Why The World Latin Dance Cup Sucks (And How To Fix It)

Post Views 14,327

UPDATE: See my thoughts on the World Latin Dance Cup vs the World Salsa Summit.

This week I attended the 6th Annual World Latin Dance Cup, which is one of the largest salsa and Latin dance competitions in the world. Organized by Albert Torres, organizer of the LA Salsa Congress and many other salsa events, the WLDC has grown each year and draws over a thousand competitors from around the globe.

However, I am disappointed to say that this year was the worst World Latin Dance Cup I have attended. And I say this as someone who has a huge respect for Albert and his team for their contributions to the worldwide salsa community and the tremendous amount of work that they put into organizing this gargantuan event.

I truly appreciate all the work their team puts into this event, but in all honesty, the 2015 World Latin Dance Cup was the most poorly organized salsa event I have ever attended. And from what I have heard from other attendees and competitors, I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Below is my experience of the 2015 World Latin Dance Cup, and where the event went wrong. I have tried to keep this post constructive, and included ways in which the organizers can improve future events, but my apologies if some of my frustration comes through. Hopefully Albert and his team can take this feedback and not repeat the same mistakes for future events.

Before The Event

The 2015 World Latin Dance Cup was a mess before it even began. To provide some context, the website for the WLDC (worldlatindancecup.com) didn’t even exist until the end of June. That means prior to June, there was no website where potential competitors could find any information about the event.

Even once the website was put up, it was still not possible to book tickets for the event for many months. Competitors had to e-mail and PayPal Albert Torres directly in order to register for the event. Can you imagine hundreds of competitors PayPaling a single event organizer? Not exactly a scalable system.

The website was also never up-to-date. The only location that regular updates were posted to was on Facebook. The organizers of the event don’t seem to realize that the typical post by a Facebook page only reaches 2.6% of your fans. That means that at 28,000 fans, the typical update posted to the WLDC Facebook page only reaches 700 people. Facebook posts are also difficult to search through and navigate.

This was a problem because the details of the event kept changing and it was impossible to keep up with. This became a major issue when the event schedule was completely changed a month before the event. At the end of October, I e-mailed Albert about the event schedule because it was not posted anywhere. He responded with the schedule, which was later posted to the website in the middle of November.

Then, literally a month before the event, the schedule was completely changed. By then, many competitors, including many of my teammates, had already booked their non-refundable plane tickets. Because of the last-minute schedule change, many competitors could not make it in time for their competition dates, which later became a huge problem.

Suggestions:

The World Latin Dance Cup needs an up-to-date website, period. This is the 21st century and people find out information about events through websites. Having an up-to-date website for an event of this scale is critical. People need to be able to register for the event through a website, not via e-mail.

Secondly, Facebook is a poor means of mass communication. Not everyone uses Facebook, and not many people see stuff that is posted there. The primary means of communication should be an up-to-date website. E-mail is also a secondary form of communication that can be used which has a much wider reach than posting things on Facebook.

Finally, changing the schedule of an event of this size a month before the competition is crazy. You guys have a year to plan for this event, the schedule should be locked and posted by August at the latest so that people can book hotels and flights.

Sunday – Registration

Registration was an absolute nightmare this year. We arrived a day early to register our team, had already registered and paid online, and brought our receipts like Albert asked for, and it still took us 3 hours to get the team registered. This is with only a dozen people trying to register and 6 people behind the registration table registering people.

This is not to knock on the staff, who are all great people, but the system that they set up was absolutely broken this year. At no other event that I have attended does it take 3 hours just to get registered, especially when we’ve already paid for the event and have receipts.

The registration process did’t improve much at all during the entire event with registrations regularly taking more than 2 hours. Sometimes the room would get so full that they would have to kick people out, who’d already been waiting for hours, and tell them to come back later.

Suggestions:

Invest in a better registration system. Seriously. An organization that puts on some of the largest salsa events in the world should be able to do better. Ideally, the registration process should be as simple as scanning a QR code and putting on a wrist band.

The staff also needs to do a dry run of their system at least a few weeks before the event begins. They should have someone on their team go through the registration process before the event begins to ensure that it works, testing out different scenarios. If it takes them more than 30 minutes to register, that’s going to be a big problem with hundreds of competitors.

Monday – Qualifiers

The first day of the World Latin Dance Cup was also a big mess. Our team signed up to qualify for a number of divisions, but when it came time for roll call, dozens of people were missing from the roster, including several of my team members, even though we’d already registered the day before.

Team names and even competition numbers were even messed up on the roll sheets, and there were two separate rooms for qualifiers, which made things complicated for competitors qualifying for multiple divisions taking place in separate rooms.

