‘Baila Conmigo’ highlights Latino culture

“Baila Conmigo” featured 14 events, including a few singing events.

James Brien

“Baila Conmigo” featured 14 events, including a few singing events.

Haley Otman

Hips were moving, hands were clapping and mouths were yelling in support of all 14 events at “Baila Conmigo” Saturday night.

The Fieldhouse Arena played host to a large crowd of people from every race joining in at the annual spring Latino culture showcase thrown by the student organization Sabrosísimo. Events included multiple dances by Sabrosísimo, a newer addition to the Office of Student Life at Grand Valley State University, in addition to many other performances.

The Belly Dance Club infused a Latino flavor into its choreography, dancing to the Spanish version of Shakira’s song “Eyes Like Yours,” followed by a cappella group Euphoria’s rendition of “Mala Gente,” or “Bad People.”

“With a new language to sing in, there are always those phonetic components that every member of the group must master if the song is to be performed successfully and credibly,” said Ross Hammond, president of Euphoria.

They followed “Mala Gente” with Beyonce’s “Halo,” switching back to English.

Along with those new to Hispanic music and dance, many seasoned Latino performers were there, too.

Sabrosísimo first performed a combination of the Samba from Brazil and the Negroide from Peru. They then took three more turns in between other acts, including performing to “Cari?±ito” and “Químbara. “

Sigma Lambda Upsilon, also known as the Se?±oritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc., performed a dance as well, and later in the evening the Sigma Lambda Beta Int. Frat. Inc. also took the stage.

“I think that having an event that celebrates my heritage is great because it allows me to keep in touch with my culture even when I’m far away from home,” said Ivett Lopez, a senior and hermana, or sister, in Sigma Lambda Upsilon.

Scott Ayotte and Sarah Stuart, both active dancers in the GVSU community, also performed a belly dance and salsa combination for the crowd, to many cheers.

“Sabrosísimo uses performing arts to better strengthen the Latino culture on GVSU’s campus and bridge gaps between communities,” says the group on their Facebook page. They won the award for Best New Organization at the 2009 Recognition Ceremony on campus.

Hammond said he wanted to make sure Euphoria matched the incredible liveliness of everyone else taking part in “Baila Conmigo.”

“Singing in Spanish at this event is a fun and exciting opportunity and also comes with the pressure of doing justice to both the language and energy of Baila Conmigo,” he said. The fans’ cheers seemed to suggest the group did just that through their harmonizing.

D. Jose Duzan, the president of Sabrosísimo and a senior at GVSU, was also presented with a gift at the event in recognition of all of his hard work.

“Any group can do choreography, but Sabro really does it all,” Duzan said in the “Baila Conmigo” pamphlet, referring to the many events they have and the community service they perform.

A recent community service project Sabrosísimo took on was a book drive for Grand Rapids’ Cook Library Center, which is in the Latino portion of the city and has many children’s programs.

Lopez said her sisters’ performance and the Negroide dance performed by Sabrosísimo tied for first place in her mind- her sisters’ event because she belongs to their chapter and wanted to support them, and the Negroide dance because she was not familiar with it before “Baila Conmigo.”

“The acts throughout the night all seemed very high-energy, well-executed and fun,” Hammond added.

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