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by Don Crispy

Salsa Libre en Velfarre

Makiko

Velfarre in Roppongi fires up the Latin dance scene with a visit by New York salsa specialist Gregory Glasgow; world champion turntablist DJ Craze struts his stuff at Liquid Room in Shinjuku; while over at Nishi-Azabu's Yellow, French house DJ Charles Schilling heads up another edition of Etoiles. Just another Friday night in Tokyo.

Launched by Salsa Hotline Japan (www.salsa.co.jp), Salsa Libre en Velfarre has been mixing it up with a blend of learning and fun in its monthly Friday events. Last month's installment, for instance, featured a lesson from salsa star Janette Valenzuela, who first came to the world's attention through her heart-stopping dancing in the film "Dance With Me."

Charles Schilling

This month's Salsa Libre features dancer/choreographer Gregory Glasgow, who will be performing with his Uptown Dancers group. A New York native, Glasgow was deeply influenced by the city's burgeoning salsa scene in the '90s, going on to work with some of New York's top dancers, including Jimmy Anton, whose company he was invited to join. Also offering a mix of performance and instruction will be leading Japanese salsa dancer Makiko, a member of Valenzuela's group, and domestic salsa troupe Combinatria…

Over in Shinjuku, meanwhile, DJ Craze head up another installment of the venerable Drum and Bass Sessions. Miami-based Craze is a rarity: a North American drum'n'bass DJ with international exposure. A three-time champion of the DMC DJ competitions, Craze is considered the Michael Jordan of the turntable. This has cost him credibility with some in the drum 'n' bass community, who have called his technical style "musical masturbation." Whatever your opinion, Craze's dazzling deck dynamics should cause more than a few jaws to drop among the kurabu kidzu who tend to populate d'n'b events…

Finally, Yellow on Friday will be the scene of an altogether different DJ culture: French house. The featured DJ of this month's Etoiles, French DJ Charles Chilling, and his cool, urban, jazz-influenced house are at the opposite end of the spectrum from Craze's athletic drum'n'bass. While a relative unknown outside of France, inside the country Schilling is viewed as a top DJ, invited to spin at parties for fashion houses like Karl Lagerfeld, who created the artwork for Schilling's sophisticated new CD, It's About (Pschent).

Salsa Libre en Velfarre@Velfarre, 9/13, 7pm, ¥3,000 w/2d. Tel: 3402-8000. http://velfarre.avex.co.jp
Drum & Bass Sessions@Liquid Room, 9/13, 11:30pm, ¥3,500 (adv), ¥4,000 (door). Tel: 3200-6831. www.liquidroom.net
Etoiles@Yellow, 9/13, 10pm, ¥3,500 w/1d. Tel: 3479-0690.
www.club-yellow.com

credit: Velfarre