Students salsa dance to celebrate Hispanic heritage
Strings of Christmas lights illuminated the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center courtyard late Saturday night while close to 100 IU students salsa danced.
The women of Sigma Lambda Gamma, Gamma Phi Omega and Sigma Lambda Upsilon organized “Salsa Under the Stars” as part of the nationwide
Hispanic Heritage Month.
The event began with a free salsa dance
lesson with instructors from Ritmos Latinos, a group on campus that
dances, teaches and performs a social form of Cuban salsa called Rueda
Following the lesson, participants indulged in free Chipotle and an open dance floor until 10 p.m.
Dance instructor Anna Fiore walked the dancers through traditional salsa dance steps.
noticed that the opportunities to take part in Latino cultural events
has increased dramatically in the past few years,” Fiore said. “I feel
like salsa is very simplistic — it matches up directly with the beats of
the music. Now that I’ve gotten into it more, I can add my own
creativity and my own movements, whether it’s hip movements, personal
styling or shimmies here and there.”
As the group picked up on the movements, partners began to add twirls
and elaborate steps like the enchufe, where the follower crosses in
front of the leader before quickly walking back to his or her original
Fiore said the diversity in her dance classes is the largest it has ever been.
had more demos and performances this semester than I’ve ever seen
before,” she said. “Compared to other social dances, it’s just so much
Ritmos Latinos offers beginner, intermediate and advanced classes in the
Indiana Memorial Union on Tuesdays and Thursdays to IU students and
members of the community.
Michael Monroe Brown, a recent graduate of IU and member of Ritmos Latinos dances with the group regularly.
“Salsa in particular allows you to be social and dance with a partner,”
he said. “I enjoy that aspect because it allows you to show an amiga or a
novia a respectful night out instead of less-respectful alternatives.”
The group was founded in 2007 and has since grown to more than 80 members, according to the organization’s website.
“Here I get to be with a great group of friends while appreciating the
aesthetic of the dance and all the people that surround me,” Brown said.
Rizzi, senior member of Sigma Lambda Gamma and event chairperson, said the salsa dancing event united all the historically Latina sororities on
“The Latina community at IU is a beautiful community. We are very
tight-knit and close due to support from places like La Casa, the Latino
Commission and El Centro Commercial,” Rizzi said.
The salsa dancing
event joins the month-long calendar of social events in Bloomington celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, all leading up to La Casa’s 40th
anniversary celebration weekend Oct. 11-13.
“This is our way of giving our culture to the campus,” Rizzi said.
Follow reporter Matt Bloom on Twitter @matthew_bloom.
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