Born of Puerto Rican and Guatemalan descent and raised in Houston’s Northside, Ruby Rivera’s Latin dance career began with her helping create “Latin Nights”, the first of its kind, Latin dance event on campus for the students of the University of Texas, where she attended.
Upon returning to Houston after graduation, Ms. Rivera was asked to join the first Latin dance company in Houston, Guaguanco Dance Company where she learned to choreograph, perform, and the art of instruction.
In 2002, Ruby co-founded her own dance company, Rhumba Y Bongo (R&B). R&B broke the mold of traditional salsa routines by fusing hip hop, modern, and break dancing styles with salsa and mambo. In addition to events throughout Houston and Texas, R&B was invited to perform in the Chicago, Puerto Rico, and New York Salsa Congresses. After two years of exposure to the international salsa community, Ms. Rivera began to give salsa lessons at Houston’s famous Sky Bar in the Montrose area which led to her teaching salsa throughout Houston.
With these experiences, Ms. Rivera began wondering why Houston didn’t have a salsa congress considering how rich and large its salsa community was and so was inspired to create the Texas Salsa Congress which is now celebrating its 16th anniversary in 2020 and is the longest running salsa congress in the United States fully produced and directed by a woman.
In 2005, the Texas Salsa Congress came to fruition as an annual four day namesake event that took place every March, bringing performers and guests from all across the United States and countries all across the globe, including some of the biggest talent within the salsa community in the form of dancers, musicians and instructors.
The Texas Salsa Congress is a multi-day dance festival featuring workshops, social dancing, performances and competitions dedicated to salsa and other Latin dance forms. The 16th Annual Texas Salsa Congress would have been comprised of over 50 dance shows, 24 hours of workshops covering topics and genres far beyond salsa dancing, three nights of social dancing, and nightly exhibitions.
Since the first Texas Salsa Congress, Ruby has also produced Breaking Salsa in Austin, TX and various annual salsa events in Houston including: Latin Beats (Downtown Aquarium HTX), Salsa Sundays (Kemah Boardwalk), and Salsa Beats (Kemah Boardwalk). In 2010, Ms. Rivera was bestowed with a city proclamation by
Mayor Bill White, declaring August 4th “Ruby Rivera Salsa Appreciation Day”. In 2015, Mayor Annise Parker also declared a “Texas Salsa Congress Day” for Houston, Texas.
Follow Ruby Rivera:
Facebook: @Texas Salsa Congress