Students learn Latin dance at 'Mamboneo' event

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ASEDOM's "Mamboneo" invited students to learn lively Latin dance routines from professional dance instructors. Cameron Steck.

A professional dance duo recently visited Baruch College to teach willing students various Latin dance routines. The pair, Chris Molina and Erika Lopez, are instructors at Lorenz Latin Dance Studio in Queens. Members of ASEDOM invited Molina and Lopez to teach the bachata, merengue and salsa at “Mamboneo” on Thursday, Dec. 1.

After having introduced themselves to the group, Molina and Lopez asked participants to gather in the middle of NVC 2-125 and spread themselves out. They started demonstrating the bachata to the prospective dancers, who silently mimicked to themselves the eight-count beat that Molina and Lopez were uttering out loud.

The crowd, stiff at first, started to move with more exaggerated and livelier motions when Molina broke the ice and incorporated some jokes into the session. As he demonstrated the steps, Molina made sure to tell the dancers what to avoid.

“It’s really important that you take comfortable steps,” Molina said as he took sumo steps to demonstrate the opposite effect. “Put all of your weight onto your left foot and have your right foot tap, like you’re stepping in hot water.”

Each person danced individually during the bachata. A clear divide formed in the middle of the improvised dancefloor; the front was teeming with more experienced dancers.

Despite the divide, both Molina and Lopez encouraged the students in the back to switch sides with the students in the front while the moves increased in complexity. At the end of the first session, the instructors put on Romeo Santos’ Cancioncitas de Amor and encouraged the budding dancers to listen to the music and determine the beat.

After the bachata, students took an interim period to feast on the first course of the night. The event saw some fleeting students, but it primarily consisted of the same groups of people.

“I think the crowd very much enjoyed the event because most students go to the event for either food and/or the activity,” said Frances Subervi, president of ASEDOM. “Mostly everyone that came into the room learned some new dance moves today and the food was a success as well. Another reason students might have enjoyed the event today was the instructor, he made things easy and wasn't intimidating at all. He was understanding and made you feel at ease.”

Students gathered to learn the salsa and merengue after the bachata lesson. During the salsa, the instructors asked the students to partner up and dance to a modified version of “Clocks” by Coldplay.

“My favorite part of the event was the partner switch up for the salsa section on the lesson. This gave participators a real life feel of how it will be dancing with different people because everyone has their own kind of flow and rhythm,” Subervi said. The instructors also partnered up with students in order to correct and guide their dance moves.

Members of ASEDOM created this event to showcase a side to Latino culture that is primarily characterized by the art of dance. The event was also a way to relieve stress prior to the upcoming finals week, according to Subervi.

When asked about the title of the event, Subervi explained that Mamboneo comes from the mambo, which is a popular dance whose origins are in Cuba.

She said, “when you say mamboneo it's a form of saying dancing. Most people say ‘mamboneo me’ meaning ‘dance me.’ This is basically a phrase people use to say, come show off your moves and prove you can dance the best.”

Marvina Alguerez, a marketing major who attended the event, described it as lively and “very instructive.”

She indicated that she did not expect to learn any new dance moves, but “everyone does each dance on their own and there is never a consistency to any dance because there’s a lot of personalization. But I learned different ways to step or move my hips in all three dances.”

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