So you think you can dance? In addition to social dancing and performances, competition is a big part of salsa dancing, especially for some of the top salsa dancers in the world.
If you’ve ever wanted to compete internationally, or just want to learn more about the competitive salsa scene, the following is a list of the top salsa competitions from around the world.
1) World Latin Dance Cup
Started by Albert Torres in 2010, the first World Latin Dance Cup or WLDC is one of the longest running international salsa dance competitions in the world.
In addition to salsa, this competition includes a varitey of Latin dance styles such as bachata, cumbia, and cha cha cha divisions. The competition originally started in the US, but as of 2019 has been held in Colombia, one of the top countries for salsa dancing in the world.
2) World Salsa Summit
The World Salsa Summit is another top international salsa competition, and was started by Billy Fajardo and Katie Marlow (two former judges of the WLDC) in 2013.
Like the World Latin Dance Cup, the World Salsa Summit features dozens of dance divisions, ranging from solo division to teams, and includes other Latin dance styles. The competition is held every year in Florida.
3) The Summit Championships
In 2022, Billy Fajardo and Nelson Flores, two former organizers of the World Salsa Summit, broke off from the World Salsa Summit and started their own competition, with a confusingly similar name, The Summit Championships.
The Summit is also hosted in Florida, and features dozens of competitive categories across multiple Latin dance styles.
4) Euroson Latino World Salsa Championships
Euroson Latino is one of the top festivals held in the salsa hot spot of Mexico, and the competition hosted their has grown to become one of the most competitive in the world.
Started in 2009, the competition dubbed the “Euroson Latino World Salsa Championship”, attracts some of the best salsa competitors from Mexico and around the world. Like most other international salsa competitions, this one has also grown to include other styles such as bachata, kizomba and cha cha cha.
5) Fusion Salsa Fest
Another top salsa competition hosted in Mexico is Fusion, which started in 2011. The competition draws some of the best dancers from Mexico and around the world, and includes divisions for other Latin dances such as bachata and cha cha in addition to salsa.
6) World Salsa Open
One of the oldest international salsa competition, the World Salsa Open was started in 2002 as part of the Puerto Rico Salsa Congress, the first salsa congress in the world.
The competition is strictly salsa, and competitors all have to dance to the same piece of salsa music, making the competition purely about dance talent and creativity, rather than song choice. There are also divisions at the competition where competitors dance to live salsa music played by bands.
7) Cali World Salsa Festival
Cali calls itself the “World Capital of Salsa” and there are more salsa competitors living in that city than any city in the world, so it makes sense that they also have their own international salsa competion.
The festival was started in 2005 in Cali, Colombia, and attracts thousands of competitors, mostly from Colombia. The competition started mostly with salsa caleña, but has grown to include other salsa dance styles in recent years.
8) WSF World Salsa Championships
Organized by the founders of the World Salsa Federation, Isaac and Laura Altman, this competition series first took place in 2002 in Miami. It is an annual event as well that featured 13 divisions to compete in.
9) World Salsa Championships
Started by Albert Torres and the ‘Salsa Seven’ in 2005, this competition was last held in 2009 before it ceased operations due to financial difficulties. It was revived by the World Dance Group in 2016. It is now held every 4 years. However, it couldn’t take place in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This event is notable because it was broadcast on ESPN each time it took place. It also included group categories such as Rueda de Casino.
Founded by Fernando Sosa, the Salsanama competition features a series of 1-vs-1 battles, similar to hip hop. Qualifier rounds are held in several countries around the world, and the top dancers get to compete in the finals held in Italy every year.
This is a unique style of competition because the competitors don’t get to do rehearsed couples routines. Instead, competitors flaunt their best salsa shines to random songs selected by the organizers.
11) World Salsa Masters
This competition series took place as part of the Madrid Salsa Festival in 2014 and 2015. The competitors included 10 of the most world renowned salsa couples hailing from 9 different countries and the top prize included 7000 euros!