PATERSON, NJ - The gymnasium at the Boys & Girls Club was transformed into a colorful dance hall on Saturday as contestants and eager onlookers from across the area, and well beyond with some coming from as far away as Peru, descended on Paterson on Saturday to compete in the much anticipated Marinera Dance off presented by the Peruvian Parade and El Gran Chalan from Virginia.

Not only did the Mayor Elidio Espinoza Quispe of Trujillo, Peru, the city known as the Mecca of the Marinera Dance, proclaim Paterson as the capital of Marinera in the United States; but he also sent the Director of Tourism from the region to Paterson to deliver the official proclamation to Mayor Andre Sayegh.

Kat Esquiche, who hosted the organizers told TAPinto Paterson she was in awe on the tedious preparations this competition required. The online registrations for the competition increased rapidly by the hour, she said, causing the team to stay up until 3:00 am. With just four hours of sleep, they, according to reports by attendees, pulled off one of the most amazing Marinera dance competitions in the US.

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Saturday’s dance competition which lasted eight hours, became record breaking  with 74 participants and a standing room only audience made up of dance aficionados, families, elected officials and dance academies.

As the evening approached, there were shouts of excitement as well as tears as the elimination process began. Winners left beaming with a dance badge straight from Trujillo, Peru .

What made this competition so enticing were the unique categories such as: parent/ child, infants and the grandparent/grandchild category.

“This was a truly momentous day, not just for the Peruvian community here, but for all of Paterson,” Esquiche said. “It once again put our city’s wonderful diversity on full display while also proving that we can become a major destination and play host to such important and successful events as this one.”


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