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Salsa Dancers Descend To Oakland For Convention

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Colombian salsa dancers perform

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Thousands of salsa dancers from all over the world are converging on the Oakland Marriott City Center this weekend for the 10th annual San Francisco Bay Area International Salsa Congress.

There will be shiny shirts, cologne, high heels and a whole lot of sweet dance moves as dancers from around the globe, including New York, Italy, Japan, Indonesia and Colombia, show off their skills.

Event spokeswoman Jenny Smelyanets said about 4,000 people are expected to attend the convention, which includes more than 45 workshops and dozens of dance performances by couples and groups.

The convention is one of a number of salsa “congresses” held throughout the world. Smelyanets said it is the largest Latin music event in Northern California.

“People really do say it’s their favorite congress,” she said. “It’s huge.”

The highlights include a show on Saturday night by legendary salsa musician Willie Colon, and performances by world salsa champions.

She said people who are curious about dancing shouldn’t be intimidated because they don’t yet know how.

“I think there’s so many people across so many levels” at the convention, she said. “That’s exactly the place to get engrossed.”

Smelyanets, who has been salsa dancing for several years, said dancing is a healthy hobby, noting that it is good exercise and that many dancers don’t drink when they go out. It is also good for the spirit, she said.

“People are out to have a good time and dance, and it takes you to another place,” she said.

The kickoff party for the salsa congress is tonight at Cafe Cocomo, located at 650 Indiana Street in San Francisco.

The rest of the event takes place at the hotel in Oakland, located at 1001 Broadway. More information is available at www.sfsalsacongress.com.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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