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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Eighth Annual Latino Multicultural Festival

Latin Dancers Perform at the Festival
Negar Mortazavi
Latin Dancers Perform at the Festival

Casa Latina held its eighth Annual Multicultural Festival Friday, November 12, 2004.

“One of the things that made the Festival different this year is that it happened here in the new Campus Center Ballroom,” said Francisco Toro, Coordinator of Casa Latina. In the past, the Multicultural Festival was usually held in the Snowden auditorium, so everyone was excited about the change.

Tables were set up on both sides of the ballroom with a stage set up in the middle, creating a perfect view for all attendees. “The ballroom gives the festival a different feel, much more classy. People can eat and enjoy the show at the same time” Toro said.

The evening started out with a poem by Emmanuel Barbosa, a Puerto Rican student in charge of media and technology for Casa Latina.

Audiences were delighted with dances presented by La Piñata, a Latin American Cultural Family Network and Fuerza Internacional. This festive part of the program featured a dance to represent countries from all over Latin America.

Mexico was represented with a dance called la raspa, while Peru danced an Afro-Peruvian dance, Colombia did the cumbia, and the Caribbean dancers displayed a contagious beat. Lastly, Argentina did a classic and always sensual tango.

Without a doubt, the presentation that stole the night, was the Talented And Gifted (TAG) Hispanic program called Fuego. TAG offers tutoring to Latino students from Boston area high schools at UMB. The six dancers also spiced up the night with a great salsa performance, combining modern moves and making jaws drop.

Members of the Dominican Republic that attended had tremendous success with their regueton presentations. The regueton is a popular music style that is often compared to rap. Many gathered to sing and dance with the students and seemed delighted with the presentation.

Interim Chancellor J. Keith Motley stopped by to enjoy the food from the Oriental de la Cuba restaurant in Jamaica Plain and grabbed a plate-full of delicious tacos, pupusas, tamales, and arroz with gandules.

The attendees made long lines for the food, but it was all worth the wait. The Multicultural Festival is Casa Latina’s largest event of the year. Casa Latina stated that it was only possible thanks to the help of a dedicated group of volunteers and sponsors. “It is always hard work putting an event of this magnitude together but luckily we have a group who is willing to do the work and who communicate with one another,” said Maria Moreno, chair of Casa Latina. “We were hoping to reach out to high school students and people who aren’t in college yet, to show the type of activities they could be involved in one once they get there” added Moreno.

The idea of the Multicultural Festival started years ago, when the Latino Coalition decided that it was very important to show the Latino culture as a whole “because people think of Latinos as a block and we are not” said Lucia Mayerson-David, director of the Institute for Learning and Teaching. This was a way of showing the diversity of the Latinos, which, Latinos feel, is not always recognized. While it is true that Latinos speak the same language, the dances, food, and others issues make each nation unique.

“The Latino Coalition thought that it was important to have students organize this type of event,” added Mayerson-David. Casa Latina organizes this event with the collaboration of students, faculty and staff who contribute generously to bring a night of color, music and fun.

This year’s event was definitely well-organized and fulfilled the attendees expectations as they all left with a bit of the warmth of the Latino culture in them. “My expectations were high and accomplished. We have shown everybody who we are,” said Mayerson-David.

So if you missed this year’s Multicultural Festival, you will have to just wait patiently for the next one…next year.