On my second day in Cali, I hat a meeting with Claudia Patricia Sarria Macías at Lugar a Dudas about my residency.
While waiting for her, I had a chance to read some of the books about art in the library of Lugar a Dudas, the “Centro de documentación”
In one text, I read about the artist groups from Cali, among which especially one, “Helena Producciones” stroke a chord. When Claudia Patricia arrived, the first thing I found out – to my pleasant surprise – was that she is one of the artists from this artist’s collective. The work they are doing is very much in line with the way I work, and it is perfectly conforming to the theme for my residency: cultural sustainability.
We had a long talk, ranging from the current sociopolitical situation in Cali, over the history of the salsa to details about my stay at Lugar a Dudas.
Claudia Patricia told me that the salsa – which is currently understood as something very caleño – “cali-ish” was actually an item of importation in the 50ies. The reason for importing the salsa was to boost tourism.
Knowing the extent to which people from Cali – los caleños – have adopted the salsa, and are no almost breathing the dance and music, I was very surprised to know that it has had this history of importation due to comercial strategies…! How can people accept a cultural product like that and make it their own, – and even excel in reproducing it? And in so short time?
Would the same thing have been possible in Copenhagen? I very much doubt it. The answer must be that the caleños did already have a socioeconomically widespread and strong culture for couple dancing.
The good news: I am beginning my residency on June 4th, and this will give me a great place to work, my own bathroom with hot water (not a given in this city..), and not least: contacts, people, possible collaborators.
Read more about my experiences from my residency in Cali here.