Then, when it came time for the competition (which was over an hour late) we found out that for most of the divisions we wouldn’t even have to perform at all, because there were less than 5 entrants, so we would go straight to the semi-finals. So all the time the girls on our team spent getting into costume and doing hair and makeup was wasted.

Suggestions:

The system for generating roll sheets needs to be tested extensively before the event, because there were a ton of errors. These problems should be fixed before the event starts, not on the actual day of the competition.

People who are competing in qualifiers should also have to register to compete at least a day before the event. People who register to compete the day of the competition completely throw everything off and cause delays for everyone. If you want to compete at an international dance competition, you need to register early.

Tuesday – Semi-Finals

The second day of the competition was not much better than the first. The competition began over an hour late again, and again there were errors and omissions on the roll sheets, which became recurring themes throughout the competition.

Rafael Carine World Latin Dance Cup

You’d think after 3 years of winning the competition, they’d know how to spell her name right

The semi-finals were supposed to be live streamed over the internet, but because the video people were not able to set up their equipment in time, the first half of the competition was not streamed or recorded, which included all the divisions that we competed in.

Another major issue was that the semi-finals for amateurs was originally supposed to take place on Wednesday, but got moved up to Tuesday due to the last minute schedule change. That means that many people who had booked their flights expecting to compete on Wednesday were not able to compete in the semis on Tuesday.

What ended up happening was that for these divisions, whoever was there competed on Tuesday, with the other half of competitors competing on Wednesday, effectively splitting the divisions in two to be judged on two separate days. I have never heard of a dance competition where a division is split between two separate days and judged by a completely different set of judges. This just introduces too many variations in judging quality, which we saw the following day.

The results of the competition were also never posted online or announced anywhere. They were simply written down on a sheet of paper and posted on a bulletin board in the lobby. This was done for all rounds of the competition including the finals, with no updates to the website at all. If you search for results from previous competitions (this year was the 6th) you also can’t find any of them on the website either. What kind of competition doesn’t post any of the results?

Suggestions:

Get registration straightened out and make sure the competition starts on time. It’s embarrassing that people have come to expect the competitions to start late at such a major event, especially when it is being streamed live to audiences around the world.

Don’t change the schedule at the last minute, and don’t split divisions between two days. That introduces variability in judging and is unfair to competitors.

Update your website. Seriously. If you are going to type up the scores and results of the competition anyway, take an extra minute or two to upload them to your website so that people from around the world can actually see the competition results.

Wednesday – Semi-Finals part 2

The 3rd day of competition began over an hour late again, no surprises there. Our team’s name did not appear on the roll sheet despite having qualified in March and registered on Sunday. Not a promising start.

The judging of the split divisions also became a big issue on Wednesday. On Tuesday, there were 7 judges judging the competition and on Wednesday night there were only 3. The head judge assured us that this would not impact the judging because the scores are averaged, but that’s not how math works.

If you have a smaller sample size, there is a greater variability in the system and less reliability in the results. Fewer judges mean scores being skewed much more easily. Having different teams in the same division judged by different judges is by definition not judging each team equally.

Looking at the results from the competition, we saw more teams from the first day moving onto the finals than from the second day, the scores from the first day were higher than scores from the second.

I don’t want to come across as a sore loser here, but when our team has trained for months, and spent $3000 on air faire, $2500 on hotel, and $2000 in registration fees, the least we can expect is fair officiating.

What is also frustrating is that the score sheets are not shared until the end of the competition. This makes no sense. Having access to score sheets would better allow us to assess the fairness of the judging as well as allow competitors to improve themselves between rounds by working on the areas in which they were deficient. Instead, all we are given is a single aggregate number which doesn’t tell us anything.

Inexplicably, only 6 teams from the amateur salsa teams category went on to the finals, despite the fact that it was the largest division in the amateur category with 21 teams competing. Other categories had 10 couples or more making it into the finals, which seems inconsistent & backwards and also made the finals take forever.

Suggestions:

Don’t split up a single division to compete on separate days. If people aren’t able to attend on the day of the competition, the entire division should be pushed back so that everyone is being judged equally. Better yet, don’t make last minute schedule changes that make people miss their divisions in the first place.

The judges scores should be posted immediately so that dancers can see exactly how they were scored and where they need to improve. The WLDC supposedly improved their judging system this year (and charged everyone $2 per division for the privilege) but I saw no evidence of improvements.

It’s hard to trust that the numbers presented are accurate without seeing the score sheets, and it’s hard to trust an organization that has made errors in virtually every other aspect of the competition.

UPDATE: It looks like the scores were screwed up in at least one category. The eventual winner of the men’s soloist division was initially eliminated in the semis due to a math error. The error wasn’t noticed until he complained to the judges. How are we to know there weren’t other errors in the scoring without seeing the score sheets?

