(last updated September 2015)
Q: What the heck is a Ruedathon?
A: Ruedathon is a day-long dance and endurance event, during which a group of Casineros dance Rueda de Casino through all five boroughs of New York City, following a path that somewhat mirrors that of the New York City Marathon.
Q: Where the hell is St. George and what kind of idiot plans to begin anything fancy in Staten frigg’n Island?
A: Fist off, watch your mouth. We got nothing but love for our neighbors to the south. Staten Island is or was home to U-God, Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, Marcia Clark, Giuseppe Garibaldi, and the PS 22 Choir, just to name a few. S.I.N.Y. is freakin' amazing is what it is!
Second, dig the tagline: 1 day, 5 boroughs, 26.2 dances. How the heck can we hit all 5 boroughs if we skip Staten Island? Can’t be done. It's geographically impossible. Look at a map dummy!
Third, NYC REUDEATHON. Ru-eh-duuhhhh-thon. Sound familiar? Rueda + thon. Hellooooooooooo??? What else has NYC and "thon" in it? Hellz yeah! The NYC Marathon. And the whole concept of Ruedathon is to be a dance event and an endurance event that (sort of) traces the path of the NYC Marathon, which has started at the base of the Verrazano Bridge since as long as they’ve been running it.
Wu Tang Clan ain't nutin' to fuck wit!! Stop being so stewpud Dumb Dumb.
Any more questions?
Q: Yeah, well I live in Jersey and I know lots of Casineros from Long Island and White Planes too. Where's the love?
A: What part of "1 day, 5 boroughs, 26.2 dances" don't you understand? I'm sure there's a process to petition your state for secession and to petition NYC and NYS to add a couple new boroughs. I'd Google it for you but my internet connection's kinda slow right now. You have my word though that if you manage to get yourself annexed in the coming years, then future Ruedathon's will wind their way through your neighborhood too.
Q: Is it enchufla or enchufala?
A: Depends if you ask a nice teacher or The Mean Teacher.
Q: I want to participate in Ruedathon but I’ve got other things I need to do on the Saturday of the event. Can I do some, but not all, of Ruedathon?
A: Finally a sensible question. Of course! We’ve posted a tentative schedule of stops along the way. You can jump in at out any point. Everyone is not expected to do every dance, but we do hope there are a core of people who will keep it going from beginning to the end. The schedule is bound to change so follow our stop-by-stop Twitter feeds on the Saturday of the event to see when we're headed your way.
Q: I don’t know a whole lot of fancy moves like Rodrigo Sanz. I haven't been dancing Rueda all that long. Does that mean I can't participate in Ruedathon?
A: That's crazy talk sweetheart. “We want you on that wall! We need you on that wall!”
Listen, most of us will never get to a level where we can do Rodrigo’s famous "Enchufla Unicycle" move, but that's ok. Anyone who loves Rueda de Casino should be a part of Ruedathon. That's why I've asked our Cantantes to keep it simple .... for the most part.
Q: But I'm a big-britches fancy pants dancer. Will I have an opportunity to show and prove at Ruedathon?
A: Most definitely! Every participant does not have to dance every dance. My guess is that some of the Ruedas will be huge but some may be as small as two couples. At some point, at least one or two of our 26.2 dances will give you a chance to show your stuff.
Q: I'm a stunningly sexy lady and I'm alarmingly attracted to Ruedathon’s bald-headed organizer. I just can't help myself. So what happens if I can’t contain myself at Ruedathon?
A: Don’t worry. This sort of thing happens all the time. Just tap him on the shoulder at the NYC Ruedathon, smile and introduce yourself. He’s a really nice guy.
Q: Who's calling the Ruedas?
A: We're gonna mix it up a bit. We'll have multiple Cantantes during the course of the day. If you're interested in calling, just let me know in advance or sometime on the day of the event. We’ve asked that our Cantantes keep it simple to maximize participation. In addition to being a fun event, this is an endurance event. Most songs should be in the four to five minute range (no live performance extended play remixes). If you call, keep the suenalos and pelotas to a minimum. We gotta preserve some old knees (like mine and Russell Ben-Ali's).
Q: Can I request that a particular song be played.
