The Hispanic Student Association at Appalachian State University hosts one or more Latin Dance events per semester. The goal is to bring club members together with nonmembers to celebrate Hispanic culture.
Their most recent event was held Friday in Whitewater Cafe in Plemmons Student Union. The HSA hosted other Hispanic club members from schools such as North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
At the Black and White Latin Dance there was not only dancing, but also a potluck showcasing different Hispanic cuisines. The festivities begin, as they do in most of the represented traditions, after everyone has eaten. For the first 30 minutes, dancers properly demonstrated the basic steps of some of the main types of cultural dances, and introduced the music styles that go with it them, including Salsa, Samba, Bachata Merengue, Spanish pop and Reggaeton.
Senior psyschology major Stefhani Marmolejo, the HSA secretary, said the music playlist for the event had more than 10 hours of a variety of different genres of Latin music.
“We also have members that are not Hispanic, so they might contribute with music they like,” Marmolejo said. “We try to keep it Latin, but we are not like, ‘Oh, you can’t have 50 Cent on the playlist.’”
“Our goal is to break stereotypes on dancing,” HSA vice president Kim Jacome said. “You know, just because we are the Hispanic Student Association and we have Latin Dances, doesn’t mean we all know how to dance. Our goal is to make the whole school be aware that they [Latin Dances] happen.”
The next Latin Dance event is scheduled for April 24 and is “The Great Gatsby”-themed. Music will be primarily Spanish Jazz.
The HSA’s purpose is to increase awareness and help Hispanic students at Appalachian feel more welcome at the predominantly white university.
“We obviously want to increase awareness of the Hispanic culture on campus and in the Boone community, so all the events we do throughout the year and each semester is to promote that,” HSA president Aneisy Cardó said. “Also to help Hispanic students feel more welcome at a university that is primarily white. Out of 17,000 students, we only have 700 Hispanics. So we try to reach out to those 700 Hispanic students, make them feel like they have a place they can come hang out, speak Spanish with one another, dance and get to know other people who are like them.
“But we’re not only for Hispanics,” Cardó said. “We welcome all races. We welcome white students, or any student who wants to learn about culture, especially Hispanic culture”.
The HSA meets Thursdays at 6:45 p.m. in the Linville Falls room of the student union. Club meetings are open for anyone to join.
For more information on HSA, visit www.hsa.appstate.edu.
Story: Katie Murawski, Intern A&E Reporter