Unifying the world through dance

For students who are hungry to dance, there are places in and around Detroit that have salsa dancing, Angeles-Rojas said, such as Cantina Diablo’s in downtown Royal Oak and Casa Real in Oxford.

Grace Turner

Oakland University got a taste of Latin American culture when the Hispanic American Leadership Organization (HALO) hosted salsa night.

HALO hosts salsa night every semester.

This semester, the Ukranian Student Organization, Students Towards Understanding Disabilities and the Spanish Club, helped.

“Dancing is a big part of get-togethers in Latin America,” said Karen Angeles-Rojas, president of HALO and a second year accounting major.

“Dancing is very involved in our culture,” she said. “It’s just something that we grew up with.”

She said that different dances are more common in different countries. Her family is from Mexico and she grew up dancing the cumbia.

The tango is popular in Argentina, and the bachata is popular in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

The event is based off the salsa dance, which is popular all over Latin America, according to Daniela Watts, treasurer of HALO and a first year human resource management major.

“Everyone knows how to dance salsa,” she said. “It’s like the (unifier) of all the countries.”

HALO hired two dance instructors who taught students how to dance the salsa, merengue and bachata. One of the instructors has been coming to the event for three years, Angeles-Rojas said. HALO likes him because he has a passion for dancing.

“He really brings the flavor of Latin America into it,” Angeles-Rojas said. “It’s mostly about feeling the music.”

The dance also featured a face painter and food. Angeles-Rojas said she tries to get as authentic as Latin American food as Chartwells offers.

Sophomore, and health sciences major, Jessie Felix said she enjoyed her first salsa night and liked the professional teachers.

“It was fun watching the instructors show you what dance could look like,” she said.

Felix is part of OU’s Ballroom Dance Club, but salsa night was her first time learning the merengue and bachata.

Jeff Frary, a senior from Kettering University, went to salsa night with Felix. He said he had fun despite his disappointment in discovering that it was not an event to sample edible salsa.

For students who are hungry to dance, there are places in and around Detroit that have salsa dancing, Angeles-Rojas said, such as Cantina Diablo’s in downtown Royal Oak and Casa Real in Oxford.