Houston Margarita Festival is just around the corner! Happening on October 13th at Discovery Green park from 12 p.m. - 10 p.m., the day promises to be marvelous – and not just because it will be filled with margaritas. The festival will showcase many different art-styles: the culinary arts (food will be available for purchase), the drink-making arts (plenty of margaritas – in both sample and full size), and the performing arts, too. As an added twist (no pun intended) to the festival, a limbo and salsa competition will be held.
I had the chance to chat with Crissy Poole, professional dancer and Houston Margarita Festival Salsa and Limbo Competition Coordinator.
CS: I think it’s a fantastic idea to integrate salsa into a margarita festival – as both have such Latin flair. But how did the integration of these two arts come together for the festival?
CP: Every culture -- African American, Middle Eastern has a signature dance. For the Latino or Hispanic culture, salsa is one of those dances. It’s that main one that everyone sees -- like on TV on Dancing with the Stars. It has become this grandiose thing that everybody just wants to do.
And margaritas, of course, go back many years. When the Hispanic culture started migrating to America, naturally, they were going to bring their beverages, their food, and their culture with them.
CS: So, all of this went behind the idea of incorporating salsa and margaritas into one event – pretty cool.
Now, you’ve done many great things in your 15 year dancing career – you’ve coordinated pageants, taught people of all ages to dance in a variety of studios, and had numerous choreography and performance projects. But have you ever conducted or judged a salsa competition?
CP: This my first. Of all the dance competitions that I have done – cheerleading, jazz, hip hop – this will be the first Salsa competition I coordinate. But I am so excited to be a part of the Houston Margarita Festival, as I have such an interest in the Latino culture – I always have. And for me, coming from teaching Latin dancing, and actually dancing salsa, merengue, bachata, and mambo, for me to be involved in a competition of this magnitude – the whole city of Houston – I can’t event put into words the excitement I feel leading up to the day of the competition.
CS: Will you be judging the competition?
CP: I will not be judging the competition – the audience will actually be judging. Salsa Eddy, a radio personality and well-known Latino dancer, dance teacher and choreographer, will be hosting the competition. But, the audience will be watching the 15 participating couples dance for 1 minute each, and with sounds of approval or disapproval, narrow the competition down to 8 couples. And in the third round, 4 couples will remain, that’s when the audience will choose the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.
CS: Well, even though you won’t be judging the salsa competition at the Houston Margarita Festival, what do you think makes for excellent salsa dancing?
CP: I would say – the energy between the couple because they are so close to each other. Salsa dancing – latin dancing, period – is very seductive. So, there’s a lot of touching and feeling going on, and the dancers have to be able to draw people in and let them take hold of that energy. It’s a partnership between the male and the female that is exuded when it comes to salsa dancing – not necessarily the steps, or the moves, it’s just how they move to the beat. To me, that’s one main thing – that energy level – that really makes for, not necessarily a great salsa dancer, but a salsa-dancing couple.
CS: For those that want to participate, how do people enter the salsa and limbo competition?
CP: Official registration is the day of: 1:00-2:00 pm for the limbo competition, 1:00-3:00 pm for the salsa competition. The salsa competition is limited to the first 15 couples that register.
During registration, we’ll get participants’ information, and they will be signing a waiver – of course we don’t want anybody getting hurt. We’ll also go over how people need to conduct themselves – that is, keeping in mind that is an event with a family environment.
CS: At what time will the salsa and limbo competitions be, and where exactly will they be held?
CP: The limbo competition will be at 2:30 pm. The Salsa competition will be later in the afternoon.
CS: Good deal! Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
CP: We just want everybody to come out and have a good time! Just enjoy themselves – get a taste of the Latin flavor! And with the salsa and limbo competitions, it’s just a chance for everybody to see the talent that we do have in Houston.
CS: I’ve got to know – how do you like your margaritas?
CP: After coming onboard with the Houston Margarita Festival team, I’ve had so many different-flavored margaritas! I can’t even put my finger on what’s my favorite right now! I used to be the kind of person that likes the traditional lime, or strawberry-mango swirl but now I have had so many different flavors, with so many different types of tequilas that I realize this is a whole new world for me!
CS: You can certainly get lost in that world!
CP: Yes! I pretty much have. I’ve had frozen, on the rocks, any way you can possibly have a margarita. I can tell you this: I have thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed myself [laughs].
Thanks so much to Crissy for chatting with me about all the fun things in store for next Saturday. I can certainly understand why she has thoroughly enjoyed herself with all of those margaritas .
I have a feeling that I’ll be doing the same when I am at the festival. And you should join me there! You can purchase tickets here: http://www.houstonmargaritafest.com/#/tickets/4553204725.
Hope to see you at the festival, whether it’s drinking margaritas, showing off your salsa moves, or breaking out those limbo skills -- or even all three, hopefully not simultaneously!
~Carla Soriano, Urban Swank