Latino Affairs hosted its annual Latino Night last Saturday with a talent show, special guest performances, a dinner, and a dance.
An array of guests dressed in semi formal attire attended the event including the Dean of Institutional Diversity, Dr. Henry Morris, professors, centers and organizations at MNSU, and many community members and families of the students.
Immediately when guests arrive they are met with a dia de muertos (day of the dead) altar, and a table filled with candies such as duvalin and de la rosa lollipops. The event was beautifully decorated and included a colorful photo booth with day of the dead masks, handwoven baskets, and sombreros for guests to take pictures with.
The first act to perform while guests were being seated was Mariachi Nuevo Guachinango. The band, who was decked in Mariachi attire, violins, a guitarrón mexicano, trumpets, and acoustic guitars, entertained guests with their traditional mariachi that urged one to shake their hips and move to the music.
Student representatives, Brenda Dominguez, Mitzi Guizar, Luis Orozco MC’ed the event and introduced themselves and the agenda as the dinner crew set up the taco bar featuring the popular churro.
Before guests could dive head first into the taco bar that permeated delicious aromas across the ballroom, Dr. Henry Morris gave a wonderful speech about culture, diverse communities, and a warm welcome to the event.
After the dinner, the talent show portion began, first off with Mestifonía, who brought colombian, bolivian, and chilean flavor to the stage with their many styles of latin music stemming from the Iberian Peninsula and South America.
Next to grace the stage was peruvian dance group, Mí Peru, who brought the culture of Peru to the audience with their traditional clothes and folkloric dances such as the la marinera about love and courtship.
Along with professional acts, there were many student performers. First year student, Raquel Loera performed a spanish melody. Jade Milton sang a mix of songs featuring a spanish rendition of “Stand By Me”.
Randall Peralta stunned the crowd with his magic show, featuring magically appearing roses, a dollar levitation trick, intentional blindness trick, a chinese string trick, and his wild escaping trick. Luis Orozco swooned the crowd with a classic spanish love song.
Sangre Latina, the dance group who also danced for the school’s annual lip sync battle busted out some killer dance moves ranging from salsa dancing to hip hop. Bianca Alvarez sang a beautiful spanish rendition of “Rise Like a Phoenix”.
Throughout the event they also showed a funny parody of El Chavo made by Latino Affairs and a small onstage act about “Amazon Primo featuring Alexandra”. The event also featured fashion highlights with clothing from Mariachi attire and clothing from the Dominican Republic.
The show ended with a performance by a group called Boriken from the El Arco Iris Centro for the Arts in St. Paul. Boriken was a triple threat as they brought Afro-Puerto Rican culture to the stage with their dancing, drum circle, and singing. They showcased “Bomba” in which the lead drummer creates a beat according to the dancer’s gestures and dancing while the singers sing in the background. The group also brought members of the audience on stage to try out Bomba dancing.
The night ended with laughter and cheers from the crowd. Soon the dance floor opened up as the guests dance the night way to classic latino hits alongside colorful lights and a fog machine.
Sergio Aguilar, the Director of Latino Affairs through Institutional Diversity, believes events like Latino night are not only important for the campus, but for the community, “Events like these are important, especially for diverse individuals. The Latino community, right now, are often scapegoated, we are the face for a lot of negativity going on nowadays. And so, it’s important to have these events because it allows us to come together as a community. You saw all the families and the parents that attended, it shows the complete opposite, that our culture is amazing, it’s beautiful, we contribute to this nation. And our students are showing that through the work that they do.”
Latino Night was truly stunning and celebrated an array of latino countries in a diverse set of ways and gave a taste of what Latino culture is really about.
Feature photo: Boriken, a performance group from El Arco Iris Centro for the Arts in St. Paul, performs the “Bomba” during the annual Latino Night celebration Saturday, Oct. 27 in the Centennial Student Union ballroom. (Mansoor Ahmad | MSU Reporter)