Students learned more than dance moves Thursday evening at the
third annual Evening of Music and Dance.
The event, sponsored by El Centro Student Services, celebrated
Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 13, and
emphasized the importance of cultural understanding.
“Tonight’s program is a celebration of National Hispanic
Heritage Month. It is aimed at increasing your awareness about the
beautiful Latino culture,” said Guadalupe Salazar, director of El
Centro Student Services.
Dance and music not normally attributed to Hispanic culture were
“It is important to understand that each one of these primary
influences…we have, () hundreds of unique sub cultural
characteristics as well,” Salazar said, citing Indigenous, African
and European cultures. “We all want the community to have an
awareness that music is a part of who we are.”
Isaiah Guerrero, an El Centro Alumni, believes many people tend
to stereotype Latinos.
“When people think of Hispanics they think of Mexico. Not all of
Latin America is Hispanic, and not all Latin Americans look the
same. This presentation is to show the cultural and indigenous
roots of what Hispanic people are all about,” he said.
Rich Salas, assistant director of El Centro, said music and
dance has always affected people.
“In cultures past and present, dance and music has been a means
of expressing emotions, ideas and customs that have significance in
the daily lives and history of people. Furthermore, from a
historical perspective, music and dance is a means of learning
insights about different people from all over the world,” Salas
Salas also stressed that the evening of dance was an opportunity
for minority students to gain a greater sense of identity and
better understand their heritage.
In addition to the cultural significance of the event, students
and community members danced for over an hour to the live music of
Kizumba, an Afro-Caribbean band.
“I have been dancing since I was in seventh grade. I love music,
especially Latin music; it is some of the best music to dance to,”
said Madeline Bryan, a freshman human development and family
studies major. “I enjoyed coming here and dancing tonight.”