Madison has a lot of great soccer clubs for talented young soccer players who want to get even better. But if you are a lower-income kid whose parents don’t have thousands of dollars for those clubs, this is simply not an option. Tonight, you can learn how to salsa, kizomba, samba and forró, and all of the proceeds from the classes will be donated to the Millennium Soccer Club, a non-profit organization providing kids access to affordable soccer in low-income neighborhoods of Madison.
The Ultimate Afro-Brazilian Summer Party will take place in the Robinia Courtyard, 829 E. Washington Ave, starting at 6 p.m. It will be hosted by Samba Novistas and La Comunidad News LLC.
“We have two hours to teach all of the dances and after that, you’ll be able to apply what you have learned with an actual Brazilian live band – Samba Novistas – who will be playing from 9-11 p.m.,” says Dante Viscarra, founder of La Comunidad News LLC.
“It’s a family-friendly event. There will be an open yard. There will be tapas, cold beer, and caipirinha,” says Viscarra of Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaça, sugar and lime. “It’s a fundraiser for Millennium Soccer Club. We always need funding to pay for the fields. It’s expensive. There are so many families in need and we want them to have good and fun childhoods. Millennium does a lot in the community for the kids who really need it so I’m hoping that the event also helps them become a little better well known.
“All the profits tonight will go to Millennium a non-profit organization providing kids access to affordable soccer in low-income neighborhoods of Madison,” Viscarra adds. “It was started by Tom Grogg and Dan Wood who had a vision. They saw a gap between families that have and those families that don’t.”
Millennium Soccer Club was founded in 2001 with a goal of bringing affordable and accessible organized youth soccer to Madison’s low-income, ethnically diverse neighborhoods. During the past seven years, MSC has successfully served more than 600 youth in its soccer programs for 2nd-8th graders in the Falk School, Leopold School, Lincoln School, and Meadowood neighborhoods.
“Soccer, as a recreational activity for kids, has seen the gap widening. We have a lot of clubs in the Madison area – Madison 56ers, Rush, Regent – but the bottom line is that you have to have $2,000-2,500 to play in a club,” Viscarra says. “That’s the basic level. It gets higher.
“For families that just arrived here or immigrant families. The demographic for our group are Hispanic kids, African-American kids, Hmong kids, and now we have Syrian families,” he adds. “Many times, it’s a foreign country – different language, customs, and culture – but with soccer, it’s the common denominator for common folks. You play in a street with a little ball. That’s your fun as a child.”
As the soccer gap widened, Millennium Soccer Club had a vision to make it affordable and accessible with Millennium. “Millennium rents the fields at different schools and brings the soccer to where those kids live – south Madison, Leopold Elementary, for example,” Viscarra says.
All of Millennium Soccer Club staff is 100 percent volunteer. “They do it because they love the sport and they love the community,” Viscarra says. “We want to provide affordability and accessibility.”
Chiara Mussari, the special projects coordinator for La Comunidad News, is also a student of dancing and is helping to organize the Ultimate Afro-Brazilian Summer Party event. She, along with Viscarra, will be donating her time and energy to host the dance lessons and to raise money for Millennium Soccer Club.
“Tango was always my passion, but as I met people in the Latino community here in Madison I started to dance salsa, Bachata, Kizomba and now Samba and other kinds of dances,” Mussari, who is originally from Italy where she was a traditional folk dancer, tells Madison365. “I just love to dance and it’s a pleasure to be able to teach something, especially for events like this.”
You don’t have to be a pro to come to the Ultimate Afro-Brazilian Summer Party.
“We have all been beginners at one point, so there’s no reason to be shy,” Mussari smiles. “As a beginner, you can just enjoy the rhythm of the music. You don’t really have to learn everything and be able to do everything in five minutes.”
“We are going to teach some very basic stuff at the party. We’re going to make it fun and there will be a good energy,” Viscarra says. “I guarantee that you will learn the steps of Kizomba, Salsa, Forró, and more. Forró means ‘party for all.’ It’s a Brazilian word. Everybody can dance it; it’s a simple dance. We really just want to share what we know. We are crazy about dancing. We love it. And we want to share it.
“You’re going to have a great time at this event because you will learn some dances and you will be able to go home and do with your wife, your husband, your significant other,” he adds. “It’s a simple dance but it really connects you with your partner.”
The Ultimate Afro-Brazilian Summer Party will take place in the Robinia Courtyard, 829 E. Washington Ave, starting at 6 p.m. Dance lessons are $10 per person or $15 per couple. All proceeds will be donated to Millennium Soccer Club.