Even if you have two left feet, Gabriela Hernandez wants you to Bachata.
President of Central Oregon Community College’s Latino Club, Hernandez will be dancing at the Latino Dance Festival, March 10. She loves the passion and beat of Bachata music and the way it encourages self-expression.
“The instructor teaches you to listen to every instrument in the song,” Hernandez said. ”I can really get into it.”
The Latino Club wants the community to come out and dance at the Latino Dance Festival for fun and foster an understanding of Latino culture and the diversity amongst the Latino cultures around the world. There will be a dance instructor and workshops to help you with your moves.
Helping out with Latino cultural events is one of the Latino Club’s goals. The club’s advisor, Evelia Sandoval is the Latino Program coordinator at COCC.
The Latino Program, within the COCC Office of Multicultural Activities, is hosting the Dance Festival. The program puts on events through the year like Spanish Film Night, Cinco de Mayo, Day of the Dead celebrations and lunchtime Spanish conversation groups.
The Latino Club accepts donations at the bigger events, which they collect in order to award scholarships to members of the club who have participated regularly and have volunteered at events. Some students are in dire need, either from lack of financial aid because their parents are undocumented or needing extra support because of their situation. The scholarships are open to all that apply. Two $500 scholarships were awarded last term.
“We’d love to give out more scholarships,” said Hernandez.
Open to everyone, the Latino Club is a way for the members to be involved on campus outside of classes, work and the other aspects of their busy lives, according to Hernandez.
There are beginning workshops in Bachata and Salsa and even a “crazy Merengue” workshop on the second day of the festival. The Latino club encourages you to invite friends and family. The event will culminate in a performances and dance on Sunday, March 11, from 5 to 10 p.m. Members of the Latino Club will be on hand to help out with the festival.