Black and Red Party at The Salsa Room

Observations and Thoughts.  Dancing at the Black and Red Party May 30, 2014 was the most activity I’ve had in 4 days after being laid up in bed most of the week nursing debilitating tooth pain because I don’t like to take pain medicine (I’m such a hard-headed dummy). I got joy from every dance and it felt good until one bite from one of Tommy Smith’s french fries the wrong way sent me scurrying home howling in fresh pain and a bad attitude. But before I left, I observed a few things.

As a dancer, I observed a strong crop of emerging dancers all in one place with a good foundation who are developing nicely. Another Bonus- They are all mostly under 30ish- YES for New Young Blood! It has taken some time for them to develop (DUH) but it looks like DC Salsa AND Bachata is being regenerated with a new group of hard-core dancers who can represent well on the dance floor. This makes my heart flutter with happiness.

As a Salsa Music Lover, I observed that the songs most likely to get the most people amped are the Classics, particularly the ones that sound upbeat and are up tempo. No real surprise there but interesting to see in action nonetheless. The music last night was a good mix of the Classic and the unfamiliar but the reaction from the mass of dancers is what struck me and prompted this observation. Collectively, the majority of dancers really want to hear the familiar and/or what is comfortable for them. I guess I’m in the minority of people who want to be entertained with something new and interesting many times and who is inspired by unknown melodies/rhythms/beats and descargas although with the caveat that they have a certain bounce or swing to them. And I guess over time, I’ve grown pretty particular and discriminating in what passes as enjoyable and compelling for me to get up and dance and what bores me to tears no matter how much others love it (Latin Jazz is generally not a FAV of mine admittedly). I do draw the line at the Salsa songs that have sirens, gunshots, and other discordant sounds not made from one playing an instrument but I digress.

At Mr. Mambo’s last week, I asked a really good seasoned dancer from NY who I respect greatly what he thought about our music and he said it was too mellow, didn’t have enough energy, too slow at times. I’ve heard this before and it wasn’t surprising because sometimes when many of us DC dancers go to NYC to dance, outside of the huge love and respect we have for the Dance level, many of us think that the music THERE is too fast and too hyped up ALL THE TIME. I would chalk up the difference in music to different Salsa cultural taste between the two regions but last night leads me to believe that maybe this isn’t quite the case. Will have to ponder this some more.

As a party promoter, I observed that people in DC like to follow easy color themes for their Salsa Parties when there is a theme. Easy colors make the decision for their dress attire EASY, obviously. But when you tax them with an outlier color like say PINK, they are less likely to follow the color theme. In Europe, Salsa parties with imaginative dress code themes are very much in vogue and the Europeans always flip the theme into something sexy with great panache. But, as the saying goes, WE AIN’T IN PARIS, DOROTHY. So I guess this means that my idea for a PLAID Salsa y Bachata themed party is probably DEAD.ON.ARRIVAL. I still may try it one day though……..

Written June 1, 2014