In no other sport are scores kept a secret from the competitors. I would like to see more transparency from an event that strives to be the top international competition for salsa and Latin dance.

World Latin Dance Cup Scoring

The number of teams/couples that make it to the finals should be fair and consistent across all divisions. Dozens of couples shouldn’t be making it into the finals and making the competition go on past midnight.

Other Issues

Aside from the poor way in which the competition was run, there were other issues with the WLDC this year as well. The competition this year was extended to a full week, with registration opening on Sunday and the competition going until the following Sunday. This allowed the competition to include more divisions as well as conclude competition earlier than in previous years.

While this makes sense in theory, it also comes at great financial cost to the competitors, especially amateurs. Amateurs who wanted to qualify for a division (many of which can be qualified only at the event) would have to arrive on Sunday or Monday and stay until at least the finals on Saturday. That’s a full week that competitors have to take off from work, and a lot of vacation days to use up right before the holidays.

Amateur competitions this year also got pushed up earlier in the week this year to just Monday and Tuesday. That means that an amateur competitor could qualify on Monday, get eliminated on Tuesday, and then have to stay for the rest of the week, not the best experience.

The cost of hotel also becomes an issue when the competition is so long. At the advertised hotel rate of $215 for 7 nights, that comes out to $1,505 for a week, which is more than a month’s rent in most parts of the world. It’s amazing to me how many people attend from poorer parts of the world given the prohibitive cost of the competition. Many international competitors ended up booking hotels and Airbnbs to save money.

What’s worse, the “discounted” rate of $215 is actually higher than what is advertised by the hotel itself, which has rates starting at $149. They even tried to charge $50 extra for competitors not staying at the event hotel, which sounds like a pure money grab, especially after hotel rooms sold out! This is the only event I have attended where the event rate is actually higher than the regular hotel rate. It is not at all the “best deal around” as advertised on their website.

Facebook Posting Albert Torres

Best Deal Around

Suggestions:

Condense the competition back to 5 days to bring the cost down for competitors (especially for amateurs and international competitors). Be honest with your pricing and provide actually good hotel rates so that people can afford to stay in them.

With the rise of competing competitive dance events such as the World Salsa Summit and World Salsa Championships, the World Latin Dance Cup needs to keep costs down if wants to remain affordable to amateur and international competitors.

Conclusion

That concludes my long-winded rant about the 2015 World Latin Dance Cup, which again was the most disorganized event I have ever attended. I write this not to disrespect the event organizers or judges, who I believe have the right intentions, but to share the concerns shared by many attendees so that future events can be improved.

Here’s hoping for a better experience in 2016!

60 Comments

  • BeginningDancer says:

    Again and again I am surprised by how many dance venues/competions/congresses/etc use Facebook as their sole means of communication.

    Sure, Facebook has great uses, for letting people invite their friends to share information, but Facebooks automated curating system makes it very poor for finding information in a haystack. Even worse, unless you as a content creator pay, you won’t reach the audience that has subscribed to what they want to get from you. The only winner here is Facebook, locking users in and extorting money from content creators.

    Have a real web site, updated with the latest information. Create events, fanpages, etc at Facebook but, please, link to the real web site. Have alternate means of communicating, like setting up a mail list for those who have opted out of using Facebook. Give alternative means from getting attendees to sign up for your event. Use the share functionality from other social media to enhance your reach. Don’t put all eggs in one basket.

    It makes me sad to see events that claim to be professionally arranged be executed so poorly. It sulks the image of that event for me. If you don’t know what to do, get help!

  • Your team got robbed!! says:

    Some teams that competed the first day, should not have gone thru.
    Edwin is an idiot, he does not know his head from his ass.

    Everyone is complaining about this competition not being fair!! Sorry to hear that man!!

    All Albert cares about is dancers paying their fees and there are no rewards.

  • ava apple says:

    “I have never heard of a dance competition where a division is split between two separate days and judged by a completely different set of judges.”
    Unfortunately this does happen at other competitions too – and I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree that it is not good….
    Takeshi – Kudos to you for being bold and speaking up, even at the risk of angering some people.

    • VIctoria says:

      I didn’t make it to the finals over 2 points with 1 dance partner because 3 more in my category showed up after the semi-finals (due to changes at the last minute of itinerary when non-refundable air tickets had already been purchased) and were judged by a completely set of judges on a different day. I don’t think this was fair after the blood, sweat and tears it took to get there, not to mention over $1500 hotel bill!. It was my first time to WLDC & I will be back next year. I placed 3rd in my division w/ my 2nd dance partner and really should of been 2nd, but that’s ok.I booked the hotel direct because it was cheaper than what Albert Torres advertised on his website.ALso out of curiousity I check Orbitz & the hotel rate was $149, so there really wasn’t a discount but a profit if you booked with Torres. Even with hotel resort fees & taxes it was still cheaper than the $215 advertised by Torres in a partial ocean view room for $159.I paid $189 a nite. Website was never up and had to rely on facebook to get event info. Very disorganized event. It was difficult for a first timer competing.

