By ABIGAIL RUSSELL
Infectious Latin music filled the crowded room while everyone danced, grinning ear-to-ear as they moved around the room performing newly-learned dance steps.
On Sunday, April 28, Colorado College’s Latin Soul and Passion organization put on “Mezcla Latina de Sabor” in Cornerstone Arts Center. The night featured Latin food, music, dance lessons, and a dance performance. The event was open to the CC community and the greater Colorado Springs community — it was well-attended by members from both.
“I was a little uncomfortable dancing with all these strangers at first,” Kerry Yang ’22 said. “But everyone was just going for it and laughing and stuff, so it ended up being super fun.”
Spearheading this event was Ana Gaby Pareja-Alfaro, the current Cultural Program Coordinator for the Spanish House. According to the Language House webpage, she loves Latin dancing and is a certified choreographer and dance instructor. Therefore, during her time at CC, Pareja-Alfaro has made an effort to get more students involved in Latin American culture through the Latin Soul and Passion club.
This club has allowed them to participate in Latin culture while on campus and to share it with the greater community. Nathan Agarwal ’19 said that before getting involved with Latin Soul and Passion, he had never really danced before. “I’m a physics major,” Agarwal joked. “But I think it was a good opportunity as a senior to step outside my comfort zone and learn how to loosen up a little.”
According to Katie Damas ’21, another member of Latin Soul and Passion, this year will be Pareja-Alfaro’s last at the college. In fact, Damas noted that her leaving was largely the motivation for putting on this event. “This is her last year here, so she wanted to showcase all the work that she’s done,” Damas said.
Pareja-Alfaro has done plenty to share Latin culture with the CC community, so this seemed like the perfect sendoff.
For the past couple of months, Julian Lopez ’20 worked with Pareja-Alfaro on choreographing this last dance. Now, Lopez is prepared to continue her legacy when she leaves. “Julian’s really good at dancing and he knows how to have those segments of practices,” Jay Manning ’21 said.
In addition to Lopez stepping in to choreograph with the group, there will be a new Spanish House CPC. Manning said he doesn’t know who the new CPC is going to be, but he has “faith in The Butler Center” and is optimistic that things will work out.