1
Introduction
SALSA’S LOPSIDED GLOBAL FLOW
In
his closing remarks
after the last performance at the 2000 congress in Los
Angeles, the promoter Albert Torres addressed the differences among salsa prac-
tices as he elaborated on the meaning of the congress’s slogan, “Creating unity
through salsa.” Projected from the stage, his amplified voice instructed partici-
pants to value all styles of salsa. Although we might continue dancing our various
styles, he said, we should stop acting as if one style is better than another. In the
interest of creating a global community united as salseras/os, he instructed us to
dance that night with someone who danced a style different than our own. Salsa,
he told us, is “our” common language, an international language that does not
belong to any single country or individual; through salsa, we can achieve unity.
The idea of creating unity through the diverse practices of salsa, the har-
monious merging of styles under one big tent in a parking lot, purports to bring
together all salsa practices under the guise of cultural relativism. In the process
of unity, the salsa industry manufactures both the inclusions and exclusions of
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