Latiné music was blasting, people were laughing, colorful flags and balloons were scattered around the lobby of the Global and International Studies Building as students paired up to dance to the music.
After months of preparation, the IU dance team Paso a Paso hosted the sixth annual LatinXpo to celebrate Latiné culture on Saturday. IU students performed 13 different dances from clubs Paso a Paso, Ballroom IU, Mariachi Perla del Medio Oeste, Ritmos Latinos and more.
Paso a Paso aims to educate the Bloomington community on Latinx culture through dance; they hold dance workshops, performances and the annual LatinXpo. Lukas Adams, president of Paso a Paso, said in an email the LatinXpo is meant to highlight the voices of a growing Latiné student body. He said through this celebration, IU aims to recognize many talented groups and communities.
“We wanted to highlight the resources that Indiana University offers students of different races, ethnicities, sexualities, gender identities and other titles that "Latiné" can encapsulate,” Adams said in an email.
Originally from Costa Rica, IU student Sofia Crespo was invited to perform at the event and did two Flamenco-style dances, which is an art form that originated in Spain. Crespo said she has been dancing for 12 years, and she honors her grandparents and culture through dancing.
“I think it’s important for people to know about various cultures and be open to learn about new dances and styles,” Crespo said. “There’s a lot of diversity here.”
Paulo Ventura, a Brazilian guitarist and computation epidemiologist at IU, was also invited to perform the Spanish version of the song “Everything.” Ventura said he was happy to represent his culture and talk to people about his performance.
“I like to play. It’s a hobby,” Ventura said. “It’s always important to show our culture to people.”
IU student Malique Blythe said he joined Paso a Paso this year because many of his friends encouraged him to. Blythe said he was both excited and nervous to perform a group dance with Paso a Paso. During practices, Blythe said club members take 5-10 minutes to socialize and get to know each other before learning and rehearsing different dances.
“I love it a lot. It's a great way to make friends,” Blythe said. “If they like dancing and want to learn about Latin culture, they should join.”