Latin American dances begin month of celebration

Cheyenne Fitzgerald, Staff Reporter

Eastern students can dance their way into Latin American Heritage Month by attending a three-part series of Latin dance lessons.

The sessions will start at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Student Recreation Center.

Latin American Heritage Month is usually observed from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Eastern has been celebrating the month since 1991.

In previous lessons, the Salsa, Tango and Merengue dances were taught to students and staff. This year, many of the same dances will be taught but with the addition of Bachata.

Gladys Valentin, president of the Latin American Student Organization, said although LASO is not sponsoring the event, she believes it is a great opportunity to get students involved in the Latin culture.

Valentin also compared the dance lessons to Zumba, a commonly known workout that incorporates dance moves.

Krishna Thomas, director of faculty development, said she would be assisting her husband, Antoine Thomas, who will be teaching the dance lessons.

Together they own and run the DanceLife Center in Charleston.

The Thomas couple has been involved in the Latin American Heritage Month events at Eastern since 2012 when they were first asked to teach a few Salsa lessons.

Krishna Thomas said they are big believers in movement, and dance is just a way of life for them. They are looking forward to sharing their knowledge with the participants during these sessions, Krishna Thomas said.

Krishna Thomas said the dance lessons will involve some partner work and are available to those who are either young or just young at heart and looking to have a good time.

Last year’s participants consisted of Eastern students, faculty and even a high school Spanish class.

The difficulty level will be minimal, and there are no dress or prior knowledge requirements

“Dancing is such a universal language; it’s a great way to just blow of some steam. Come as you are and expect to have some fun,” Krishna Thomas said.

Krishna Thomas said of the three dances, Bachata may be the one to challenge some people because of its fast pace, hip usage and sensual style; however, the basics for all three dances will be easy to catch on to.


Cheyenne Fitzgerald can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]