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Student Latino group looks to find identity in salsa dancing

Courtesy of Deborah Amezquita

Strap on those dancing shoes, get dressed in formal attire and get ready to salsa.

The Latino Student Association will be hosting its first annual Formal Ball Feb. 24.

The LSA, which is in its first year, will have dance lessons each Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Multicultural Center leading up to the ball.

LSA Vice President of Outreach and Engagement, David Bueno, a fourth-year in civil engineering, will be instructing the lessons.

Bueno said he has choreographed various events in the past and is looking forward to teaching newcomers.

“This event is a good opportunity for the general student body for experiencing diversity,” Bueno said.

Marcos Cruz, LSA president and fourth-year in microbiology, said he hopes more than just LSA members will attend the ball.

“We would love anyone who is interested in the culture to join,” Cruz said.

The theme of the ball will be “In the Columbus Heights,” based on the Broadway musical “In the Heights,” Cruz said.

“We, as Latinos on campus, are trying to find our identity,” Cruz said.

Cruz said the group was looking for a staple event in its first year that would combine food, dancing and cultural strengths, and that is how the ball came to be.

Dorian Cohen, a fourth-year in psychology, said she is most excited to do something different in dance.

She is part of a hip-hop dance group called 3D Urban Dance Team.

“It will be really fun, because even those with a Latino background don’t know a lot about (dancing),” Cohen said.

Dominique Jones, a first-year in international studies, said she is most looking forward to the lessons that will be provided.

“I’ve learned through YouTube, so now I get to find out if I’m doing the steps correctly,” Jones said.

Ruthie Wygle, a first-year in microbiology, is not part of the LSA but said she is excited for the event.

Wygle said she and her friends were interested in taking some kind of dance lessons when they found out about the ball. She said since she is not a member of the LSA, she is nervous but still excited to learn the dances.

Lessons will cover steps for salsa, bachata and meringue. The lessons will be free, however presale tickets for the ball cost $10.

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