The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

‘Latin Dance Night’ joins Krannert and La Casa

Students+rest+in+La+Casa+Cultural+Latina+on+Monday%2C+Mar+07+2016.
Students rest in La Casa Cultural Latina on Monday, Mar 07 2016.

Students rest in La Casa Cultural Latina on Monday, Mar 07 2016.

Ryan Fang

Ryan Fang

Students rest in La Casa Cultural Latina on Monday, Mar 07 2016.

Natasha Mosquera, Staff Writer

The Krannert Center Ambassadors and La Casa Cultural Latina will be hosting the very first Latin Dance Night — Noche de Baile Latino — on Friday at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts from 9:30-11:30 p.m. free of charge.

Monique Rivera, the co-director of engagement at Krannert and co-adviser to the Krannert Ambassadors, said she was at a resource fair when a group of students in the International MBA program at the College of Business brought up the idea.

“Most of the students were actually from Asian countries, and there were a few from Latin American countries who came up and said, ‘Do you all ever do like just a dance night at Krannert?’ and I said, ‘You know, we haven’t yet, but that’s something I would love to take back to my colleagues and talk about it,’” Rivera said. “So we were inspired by students, which is why we are here — really to serve students as best we can.”

Rivera said the event aims to bring international and domestic students together in a public space, because it furthers one of Krannert’s three themes — classroom, laboratory and public square.

“That public square aspect, having the lobby as big as it is, we can hold about 3,000 people in it — comfortably, actually — and we just thought that bringing all these different student groups together, different student cultural populations, all those things, would be a great way to celebrate mid-semester and have people engage with the space in a different way,” she said.

The Krannert Center Ambassadors will be in attendance to share information about a student-initiated campaign that is focused on spreading awareness about the Krannert Center fee that both undergraduate and graduate students pay.

Because a public ticket price for touring artists performances can reach up to $60, Rivera said the student fee is really important to both Krannert and the students because it allows them to offer students $10 tickets.

“We’re really encouraging students across the disciplines, no matter what you might be studying, to come and experience art with us, to really take advantage of the amazing talent that is on our stages, which is really the world on our stages,” Rivera said.

Rivera also said Krannert is really excited to have this collaboration with La Casa because it will help strengthen their evolving relationship and bring more unity to the campus community.

Giocondra Guerra Perez, director of La Casa Cultural Latina, said La Casa decided to collaborate with Rivera on Latin dance night because in her three and a half years of working at La Casa, it has never done anything like it.

Perez said the idea is to showcase the diversity of the music because it is important for the community at large to learn about the different Latin American cultures.

“We tend to put Latinos in one box, and we tend to group us really homogenous, but Latinos are very heterogeneous,” Perez said. “That’s why I want to invite everybody. It’s not going to be centered only on one side of who we are. I think that we want to bring all sorts of music from all the traditions in Latin America and Latinos in the U.S.”

Perez said the 9:30-11:30 p.m. time slot is not very long, but she wants students to have fun, dance and enjoy the time because music is an element that is very relevant to their culture.

“I mean, it’s for the students. I know like after 11:30 they will go to the bars or other places, but I’m telling everyone: ‘you start there and then you go,’” she said.

Perez also said the opportunities at Krannert are endless, and she really wants all students, especially Latino students, to take advantage of all the events and programs they have to offer.

“It’s right here on campus. We’re like, ‘who is not going to come? Everybody should come.’ This is our idea. We really want to have like 800 people there,” said Perez. “We think that if we bring that many people, we can have an annual Latino dance every February. We’re trying this year, we see what happens next year.”

Ragini Srikrishna, senior in LAS, said she attended a salsa, bachata event last semester and had a lot of fun.

“I think a huge reason why I go to events is because I like meeting people so much and meeting different people from different backgrounds. Everybody has a different story, right?” Srikrishna said.

She also said whether someone goes as a spectator or as a participant, supporting events like these is supporting the arts — something that is really huge in her family because her mother is a singer.

Srikrishna said she encourages anyone to attend because she thinks there’s a wider audience that also enjoys dancing, and it is something that can be enjoyed from multiple perspectives.

“It’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone, take out your dancing shoes, meet new people and listen to some great music,” Srikrishna said.

Nmosque2@illinois.edu

Leave a Comment