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Dancing the Conga on Broadway

Romance, drama, deception, and plenty of dance moves. On Your Feet combines the elements of a typical Broadway musical with a latin twist. On Your Feet, written by Alexander Dinelaris, is a musical production based around the lives and careers of Emilio and Gloria Estefan. This typical ‘jukebox musical’ is more than implementing popular music within a story. Compared to other jukebox musicals, On Your Feet has intertwined and blended latino pop songs within the emotions and history of the Estefans.

The musical runs chronologically in Miami when Gloria is a young child dreaming to be a music star. Throughout her childhood and into teenage years, the audience is introduced to her family and eventually to the Miami Sound Machine and Emilio.

The story of Gloria and Emilio is one for the books. The musical touched base with their struggles of breaking into the competitive American music industry. From the music capital of New York City to the Estefan’s home base of Miami, the musical demonstrates their fears, courage, and success of their impact on breaking open the music industry for Latin American artists. Since the birth of the Miami Sound Machine, they have inspired thousands of young Latin American performers to break into the American industry. For example, Shakira is one of the Latina artists that Emilio and Gloria have helped in establishing and creating their careers in America. The crossing over into the American market can become tricky business, but the Estefans broke the culture norms and created that opening for other Latino artists.

The most impressing feature of this beloved musical is the choreography. From the beginning scene of young Gloria dancing, her mother preforming in Havana, throughout Gloria’s music tour, and finally Gloria preforming at the 1991 American Music Awards, the dancing is impeccable. The choreography was impressing and literally made the audience want to “shake your body and do the conga” up and down the aisles.

 

Overall, the story of Gloria and Emilio’s life portrayed in the musical is awe-inspiring. While viewing their sacrifices and determination, the audience can realize the legacy and the mark that the Estefans made in Latin American history from their impact on Latino pop-singers.

 

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