My night started out blandly with dinner at the Observatory Hill Dining Hall, but the Flavors of Dance event soon gave my taste buds a much-needed kick in the mouth. The Latino Student Alliance hosted a cultural show last Friday as part of its contribution to Hispanic Heritage Month.
Emcee Kelvin Grullon worked through some technical difficulties to start the show with the enthusiasm necessary to capture a slightly disgruntled audience.
The Salsa Club opened the stage dancing to Michael Jackson's classic, "The Way You Make Me Feel," and while the moves seemed basic, I had to applaud the dancers' ability to keep count and time. As for the various twirls and spins when switching partners, I only cringed to think how often I would have tripped over myself. The performers, however, consistently transitioned with ease.
The New York Salsa Club followed, performing with much jazzier and rapid movements. The culturally relevant music used helped establish a more energetic vibe during the program, and though I sadly couldn't sing along with any of the music in my head, I felt more immersed in the true culture of the Latino society.
The LSA Fuego Troupe performed a Reggaeton, a combination of hip-hop and Caribbean dance elements, as well as a Bachata, a partnered dance incorporating intricate footwork.
After intermission, the instructors of Zabor Dance, Amberlyn and Edwin Roa, executed an Argentine tango, the form of dance most commonly perceived to be the "true tango." This exhibition was by far one of my personal favorites, as the dancers captured the passion of the music and the movement, transferring it to the rapid and sharp movements of their feet. I laughed as I heard one spectator comment, "Look at their feet, they're talking to each other, like they have their own mind."
Students of The Latin Ballet of Virginia performed a Flamenco and a Mambo. Two instructors also performed a Capoeira, an energized martial arts dance with origins in Brazil, with moves that could rival Shawn Johnson.
Not all of the performances had such a distinct Latin vibe, however. Two members of the Lambda Theta Alpha sorority showed off an original stroll - think stepping and line dancing all in one, a Greek tradition - as did a group from the Lambda Upsilon Lambda fraternity at the close of the program.
But the dances performed by the Zabor Dance Academy and the Latin Ballet of Virginia stole the show for their immense complexity. During the first half of the program, three couples from Zabor performed a competitive salsa routine, consisting of impressive lifts and bridge positions.
The night by far exceeded my expectations for entertainment. The dancers stunned the audience with their dedication and skill, and I was left with exposure to an art form seldom seen in everyday society. The show was spectacular, and not even the Blazin' sauce at Buffalo Wild Wings could compete with the Flavors of Dance.