It’s a chance for all the salsa casino students and dancers in Medellin to come together under one roof, and dance the night away.
Salsa casino (or rueda) is a style of salsa which developed in Cuba during the late 1950’s, where pairs dance in a counter-clockwise circle. Instead of remaining with one dance partner for the whole song, you switch partners frequently, as an announcer calls out specific moves.
If you’re from the US, think “Latin square-dancing.”
I learned the basics of salsa casino when I was living back in the USA for a year, but never put much time into it. But, even if you don’t dance salsa casino, like me, you can still have a blast at the Timba parties, as I found out.
I was expecting a discoteca, but it turns out that Cazadiana Club is a country club (formerly known as Poblado Club), featuring pools, tennis courts, gym, billiards room, and several multi-purpose salons.
Yamile had done something much better than renting out a discoteca, she had rented out a large and spacious salon for the night!
The doors opened at 7 PM, which is super early. Viviana expected the place to be empty, but as usual, I wanted to arrive early.
Tickets for the Timba parties can be purchased in advance through the dance studio, as I did, or at the door, for 25,000 pesos ($14). This price includes a 5,000 pesos “consumible” or drink credit per ticket.
The room itself had a 1960’s-era, Dirty Dancing feel to it. Either that or a high school dance.
The tables closest to the dance floor were reserved, so we took one the next row back. At first, only a pair or two were dancing per song, but by 9 PM, there were a dozen or more. By 10 PM the whole room and dance floor was packed.
Unlike in the discotecas, the people here were serious salsa dancers, and had the moves and style to back it up. For the night, it felt like I was back at The Salsa Room in Arlington, VA.
The music was predominantly salsa, but the DJ mixed it up with merengue, porro and bachata too.
Around 11 or 11:30 PM, two dance groups came out and performed for everyone. The first group started with a touch of tango before breaking into salsa.
And the second group started with swing, performed to Grease Lightning, before breaking out into some more modern, urban, individual performances.
The Macarena signaled it was time for group participation, and as much as I tried to resist, I soon found myself on the floor trying to keep up.
There were certainly some foreigners at the event, though I was expecting a lot more. The good news is the three I met all read Medellin Living!
The first was Jason, a professor who teaches at a university in Bogota, but was in Medellin for the weekend.
The second was Dr. Ross Carter, an American chiropractor who lives and works in Medellin, and the third was Conrad, who I already knew from Espacio.
After three and a half hours of dancing, I was ready for bed. And it wasn’t even midnight.
The next Timba Party is scheduled for April 15, and I’m already looking forward to it!