In Miami, there’s always a club, party, or concert within arm’s length where one can get a reggaeton fix. So a perreo function with lines wrapping around the block, and people waiting for hours to get in is a spectacular sight to see. It’s obviously more than the playlist keeping folks coming back.
Daniela Molina created El Perreo over a year ago through her Instagram events page OutOfService, after inspiration on a car ride home from the club.
“I can remember the day I went out, listened to music, and wasn’t really having that much fun. On the car ride home, I was playing all the old school reggaeton, and had the time of my life. My friend suggested that I throw a party…and the seed was planted,” Molina said. “We came up with the name, and it started. I encouraged people to dress up, and [we played] all the music that I listened to at my first house parties in middle school at 12-years-old – perreando in someone’s backyard. I feel like so many people in Miami had the same life as me, especially growing up in Kendall. El Perreo resonates with a lot of people.”
The party is an homage to the golden era of reggaeton. Luny Tunes, Tego Calderon, and Daddy Yankee’smusic encourages people to leave jean stains on the wall. But aside from the music, El Perreo is singularly a Miami event, with a new age twist.
Their Instagram is well-curated with reimagined concepts like Perreo Sin Barreras (an obvious play on Inglés Sin Barreras), accompanied by videos of women on women dancing, twerking y perreando, heavy. Every aspect of their branding screams 2000s era Miami. Chinese slippers, girls with pacifiers, and Brazillian white jeans from U.S. Tops comprise the typical attire. El Perreo has successfully cross-pollinated their homegrown image with social media posts of Sidekicks, Motorola RZR’s and Precious Moments dolls.
For Molina, El Perreo is about creating a very femme space where the music focuses on the women in the room. El Perreo encourages women to show up, dance, and do it on their terms.
Omar Flores (who is no stranger to the event) says that because the vibes are set by the women in attendance, it creates a different experience for everyone else. The first thing he noticed, he explained, was the number of women, and how they all show up for each other, and hype each other up at the event.
“The crowd is very different no matter where you look. It is literally an audience of straight, gay, queer, weird, tall, short, everything you can find in Miami. That mix, I believe is what eliminates harassment and behavior that is seen in large clubs and bars. The space, music, and people always take me back to 2003 and onward with my middle school friends and high school years,” Flores said, noting the welcoming vibe of the space El Perreo has created for women and the LGBTQI community.
Molina said El Perreo has been easy to market to non-Latinos in Miami because of the resurgence of reggaeton’s widespread domination. Despite Miami being such a Latino city, her goal is to make El Perreo open and inviting to everyone.
“It’s obviously a party dedicated to reggaeton, which is [music in Spanish], but it resonates with everyone. It’s about the vibe and energy. There’s a lot of people [who] go to my party [who] don’t speak Spanish, but they love reggaeton,” Molina said. “I don’t think that is my doing. I think that’s the really amazing thing with reggaeton – it’s crossed borders. People like J Balvin don’t have to sing in English to be played here.”
Ariana Fagan who’s also a fan of the events agrees, and said the party resonates with her desire to be in touch with her Latinidad.
“I have so many great memories of reggaeton, especially being a mixed white and Latina girl in Miami. I grew up with a lot of Cuban family friends and seeing the teenage girls dressing and putting on makeup to Winsin y Yandel – begging them to let me go to their parties was so strong in my adolescence,” Fagan said. “Seeing myself now almost mirror their youth when I am at El Perreo is just a huge thing or me. I know 12-year-old me would be LIVING,” she said, pointing out that El Perreo caters to a young, nasty, and raunchy crowd that many other perreo functions in the city shy away from. “This event unapologetically lets us be that, in a safe and connected environment like no other.”
All photos by Alfonso Duran