Reflections on My Life in Danzón

Photo by Melania Valdez

By Leonardo Rosen

I fell in love with the music of the danzón in New York City many years ago. The trouble was that nobody there knew how to dance it. It arrived in Mexico from Cuba about 130 years ago. Also, it is virtually unknown outside those two countries. I finally got my opportunity to learn it here from excellent Mexico City teachers and with much dancing and observation in the port of Veracruz.

Danzón
Sun, Aug 7, 5–8pm
Jardín Principal
Free

Since there was nobody else to do it, I started teaching danzón in San Miguel de Allende ten or twelve years ago and founded the Club de Danzón “Mercerina.” We’ve been doing free admission public dance events in the Jardín Principal here since 2008. We will celebrate our 8th anniversary with you on August 21, 2016. After going to national events as observers, we performed in a “muestra nacional” (national exhibition) for the first of many times in 2010, representing San Miguel with honor; we are respected by our peers on regional and national levels.

Our events in the Jardín have always been very popular and very well attended. As an unpaid volunteer (the redundancy is for emphasis), this has been my way to repay San Miguel for what it has given me, doing what I know best. I thank our beautiful public for its loyalty and its favorable comments.

However, and it’s a big however, I don’t know if I will continue. The people of San Miguel have been wonderful. They are a great pleasure, not a problem. On the other hand, I’ve had to struggle with three of the last four municipal administrations in order to get dates approved for our events. At various times, we lost continuity. I did whatever I had to do to get communication and continuity restored. Over the years, certain government functionaries treated me as if I were the worst pain in the a_ _. If I was, they forced me to come on strong. There was no choice. I just graduated from codger to geezer, and I’m sick and tired of this nonsense!

On a more pleasant note, we present “El Danzón y Otros Ritmos Bailables con el Club de Danzón Mercerina” on Sunday, August 7, in the Jardín Principal, 5–8pm.  Admission is free. For the latest information, please call 121 4319 (Cultura y Tradiciones) or 154 5840 (Leonardo Rosen). We play the very best danzón and other Latin dance rhythms. “Mi Vida Por Un Danzón.”

 

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