El Centro dance

Sep 302004
Authors: Jared McCabe

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

also exhibited.

“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.”


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