PUBLIC SCREENING EVENTS
SALSA STORIES is a public presentation that combines video screening, live music, and dance performances, a photo exhibition, and a pop-up archival collection site. The video showcases people from the salsa community who share true events that tell the history and culture of salsa. DJ sets turn the audience into an interactive part of the installation, as they complement the video narration into a seamless experience, playing the role of social dancers. The programming seeks to celebrate community engagement and culture preservation by activating open spaces in the communities that birthed these cultural traditions.
SALSA STORIES mission is to preserve the history and culture of salsa through community revitalization, by inspiring people to practice the universal language of dancing.
Back when NYC was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic the dance community continued to gather to dance, mostly self-organizing through group pages on social media, practicing unsafe behaviors. That immediately took me back to the AIDS crisis in 1991. I saw many similarities between the COVID-19 pandemic and the AIDS epidemic regarding the abandonment of minority communities. The AIDS crisis relied on activists such as Larry Kramer from Act Up, to speak out against inaction. The dance community has had nobody, not even to identify the need and urgency. Since the pandemic first broke, the social dance community is stuck between business-oriented promoters and politics. The fact is that social dancers will continue to dance. This practice goes beyond a lifestyle. It’s their cultural identity. Therefore enforcing the community to stop dancing during the pandemic is the same as asking people to stop having sex during the AIDS epidemic. The strategy must be to provide a structured safe environment for the dance community to exercise their cultural identity. When the City Council passed a legislation that allows for artists to apply for permits to perform outdoors in open spaces, I saw an opportunity to take action and help rebuild my dance community from the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic hit, NYC was home to hundreds of social dancing spots where people from all five boroughs and surrounding states came together, usually in dance studios, ballrooms, and outdoor public spaces. The pandemic has drastically affected cultural venues, small businesses, and the real estate industry in these areas. The closure of these businesses has greatly jeopardized the very existence of the social dancing culture in the city. Iconic venues such as the nightclub Copacabana (1940-2020) were forced to close their doors and the dance community is now faced with fear and uncertainty with no prospect of what lies ahead. Social dancers are now faced with a major cultural identity crisis and are in crucial need to reconnect to themselves through their communities. With the vast majority of the traditional venues that hosted long-run socials having closed, I identified the urgency in the salsa dance community to restore a fragile cultural identity and have dedicated in helping reassess the dance culture. Once again, NYC is home to reinventing and innovating, as it did back in the ’70s with Salsa and Hip Hop. !Pa'lante!
Pop-up Archival Collection Site
Bianka WidaKay is a producer with extensive experience and proven track record producing public events. *The first taste of the entertainment industry that Bianka has ever experimented was at the age of fourteen producing coveted dance parties far out in the woods in Brazil for 2K+ guests, orchestrating crew and talent, hunting for sponsors, handling graphic design and printing, advertising in radio, all in an era that preceded cell phones, the internet and the Adobe takeover.
Bianka has been producing music and dance public events in New York City since 2013 with the goal of engaging culturally diverse communities.
* First public event produced in 1990 for 2000 people - Newspaper cutout.
EVENT PRODUCTIONS & COLLABORATIONS
TV PRODUCTIONS | COLLABORATIONS & ASSOCIATIONS
DATES & LOCATION
LOWER EAST SIDE
Suffolk Street Between Rivington & Delancey Streets
• July: 8th | 15th | 22nd | 29th
• August: 5th | 12th | 19th | 26th
5 PM - 8 PM
COVID-19 PERMIT RESTRICTIONS
According to NYC Mayor’s Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management’s Covid-19 safety guidelines, an event or performance must comply with any applicable requirements on outdoor cultural events and gatherings set by applicable federal, state, or New York City law or guidelines or other directives from the governor or any government agency. As of March 19, the outdoor social gathering limit is 500 people pursuant to Executive Order.
All applicants were required to submit a COVID-19 Safety Affirmation Plan. The plan includes physical distancing, face coverings, hygiene, establish a communication plan for employees, volunteers and attendees, and implement mandatory health screening assessments for employees and/or volunteers prior to the event. Non-essential gathering limits are subject to change based on State and City law or guidelines, and events are subject to capacity limits and cancellation based on changes in law or guidelines. The Citywide Event Coordination and Management is constantly issuing updates regarding the restrictions. As the city progresses into normalcy and higher vaccination rates, the permit restrictions will be lifted/adjusted accordingly.