The infectious reggaetón, bachata and cumbia beats at Friday night’s Salsa^2 (pronounced “salsa squared”) event brought no shortage of booty-shaking and hip-swaying students to The Four Winds Cafe.
This marks the third ever Salsa^2 event – named for its generous supply of both salsa music and salsa dip – organized by New College of Florida’s Latinx Club. Since the first event in fall 2016, Salsa^2 has quickly grown into a campus tradition where students of all backgrounds are invited to celebrate Latinx culture.
(All photos Anya Contreras-Garcia/Catalyst)
Second-year Resident Advisors (RAs) Elizabeth Ramsamooj and Howard “Andre” Royce follow along the salsa instructors’ steps.
This semester the event brought something totally unique – a pair of professional salsa dancers to give salsa lessons during the first hour of the event.
“We wanted to add something new to Salsa^2 this year,” third-year Resident Advisor (RA) Eleni Spanolios, who was part of the event’s planning committee, said in an email interview. “We were thinking of ways to incorporate parts of the community that didn’t know how to salsa, or may have felt intimidated by it, so the idea of having a class before the social sounded perfect. I think it would be really nice to keep this as a part of the event in the future.”
Students dance freely in celebration of Latinx heritage.
However, the benefits of Salsa^2 go well beyond teaching students how to dance. In the era of Trump, hate crimes against Latinxs have risen by almost 70% in major cities like Los Angeles. Intentionally creating spaces to honor Latinx cultures means more than just partying – it means building communities that celebrate diversity despite the current political climate.
“Salsa^2 serves as an event for people in the Latinx community to come together and learn and celebrate their culture,” second-year RA Howard “Andre” Royce, who was also part of the event’s planning committee, said in an email interview.
Students practice salsa steps with their dance partners.
“It gives Latinx students on campus a space to enjoy themselves and connect with one another,” Spanolios said. “I think a lot of students at New miss home. We have such a large population of Latinx students who do so much for this community, they deserve to have a little bit of home brought to them.”
Salsa and chips decorate the table while salsa music plays from the speakers.