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Jai Catalano
Candy Mena

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On April 11, 1999 Eddie Torres held his famous monthly party at his old corner studio on 56th street and 8th Avenue. Candy, who was then a part of Carribean Soul, arrived hoping to get her monthly fix of the New York mambo scene. She danced with all of the then Eddie Torres crew, Franklin Diaz, Frankie Martinez, Seaon Bristol, Danny Ramirez to name a few. Jai Catalano was nowhere to be found.

Meanwhile, Jai was home resting after taking Eddie's advanced 3-hour class when he realized that he left his dance bag at the studio. He decided to leave it to Maria Torres to pick it up and hold for him until the next rehearsal. It wasn't until Jai was at his most fatigued moment when he thought to himself he might never see his bag or his valuables again. 30 minutes later Jai was back at the studio.

Determined to get his bag and go back home to sleep, Jai found himself putting his bag in a safe place while he danced one time for the road. One short dance turned into two short dances turned into ten or more short dances. It wasn't until then that Candy asked Jai to dance. Jai & Candy were introduced a few months earlier but rarely saw one another. They always enjoyed each other's dancing but rarely spoke until Jai opened his mouth and solidified his fate.

During the dance, Jai had remembered the first International Salsaweb Convention was holding salsa performances and a competition in Washington D.C on the 1st & 2nd days in May. Eddie Torres and Carribean Soul were two of dozens of groups performing. Jai asked Candy if she was going to compete being that he already knew she was going to perform. Candy disappointingly said no because she had nobody to compete with. That is when Jai shoved his foot in his mouth and told her that if they only had more time to rehearse he would have been her partner in the competition. Candy's eyes lit up when she happily said "come on let's compete." Jai was just trying to make conversation as he realized that he had said the wrong thing. Competition was the last thing on Jai's mind.

Within the next 3 weeks, Jai & Candy practiced for the competition twice, went out on their first date, kissed on April 18th, etcetera, etcetera, and etcetera. Oh yeah, Jai & Candy also won their 1st competition on May 2nd 1999 as a semi-professional team.