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Dance Party: Salsa Dura

Superb bands and expert dance instruction
Angelito Jusay
May 3, 2023, 6:00pm–8:30pm

A midtown tradition since 2014, Dance Party returns to Bryant Park this summer! At each Dance Party event, attendees meet at the world-famous Bryant Park Fountain to learn basic steps with expert instructors from 6 to 7pm. Afterwards, participants can test out their new moves to live music performed by a diverse selection of bands from 7 to 8:30pm.

Dance Party makes dance fun and easy for all ages and ability levels with hands-on instruction in popular steps. Audiences will learn basic moves in styles like salsa and swing, bachata, salsa dura, and more. Hosted by Talia Castro-Pozo, a stellar cast of instructors from around the globe bring their deep understanding of the traditions and innovations of their chosen specialties.

Instruction by Marlon Mills and Talia Castro Pozo at 6pm
Live music by La Exelencia at 7pm


Marlon Mills, also joyfully known as Marlon International, is one of New York City’s most well-known dance educators and dance personalities in the Salsa dance community. He has trained with some of the best in the business, including Maria and Eddie Torres, and has been teaching salsa for more than 20 years. Marlon has performed Salsa for films, television shows, festivals, and clients such as Marriott Group and American Express, and on stage for artists such as Jose Alberto El Canario, Hector Tricoche, and El Gran Combo. He has also made appearances on Sesame Street as a performer and at Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing as an instructor and performer. Marlon has taught at universities including New York University, Columbia Business School, Long Island University, and Hofstra University. Marlon is a long time teaching artist for Dancing Classrooms and is on the teaching faculty at the 92nd StreetY. 

Talia Castro-Pozo is the producer of Latin Mondays at Taj, Bryant Park Dance Party, Sunset Salsa with Talia to name a few. Her warm, fun & inclusive approach to dance events, enables New Yorkers to fall in love with Latin Dance & Latin Culture. She's also an accomplished dancer, actress & choreographer. Talia is currently playing "Mona" for the TV mini series "Fleishman Is In Trouble" co-starring Jessie Eisenberg & Claire Danes.

Inspired by the salsa sounds of the 1970s and the sociopolitical landscape of today, La Excelencia is an award-winning band from New York City that combines traditional salsa elements with a modern and unapologetic sound. Their music invigorates social mindedness amidst a powerful and danceable soundtrack. "It takes just a note or two to hear that La Excelencia is different. This is rugged salsa dura, with the percussion cranked, lots of breaks, the voices loud, almost distorted. It’s the sound of a tough working band, the sort that used to be everywhere in New York and now are rare to find," says Peter Watrous of The New York Times. Founded in 2005, La Excelencia honed their sound by performing at local venues around New York City; they caught the attention of the international salsa community with their 2006 debut album, Salsa Con Conciencia. The success of that album would result in the first of several international tours. The band would later release three more albums, Mi Tumbao Social (2009), Ecos Del Barrio (2012), and Machete (2020). La Excelencia’s in-your-face sound and energetic, live performances reach outside of the salsa norm, and have propelled the band to mainstream audiences and venues. “I felt like I was at a rock show, not a salsa performance,” commented Anthony Guerrero, a longtime fan. Under the leadership and direction of owner, Julian Silva, La Excelencia has enjoyed solid success, and continues to keep their sights on the future with a commitment to bringing voice to the next generation of salseros.

La Excelencia

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