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LSU puts on a Night of Celebration

How a club brought their culture to the school, one dance step at a time
Anya+Souza-Ponce%2C+LSU+president+and+a+memeber+of+Bailadores+de+Bronco%2C+both+performed+and+helped+plan+the+Night+of+Celebration.+%28Courtesy+of+Anya+Souza-Ponce%29
Anya Souza-Ponce, LSU president and a memeber of Bailadores de Bronco, both performed and helped plan the Night of Celebration. (Courtesy of Anya Souza-Ponce)

On Friday, March 1, the LatinX Student Union (LSU) hosted the Latino Night of Celebration, featuring performances from Bailadores de Bronce, a dance company from University of Washington, food catered by Maya’s Fiesta and Catering and a variety of stalls featuring LatinX business owners and creations. The event showcased the LatinX culture present at BHS.

LatinX is one among many cultures around the world, displayed through vibrant clothing, magnificent food and intricate dancing, among other things. 

“We really wanted to bring the diversity and joy of Latino culture to Ballard High School,” Anya Souza-Ponce, senior, President of LSU, and a member of the dance group Bailadores de Bronce, said. “Because in the Latin Student Union, we realized that the scope that a lot of the Ballard community currently has is very limited.”

LatinX refers to the cultures present in Mexico and Latin America, while Hispanic encompasses the entire Spanish speaking world. The LatinX world ranges from the Pampas of Argentina to the mountains of Chile to the rainforests and deserts of Mexico. Each of these regions has its own culture, most of them united on a common language and certain base common cultural practices, but each area is entirely unique.

“We’re not by any means trying to pretend that we’re representing everybody,” Souza-Ponce said. “But we wanted our members within LSU to be able to have our cultures represented… in the way we feel they should be represented.”

The event was advertised through posters in the halls and on the morning announcements, as well as through the Student Senate. Entry was free, food cost $20 for at least one plateful of authentic LatinX cuisine. 

The beginning of the event was spearheaded by a display of cultural dances from all over the LatinX world, performed by the Dance Troupe Bailadores de Bronce. Bailadores de Bronce was founded in 1972 at the University of Washington by a group of students led by Josefina Jaramillo Alvarez. It was an offshoot of the Civil Rights and Chicano Movements. A lot of effort goes into the intricate dances performed by the group.

“It’s a lot of practice,”  Adrián Olivas, director of Bailadores do Bronce, said. “We usually bring teachers from Mexico so they can teach us the right way, the right technique.” 

Adrián Olivas has been dancing with Bailadores de Bronce since 1986 – almost 40 years.

“It’s been a lot of fun to have been a dancer at first and then become a director,”  Olivas said. “It’s a lot of fun being in the community that way and spreading Mexican culture.”

People shuffled around the foyer, from stands to food lines. . Everything from drinks to snacks to handcrafted jewelry were sold at the event, from stands operated by LatinX people of diverse backgrounds. A few stands were operated by members of Latino founded Sororities.

“I really liked how they had some of the sororities and fraternities from U.W., specifically the Latino founded ones,” Giselle Mejia-Ramirez,  senior and member of LSU, said. “It was really cool that they let them come and sell some Chicharones and Horchata.”

Other guests also enjoyed the event, and expressed their desire to see more of the same type of event.

“People were really happy to see this event,”  Lorelei Goodyear, a guest at the event,  said. “I think it’s important for people to be able to celebrate their culture and have it recognized, not just amongst people of your culture, but to share that with others.” 

The event was just what it was called. A “Night of Celebration.”

“We just really wanted to be able to celebrate our identities,” Souza-Ponce said. “This night was completely different from any other events or assembly this school has had before, and we just really wanted the opportunity to bring our full identities.”



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