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Conga Room Latin Dance Championship Ends With Grand Finale Dance-Off

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Friday, July 24, 2009, at 09:58AM
Winners Circle Ed Fuentes

Brad Gluckstein and Shelia E. with Martin Gonzalez and Gabriela Equiz, winners of the first Conga Room Latin Dance Championships, 2009.

Two months of competition led to the crowning of a winner at the Conga Room's Latin Dance Championship on Thursday night. Martin Gonzalez and Gabriela Equiz emerged victorious after a dance-off between three couples, broadcast live on Univision.

The tension in the room was burned off by salsa dancing with Johnny Polanco, whose band merges the east coast salsa movement with a west coast roots, made brassy with big band horns. They were joined by percussionist Shelia E., who then had a brief battle of the snare-drums with her father, Pete Escovedo.

Last weeks semi-finals featured a performance by Cabas, the Latin-Grammy winner Columbian musician border hopping Latin influences into a pop-Caribbean sound, sometimes with traces of American rock guitar.

The various styles are fitting for the Conga Room itself, recently recognized at the 2009 Restaurant Design Awards that had American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIA/LA) award the LA Live venue top prize for a lounge/nightclub.

“The Conga Room’s design reflects a collaboration between Belzberg Architects, celebrated Latino artists and my travels and life experiences,' said Brad Gluckstein, Conga Room Founder and Co-Owner. "Mixing design, art and indigenous cultural offerings made for a unique fusion.”

The Conga Room (800 West Olympic Blvd) / Upcoming performances include Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics & his Rock Fabulous Orchestra (August 25th)

ADD: Conga Room Dance Champions were misidentified. My apologies to the winners, Martin Gonzalez and Gabriela Equiz.

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