Salsa night for Hispanic Celebration Month


Mary Mitchell

Ballroom and Latin Dance club hosted Salsa night, along with the Spanish club and the Hispanic American Leadership organization.

As part of Oakland University’s Hispanic celebration month, students, staff and alumni were welcomed to attend Salsa Night and learn traditional Latin dances in the Oakland Center. The Spanish Club, the Hispanic American leadership organization and ballroom and Latin dance club co-hosted the event. It included step-by-step lessons on the salsa, bachata and merengue dances.

According to OU’s website, “It is a long- standing tradition at Oakland University to recognize National Hispanic Celebration Month during the month of September to celebrate the history, politics and culture of Hispanic people, locally and globally.”

On Sept. 29, couples were cutting a rug in celebration by adding fresh moves to their repertoires, forming new friendship and laughing together while trying to get the steps right.

In his first year as president of The Spanish Club, junior Bryan Munoz reached out to ballroom and Latin dance club to coordinate the event.

“I organized salsa night to have a little bit more of a spread of cultural awareness of Hispanic heritage at Oakland University and to get students involved in some fun events, also to show some culture of Latin dances and Latin food.” he said.

Munoz is planning on organizing more events that showcase Latin culture including trips to Latin restaurants and holiday celebrations such as Day of the Dead in November.

The Ballroom and Latin dance club, which recently changed its name to be more inclusive of dances from other parts of the world, was in charge of the dance instruction.

“We rebranded over the summer to be more inclusive of what we actually were,” said Megan Carson, President of ballroom and Latin dance club.

“NO we started doing salsa and Latin dances over the past few years but it was never a [part of the club’s name] and we saw that other university’s teams were ‘ballroom and Latin dance’ teams and so we thought it fit better with who we are and what we want to be. So we wanted to have the more Latin social dances to bring in some more fun and culture.”

When they’re not teaching Latin lessons in the OC or hosting other events like the couples dance night last February, Ballroom with Bae, ballroom and Latin dance club travels for competition. They’re set to compete against schools including Michigan State University and the University of Michigan this year.

According to OU’s website, Hispanic Heritage month starts Sept. 15 because it is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The tradition was started nationally in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson and expanded by Ronald Reagan in ’88. Also in ’88 the cultural observation was officially enacted into law.

Two more events are scheduled for this year’s Hispanic heritage month The Latina Empowerment Conference on Oct. 6 and an evening of storytelling centering on “unity in Diversity” on Oct. 12.