  • Yesenia Torres says:

    This event has always been about money. The fact that is so unorganized, the fact that they changed the schedule so late so competitors are forced to stay additional days and have to pay penalties for changing their departure dates, the fact that you are being charged more than what the hotel charges per night, the fact that you have to pay a “membership fee” in addition of your division fee, the fact that they want to charge you 50.00 extra if you are not staying at the hotel, the fact that there is no prize money for competitors, the fact that they have 200 divisions and they keep adding more is more than enough to realize that is just about getting your money and not about actually competing against the best in the world. I’m surprised they haven’t come up with a division for dancing pets.
    Doesn’t make any sense that you become a world champion if you were the only person or team or couple that attended and competed on that division, however Mr. Albert Torres will not say no because he wants your money!!!!
    In my opinion there has to be a minimum amount of competitors or team registered in order for a category to be even considered. A good example is a division for Salsa couples duo, what the heck is that??? It should be that they compete either on the couple division or the team division. So many “world champions” Mr. Albert Torres has created just for the simple fact that they were the only ones for that “category”.
    His event perhaps was well intended but has become a Joke because and is so clear that is just about money and Mr. Torres retirement fund. I am not friends of Mr Nate Stager, but I wish him the best of luck and I can hope he can read my message and learn from everything that has been said on this post and do not make the same mistakes.

    In my opinion this event is not worth it and has lost its credibility, being a world champion in some of these events division is not worth much if anything at all.

    • Marcia says:

      @Yesenia– EXACTLY! Some categories have 5 or 6 competitors. It’s quiet a stretch to call that a “WORLD” champion. At other genres of dance, there ate over 100 competitor in one division and they actually get a prize (money, a paying dance job)

  • Fred says:

    Wow! Thanks a lot for sharing this. It’s puzzling why organizers get such events wrong when they have a whole year to prepare. Is this because organizers are “cutting corners” to make more profit, or is it purely incompetence, or un-preventable problems? Either way, it’s not good!
    Putting up the website late etc etc. These are unacceptable problems, especially when organizers have done the event before. It should be getting better not worse!
    And then, the price-gouging and exploitation! That’s just poor business and shortsighted! A conference like that should get the best rates to encourage future business. I’ve been seeing issues like this at congresses and other events quite a bit lately.
    The NY international congress in the summer was perhaps even worse, from what i’ve seen folks say online and some of my experience! Folks had no space to sit and see shows they’d paid for. Classes super-crowded etc.
    Luckily for me, I was too tired for the shows, hardly spent time trying to get a seat for them! For those who tried, it was a nightmare to forget, I hear!
    The social dancing, though was good, in my opinion. Probably might have been better, but I personally enjoyed myself!

  • Katie says:

    Albert Torress, is a businessman. He cares about nothing other than Money. This is all a big show and business for him. It is sad people are trapped in his tricks.

  • Dennis says:

    After 5 years of attending the world Latin cup, I was not able to attend the competition due to last minute changes in the schedule. I booked my flight months in advance thinking I would compete on Tuesday I found out later that I would need to compete on Monday. One day might not seem like a lot but when I added the price to change my flight which was $200 and another night at the hotel another $200, I simply could not justify the cost. To top it off this year The competition was moved closer to the holidays. Which made everything more expensive. Flights and hotels usually increase the closer you get to the holidays. The previous years were scheduled to give competitors enough time to stay for a few days even a week before having to go back home for the holidays. Now people have to rush back home or they will miss the holidays. ALSO, my perspective as a spectator watching on live stream was not positive. Names were wrongly posted. I noticed my team name appearing when it wasn’t them going on stage. Some people were completely skipped!. Also Takeshi Young I wanted to point out that your team did a great job this year. I watched and re watched the amateur teams division due to the obvious reason my team was competing in that category and I agree with what you said. Your team should have gone to the finals.. They were much more cleaner and on time compared to some of the other teams that went to finals.. I’m sorry about that.. Personally I am thinking of trying to compete at Billy Fajardo event this year. I have heard only good things about that competition there. That they are organized and well put together. We shall see. Thanks Takeshi for posting this.. so people can vent a little.

