Lunes 26 de Octubre de 2009 12:22
One of things in life I enjoy the most is Salsa dancing. There are few pleasures that exceed the one that results from dancing ... with a good dancing partner that is. I have not danced all my life, in fact I remember that when I was in my early adolescence y was totally clumsy. However things change and for several years, specially while I was living abroad, dancing became my meditation scheme. I also went into ballroom dances such as tango, foxtrot and waltz. I enjoyed them all, but my roots and my heart belong to Salsa. I never knew why the feel for Salsa is so deep within me since Salsa is not originally Colombia (even less, Austrian). Salsa was created during the 1970´s in New York! I went to Cali ins earch for the roots of Salsa and spent 5 days during the Festival Mundial de Salsa.
As I mentioned before, Salsa surged in New York, among Latino expatriates influenced by caribbean music (specially Cuban), jazz and rock and roll. The perfect mix. (Soon there will be a whole section about Salsa in www.colombia.travel to complement this piece). That marvellous music began to spread all over the world. While I was in Berlin, I went dancing several times, but people in the old world learn to dance with steps then they listen to the music. In my mind, and in my heart is: feel the music first, then dance it how you feel it.
This is why dancing in Colombia has no comparison. What I missed the most while living abroad was partying. It just does not feel the same. And for me party means dancing. I thought Bogota had the best partying scene, but no Cali has it (althoug I love Bogota and its parties as well)... but in Cali you can dance and you meet people who dance salsa every single day of the week!
Cali adopted salsa as its own rhythm in the late 70s. Apparently, caleños thought that the rhythm was not fast enough and decided to play it at 45 revolutions. Thus, in Cali Salsa is danced with really rapid-feet-movement, and in late years acrobatic moves have been added. Children start dancing since they are four years old! Take a look at this video of Los Biberones de la Salsa. Nueva Dimensión is an academy that teaches children how to dance professionally.
Once known as the most dangerous city in the world, today Cali is acknowledged as the World Capital of Salsa. There are over six thousand professional dancers, one hundred and thirty dance academies, one hundred orchestras, local hair-dressers, makeup artists, shoe makers, instrument builders, tailors, bars and even handcrafters who live from the salsa industry. What I find most amazing of all the salsa tradition in Cali is that Salsa schools appeared in the city during the 1990´s, in "hot" neighborhoods, as a resource for parents to prevent their children from becoming drug addicts or members of gangs. Today, Salsa has become an industry in Cali and definitely a reason to visit.
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