Put your books away — this is not a typical history lesson.
For three weeks in February, the Thalia Hispanic Theatre in Sunnyside will present the premiere show surveying all things salsa music, fusing dance, live music, authentic costumes, history and geography. Think of it as a cultural tour and musical timeline in one.
The show, performed by the Jackson Heights-based Colombian Dance Company Cali Salsa Pal’Mundo, first charts the art form’s origins in Cuba, then tracks it to Puerto Rico and New York City, and ends up in present-day Colombia. There, salsa has evolved to be faster, almost as if a DJ had sped up the tempo on a track, as Thalia Artistic Director Angel Gil Orrios described it.
“Because for them it was like the rhythm — the Cuban, Puerto Rican [styles] — it was too slow for them,” Orrios said of the music style upon its gaining popularity in Colombia. He added with a laugh, “They really wanted faster, faster, you know? Then it became popular to dance it at a faster pace.”