  • Saucy says:

    The judging of a single category over two days with two different sets of judges was how they did it when they first started this event. You’re right, that is an insane way to judge a competition. I too fell victim to this many years ago.
    How about changing the rules of a competition the day before you actually compete? That happened too, making every competitor re choreograph a routine they’ve been preparing for 6-9 months so they will fall within the new rules that were instituted the day before the competition.
    Your frustrations are valid, however I do believe Albert does his best to put on the best competition that he can every year. There is one thing we can’t argue with. No matter how roughly the competition runs, the dancers keep showing up in droves every year. I guess he’s doing something right.

  • Sean says:

    To add to this long list of problems with the WLDC is that many of the winners ‘happen’ to also be dancers and/or schools that host qualifiers in their respective cities. It is a corrupt part of how Albert Torres keeps many regional events flourishing. It’s big business and you see it year after year. I hate to make it sound like the winners don’t deserve it but many deserving winners are being cheated.

  • Diana Jessica says:

    You’re totally right!…in my experienced, we won 1sth place on “over 75” category in 2014, they don’t pay for win, I asked Albert and he said “later” and that later has not come yet.
    I’m from Mexico, thanks for your post!

  • Jarrod Salsa says:

    This is a great analysis! But also it should wake people up about how this event and many congresses are run. Alberto is (in)famous for using volunteers to run everything and the word “investment” is not in the vocabulary. One year a volunteer stole thousands of tickets to his congress. With no vetting, no formal means of employment, all under-the-table deals, what do you expect? The quality of any event depends solely on the quality of the volunteers involved, and if Albert is lucky enough to find some that are actually knowledgeable and competent! It’s more of a cooperative than a business, and profit is pretty much the main concern. AT is the inventor of the “performer pays to perform” profit model and has used this to great advantage over the years. So, perhaps that will become more apparent to participants. Awards are cheap. Events are expensive. Do the math! Award money depends on success of event or sales of NEXT year’s tickets! The Facebook comments are great too since few people understand the way Facebook works and falsely believe it has a great reach. It does have the potential for that, but only if one pays for sponsored posts/ads! Thanks for this great article, Takeshi!

  • edward says:

    When are people going to realize that these competitions are stupid and most of the performances bad?

  • Dani Bretón says:

    Positives:
    AT gives everybody a chance to dance.
    People were nice.
    We got the stage to ourselves to practice from 2-3am on Monday, haha!
    It can’t be easy to organize 1500 people. I took 10 & it almost killed me!
    Things that could be improved:
    I agree judging was wildly varied (ie I saw awesome people who didn’t win). However, I think the writer’s team had less energy & less difficult moves than the team that went to the finals. We were in the same category, & I counted 17 teams. Energy, speed, difficulty & facial expression seemed to matter most.
    Registration was not good: online they had us in wrong categories until I emailed to correct it. Also 4 hrs in line is too long on the Monday as we got there at 9, were supposed to attend a noon meeting, then be dressed & ready to dance at 2.
    My main complaint is yes, the website was not up to date. For example, the order of competition was not the same as the posted order so you had to sit all day to watch the division you wanted or bug the poor lady on the door.
    We also booked Sunday-Sunday which is already super expensive with Cdn$ so low, but really should’ve booked Sat to Monday. However, that would’ve been too expensive so we arrived jet-lagged.
    I enjoyed the weather, the social dancing, the hotel (sad nobody danced around the pool like most congresses!), but we all got sick from the air conditioning as rooms were sealed. And paying $175/night is not bad for Miami but wifi was really hit & miss.

    • I disagree on the speed & difficulty– our turn patterns, formations, and footwork were more complex. Perhaps our energy was not as strong in the semis, but last I checked the scores weren’t supposed to be based on facial expressions but objective criteria like synchronization and timing.

      • Alex says:

        Great article and valid concerns. One thing your team lost points on was during your trick the lady had both feet off the ground while she held her partners hands. A few teams had similar deductions.
        Also watching both routines live the blue team appeared much more complex… But to be honest the middle 10-15 teams could of all swung up or down. Tough division to judge regardless.

  • Nestor Manuelian says:

    From Nestor Manuelian, Sydney Australia.

    This post and it’s comments are a very disheartening … not because the points raised…

    BUT … because of focusing in all the blood sweat and tears the dancers from all over the world have shed to be here for the world to see …. The first post is about the negatives… based in an opinion shared by the writer and not a survey or feedback given by the dancers who participated from around the world.

    Chances are my post will be deleted as it doesn’t stand for bagging out the event or Albert.

    Is he a businessman … has to be … or events can’t run…

    This website post about contentious issues all the time to gain popularity and popularity. .. why? Because it’s business ….

    No one is perfect .. so maybe try to find a way to help and not destroy ….

    Australian Dancers have gained so much from this event over the last 10 years … and will continue to do so …

    Why not write about the great store stories … teh dreams realised?

    Maybe that’s not sellable?

    I personally loved WLDC 2015..

