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They throw chancla, not march!


Órale, this is the first episode of a series focused on dance words and phrases. Out featured word today: chanclear. It comes from the Spanish word chancla, which means slip-on or slide-in sandal. There are no synonyms for chanclear.

Boy was in bed, but wide awake and listening to the conversation in the living room. The adults had just come home from the dance, where Lupito and the Sensationals had just played. And Boy’s parents had invited their friends to come over and extend the party. Órale.

“No, Lupito was great?” a man with a bright voice said.

“Simón! It’s the new sound. I bet they make the Ed Sullivan Show someday soon,” said another man.

A long pause in the conversation ensued.

Eventually a woman spoke up.

“And what about that old couple who danced every rola?" she said.

“Simón. They were chancleando all night. Made the kids look bad,” the first man said.

“The ruquilla was the one chancleando. Her ruquillo just tried to keep up. She made him look bad too,” said Boy’s father.

“Maybe she was trying to make him blow a flat, you know, to move on to something más chavalón,” a woman in a velvety voice said.

“He is más chavalón!” said a man in a loud voice.

“But he’s all cateado,” said a man from the kitchen.

“Simón. That ruquilla will catear whoever she’s married to,” said a woman with a piccolo voice.

“You see they weren’t in the marcha?” a man with a baritone voice asked.

“The marcha folks won’t let them in it cuz they won’t march and they throw chancla instead, throwing everything off. Y that’s sura,” said Mr. Loud Voice.

“And around here, the folks aren’t chancleros,” said Mr. Baritone Voice.

“Sirol. No they just walk and cabulear, not march either,” said Mss Velvet Voice.

“What are they talking about?” Boy asked himself.

“Pos a marcha is really just everybody doing something together. You don’t have to actually march,” said Ms. Piccolo Voice.

“Chale. The crowd that follows Lupito de a madres always push for a line and a long marcha,” said Mr. Kitchen Voice.

Then all of a sudden, they were interrupted.

“What’s a marcha?” young Boy couldn’t help but call out.

After a long pause, came a response.

“I’ll explain tomorrow. So go to sleep,” Boy’s father said.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.