LSU and ShoreFIT co-host dance class prior to Birthday Ball celebrations

By Faith Jarrell

Student Life Editor

Those interested in traditional Latinx dances, such as the salsa, bachata, cumbia, and more, had the opportunity to learn these forms at an event co-hosted by the Latin Student Union and ShoreFIT.

On Wednesday, Feb. 21 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Johnson Fitness Center dance studio, members of LSU and ShoreFIT, accompanied by Professor of Spanish and Black Studies at Washington College Elena Deanda-Camacho, taught various dances to students who participated.

According to an email sent out by LSU Secretary sophomore McKenna Smith, the class was held “in preparation of Birthday Ball” to teach those who may not know how to bust a move.

This event also comes after a slight change in the executive board of LSU. Since the President of LSU, sophomore Arianna Smith, is currently traveling abroad in South Korea, everyone on the executive board has taken on new temporary roles. For example, former Vice President sophomore Kiara Buruca-Ortega is acting President for this semester.

“The idea originated off of our party that we usually do, the LSU end-of-semester- party, so we had already planned on doing a fun little dance class so people can dance at our other event. Then ShoreFIT reached out to us again this year because last year’s event was really successful,” Buruca-Ortega said. “This year we’ve been kinda talking with Student Affairs and planning on getting more diverse music for Birthday Ball, so we were putting together a playlist.”

The kinds of dances taught during the class included bachata, merengue, cumbia, payaso de Rodeo, salsa, and perreo.

“We taught about six different types of dances,” Buruca-Ortega said. “A lot of them are partner dances, but all of them can be danced separately or on your own.”

Some surprise partakers of the dance class were the men’s soccer team, who Buruca-Ortega described as putting a lot of “effort” into learning the various dances.

“A group of participants that stood out was the men’s soccer team.,” Buruca-Ortega said. “We posted it on our Instagram because it was so cute. At the end of it, we were playing the ending song, and all of them got in a line and were dancing out the door. It was so fun.”

Along with that, the event connected with other cultural events happening around campus during February, such as Lunar New Year and Black History Month. Freshman Juliana Santiago Batista, who helped teach some of the dances, believed that such cultural events are important to have.

“It’s a really good opportunity for Latinos who don’t have their family or have never known about dancing from their culture to feel close with it,” Santiago Batista said. “It allows people from Washington College to learn about new cultures and dancing because it’s not just the U.S., it’s also the whole world, and I think that’s beautiful.”

Due to the success of the event, Buruca-Ortega said that LSU will “most definitely” have a similar event in the future.

Photo courtesy of Kiara Buruca-Ortega

Photo Caption: For the LSU and ShoreFIT collaboration, many students showed up to learn traditional Latin dances and prepare themselves for the upcoming Birthday Ball on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

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