Danzón, Why it It Matters

By Leonardo Rosen

Even after nearly seven years of our public events in the Jardín Principal and over eight years of classes, many foreigners in San Miguel de Allende have little or no idea of what the danzón is. Even for many native sanmiguelenses, the danzón is simply a dance from the old days that they don’t know how to do. However, if you go to larger cities in this country, such as Veracruz, Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Monterrey, you can discover that the danzón is a great and active Mexican tradition. The danzón was born in Cuba in 1879 and arrived in this country about 135 years ago.

Club de Danzón Mercerina
Sun, Jun 28, 6-9pm
Jardín Principal

The danzón was the king of popular dances in Mexico until it was dethroned by newer dances such as mambo, cha-cha-chá, rock and roll, salsa, and cumbia. It nearly died in this country in the 1960s and 1970s. However, in the 1980s, dedicated maestros and dancers kept it going. In the early 1990s, the Mexican movie, Danzón, directed by María Novaro and starring María Rojo, fanned the flames of a great revival of this dance. Although older dancers tend to dominate the danzón, younger people have become distinguished champions and teachers. As in any activity, young people give us the hope that the danzón will live on.

The danzón matters in the sense that other traditions matter. If we continue to practice them, we honor our cultural identity and have a sense of where we came from. In short, traditions help us to know who we are. Sometimes, people fall in love with cultural traditions into which they were not born, as I did with the danzón. It became part of my identity, just as if I were a native of Mexico. I bless the danzoneros all over this great country who have welcomed me and accepted me as one of their own.

We present “El Danzón y Otros Ritmos Bailables con el Club de Danzón Mercerina” in the Jardín Principal of SMA San Miguel on Sunday, June 28, 6-9pm, admission free. We play the best danzón and other Latin dance music. For the latest information, please call 152 6385 (Educación y Cultura) or 154 5840 (Leonardo Rosen).

¡Muchísimas gracias! Thank you for making our event on Friday, June 12, a big success.


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