It is a scene one might expect to see in Bogota, Havana, or even New York City. But this is Seoul, South Korea, an unexpected locale for a salsa competition. Yet, Latin dance fever has taken over one of Asia's biggest cities and this year's Asia Latin Music & Salsa Festival proves it.
Dancers from all corners of the globe have flocked to Seoul to compete for the $11,000 first prize and refuse to return to their home countries without bringing their best to the stage.
The excitement is palpable, as it always is just before any dance competition. Upbeat Latin tunes echo through a hall of dressing rooms that buzz with giddy conversations in a number of languages. Inside, flamboyantly dressed men ensure that every tassel of their costumes are in place while their female partners apply thick eyeliner and bright lipstick. Nearby, nervous teams rehearse choreographed moves a final time before the show begins.