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An evening of latin dance provides fun end to Hispanic Heritage Month

Thomas Southall

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In the midst of midterm week I observed that its looming shadow had a firm grip on the entire campus. I saw students bent over from the weight of their stuffed backpacks shuffling from class to the library, desperate to cram in some extra knowledge in fear that they were going to forget. I saw them slave away at their computers with eyes tired and spent. The week was wearing on the students, but on Sunday night upstairs on the third floor AMU ballroom I felt a different atmosphere. There was a hum of excitement. It was a place free from the exam stress that instead offered a chance for students to relax with an event of free food, music and Latin dance.

The event was appropriately titled “An Evening of Latin Dance” and it was the result of many organizations, programs and clubs working together to make it run smoothly. The evening docket was a chance to dance, making it a good way to end Hispanic Heritage Month. Food was served and afterwards a dance company offered lessons and performed. The night was intended to be classy, with women dressed up in formal dresses and men in their nice button downs and ties. My clothing choice of jeans and a worn-out sweater definitely felt out of place, but I felt welcomed anyway.

Karla Navarro, a senior of the College of Health Sciences and program assistant at the Center for Intercultural Engagement as well as president of the Latin American Student Organization, said that initially, they planned the evening as a small event.

“We were thinking maybe 50 (guests), and as the ball got rolling, a lot of organizations reached out to us,” Navarro said.

At the end of it all, 125 people were on the reservation list.

The primary sponsors were the Center for Intercultural Engagement and the Educational Opportunity Program with help from Latin American Student Organization, Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, fraternity Sigma Lambda Beta and sorority Sigma Lambda Gamma.

Maira Rodriguez, a graduate assistant for the Center for Intercultural Engagement and lead coordinator for Hispanic Heritage Month, said members of these  groups tend to “double dip” in many organizations.

The workload was not without its challenges. Antonio Martinez, a junior in the College of Business Administration and president of the Marquette student chapter of Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, said the double dipping and the sheer numbers of groups working on this event lead to minor miscommunication and mix-ups. He said all this affectionately, with a big grin on his face, nonetheless proud of the results.

Mezclando Milwaukee Dance Company hosted the dancing. They have hosted shows for Marquette University in the past and made this particular night interactive by providing dance lessons for those who attended.


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