Thanksgiving. Chanukah. Christmas. Kwanzaa. New Year’s Eve. If by some chance, all your holiday spirit hasn’t quite waned, the first weekend of the new year has more festivities lined up: namely, tonight’s third installment of Salsa Caliente! The Three Kings Edition at the Painted Bride Arts Center.
Heralded as one of the best dance parties in the city, Salsa Caliente! features various live Latin bands from around the Philadelphia area each month. January’s gathering focuses specifically on the Three Kings, or the Epiphany, an event on both Western and Eastern Christian calendars marking the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem to behold a certain spiritually-influential newborn. (In Puerto Rico, children observe the holiday by placing grass or hay beneath their beds to feed the Magi’s camels, and in return, they find gifts in the morning as a reward for their generosity.)
Live Latin jazz is an exhilarating art form, filled to the brim with rich percussion and vibrant horns, and local sensation Anthony Colon y su Orquesta promises to bring the best salsa rhythms to the Bride. Additionally, Flaco’s Dance Factory will be offering salsa lessons beforehand to properly prepare people for the experience. The Factory’s “Party Thumpers,” a cadre of professional dancers, will assist during the introductory step-teaching, increasing the likelihood that even the shyest in sight will put some heat-generating footwork.
Flaco, aka Mark Best, has been teaching salsa and other forms of Latin dance since 1997. Asked about the most memorable moment of the Caliente sets so far, Best says: “To me, [it’s about] how many different people get together to make it happen.” He not only encourages people to come out in droves, but he insists that grooving to a live salsa band is the only way to dance. “The rhythm [of salsa] permeates every corner of the world, because everyone loves it. When people touch one another, something magical happens.”
Lesson at 8pm; party at 9:15pm. $20-$25. Painted Bride Arts Center, 230 Vine St. 215.925.9914. paintedbride.org