Students discover fun of Afro-Latin dance

By Aayanna D. Fonseca/reporter

People don’t have to be black, white or Hispanic to dance. 

With a few tribal chants combined with articulate moves and the beat of a bongo, speaker and NE dance instructor Lindsay Puente proved just that. 

In the wake of Hispanic Heritage Month, Puente gave NE Campus students an introduction into the musical practices of Haitian, Puerto Rican and Brazilian cultures Oct. 16. 

She led students through ijexa, a rhythm commonly used in Brazil with tambourines, cowbells, beads and best of all, dance.

“All of these expressions are used to create community,” she said while stepping from foot to foot, showing the students the unique dance exercise. 

Ijexa also unifies people from different backgrounds because several cultures practice this form of dance. 

“It’s so great to watch her do these dances and have fun with them,” NE Campus student and Brazil native Crstiana Rivera said. 

Puente reminded students the Afro-Latin term is not a single identity and relates with various Latin American and African heritages such as Spanish, Portuguese and French. 

“A lot of times when we think of Hispanic or Latino, we just think Mexican,” she said. 

The racial injustices and crime in Brazil surrounding the current political election she said she related to national issues also in the U.S.

Puente encourages self-identity, and the term Afro-Latino creates room for people to embrace their roots. 

“I can’t tell you what it means,” Puente said. “But I can tell you what it means for me.”