Our weekly salsa Saturday event at Radio Maria turned four years old this past June 16th. That is four years of dancing to the tropical sounds of classic salsa from Puerto Rico, old school mambo from New York, Mexican cumbia, Dominican merengue and bachata, Colombian vallenato, and the list keeps going. Four years of drinking Aguardiente, Cachaça, Pisco, and Tequila. This weekly salsa dance is the genuine item, attended by dancing enthusiast, Latin music lovers, Latinos from all over the world, and of course Latinos from the community. Saturdays are an expression of diversity across backgrounds and even age (it is not uncommon for people to come out with their parents for example).
But what keeps it all going? What is the secret recipe? Well, the salsa of course! I know that’s cheesy but it is also true. The music is curated by salsa/Latin dancer extraordinaire, DJ Doc J (a.k.a Juan M. Atkinson). He also just happens to be a Physicist, and we are 99% sure this is not a coincidence; it takes astronomical calculations to make the all attendees of the most diverse party of Champaign feel happy and at home. He works hard in the lab, works harder on the dance floor, and works the hardest behind the mixer (and he usually has all three going at the same time, seriously the guy is a beast!).
Not satisfied with my answer? There is one more thing. Champaign has a wonderfully mature salsa community that is over 15 years old. Throughout the years it has grown and shrunk, but it has always become stronger. New people and seasoned veterans start teaching, form dance groups, and organize new events. Back in the day, we used to keep in touch through old school plain-text email and then through the now legacy S-A-L-S-A Yahoo! Group. We’ve come a long way. Check out the Salsa Champaign Facebook Group and connect immediately to the local salsa dancing community of over 300 people. A lot of event planning and coordinating happens here and it is because of the members of this group that events like Radio Salsa are possible. If you are on twitter make sure to follow @SalsaChampaign on Twitter and get some last minute updates about salsa events around the area.
Salsa in Champaign is vintage and classy, but it is also one the freshest parties you might ever attend locally. Stop by this Saturday. Here is the info:
SATURDAYS @ Radio Maria (119 N Walnut St, Downtown Champaign)
FREE before 11:00p.m., $5 Cover