Welcome to Episode 28 of the Salsa Kings LIVE podcast
This week, Andres is aided by guest DJ Jorge Charun. Born and raised in Peru among a salsa family, became a soccer player semi-professionally, moved to Washington D.C., the New York, then Miami, and has been a Salsa DJ for a decade and plays internationally and runs his own salsa festival. He is a guru of Salsa and its cultural influence, not just in his home country and America, but worldwide.
Jorge talks about his history with dance, and how he learned how to dance and preferences to learning. Charun has had both soccer and salsa as part of his life from the beginning, saying he was into salsa before he could speak. His family inserted it into his life and it never left. He didn’t start truly learning to dance until he moved to the United States and watching the moves of the clubs. Charun’s true passion has always been the music itself, with the dance itself having been something in service to the music. He is what we’d consider a social dancer. He even made most of his friends through salsa and dancing.
After a bit of time in New York City, where he was too busy to truly get into the impressive dance scene, he moved to Miami and got more involved with it there. Making friends there, he found himself at a party and was inspired to burn some CDs to play at parties. Impressed by his CD choices, he was eventually asked to use equipment to DJ and people were so impressed that he started getting hired for gigs. Now he’s a professional international DJ.
Jorge also discusses the importance of the rest of the culture is for DJs. Crowds are needed to play the music and feel what music is needed, and of course, schools are needed to teach people how to dance to the crowd. A DJ’s success lies in how much of a crowd they can read and keep engaged. Paradoxically, a smaller group will be harder to read and get involved, while a larger group creates an easier wave to ride.
For those who want to know about the art of music choices, and how to involve people with music, how to use music on people, and just have a fascination with the intersection of DJing and dancing, or just have music can infuse you with passion, you’ll find a lot of the episode particularly educational.
“I think that once you get it, it shouldn’t be something you have to force. Most of us get it, get into it, motivated by something… we don’t just go ‘I wanna be a salsa dancer.’ Because usually, if you’re a guy, it’s a girl, if you’re a girl, it’s a guy that makes you think ‘I need to learn to dance like that’. Sometimes it’s your spouse… you’re like ‘she’s Colombian, and I wanna learn for her’ and then a lot of the time, these guys are out more than their spouse!”