but it’s hot in here! Salsa takes over Atlanta as we meet our favorite gay competitors when Atlanta hosts the World Salsa Championships with same-sex pairs in tow.

By Matthew Holley

For two electric nights this weekend, the international WSC unites the best of the best Salsa dancers from across five continents. All professionals, dance enthusiasts and outright fanboys are cordially invited to witness the phenomena of international competition for the world’s biggest title.

This year’s competition highlights the globe’s most gifted salsa dancers in five divisions: On-1 (L.A. Style), Salsa On-2 (Mambo), Cabaret (tricks and lifts permitted), and Teams (six-plus dancers). What makes the 2016 championship unique, though is dancers can compete as Same Gender couples.

Countries represented in that division are the United States, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Panama, Ecuador, New Zealand, Slovenia, Italy, Spain and others

Attendees can attend the afterparty on Saturday featuring Salsa legends Jose Alberto “El Canario” and Ismael Miranda, get daily salsa lessons from world renowned dance instructors, and enjoy nightly parties featuring famous salsa bands. ESPN will air a recorded version of the competition finale at 11 p.m. on Saturday.

David Atlanta spoke to one of the international same-gender teams, Mexico’s Ricardo Ramos and Tommy Martinez. These boys are muy muy caliente as well as two of Mexico’s most accomplished athletes. Tommy does not speak English, but Ricardo answered our questions with endearing enthusiasm.

David Atlanta: When did you discover a passion for dancing?
Growing up in Mexico, dancing is a way of life. Since an early age, we both have always had a strong passion for it. In March, we doubled down and began preparing for the Euroson Latin competition.

How did you meet?
We met in Miami during the world Latin dance Cup Competition that we were competing in solo and competing in PRO-AM pairs. From there came this project that has brought us both great satisfaction and a great friendship.

How does it feel to represent Mexico as its first all-male team in the contest?
We are extremely honored. We have been relaxed but working hard. We know there is this level of pressure on us, but we are 100 percent focused as we do not want to let our country down.

What is the level of difficulty for your training?
Our training includes six to seven hours a day of choreography, and each us performs in the gym to keep the body in shape. We also take different classes with different instructors specialized in different disciplines. 

Are you excited to visit Atlanta?
Oh yes! I enjoy travel and exploring new places. Hopefully, if we have time after the competition, we will get the opportunity to look around.

What else do you enjoy besides dancing?
Personally before becoming a dancer, I started singing. I also love drawing and painting. It is only in the dance that I’ve found that great passion I lacked in the other disciplines. I also like the cinema a lot; I am a movie addict. And of course, I would not be a dancer if I didn’t really enjoy going to the gym!

The World Salsa Championships, including its first Same Gender Division competition, takes place on Dec. 9-10 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. The Dec. 10 Grand Finale at 8 p.m. will be recorded and broadcast on ESPN at 11 p.m. Visit worldsalsachampionships.com.

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