Performers at Sabor Latino pose in their traditional Columbian folklore attire.
Courtesy: Christina Maldonado

The Latin American Student Association held its 13th annual Sabor Latino event Friday in UTCC. This year’s theme was “Abriendo Nuestro Hogar,” which translates to “Opening Our Home,” and focused on the importance of family, home and unity.

In partnership with Communiversity, the event drew an audience of almost 300. Family, friends, students, staff and faculty filled the room and celebrated Latino culture all night.

With dimmed lights and comfortable couches, the audience enjoyed a cozy, home-like atmosphere. Students, alumni and staff highlighted the challenges and joys of being a Latino through song, dance, poetry and spoken word.

Before each piece, the performers spoke a little of their experiences being Hispanic and what their performances meant as a Latino. Sophomore psychology major Betty Garcia performed a Columbian folkloric dance alongside other young women.

I have always loved to dance, but something about dancing a traditional dance from Colombia made it feel completely different,” Garcia said. “Although I am not Colombian, it gave me a sense of pride to be able to be part of a culture where embracing other traditions feels as if it is your own.”

The night progressed with performances that all depicted a little piece of the Latin heritage. Each performance not only reflected traditions of a culture, but also the struggles and hardships.

Senior English major Analiese Camacho wrote a poem titled, “Este Cuerpo,” which translates to “This Body.” She proudly highlighted the facets of her culture and addressed different stereotypes and misconceptions of being Latina.

To end the night, UTCC was quickly refurnished and turned into a Latin dance house. As the DJ played various Spanish genres, the audience danced and enjoyed the Hispanic traditions and songs.

“I had no idea what Sabor Latino was,” said sophomore biology major Maryann Slama, who attended the event for the first time. “But when I arrived, the environment was very welcoming and joyous. There were people from many ethnic backgrounds who all came together to share their experiences and talents. I felt blessed to be a part of it.”

Ivy Quintero, LASA president and a senior political science and Spanish double major, served as head chair for the event.

“I am so thankful to everyone who helped,” Quintero said. “It is so exciting to see how so many people came out to celebrate the Latino culture. It was both exciting and emotional to see how this community came together to enjoy the tradition and culture of Latin America.”

Attendees enjoyed refreshments such as enchiladas, frijoles, molé and horchata, many of which were homemade and brought by parents and relatives. The Modern Languages Department, Sigma Delta Pi, Santana’s and Taco King all donated to the event.

”The event turned out great. It all seemed to fall into place once the event began,” said sophomore global studies major and LASA member Dalia Velasco. “We had tons of help, which helped everything run smoothly.”