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It’s like spitting on David Melendez’s grave!
One of the few regrets I have in the salsa scene was missing the very 1st Salsa Congress in the Philippines back in 2005. How can a Pinoy like me miss such a good thing? Ah, but then past is past.
On the last week of December 2006, I emailed David Melendez asking him If I can help out for the next Philippine Salsa Congress. I received a reply in an instant saying, "Hey Rod, I appreciate your willingness to help out, but we will not be doing a congress this year, But I will let you know."
After a few days, I have heard from a friend in New York that David had been battling Malignant Mesenchymal Tumor. In a word, Cancer. So being the cancer survivor that I am, on December 27, 2006, I felt compelled to call him again just give him a pep talk and positive energy.
He was very positive and upbeat and assured me that we would see each other and talk at the Salsa Event in Palm Springs. Little did I know that was the last time I'll ever talk to him.
On February 8, 2007, on his way to his new dance studio in Florida, David sufffered a seizure and died. It was a big shock to the salsa community world. He was an icon and was a true ambassador of salsa. To this day, David Melendez is sorely missed.
Last year of 2007, the New York Salsa Congress, which happened to be David Melendez creation, started honoring David by giving The David Melendez Award. "Every year, we at the New York Salsa Congress honor a person or persons that contributed in his or her own way to the dance community. From now on, we are acknowledging this honor as the David Melendez Award. This year, at the 7th Annual New York Salsa Congress, it gives us great pleasure in presenting the award to its first recipient, to its namesake, Mr. David Melendez." – NYC Congress Inc
Indeed, David's Legacy continues, the salsa congresses he created all over are still being held yearly, and of course, one of them is the Philippine Salsa Festival. This is David Melendez's baby. Although PSF wasn't held in the year 2007, Kristine Constantino, the co-creator of PSF, felt that David's legacy and his vision for salsa in the Philippines must go on. Enter Philippines Salsa Festival 2008.
"Of all the Asian countries in the world, Philippines has the most Latin influence, so there is no reason why salsa is small. Philippines Salsa Festival will catapult the salsa genre in the country." said, Constantino, Director of PSF.
On November14-16, 2008, Kristine Constantino along with Latin Dance Professionals, promoters and world class DJs, once again, will be honoring the late David Melendez at the Annual Philippine Salsa Festival in Manila with performances, workshops and social dancing.
But let me back up here for a moment…
November 2008 is probably the busiest month for me considering that I am involved on events like the Dallas Salsa Congress and San Francisco Salsa Congress, so for me to do the Philippine Salsa Festival is overstretching it. Then I recieved a shocking letter from Kristine…
To the friends of the 2008 Philippine Salsa Festival,
Hello everyone, hope all of you are doing well. My name is Kristine Constantino, Owner and Director of the 2008 Philippine Salsa Festival. I received alarming news from several of our Philippine Salsa Festival instructors that an outside source have informed them that the 2008 Philippine Salsa Festival has been cancelled and is now being directed by another production company.
This person continued on to say they will now call this event Manila Salsa Festival and it will be held on the same dates as our event. This person and production company is soliciting our current staff and attendees to be part of their event and is providing false information to make you believe otherwise. I am sending you this email to let you know I have not cancelled the 2008 Philippine Salsa Festival and the event will go on as planned.
I want to assure you that I am the current Owner and Director of the 2008 Philippine Salsa Festival and will continue to make final decisions regarding the event. If you have not been contacted by these outside sources please expect them to do so.
We need your support more than ever! We need to band together and and continue our relationship in being part of this event, and making it a success. Please do not believe these rumors and forward me any correspondence you receive and I will personally handle them. It is people like these that destroys the unity and love that Salsa brings to our lives.
Due to these unfortunate news I am determined more than ever to create an amazing and memorable event for you. I am not only doing this for my own dreams, but most importantly to continue David Melendez' legacy and to bring Salsa to the Philippines in a positive way.
If you could please pass this information along to your friends and to other Salsa lovers in the world. I hope you continue to join me in this cause.
Kristine Constantino Director, Philippine Salsa Festival November 14-16, 2008 Website: http://www.philippinesalsafestival.com Email: email@example.com - Phone: (650) 832-1681
When I read this letter I was furious, dismayed and very disappointed. How could people dare steal someone else's idea. And to top all that, how can these people purposely do this same event on the same dates and the same hotel? This is David Melendez's vision.
To imitate such event, doing it on the same dates and same hotel is like spitting on his grave!
It's a divisive act and an absolute insult to the salsa community as a whole.
I contacted Kristine to tell her that I am on board. I'm gonna support and help her all the way, after all, this was supossedly what I was gonna tell David at the Salsa Palm Springs event anyways, but the event got cancelled and a month later, David died.
We're now a few months away before the event and salseros all over already confirming their support and presence to the Philippine Salsa Festival. I don't think the dancers and performers supporting the so-called Imitators (Manila Salsa Festival and GWorks) are fully aware of the truth and the whole story of what happened. They need to know and someone or some people need to tell them. I don't even think they know that it is David Melendez's event.
But we're moving on and more salseros now are on board with Philippine Salsa Festival (PSF). We now have salsa brothers and sisters from all over the globe such as Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, USA, Abu Dhabi plus Albert Torres, and recently, PSF and Albert Torres agreed to make Philippines Salsa Festival a qualifier for ESPN World Salsa Championship. It is going to be a fun festival!
We are calling all salseros and salseras around the world to support the Philippine Salsa Festival. We need your help more than ever.
P.S. If you have never met David Melendez or maybe have interacted with him one way or another, enjoy these clips as a tribute.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN6yArK_GCo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkjYGOvg2Oc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXhNo67Ke9M http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFxdZc_4jr8
Salsa Dance Wednesdays with Live Salsa Music
Steel Pig BBQ – 8904 Aurora Ave. N. – 206-524-9600.
Admission $5 – Ladies free
Wednesday night live music with SALSARIBA & DJ. Free lessons.
About the Steel Pig BBQ:
This cheery joint goes one step further than most barbecue places–it looks like an actual decorator has offered some advice. Bright yellow walls, colorful murals and long communal tables are pleasing without detracting from the real reason everyone's here: The meat. And now on Wednesdays…the salsa dancing!!
Come hungry–even small plates come with an array of sides and fresh, sweet corn muffins. The sauce here is decidedly on the sweet, vinegary side. Ribs fall right off the bone, and the baked chicken, slathered with mild, sweet sauce, defines the word "succulent." Kids and North Carolina natives will love the sauce, but spice lovers should request extra heat. Fried catfish has a crispy cornmeal coating, while the pulled pork is gussied up with an excellent toasted French roll. Opt for potato salad or mac and cheese for sides.