IU dance group Paso a Paso will present its 4th annual Latinxpo at 4 p.m. Sunday, giving an opportunity for Latinx students to share art inspired by their culture. The performance will be at the Open Air Venue at Kinsley Hollow and will also be livestreamed on Zoom.
Interested performers can register to participate until the end of Friday by messaging the group’s Instagram page.
Angie Ramirez, president of the group, said she enjoyed planning the event for the first time because she was able to include other group members to organize and recruit performers.
“Our main focus is anyone whose work celebrates Latino culture, or if the artist is Latino, then we’re celebrating that,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez said she hopes this event will show Latino students that are not a part of the group they can join. She said many of the group members and Latino students are first generation students and community can be very important in supporting them.
Freshman Israel Robles, who is a dancer in Paso a Paso, is performing in a jazz combo for the event.
“I felt a strong pull when Angie mentioned that they were looking for performers, especially being a Latino man, to show my musical side,” Robles said.
Robles said he felt alone before joining Paso a Paso this semester. He didn’t have a Latino community to connect with, and he missed belonging to a large Latino community in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, he said.
“The most rewarding part is being with other Latinos and being able to have fun,” Robles said.
Freshman Sharina Herandez-Villalobos will present a ceramic bowl she made last year in the expo. Her inspiration is the items you can find in Honduran shops.
“It’s not only a way for me to personally connect to others, but it’s also a way for me to show people from other cultures what my culture is about,” Herandez-Villalobos said. “I think it’s really cool to be able to do it, especially because it’s been hard to find community.”
Herandez-Villalobos said it was hard to find a Latino community at IU due to not having in-person classes or group callout meetings. She encouraged other Latinx students not to be intimidated by joining a group like Paso a Paso and participating in the Latinxpo.
“I feel like we’re a really open community, and everyone’s really friendly,” Herandez-Villalobos said. “I really can’t see any bad experiences coming out of it. It’s always going to be good.”
Freshman Erica Doan will present paintings and poetry. She wanted to showcase her identity through her art and dance, she said.
“It’s nice to be able to break the boundaries that separate us and break down those prejudices through showcasing culture,” Doan said.
Doan said the event is open to all members of the community who are not Latinx.
“Go in with an open mind, and be willing to listen to people’s stories,” Doan said.