So You Think You Can Salsa Dance

Nacional 27 turns up the heat with annual salsa dancing competition

The city's top salsa dancers are putting on their tight, tiny outfits and gearing up for Nacional 27's annual month-long competition, which kicks off on Friday, April 17. Even if you can't stand "Dancing With the Stars," you most certainly won't mind watching this steamy salsa contest featuring some of Chicago's best dancers up close and personal.

The 2009 Bacardi-Bud Select Salsa Competition will begin with trials on Friday, April 17 and Friday, April 24. Sixteen of Chicago's most talented salsa dancing couples will be selected and divided into two groups to compete during the trials, with four couples from each night advancing to the semi-finals on Friday, May 1. The top four couples will move on to the finals on Friday, May 8. The dance floor at Nacional 27 will be cleared off at 11PM each night for the competition. Dancers will be judged as a group and as individual couples. Interested in throwing your dancing shoes in the ring? Pick up an application at Nacional 27 or on the restaurant's Web site. There is no fee to compete.

The couples will vie for prizes including a V.I.P. cocktail reception for 27 guests at Nacional 27, round-trip airfare to Miami or Las Vegas and a trip to Puerto Rico, so you better believe that the feathers will be flying. This is one serious competition, with judges including Chicago's dance elite: Luis "Electrico" Diaz, Chicago Salsa Congress 2005 Artist of the Year; Tina Mangos, choreographer and artistic director of Tina Mangos Dance; Angel Fabrizio, professional salsa dancer and instructor; and Vaidi Miseviciute, salsa instructor and dancer. 

Throughout the month-long tournament, Nacional 27 master mixologist Adam Seger will shake up signature Bacardi cocktails to fuel the fun, such as the Big Apple Mojito, with Bacardi Big Apple rum, muddled granny smith apples, fresh mint, rosemary and lime ($11), a hibiscus-ginger daiquiri, with Bacardi Anejo, lime, hibiscus and ginger syrup ($11), and the tongue-twisting strawberry-rhubarb-basil-balsamic mojito, a tasty blend of Bacardi Select, strawberries, rhubarb with brown sugar, lime, basil, a splash of soda and a dash of Balsamico ($12).

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