Approximately 150 students, faculty and community members were in attendance for a series of performances in an event titled “Young, Latinx and Proud” hosted by the Latin@ Culture Show and sponsored by Department of American Culture and Latino/a Studies on Thursday night. The event featured several groups that presented dances and songs from different Latinx cultures.
LSA senior Karen Garcia, one of the organizers, said the show takes a lot of careful planning beginning in the fall.
“It’s a lot of work,” Garcia said. “The day of, we get here early, make sure everyone is ready, everyone is in positions, make sure we have a backup plan if we have a hiccup, so it's a lot of work throughout the year, but it's also very rewarding.”
The performers ranged from elementary schoolers to college students, and included songs and dances inspired by the traditional styles from Mexico, Peru, the Dominican Republic and more.
LSA sophomore Emily Rios said she enjoyed the variety of dance styles brought up throughout the performances.
“One of my favorite parts was the incorporation of different dances, and how it brought us as a community together,” Rios said. “We usually don’t see this on campus a lot. I thought it was a good experience to live.”
Garcia said she was overjoyed seeing the full show come to fruition, as staffing issues kept her from experiencing the full show in previous years.
“Actually, this is the first year I’ve been able to see it because we weren’t understaffed,” Garcia said. “Last year we were understaffed, so I was running around a lot. It brings tears to my eyes to be honest, because I’ve been doing this for four years and this was the first year I was able to see everything.”
According to Garcia, it was important to include multiple Latinx cultures within the show.
“It’s just so beautiful to know that all of our hard work is bringing Latino culture of all kinds, not just Mexican, which is often inferred — we have Peruvian dance, we do have Mexican, we try to bring a little bit of everything,” Garcia said. “It’s beautiful to see that on campus here. As a Latino myself, I feel like this connects me to my Latino community and my roots and makes me feel comfortable on campus and lets me inform people of my culture.”
According to LSA junior Alex Mullen, internal director of La Casa, events like these are key ways to display various aspects of different cultures on campus.
“I think it’s really important to have events like this on campus because it's what represents our culture and our identity,” Mullen said. “Whether it’s student performers or community area performers, it just shows what the Latinx identity looks like in an art form and how our culture expresses itself in different ways. Some of that is more traditional, some of that is more contemporary, so it’s really cool to see the talent in our community.”
According to Garcia, the event allows viewers to truly experience Latinx culture as opposed to the images modern media portrays.
“I think it’s important because, obviously, with climate, and the way people are, and people not understanding or not having the opportunity to learn about different cultures, I think it’s a great opportunity for people to see it’s more than just the stereotypes,” Garcia said. “I think it’s important that we have something for the Latino students because they are small and this year in the media, there’s a lot of negative things towards Latinos, and I think this is an opportunity for people to get to know us — actually us — not the stereotypes portrayed in the media.”