BRIAN JAMES SMITH
Latin rhythms wafted from the upstairs of the Student Center Wednesday as a diverse group of students learned Latin dancing.
About 30 students of all ethnic backgrounds partnered up, moving their feet to the Spanish pop music pulsing through the speakers.
The dancers’ skill levels were as diverse as their ethnicities. While some glided with the finesse of experienced dancers, others were learning the steps for the first time.
Bailendo en la Noche, a Latin dancing event sponsored by the Fuerza Integridad a Todos Club and the Advocates for Culture and Knowledge, provided students with instruction in four different kinds of Latin dances, as well as information about the history behind each dance.
FIAT Club president Osmel Morales said the group hopes the event will teach participants about aspects of Hispanic culture they may not have been previously aware of.
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Video by Madeline Winer and Katherine Schaeffer.
“We in the FIAT Club believe in promoting the Latino culture,” Morales, sophomore international relations major, said. “We are teaching the basic steps of salsa, merengue, bachata and cumbia, and we are also teaching about the history, so it is not just a social event, it becomes an educational event.”
Morales, who is trained in Latin dancing, instructed the group. He said he decided to keep dance steps simple so that beginners would be able to enjoy the event as much as those who are familiar with Latin dance.
Some participants, like Lindsay Wheeler, sophomore political science major, have little dance background but decided to come to the event to learn about Hispanic culture.
Others attended to be reminded of home. International student Jhanisse Vaca Daza, freshman international relations major, said she decided to attend the event because it provided her with a connection to her home country.
“Latin Americans don’t take dancing lessons. We just learn to dance when we are little,” Vaca Daza said. “So I do all of them, not as well as most people in my country, but I have a basic knowledge.”
Contact Katherine Schaeffer at [email protected]