    • Jason Haynes says:

      Hi Nestor,

      Thanks for reading and for the response. The views expressed by Takeshi are his opinion, hence the article is placed in the Opinions category. If you would like to write an article expressing a different viewpoint on the WLDC then please let us know. Thank you sir.

      • Nestor Manuelian says:

        I understand thats his point of view, but I’m sure that had his team had won, the article would’ve been very different.

        All due respect to Takeshi, but i have seen the good and bad in this comp for many years, and every year, the loudest are those that are disappointed in their result.

        If you don’t want to get judged or like getting judged don’t compete.

        If you focus on the growth, the amazing photos and videos and excitement felt and experienced until the point where disappointment kicked in, then i believe this article would be very different.

        Constructive critics is always good and i will give Albert and Edwin my thoughts .. Good and Bad .. but i don’t agree in writing post that could potentially damage other peoples work just because we may not agree.

        Suggestion… write the feedback .. but also talk about the positives .. so not to give a biased one sided story that portrays something thats not the way its made out to be…

        Fair is fair right?

        • Hey Nestor, I don’t mind being judged at all, I just want to be judged fairly. I can’t gloss over all the failings of the competition just because the photos & videos were pretty.

          • Nestor Manuelian says:

            Can you consider that maybe your opinion might not be correct? and that maybe the judges were right? You were the amateur division, vs long time standing professional opinions? Not that your opinion is wrong because you might be right … but is there a possibility that you might be wrong? in your eyes?

          • Of course I could be wrong. That’s why I posted the videos, so that the world can be the judge. If the judges actually posted the scoresheets then we would have something by which to go by, but they didn’t. That’s the point.

        • Gabriel Alatorre says:

          Hi Nestor, opinion pieces are supposed to spark discussion.
          The author shows surprising restraint and respect in my opinion.

          He backs up his points with very convincing examples.
          Having competed at Latin Cup & having many friends who train & do the impossible to raise the money to compete at Latin Cup, I strongly believe fair scoring trumps emotional appeal but am open to read you or anyone else’s thoughts for the reverse.

    • Hey Nestor, I tried to keep this post as constructive as possible and provided suggestions on how to improve next year’s event.

      I think it’s great that Albert puts on this event and is able to bring together so many people from around the world, and there were definitely positives this year like the beautiful stage design and excellent photography and videography.

      But a pretty stage doesn’t make up for how poorly the event was run and what a bad experience competitors had to go through. This was the 6th year that Albert has run this event and he has been organizing congresses for a decade more.

      I expect better from a competition that aspires to be international “world” championship.

  • Tamu says:

    It’s about high time competitions start rewarding winners and runners ju financially. As an incentive. As a token of gratitude and appreciation for the strenuous effort put into merely attending and competing ESPECIALLY for international travelers! It’s about high time competitors are honoured and rewarded because without them, such events wouldn’t even be possible in the first place. How in the world are you trying to encourage people to take interest in salsa and its various competitions when people are being disrespected and exploited in broad daylight!? With all the income from membership fees, are you honestly going to tell me that monetary rewards are not possible?? Come on guys! You an do better! Dancers sacrifice too much only to return home empty handed with a memory of how poor organization ruined their what would have been an ‘incredible life-changing. and inspiring trip to Miami’.

  • Salsafied says:

    Do all competitors receive a Certificate or medal for their participation in the World Latin Dance Cup ? any acknowledgement by AT ?

  • Diego says:

    I want to congratulate who wrote this article. Everything is true! Its time to create a real Dance Competition where the money is not the main thing of the event!
    Lets stop this! The Dance cannot be compromised by the money!

  • Natalie says:

    I didn’t compete- I attended this competition to support my friends from overseas who were competing. I can’t really comment regarding what competitors had to do but as an attendee/social dancer I expected more. I thought the Tampa salsa and bachata congress in September was better- in a sense the venue was beautiful, there were more dance rooms and plenty of drinking water for us social dancers, and there was enough parking. I think next time since this competition is showcasing “world dancers” it should be portrayed in a way dancers feel special and appreciated for all their hard work. and please don’t forget about the social dancers who are super thirsty after dancing the night away and refill the water coolers thanks 🙂

  • Abul Walid says:

    I tell you what is really wrong about salsa: that there are even competitions about it. That the author of this article gets fired up because some team has superior synchronicity. You know what? That’s exactly why no one in this genre can compare with the dancers of the Marinskij or the Bolshoi, or the American dance theater, to name a few. Get over it, the concept of ‘salsa congress’ itself is a misfortune. This is no longer dance, no longer social, not even ballroom competition for that matter, but a bizarre circus all over.