A: Of course you can! We can’t promise that the song will be played, but we’ll do our best. Based on past experiences, our general guidelines are that eighty per cent of the songs played for the flash mobs will be medium or slow tempo, which for us means 98 RPM or less. We also limit the length of the songs to five minutes or less. (No extended-play remixes or live-in-concert versions!) It’s a long weekend with a ton of walking and dancing on concrete, so by minimizing the number of long or fast-paced songs we hope to avoid burning out everyone’s legs, knees, ankles, and backs early on. We will also avoid playing songs with long intros our outros, as well as songs that have extended non-danceable interludes in the middle.
A couple other quick notes. We do our best to play a mix of old and new Timba. Timba. TIMBA!!! We will not be playing Nuyorican or other salsa, nor bachata, nor merengue. We love those genres, but Ruedathon is not that kind of event. We also will track the songs, and because there is so much great Timba music in the universe we have no need to (and won’t) repeat songs, so if your favorite song has already been played you’re going to have to choose another. The song selection process is definitely not democratic, and the organizers will use our discretion to approve or reject requests, but if you wish to call a Rueda and have a song in mind that you want to call it to, while we can’t make any promises, we will do our best.
Finally, because there are so many moving parts throughout the day, it will be an enormous help if you can have your song loaded on your phone and, if it’s approved, have your phone in “airplane mode” with the song cued up and ready to play when we arrive at the flash mob site.
Q: Will there be snacks?
A: Tia, is that you?
Q: Is there anything I need to bring with me to Ruedathon?
A: You should bring an unlimited MTA MetroCard. We’ve plotted the route as close to possible to align to MTA subway stops, and since we need to move quickly through the city, the less times we need to hold up the group while participants refill single-ride cards, the better. Otherwise, there's no hard requirements. You may wanna bring some sunscreen if you're a Ja'ba (like Delirious). It’s also not a bad idea to bring an extra tee-shirts, some water and snacks (or a few bucks to purchase water and snacks along the way) and an emergency contact's information in case we get arrested.
A: Did I stutter? Ruedathon is basically a series of 26.2 flash-mob dances over the course five boroughs over the course of one full day. We're not getting permits or asking permission to dance. We're gonna show up in a location, sit our stuff down, dance for three or four minutes, then pack up and move on to the next stop. It is highly unlikely that anyone would get arrested. Casineros are a peaceful people. Plus, who loves dancers more than the NYPD? But in the interest of full disclosure, Ruedathon is an unsanctioned event. So if the cops ask us to stop and move on, let's be polite and not give them a hard time. It's a big city. We'll get our 26.2 dances in one way or the other if we keep our cool.
Q: I want a Ruedathon tee shirt. Is anyone selling them?
A: Not yet, but how fly would the Ruedathon logo look on a tee shirt? I’m working on it.
(09/14/14 UPDATE: Scratch that. That's old! A Trans-National Superhero known only by the alias "Makiko Hiromi" has totally hooked us up! Tee shirts are available for customizing and ordering. Act quickly if you want your official Ruedathon shirt in time for the Big Dance! ORDER HERE).
Q: What happens if it rains?
A: Oh My Gawd would that suck!!! But the show goes on, rain or shine, although if it does rain, you should expect a modified route, maximizing opportunities to dance underneath some form of shelter. But please oh pretty please you merciful Rueda de Casino Gods, if you're listening, hear this: we've been good all year - well, most of us; I can't really speak for Nilka, but that notwithstanding - please smile on us the last weekend in September. Pretty please with a cherry-flavored enchufla on top!
Q: This is so cool. Is anyone doing anything like this anywhere else?
A: Well, actually WE did it in 2013 at the First Annual NYC Ruedathon. I hear that a smaller event was held in the summer of 2014 in Latvia and that they'll do another one this year. And the day after the 2015 NYC Ruedathon, Paris will host it's inaugural Ruedathon. But nothing is happening remotely close to the scale of New York's Ruedathon. Aside from that, there's nothing that we're aware of. I know of marathons, five borough pub-crawls, and International Rueda Flash Mob Day, but nothing quite like this. So be there, and bring your friends. We made history the last two years and the tradition continues in 2015.
Q: Uhhhhh, I was just wondering whether …
A: Enough with the twenty-questions interrogation already. Let's just dance! To quote the great Bart Scott, "Can't wait!!!"
Ruedathon's Humble Creator and Organizer