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Latin Dance Bombed

By: Sonia E Villamizar

Date Posted: 2000-04-21

In the article entitled LATIN DANCE BOMB PRIMED TO EXPLODE IN OKINAWA (4/6 - 4/12/2000) you wrote "The Cumbia from Colombia is an exotic, sensual dance in which the female partner dominates." La Cumbia is a dance that flourished predominantly during the colonial era, when most slaves entertained themselves with song and dance, while still dragging their feet on a ball and chain. Hence, the emphatic "dragging" movements of the dance. It evolved into an expression of the "campesino" in Colombia and Venezuela, with the females' lavish skirt and tantalizing movements. It is a festive, dramatic and romantic dance; far from erotic! If I had not danced and choreographed La Cumbia for over 5 years or, perhaps, was not a native of Colombia, I would most likely be pleased with your article. However, I have taught this dance for over 5 years and I was born in Colombia and am, therefore, very disappointed. You also wrote, "The Meringue, from the Dominican Republic..." It is spelled Merengue. You said " The famous Salsa is from Puerto Rico and is perhaps the most popular dance." The Salsa is an Afro-Cuban dance; therefore it does not originate from Puerto Rico, or from Cuba, or from the Dominican Republic, or from Colombia, etc. It is a dance that has evolved from the rich, powerful sounds and rhythms of our African and Cuban ancestors combined. I was under the impression that writers should substantiate all material; I could be wrong.
Sonia E Villamizar

Editor's Reply:
We faxed a copy of the story to Bomba Latina before going to press for a fact and spell check. They made none of the above points. Academic disputes are notoriously thorny ground, but if your information had surfaced before, of course we'd have approached a third party to see who was right. Ed.

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