‘Viva Latina’ dance event spices up Stark campus

Shelley Blundell

Valentine’s Day may be over, but passion was in the air during Kent State Stark’s “Viva Latina” dance event.

More than 150 people of all ages and experience levels gathered together to learn something new from Susana and Tom Evert, co-directors of the Evert Dance Theatre and internationally acclaimed choreographers of contemporary Latin American dances.

“We love education,” Susana said. “To work with all ages and levels of understanding is part of our job, but it brings us great joy as well.

“We have been doing this for a long time, and I believe teaching Latin American dance is very important. It is also a nice way to learn about our culture.”

Susana also said dancing as part of a group makes people feel a lot less self-conscious and allows them to truly experience the joy of Latin American dance.

Jim Jadallah, academic program coordinator at the Stark campus, has been hosting the series for about three years, along with the Stark campus’ diversity committee.

“This is the fifth event in our Dance n’ Diversity series and the second time we’ve held this particular event,” Jadallah said. “The turnout has been really great. We’re really happy with it.”

As people with two left feet morphed into people truly having a good time, it was clear Susana’s predictions of dissolving self-consciousness were true.

“I’ve always wanted to learn a Latin dance since I was a little kid,” said Nick Stano, sophomore finance major. “I’m having a really great time learning something new and this exciting.”

Steve Norris, sophomore political science major, agreed.

“I’m here with friends, and even though I can’t really dance, trying something new never hurts,” Norris said.

And the women, who each received a rose on the way in, seemed to have just as much fun as the men.

“I like to dance and have fun,” said Julie Conti, freshman fashion merchandising major. “If they teach more things like this, I’ll definitely come back.”

The evening concluded with burritos for all involved, and, due to its popularity, the event may become a regular event in the future.

For more information on Susana and Tom Evert and their upcoming events, visit their Web site at www.evertdance.com.

Contact general assignment reporter Shelley Blundell at [email protected].