Latin Dance Night helps raise funds for Spain study abroad trip

Annie Goodman

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To enrich students’ learning, a Latin Dance Night has been held every year for the past 18 years.

“It is an event for our students from Spanish class to show them how the music is important to us as far as a culture,” said Mariela Sanchez, a Spanish instructor. “We have different kinds of music; Slow, fast-paced, you name it. It basically tells a lot about love mostly, and that’s what we are, loving people.”

Natalia Montgomery, a junior communication major felt Latin Dance Night was a fun way to further what she learned in class by emphasizing Hispanic culture and the vernacular of Spanish rather than the grammar taught in the classroom.

“Usually in Spanish class, we learn about the grammar but this is a little fun,” said Montgomery. “We all like music, so also, we get to know the verbiage and how it’s really used and get to know each other. Talk our little Spanish that we learned.”

Latin Dance Night was held on Tuesday, Mar. 28 from 6-8 p.m. and is used as a fundraiser for the Language and Culture in Spain study abroad program. Sanchez also offered extra credit to her students for attending

“Actually, the idea of Latin Dance Night is to build some funds to send our students that qualify for the study abroad program to Spain,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez is also the program coordinator for the study abroad program going to the cities of Salamanca and Madrid in Spain.

Throughout Latin Dance Night, Sanchez played Spanish pop music videos displayed with a projector for students to enjoy and dance to. Sanchez gave gift certificates to local restaurants, such as La Carreta of Hammond, as prizes to the best and worst dancers to motivate students to dance. 

Sanchez sees Latin Dance Night as an opportunity to show students how the people within the Hispanic culture prefer to socialize.

“When you have them in the class room, everybody is so quiet,” said Sanchez. “They don’t even talk to each other. This is just an opportunity to see how we, the Hispanics, can celebrate. We love to socialize. We love the people. That makes us so happy.”

In previous years, Sanchez has seen students become more friendly at Latin Dance Night. Her students would later express their enthusiasm about Latin Dance Night to her.

“The students, after we do Latin Dance Night, they always make comments, ‘Oh, that was so fun,’” said Sanchez. “That’s why we do this. Everybody is a friend here when they come altogether.”

Montgomery feels Latin Dance Night is a good way for students to become more involved on campus as well as to learn more about the Hispanic culture.

“Well, it’s important to get involved on the campus and everybody get together,” said Montgomery. “Then also, it’s a great cultural experience to learn a little bit more about Spanish.”

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Latin Dance Night helps raise funds for Spain study abroad trip