People crowded into the Lory Student Center theatre Wednesday night to experience a concert composed of Latin American bands and dance groups.
El Centro student services hosted “An Evening of Music and Dance” in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. The event, headlined by the Albuquerque band Las Florecitas Con Estylo, also included 11 other bands and dance groups.
Doors opened for the concert at 6:30 p.m., and 20 minutes later the theatre, which has 600 seats on the bottom floor, was full. The full house forced spectators who arrived later to the balcony.
The room was dark except for a spotlight fixed on an onstage podium, where Mayor Ray Martinez officially proclaimed that Hispanic Heritage Month will last from Sept. 15-Oct. 15, 2002.
The music styles included several Latin American traditions, ranging from mariachi bands to Latin hip-hop. Dance groups also shook the stage with salsa, tango, meringue, and many other forms of Hispanic cultural dance.
Between each performance, program coordinators Lupe Slazar, Rich Salas, and Alex Sanchez explained the history and culture behind each song or dance.
“I think it gave a taste of the variety, as well as culture and tradition that goes with that,” said Alex Sanchez, a senior business major who helped coordinate the event. “Nowadays, understanding of different cultures is very important.”
During dance numbers performed by various groups, women and young girls in vividly colored dresses stomped their feet and wagged their skirts in time to the fast-paced songs. Alongside them, men and boys as young as 5 years old danced in decorative sombreros and traditional Spanish outfits. Each group triggered loud cheers from the audience after their performances.
Members of the bands played several different instruments including trombones, harps, violins and guitars. The musicians simultaneously danced while they played, instigating even more whistles and cheers from the crowd.
El Centro and Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity Inc. hosted an “after set” in the Ramskeller, which included more music, free pizza, and a chance to meet the performers.
El Centro will present several more events honoring Hispanic Heritage Month, until Oct. 15.
Two invited lectures by Maria Mondragon-Valdez:
Sept. 26, 7 p.m., at Northside Aztlan Center, 112 E. Willow.
Sept. 27, noon, at CSU Micro-Biology bldg., Room 108.
Reading and book signing by Manuel Ramos:
Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m., at the Jade Bookstore, 123 N. College Ave.
Dia De La Raza Celebration:
Oct. 11, noon, at El Centro.
“La Familia Genealogy”:
Oct. 12, 10-5 p.m., Northside Aztlan Center, 112 E. Willow.
Dia de Los Muertos:
Nov. 1, noon, call El Centro for more info. 491-5722.
Celebration of Las Posadas:
Dec. 18, noon, at El Centro.