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Social Dance: The “Curse” Of The Cumbia

By Leonardo Rosen

For those who don’t know what it is, the cumbia is a dance from Colombia that probably is the most popular social dance in Latin America, Mexico included. It has a simple “chuck-a-chuck” rhythm and its tempo never goes faster than medium. The cumbia has a magic power. It can get even non-dancers to dance. People, Mexican or foreign, who are unsophisticated about Latin social dance, will fearlessly do the cumbia. This is a blessing because it gets a lot of people out on the dance floor, indoors or outdoors. At “El Danzón y Otros Ritmos Bailables” in the Jardín, I use it shamelessly to energize the crowd.

El Danzón y Otros Ritmos Bailables con el Club de Danzón Mercerina”
Sun, Apr 17, 5-8pm
El Jardín Principal de SMA

However, I suffer from the “curse” of the cumbia and I fight becoming its prisoner. Many people cannot do the other Latin dances, such as salsa, mambo, chachachá, son cubano, bolero, tango argentino, etc. To these good souls, even the merengue with its simple “one-two” step is a mystery. They want cumbia and more cumbia! Even though I tell them that I will not play two hours of it, I feel that I play entirely too much cumbia. What am I to do? This majority of our public just does not respond to the other rhythms in the same way. I dance the cumbia, too, but this is making me crazy!

My original purpose for the events was to promote the long tradition of the danzón while also presenting the other Latin dances. While there is much danzón activity in the big cities of Mexico, it is rare and exotic in a small provincial city like San Miguel de Allende, even though they do it regularly in Celaya, León, Guanajuato, and Querétaro. We see some good salsa dancers. We present dance exhibitions. The problem is that we get many people who don’t relate to much more than the cumbia.

My dear “cumbieros,” I will continue to play your favorite dance, but I will not allow, “El Danzón y Otros Ritmos Bailables con el Club de Danzón Mercerina” to turn into “Cumbia Fest”! Our next event takes place on Sunday, April 17, 2016, in the Jardín Principal of SMA, 5-8pm, free admission. Please call 152 6385 (Cultura y Tradiciones) and 154 5840 (Leonardo Rosen). We are in our eighth year with you, our beautiful public.

Mi Vida Por un Danzón.


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