I know I know... I'm way to passionate about Cuban salsa, right? With so little time to go out right now, I reserve my nights for places where I know I'll hear good Timba. Unfortunately, they are now few and far between. Now that DJ Asho has moved back to New York City where Timba is blowing up and his Sandunga parties are becoming mad popular, we are left with Timba Tuesdays once a month at Artisphere. The problem there is that it is a Tuesday - a night that is in use by groups in DC so attendance is spotty at best.
So now what?
DJ Reyna has been DJing at events that were mixed - mambo or Puerto Rican salsa. Those events seem like the perfect option for those who like a mix of music. Can we get more of those nights? How? Where? Who wants to support them?
Now there is a push to get Timba played at Cuba Libre in DC. Cuba Libre is a chain restaurant and they've started to have salsa dancing (or Latin dancing as I hear) on Friday nights. I have yet to hear much good about the music choices of the DJ but what I do know is there is nothing 'Cuban' about the music. A couple of months ago the promoter for the night posted a request for people to try out and dance as entertainment at the restaurant. I asked him if the couple would be allowed to pick any music they would want (trying out would have been great but I would have wanted to dance to Cuban music) and his reply is that no - it would have to be approved and 'crowd-friendly'. I know that the promoter has been contacted and is perhaps open to having 2-3 Timba songs in the night. That doesn't excite me.
Music is one thing... community is another. I've always seen casino de rueda as a community dance. It is social and fun and engages people to come together to dance. Why is it in then that the large amount of people who take classes on a weekly basis refuse to go out and dance at Cuban music parties? Too busy? Don't like the club? Don't want to socialize with others who dance rueda? I really don't have the answer. I, myself, don't understand the whole idea of taking classes and never using those skills - especially not to the music from the country that created the dance.
Now, back in the day, I didn't know any better. I didn't know what Timba was and couldn't tell it from any other salsa. But in growing we learn, we evolve, and hopefully feel a desire to support nights that support our dance.
Tonight I messaged with another prominent Timba DJ in DC and seeing "I may give it all up" written scares me. I feel like it will set DC back in time by 3 or more years. We'll be back to those days when the groups refused to go to the same spot to dance... back to never having Timba anywhere... back to the time when people made fun of rueda and Cuban dancing and discarded it.
So now what?
I have no idea.