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Danzón: Ups and Downs

By Leonardo Rosen

It was good to see everybody at our two events of El Danzón y Otros Ritmos Bailables con el Club de Danzón Mercerina in April. We had newlyweds who wanted to do their first married dance with us, and we had a 96-year-old señora who danced and sang. These were golden moments. We had some nice surprises.

With “El Danzón y Otros Ritmos Bailables”
Sun, May 15, 5-8pm
The Jardín
Free admission

On the “up” side, our radio program, “Al Son de Danzón,” on XESQ Radio San Miguel, is going quite well. We play the best of danzón in all its forms with historical and cultural notes. Although I speak in Spanish, the music has no language barrier. You can listen to us Saturdays at about 12:10 pm on 1280 AM, 103.3 FM or on the Internet. We also share information about danzón events and classes. An “up” for us has been the success of our very well attended events in the Jardín Principal of SMA. Admission is free. The government approves our dates a little at a time, so we can’t publish a calendar of our events. However, this is better than not having any approval, so I can’t complain. We are in our eighth year, so we must be doing something right. We thank the Dirección de Cultura y Tradiciones for its support.

On the “down” side, people do not seem interested in studying the danzón at this time. I have been teaching it for 10 years in SMA. Over the years we’ve had bigger groups or smaller groups, but enough to keep going. Lately, I could not even give away classes for beginners at the Biblioteca. All I’ve ever asked for there is a voluntary contribution of any amount for the Biblioteca and nothing for myself. I only had a lovely couple visiting from Chile to whom I gladly gave private classes. When they left SMA, I suspended these classes. I had a similar problem with my advanced group in El Sindicato. Ironically, I have a very active and enthusiastic group in Dolores Hidalgo. In El Sindicato, I see a salsa class with a fine teacher that only attracts two or three people. What is happening in this town? If you know, please tell me.

I don’t quit. Now and then I’ll give workshops in danzón. I’m also thinking of giving workshops in New York style salsa. Many years ago, I gave salsa classes here until a bunch of younger people came to teach Los Angeles style inline salsa, which is not my favorite. Heck, I’ll try anything!

A definite “up” will be  El Danzón y Otros Ritmos Bailables in the Jardín on Sunday May 15, 2016, 5-8pm, free admission. Please call 152 6385 (Cultura y Tradiciones) or 154 5840 (Leonardo Rosen). You veterans know that we play the best of danzón and other Latin music for your dancing pleasure. You rookies, please give it a try. As we always say, you are the stars of this show. “¡Ahí, Na’ Má!”


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