Latino center offers dance workshop
Beginning tonight, the Center for Latino Arts and Culture will offer a workshop in the bomba, a Puerto Rican dance.The five-week program, open to all University Students, will be held Thursdays at 7 p.m. Tonight's will take place in the CLAC building at 122 College Avenue."Bomba is an African-derived dance practiced by slaves and free blacks in Puerto Rico in early 18th-century Puerto Rico," said Carlos Fernandez, director of the CLAC. "It is characterized by its vigorous rhythm, improvisational dance steps, call and response singing and lyrics focusing on historical and current events."After tonight's session, the program will be held at locations such as the Latin Images Floor of Frelinghuysen Hall on the College Avenue campus. Jose Ortiz, known as "Dr. Drum," will demonstrate with other musicians the various percussion elements of the bomba drumming style and show different dancing steps. "We're going to have instruments there for people to work with," Fernandez said. Fernandez said he and Nanett DeJong, former music faculty member of Mason Gross School of the Arts, were thinking of how to generate interest about Latino music at the University. The workshop is open to all students regardless of experience level."We thought it would be good for student communities by engaging various student communities and learning about a particular genre by outreaching to the residence halls," Fernandez said.Fernandez encourages students to attend all five workshops to acquire a level of skill and knowledge of the music."There's an encouragement to create a dialogue with the drummer, with the lead drummers," Fernandez said referring to the dancers and singer. "It's a moment for each individual to create music and dance, to improvise music and dance at that moment," Fernandez said. It's pretty much open to an individual's experience, background, as well as ability." Depending upon the turnout, Fernandez said he hopes to continue it each semester. Fernandez said participatory events help foster learning across differing populations through cultural exchange."We'd like to do this once a semester, to have a series of activities that are engaging, that push Latino culture outside our walls, outside the Latino center," he said.