    • David Sander says:

      The question of even rating Salsa is a good question. One of the reasons I originally decided to learn Salsa was that the instructor said there was no right or wrong way to dance Salsa, one of its freeing differences from Ballroom. Salsa is at its heart a social dance, so making large numbers of people happy to dance is actually a better qualification than any well rehearsed and choreographed performance. Doing a performance is actually anti social if you spend many hours in practice with one or a small number of dancers, adjust only to their dancing, and don’t blend in or share your skills with other social dancers. The use of choreographed moves lowers those dance communication skills needed for social dancing. I note that performance dances tend to include elements of modern dance and the big moves of entertainment dancing. This inclusion of other forms reverses the usual compact form of Salsa which is typical for social dancing. If performance dancers spend too much time only in practice, they end up losing their social dance skills.

      Its a tempting ambition to new Salsa dancers to think that if you can do a complex practiced move with a training partner that this makes you better than an experienced social dancer, but the differences are obvious to everyone else. The question is where do our standards of judgement come from? Do the standards reinforce social dancing or are they inheriting aspects of commercial performance and modern dancing? If Salsa is a social dance, then what we want is for it to be an inexpensive way to go out in comfortable clothes and have a fun night of dance with a number of new and old partners.

      This is different than my perception of Ballroom which is intended to earn high ratings for elegance and its moderately professional image. As a result my impression is that Ballroom has much more stage presence with larger moves due to how its judged in performances to a common standard. None of the original moves and style of social rumbas, Argentine Tango or other social Latin dances remain in their original form once adopted into Ballroom and the two Tangos are so ridiculously different that they can’t mix at all. I’ve tried!

      Salsa by contrast favors a compact form that makes it easy to do fast moves and the dance is done for the pleasure of the two individuals, so styling is fairly minimalist and often contributes to the energy and balance dynamics of the dance, with this being functional as opposed to being dramatic in nature. There are fewer Salsa movement rules than in Ballroom, so Salsa rules allow turns and inserting left and right feet reversals as long as this contributes to the correct Salsa form. Its much easier to be creative in Salsa while Ballroom requires getting to unlimited competition levels before creative moves are up for inclusion in judging.

      So performance Salsas tend to pick up the known cultural aspects of other performance dancing. by its nature. But is that how we want to judge Salsa dancing and do we want the accident of turning Salsa into another formalized kind of dance like Ballroom?

    • JR says:

      This is the right answer.

  • Laura says:

    All valid points here – but I think your argument about fair judging could have left out the video of your team vs. the other team.

    Honestly, after watching both, there were timing issues in both. There were other issues in both as well. To me, your team did not seem like a ‘clearly’ better team, or more deserving of 2 points higher in score.

    To assume this (especially given your bias as a competitor) is unfair to both your article and the other team. It is absolutely true that splitting between two days and having a different panel and/or more/less judges impacts scoring – but a comparison of your team vs. another is not fair and does not support your point.

    • Thanks for the candid feedback, I’ve removed the videos. I don’t want this post to be about bringing down another team, but a critique of the way the event was run.

      People who are curious about how the teams looked can find videos of the competition on YouTube.

  • Anonymous says:

    Also, they are trying to milk an additional $20 out of the performers in the finals to see their YouTube video links. It’s just obscene, as the author in this article mentioned, they charge for team registration, individual registration, make money from inflated hotel rates, charge $50 if you don’t stay at the hotel, don’t offer any prize money, and THEN they want to charge everyone $20 to see their own work and labor that they trained endless hours for (because they banned everyone from filming so they could monopolize the videos)…. the ethics here are just appalling. How much money can you continue to milk from the dancers whose hard work you are profiting from so much already? Shame on you Albert Torres.

  • Jose Richard Aviles says:

    As someone who is a dancer and loves Salsa and has been doing community organizing work for 11 years. I would love to help and organize next year. I’m based out of LA and dance with a couple of companies here in LA. I love dance academia and dance scholarship so anything to help. I’m all yours!

  • Madam Truthful says:

    I believe Albert has never paid the winners their promised prize money, which basically makes him and this competition a fraud. If enough people join hands, he could easily be sued in a civil lawsuit which he will easily lose and he’d have to pay not only the current but every single winner from last six years.
    I kinda wanna see that happen, because I hate him denying these hardworking dancers their right. And then there are some “Champion” dancers who just suck up to him every day, every year to stay relevant in the business. Albert = Salsa Mafia.

  • David Sander says:

    Running an event well can be challenging. You need a lot of planning, execution, and fair minded thinking. Its easy to have problems if you don’t have a completion schedule to manage all the tasks and if people you expect to do chores or participate don’t work out. Doing the planning involves working with people and understanding there will be a certain number of human failures that you have to assign backup people to over come.

