Spanish club hosts Latin Dance Night fundraiser

Allison Crady

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Students were treated to a night of dancing, singing and celebration of Latin culture through the annual Latin Dance Night.
The Spanish Club sponsored the evening with the purpose of raising funds for study abroad scholarships, celebrating the language and culture and teaching students a variety of Latin-style dance moves. Students and faculty were invited to attend the dance evening, which was held Thursday, Nov. 1 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.
“The best part of the evening is seeing the students there dancing and enjoying themselves,” said Mariela Sanchez, the Spanish Club advisor and Spanish instructor. “This is the kind of social event in which we add the little touches of our culture.”
The Spanish Club received donations from several local restaurants including La Carreta, Adobe and El Agave, which helped with refreshments and raffle prizes.
Sanchez added spice to the evening through requesting Philip Mendoza, a senior biology major, to demonstrate and teach the students Latin dance moves.
“I think Latin dance is awesome. Everyone should come and everyone should dance,” said Mendoza. “In the past years they always did it in a way that didn’t get everyone involved. I want to get everyone involved, up and running, get a little workout and show them a few moves so that everyone can learn a thing or two.”
Mendoza demonstrated several dance styles with his partner Jennifer Clesi, a senior communication major. Clesi has won one silver and two bronze medals in the USA Dance “A Gumbo of Ballroom” with her partner Patrick Yingst.
“This is something I’ve loved doing ever since my freshman year of high school and before. So when my friend Philip called me up and asked if I wanted to come dance with him, I immediately said yes,” said Clesi. “I love dancing. It’s a great stress reliever for me. I love the way it looks and the way it makes you feel.”
The evening began with the provided dinner which included an international selection. The tables were decorated in Lion spirit with green and gold tablecloths as well as a touch of Latin style with colored balloons, table confetti, flowers and party horns.
After the initial dance demonstration, many of the attendants participated in the learning experience.
“I got some of the popular songs such as the Cha Cha, which is a slow, sensual, dance and then the Salsa which is more active, flirty and showy,” said Mendoza.
While many of the students and guests participated in the dancing, several commented on the apparent lack of gentlemen partners available.
“There was an extreme lack of gentlemen there,” said Paul Madden, a senior history major. “While getting to dance was nice, it makes me sad to see all the ladies having to dance by themselves.”
There was constant dancing throughout the evening with interruptions for more demonstrations, a raffle, best and worst dancer awards and guest string and vocal interactive entertainment. Charles Furlan, of Guatemala, and his daughter Carley Furlan, a sophomore majoring in biology, performed a classic blend of Latin melodies.
In attendance were Spanish Club members, students and faculty. Guests continued to dance late into the evening.
“I think it’s a pretty good turnout,” said Codie Sullivan, president of the Spanish Club. “It’s definitely more than last year. We have raised a good bit of money and it all goes into the scholarship fund, which helps to send students abroad to Spain.”
While the event was previously held once per semester, it has been changed to strictly an annual event in the last few years.
“The students loved to have it twice a year, but it takes a lot of time to organize it, get all the goodies, and have all the students involved,” said Sanchez.  
Latin Dance Night gives attendees an opportunity to dive into a different culture.
“The reason I like the students to attend this event is to be immersed in some of the Hispanic traditions, such as the different Latin music rhythms, and to be able to know how to dance some or all of them,” said Sanchez. “Also, the ambience of the event leads everyone to enjoy, with tremendous happiness, the wonderful time and the music with peers, faculty and strangers.”
In fundraising efforts the Spanish Club also hosts Nacho Libre Day, held twice every semester, during which they sell nachos and cheese, chili, cookies and drinks.
For more information on joining the Spanish club or future events contact Sanchez at [email protected] or 985-549-2270.

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Spanish club hosts Latin Dance Night fundraiser