7 reasons to see SHINE, the movie, in theaters this Friday


Some of the dancers/actors in SHINE


It isn’t every day that we get to see a film about the music and dance that we love, and that, of course, is the main reason for every salsa dancer to support the opening weekend of SHINE, which starts this Friday, Oct. 5, at various AMC theaters in Los Angeles and around the country. Having said that, here are seven specific reasons to buy a movie ticket and step into a theater this weekend:

The music

SHINE is a party for your ears. It features classic salsa music written by great ones like Ray Barreto, Tito Puente, Willie Colon, and Eddie Palmieri, all courtesy of FANIA Records. And it also features original music by various composers and performers, including Eduardo Reyes, Junior Perez, and Jose Luis Guzman.

A band/dance scene in SHINE

The musicians

Throughout the movie you’ll see Salsa bands featuring musicians that are rather popular in our scene. You are likely to recognize Nelson Gonzalez (who not only plays his tres but shows off his acting chops as Tio Julio), Jimmy Bosch, Joe Bataan, Nicky Marrero, Papote Jimenez, Mitch Frohman, John Walsh, and a few members of the New Swing Sextet.

The actors/dancers

If you follow Salsa/Bachata dancers and instructors, you’ll recognize Jorge “Ataca” Burgos (who with his partner “La Alemana” is well known in the bachata dance scene) performing as Ralph, one of the main characters in the story; Kimberli Alexis Flores, who is often in LA giving dance workshops, performs as his girlfriend Josie; Griselle Ponce, who has danced and taught at Salsa Congresses in Los Angeles multiple times, is here doing what she does best. In the background, you’ll see NY dancer Ismael Otero, and even a guy that you may see anytime at our local dance clubs – John Alvarez (yes, I saw you). Some of the dance choreography was done by Charlie “La Candela” Garcia and Osmar “Yamulee” Peronnes. In other words, these Salsa dancers are actual people from our scene; faces that you will recognize and may even have danced with before. It brings a whole other level of excitement into the film.

Jorge “Ataca” Burgos as Ralph and Alysia Reiner as Linda Tangler

A bit of celebrity

Like OITNB? Then you’ll be excited to see Alysia Reiner as part of SHINE; David Zayas, from Dexter, performs as the father of the two main characters in the film; with Gilbert Saldivar, a professional dancer-turned-actor who has toured with the likes of Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez, playing Junior, one of his sons.

Dancer Gilbert Saldivar as Junior

The setting

SHINE lets you appreciate the colorful streets of East Harlem; the splendid “Spirit of East Harlem” mural, created by Manuel Vega; and a bit of the Nuyorican culture, as you see men smoking cigars and playing dominos at parks and in the streets, and so on.

The story

SHINE tells the tale of two brothers who, after the loss of their father, must decide whether or not to stand against the gentrification of their area. But SHINE is also a love story, and a window into a culture that loves music, dance, and family.

It’s East Coast, but it’s also West Coast

Salseros everywhere will identify with this movie at various levels, and while many of the actors, dancers, and musicians are from the East Coast, plenty of its behind-the-scenes talent resides in Southern California, including its main choreographer Lyrik Cruz, its film producer Sandra Varona, and writer/director Anthony Nardolillo (who, by the way, makes a cameo in the movie.)

The last time we Salsa dancers were represented on the big screen was 11 years ago, in 2007, when we showed up in force to see El Cantante. We’ve had plenty of time to save our pennies and be able to do it all over again this weekend. Remember that the numbers on opening weekend really count, so show up for the music you love and for the people who bet on this type of projects. Google should be able to give you the nearest screening times and locations.


We are not here just to move;
We are here to lead.
We are not here just to dance;
We are here to shine.