Edgar and Yolanda The Royals of Bolero

The month of October 2017 has been busy for many non-professional dancers in Cali, Colombia. It’s the month of the auditions for the Salsódromo – the country’s biggest salsa parade, taking place each year on the 25th of December. This year the theme of the parade are the 60s and 70s, and the prevailing dances are son and bolero. In Arrebato Caleño, we had the honor to be taught these dances by Edgar and Yolanda – the King and Queen of Bolero (Los Reyes Del Bolero).

Los Reyes Del Bolero

The elegant Edgar and Yolanda represent the old school of Cali dancing. They both learned to dance at home, with their parents serving as their teachers. Yolanda’s family were musicians, so she learned to distinguish and move her body to the various rhythms of Cali at the early age of 10 (48 years ago). Still at present, Yolanda’s favorite part of dancing is the music – the way it dictates the steps to use and the way it automatically moves the body in a certain way.

When Edgar and Yolanda dance, there is a beautiful stream of love, affection and grace in the air. The magic lies especially in the way they predict each other’s steps. Edgar and Yolanda have also traveled to learn and teach dance. They have been to Cuba twice and the following year they will go to Mexico and Ecuador.

From Friends to Professional Dancers

Yolanda and her husband Edgar started dancing artistically 21 years ago. It all started with after one year of going out to dance as friends. When they finally became boyfriend and girlfriend, they started dancing boleros at a congregation for dancers. Nowadays they dance and teach cha-cha-cha, cumbia, porro, tango, milonga, salsa caleña, bolero, son, fox, paso doble, pachanga, guaracha and mambo. Edgar and Yolanda have been named icons of dance by the Cali Ministry of Culture.

Since 10 years, Edgar and Yolanda have their own dance school Salsa Studio. In the school the couple teaches bolero (a slow dance resembling tango) to children and adults alike. They also give bolero therapy to alzheimer patients, people with special needs and to others who they believe can benefit from this beautiful, slow dance. In addition to this, they also organize agua’e lulos (typical day parties for dancing in Cali) and an annual bolero festival named Festival Internacional Baila Bolero.

The Magical Salsódromo

Although Edgar and Yolanda have been dancing for a long time, Yolanda says there is one event which is very dear to her heart: the Salsódromo. The Royals of Bolero have their special place in the parade, as VIPs on a very visible spot, and according to Yolanda, the atmosphere of the event is truly magical. So, let’s hope we all get in with our lovely group from Arrebato Caleño and we’ll be able to dance with Los Reyes del Bolero!

P.S. Behind the Royals of the Boleros in the featured image, my dance partner Chuly is attentively trying to learn the steps 😉

Written by Sissi Korhonen
Exploring, interpreting and understanding cultures through local languages and people. An advocate for intercultural communication as a basis for diversity acceptance and human equality.