    Good planning requires knowing the dance market, setting a budget and looking over the services you supply and seeing if they make sense in the market. It may seem unfair to make the event invitation only, but doing that would limit participants to manageable numbers and not to just those who could find the money to participate. If someone wants to set up an open competition, by all means let them do that. But do you see as soon as this is said, you get different standards for resolving competitions and these views can be tough and complex questions to ask?

    Perhaps we want all the dance judges to watch a series of ten dance videos and grade them in order to show they have good and reliable judgement. This would improve the judging as would turning in all the score cards and making the results public afterward which would be a way to instantly get the judging better examined as a process. The last question here is what are we judging? Is it difficulty, grace, variety, being on time, and creativity? What proportion of each and do we want to avoid looking like Ballroom dancing that is danced to certain visual standards while true Salsa is social dancing danced for the pleasure of the two individuals?

    Does the next WSDC need a change of venue to a better and less expensive venue? In setting up Salsa Fuego in Pittsburgh last year we found a lovely true ballroom in a former Women’s club that was less money and really beautiful compared to the large multi purpose rooms we had rented the previous year. Its sad, but we found businesses will charge you more money if they think you have to have their business. That is an argument for moving the dance to another more competitive location.There are also American National ballroom dance organizations that have strict ethical rules required for local chapters to maintain their tax status as a particular non-profit rating with their tax status. This kind of standard setting is a good thing,
    Can we do that too?

  • Anonymous says:

    All you need is a good lawyer to take the case and a class action civil suit can be filed for fraud. for I’m told this guys is known for not paying advertised prizes dating back to when he used to host the ESPN dance championship. as far as evidence, a good lawyer should be able to subpoena web content from previous years from hosting companies.

  • ANONYMOUS says:

    For the college devision judging chaos, maybe they weren’t expecting many competitors? I heard that last year was just San Jose states made it to competition and they won by default. If this was true–it is also added to Latin Cup’s sad factor.
    It is true that they didn’t give out the prize money to Zulmara and Abel.
    In any case, I don’t see this event improve. The organizer’s one and only focus is “revenue growth”. Because salsa instructors with team business need it to make money and dancers are willing to participate just for a bragging rights, the organizer doesn’t need to improve the event to make dancers happy. If you don’t like the way it runs, don’t go. If you need a bragging right then go.

    • This article is about the Amateur division, not the college division. They haven’t had a college division since 2013, due to the low turnout that you mentioned. The competition is honestly too expensive for most college students, and increasingly for many Amateur competitors as well.

  • David Sander says:

    This suggests that there is a market for a better run, less expensive competition. The ballroom dance community in America has USA Dance Inc. which provides a central organizing body with rules that generally ensure fair and wise behavior. Maybe we need such a governing body for Latin dance competitions that will measure up to its promises, have public records, and pay off on its expenses while not disconnecting from dancers concerns over cost.

    • It would be nice to have such an organization, but I don’t know what it would take to get the salsa community that organized. There is an organization that calls itself the World Salsa Federation that holds their own “world” competition, but they don’t have as large a following as the WLDC, probably since Albert Torres is the largest salsa promoter in the world.

  • Rhonda says:

    Hi there, thanks for posting this review and fir your further overviews and links to results and such for this event. I’m
    Looking forward to competing in 2017 and coming from Australia. I’d be interested in your updates on the 2016 event.

    • Hi Rhonda. We didn’t have a representative at the World Latin Dance Cup this year, but we plan on posting the results! We will send out a message on Facebook when the results are available and we will put them up on the site. Thanks!

      • Nestor Manuelian says:

        Hey guys,

        Bigger and Better, so many people from all over the world especially USA, Central/South America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

        Truly representation of the whole world not just one country with a few internationals.

        Rhonda, I have any details you would like to know 🙂

        Definately all of last years covered and fixed up based on the above article.

        2017 its moving to Orlando, should fix more of the cost issues etc.

        Overall best year so far and ive gone to every single one from the start.

    • Hey Rhonda, I didn’t attend this year but I heard from people that did that they fixed a few of the issues described in the article. I’ve attend the WLDC 4-times and it is a fun event when things run smoothly, but their unprofessionalism and lack of respect for dancers does not make me want to attend again.

      Our team skipped WLDC this year, and used the money instead to take a 2-week trip to Cuba, which was an amazing experience.

      If you’re an amateur competitor, I would recommend checking out the World Salsa Summit which is more affordable and provides opportunities to compete in more divisions:

      http://socialdancecommunity.com/world-latin-dance-cup-vs-world-salsa-summit/

      If you’re a pro with the budget, WLDC still provides great competition and the opportunity to put yourself in front of some of the top promoters from around the world. I would recommend doing both competitions. But for amateurs the cost is getting out hand for the experience.

      Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *