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Hispanic Dance Troupe Highlights Latino Celebration

April 8, 2008

SELINSGROVE, (Pa.,)-Susquehanna University will host Pasos Caribeños Folkloric Dance Group, a troupe of high school students from York, Pa., for a free, public performance April 25 at 8 p.m. in Degenstein Center Theatre. The show, part of a celebration titled Las Luces en la Comunidad (Lights in the Community), is the group's second appearance at Susquehanna.

In 2004, at the age of 15, Susquehanna freshman Andy Zayas founded Pasos Caribeños, a group dedicated to the positive promotion, preservation and education of the Latino culture through dance and entertainment. The dances performed are plena, jíbaro, seis de la montaña and bomba from Puerto Rico; merengue and bachata from the Dominican Republic; salsa from Cuba; flamenco from Spain and tango from Argentina.

Susquehanna's Latino Initiative, the springboard from which Las Luces launched, is a highly successful multi-faceted program of activities, events and courses designed to link the university to the regional Latino population. 

Organized by students in the campus organization Hispanic Organization for Latino Awareness (HOLA) and Spanish 305, (the service-learning course, Spanish for the Service Professions), Las Luces en la Comunidad is designed to honor key SU faculty members and administrators who have been particularly supportive of the Latino Initiative, and representatives from regional social agencies, churches and civic organizations who work on behalf of Latinos in this region. All share the goal of promoting Latino culture and building bridges between the university and the regional community.

The Latino Initiative has thrived at Susquehanna, combining curricular with co-curricular activities grounded in the principles of service to the community, linguistic and cultural proficiency, respect for diversity, interdisciplinary approaches to social issues, cross-cultural experiences and teamwork.

Over the past few years a number of factors have contributed to the Latino Initiative's growing success, including the strong leadership and organizational energy demonstrated by student members of HOLA; strong cooperative support from all Spanish instructors and numerous faculty members from other departments; and the growing number of highly motivated and talented Latino students who are committed to promoting their rich cultural heritage on campus.

In addition, the group has noted many fine successes by regional outreach efforts, such as the summer 2007 enrichment programs directed by SU students in Sunbury and at Pine Meadows; the Pine Meadows after-school program; and the Children's Symposium, which brings a large group of elementary students to Susquehanna in April for a complete day of cultural immersion on campus.

For more information on Pasos Caribenos Folkloric Dance Group or Susquehanna's Latino Initiative, please contact Leona Martin at (570) 372-4267.

Contact: Gerald Cohen


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