With “Gyal You A Party Animal (remix)” by Charly Black blasting from two large speakers, the two DJs dressed in all black played around with the beats and tempo of the song, transitioning from one Latin song to the next, moving from “Sin Pijama” by Becky G and Natti Natasha to Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” to “Otro Trago” by Sech.
The first ever Latinx Regional Dance was held last Saturday in Lower Right, hosted by Andover’s affinity group Alianza Latina. In celebration of Latinx Heritage Month, it invited students from nearby schools including Lowell High School and Lawrence High School to attend the dance.
Alianza-Latina board member Isa Escobar ’21 stated that the board hoped the event would provide a safe community for Latinx identifying students.
“We wanted to have a dance where people would feel they could fully be themselves, a place where Hispanic culture would be embraced. For those who are Latinx, I want them to know that the school does provide safe spaces for them and that we do try our hardest to make sure that everybody feels like a part of the community here,” said Escobar.
According to Alianza Latina Co-President Ashley Alvarez ’20, school dances usually don’t play Latin music. Alvarez wanted to host the dance as an opportunity to play Latin music and teach the student body about Latinx heritage.
“Many people think Spanish music is all the same when that’s not the case. We have a lot of genres… [like] Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Calypso, Reggaeton. There are a whole bunch of genres represented tonight that usually aren’t,” said Alvares.
Su Chermayeff ’21 saw the dance as an opportunity to learn more about a culture different from her own.
“When I applied to Andover, one of the reasons I came here was for the diverse culture. I feel like while I have learned a lot about other people, a great time to immerse myself in a different culture would be this dance… I’m having a great time learning new things about Latin culture and enjoying myself, ” said Chermayeff.
According to Alianza Latina board member Emiliano Caceres ’22, the dance was an opportunity to show an aspect of Lantinx culture to the Andover community in an easy and welcoming way.
“We wanted to recognise those of Latinx heritage and help non-Latinx identifying students learn more about our culture. I think it’s great to enjoy other people’s cultures in a lighthearted way. I think this is a great way for everyone to loosen up,” said Caceres.