To Claudia Verardi, salsa is more than just a dance.
“Dancing is the best therapy for any sickness,” Verdardi, from Poolesville, said.
And to Maritza Falcon, it’s a way to bring Frederick together and to represent Latin culture, which is why she started “Salsa in the Park,” a music and dance festival held every other Sunday in Baker Park.
Growing up in New Jersey, Falcon said she was raised with music, and her siblings all taught to dance since they could walk. Even outside the house, music was central to her neighborhood.
And she wants to bring that unity to her current home, Frederick.
“That’s what I’m trying to do,” Falcon said, “Bring people from the neighborhood together.”
With a “large” Hispanic community in Frederick, Christine Ferguson said, it’s nice to have “some of the activities represent the culture that’s within” the city and county.
“And not to mention, it’s good exercise,” Ferguson added.
While “Salsa” is in the name, attendees also danced to Reggaeton, Bachata, Merengue Cha Cha and Kizomba.
And for good reason.
“If you play salsa,” the event’s DJ, José Araujo said, “they want bachata, and if you play bachata, they want salsa.”
Over the last few years, more and more people all over the country have been wanting to dance to more Latin music, Arujo, from Baltimore, said.
While in other parts of the state, Araujo has played clubs “packed” with people looking specifically for a salsa set, it can’t be said about every city.
There aren’t many Spanish clubs around here,” Maria Martinez, from Frederick, said. “Actually, they don’t [have any in Frederick].”
Seeing dance as a form of stress relief, she comes to “Salsa in the Park” as a way to “get your head out of daily things.”
And there isn’t much of a music scene music scene in Germantown, from where Cesar Roggero came from to come to this event, or in Westminster, where Luis Méndez commuted from.
Which is why Falcon started “Salsa in the Park:” so that people in Frederick don’t have to travel far to enjoy each other and a good cha-cha.
“D.C. has it. Rockville has it,” Falcon said. “And now Frederick has it.”