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The Justice Is a More-Than-Fair Dancer

Sonia Sotomayor dances with Esai Morales Wednesday night. (Larry Glenn)

Sonia Sotomayor's ankle seems to have healed nicely.

The new Supreme Court justice, who spent the summer with her right leg in a cast, electrified the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts's "Noche Musicál" benefit on Tuesday when she took a spin around the dance floor with actor Esai Morales.

Even before their salsa, it was clear the court's first Latina outshone the Hollywood stars who usually dominate the gala. As she moved through the Corcoran in a sparkly black pantsuit and stilettos, the crowd moved with her. She was the emotional heart of every toast.

"We love you not only because you're Latino but because you're super super qualified!" hollered host Jimmy Smits. Then, midway through a set by Afro-Cuban bandleader/percussionist Bobby Sanabria, the dashing Morales beckoned Sotomayor to the front.

"We have three tempos for you: rare, medium and well done," said Sanabria.

"Medium," said the justice. And with that, they broke into a salsa.

We asked dance critic Sarah Kaufman to review the video on our Web site. Her take: "Who knew Her Honor was a ham? And can swing her hips? Having come out of her cast so recently, she acquits herself with style, with that cute pantsuit, spike heels and a midsection that says, 'Ask me to dance more often!' Once she warms up, she truly starts to swing. Of course, dancing with Esai Morales would put a kick in any girl's step. Talk about hips -- ow! Muy caliente!"

By The Reliable Source  |  September 17, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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YOU GO GIRL!!! She is a real person not a robot. Justice Sotomayor is proud to be an American and the same time she cherishes her heritage like any other American would do. She never forgets who she is and where she came from. Dancing doesn’t take away her knowledge, skills, ability experience and intellect as a Supreme Court justice. Dancing is part of who we are as Hispanic. It’s in our blood. It doesn’t matter if you are a Supreme Justice Judge, Congressman, Senator, Governor, doctors, engineer or blood collar worker, we Hispanics won’t pass up the opportunity to dance to good Salsa and Merengue.

For people that think that dancing Salsa and Merengue is a violation of protocol for somebody in a high political appointment, you’ll be surprised the people and the places where this is played or danced. Last November I attended a Western Country charity event at the British Ambassador’s home in Saudi Arabia. Yes it was a Western Country party in Saudi Arabia. Everyone was dressed in jeans, cowboy boots and hats including the British ambassador. Besides British nationals and other countries dignitaries, there were also at the party Australians, Germans, Norwegians, Canadian, Italians, Arabs and of course Americans. The British DJ played Country music and few people were on the floor dancing to two steps, line dancing and western swings.

All of the sudden the DJs started playing Salsa and Merengue and the floor was packed with dancers, including the British ambassador and his spouse. They played Marc Anthony and Celia Cruz’s salsa and Juan Luis Guerra’s Merengue.

I grew up in Puerto Rico and with all modesty I can dance a mean Salsa and Merengue. When one of the British DJ saw me on the floor he invited me to the stage to dance with him; to my surprise he danced Salsa and Merengue as good as any fellow Puerto Rican/Hispanic. All along I’m thinking if only people in the States could see this; how cultures can easily blend and get together by just dancing. Who could think of this! Dancing Salsa and Merengue by people of different countries in Saudi Arabia at the British Ambassador’s home during a Country Western party. It still boggles my mind. BTW Australians and Germans are great Salsa and Merengue dancers too.

Posted by: VASA78 | September 19, 2009 4:43 AM | Report abuse

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