In Habana Mambo, salsa music “for ladies of all ages”

In Habana Mambo, salsa music “for ladies of all ages”
Fecha de publicación: 
31 August 2022
Imagen principal: 

He looked like a Cuban picture card, with his grey coat and a dark brown long-sleeved shirt, which matched with his brightly polished shoes.


La Tropical takes him back to his youthful years and especially these days, since Habana Mambo Festival did not only allow us to dance with La Aragon orchestra again, but also revisit faces from when he was a shy man and did not dare to dance in public…But he was a fan of the Oso’s salsa round dancing: “look at him, upstairs, he led the most famous salsa round dancing in Havana back in the 1960s,” he said while grabbing his drink in one hand.


Indeed, there was Joaquín Roche, "El Oso," when we asked him what it meant to him that the casino (salsa dancing) had found a space in Habana Mambo Festival to make itself visible and that "Casineando en la Tropical" was part of the event's program, he talked excited and grateful, because this "is our dance and we must always defend it."


Along with him, host Teresita Segarra, tireless promoter of this dance for couples and leader of the "Casineando en Playa" project, and Juanito Gómez, founder of the casino in Havana clubs in the 1960s.


But we also found in the "most musical outdoor hall in Latin America" ​​the salsa round dancing groups of the University of Havana and CUJAE’s, young people who came from different neighborhoods of the city to dance in the most authentic ways of this traditional dance.


"Casino for a long time," read the red t-shirts of an enthusiastic group of dancers. Even though nobody is fully satisfied and there was a claim for more spaces and greater dissemination of casino, it seemed that it was a truth that a lot of young people, adults, and even the elderly were willing support as all of them left their souls on the floor and gave some thoughts on the issue.


The thing is that a theoretical space opened the debates on the need to retake and bolster this tradition that represents us, like the royal palm, and we cannot give up in this regard. There was time to recall that it arose with that Cuban spontaneity, Juanito said in the Colloquium “Dale Mambo” that salsa round dancing came up among friends, in parties when you wanted to change partners with your “friend” and said “give me one,” but then it became more complex and richer, until these popular choreographies we see today.


Johannes García, National Dance Award 2020 and President of the Jury of the contest Casineando en La Tropical, attended the festival. And also Dr. Graciela Chao, who reviewed the common thread from contradanza to casino.


So, yes, my elegant friend who loves casino but he does not know how to dance it was right: "I am enjoying all this because I have salsa dancing in my soul even though my feet do not move. I am blessed..." here, he interrupts the sentence to "show me" an argument: "look, look, how old can that girl be? 20 years old? This is the greatest thing in life, you have casino here for ladies of all ages!”


Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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