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If Cities Could Dance is KQED Arts and Culture’s award-winning video series featuring dancers across the country who represent their city’s signature moves. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to never miss a new episode.
When salsa dancers Audrey Guerrero and Angie Egea first got together, their love opened up new expressions and possibilities both on the dance floor and off. “I probably wouldn’t be out if I hadn’t met my wife,” says Guerrero, who married Egea in 2019.
For Egea, creating art together gives the couple power and strength to “step into who we really are.”
Part of a new generation of dancers embracing fluidity of gender roles in salsa dancing, the non-binary couple performs and teaches classes in Austin, Texas. They are known in the dance community as Angie & Audrey, a.k.a. “The Kueen & Queen of Non-Binary Afro Latin Dance.”
The couple take turns leading and following, and often switch roles within a dance. “There is this connection that you have to build with your partner, you have to be vulnerable, open to connecting,” says Egea. “It almost creates this bubble of energy, and that’s exhilarating.”
In 2008, Egea emigrated from Colombia to Boston to pursue a professional dance career, and started out dancing with a male partner; she wasn’t out about her queer identity in dance circles. But when she met Guerrero—who had emigrated there from the Dominican Republic—the couple decided to incorporate their queer identities on the dance floor. Initially, they say, they were met with resistance from members of the dance community.
That wasn’t too surprising, says Egea, given the machismo and the heteronormative ideology of the scene: it’s still deeply entrenched in salsa that a man leads and a woman follows. “People really just want to protect the idea that salsa is binary,” adds Guerrero. “Traditionally, it has been portrayed that way for hundreds and hundreds of years.”
Eager to build a queer dance community, the couple moved to Austin, Texas, in 2021, where they connected with local dance leaders like Monica Caivano, founder of the dance studio Esquina Tango Austin. “It’s a goal of ours to break down stereotypes and make an all-inclusive space,” says Caivano, who provided studio space for Angie and Audrey to teach workshops.
So far, the couple has performed together in six salsa congresses, multi-day events that offer workshops, performances and competitions. “When you go to the salsa congresses, you always see the standard routines,” adds Caivano. “The women are going to have all the sexy dresses and the men are going to have the pants; it’s going to be your standard routine. So it’s good that they are going out there and mixing it up.”
Robbie Sky, who has been teaching Latin dance in Austin since 2011, met the couple at a retreat in 2015. Sky says the classes they teach provide lessons that go beyond the dance floor. “I think it’s really important to have classes where people are making choices on the role they want to have, not only in dance but in their life,” says Sky.
At the end of every Audrey and Angie performance, the two dancers end not just with a bow, but also a kiss. “We want to create a community and a space where people feel like they don’t have to fit into a box to be a dancer—[where] they feel accepted, seen, and they can express themselves, regardless of politics,” says Guerrero.
Watch Audrey and Angie dance in front of iconic Austin sites like the Capitol Building, locally beloved murals, the Love-Hate sculpture and on the Congress Avenue Bridge. — Text by Manjula Varghese and Kelly Whalen