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Dancing the winter away

Aspects of Latino culture, such as music, dancing, food and more were featured Saturday night at Club de’Ville.

Presented and largely sponsored by SOLA, Society of Latino Affairs, and the Latino studies minor of Millersville University. Café Latino’s “Winter Fiesta” offered students Saturday night, Nov. 15, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. a unique alternative to usual Saturday nights, either on campus or off, to enjoy aspects of Latino culture, including, food,
dancing and music.

SOLA Vice President, Maria Gallo, said the theme for this years annual Café Latino
event would be Winter Fiesta.

DJs Alex Aguilar, and Enrique Perez, known as “DJ-Mex” from Kutztown University, played a wide assortment of both Spanish and English language music in various genres to create different moods throughout the night.  “The Latin music we played was of many genres including: Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Durangense and Cumbias.  We also played some Hip Hop.  Early on when the group of girls came out and danced the genre of music we played was Bachata and the song was “Dos Locos” by Monchy & Alexandra.” Said Aguilar.

“The event is a way to promote Latino food, music and culture on campus. To include everyone there we asked him to play everything that was currently out so everyone would dance and have a good time.  We wanted people to teach each other to dance and at the same time incorporating the Latino culture,” said  Sandra Aguilera, PR officer of SOLA.
Midway through the evening, a group of girls came to dance when the song, Dos Locos by Bachata group Monchy and Alexandra.

While the genre of Salsa is certainly known, the other genres DJ-Mex played are probably not well known in the English speaking world including: Bachata, originating in the Dominican Republic only recently rose to much larger popularity, after years as a rural musical genre derided for simplicity and lack of sophistication.

Merengue, getting its name from the dessert topping, is a faster paced genre of music and dance with origins in the Dominican Republic, also popular throughout Latino society.
Cumbias comes from Colombia, a folk music and dance, originating from African cumbe music. It started as a courtship dance and music style, later adding European instruments and becoming popular in areas outside Colombia including Argentina, Peru and the United States.

Reggaeton music is a Latin American blending of Jamaican music  with music of more traditional genres such as Merengue, Salsa and Bachata.

Part of Café Latino included a talent show with an open mike format, allowing anyone to read, sing or perform anything of talent as they pleased.  Annette Pena gave a clear, coherent performance of the poem Thoughts, Goals and Dreams showing she had prepared well to read the poem in front of a crowd.

Food always draws people to an event, thanks to the culinary talents of local restaurant Cochina Mexicana of Lancaster city and local outlets like Victoria’s Grocery and Los Fantasticos. Café Latino included a selection of ethnic dishes including arroz con granules (rice and beans), Taquitos (small fried burritos with chicken wrapped inside), a chicken and vegetable soup called caldo de pollo. It was well received by many in attendance; chicken enchiladas which are much like Taquitos, but not fried with sour cream lovingly drizzled on top were also served.  Everyone in attendance that night did not have to worry about a lack of food, as SOLA had plenty available for all to enjoy.

“I go to this event every year, and unlike most times, this year’s music was better than before. The event itself is quite the blast, and perhaps the dancing highlight is the “percolater” portion, of which a fellow by the name of ‘Urban’ is quite a ladies man, as he excels at dancing, and as of that night, singing. Consistent with Latino culture, they needed a party after the party,” said Robert Peterson, a guest at the event.

Despite the enthusiasm and dedication of SOLA in putting on Café Latino, the overall atmosphere remained somewhat apathetic, with few people partaking in the event, besides trying the food provided, and listening to the music played.