Arts and EntertainmentDanza plans to foster community and culture

Trinity is home to many dance groups, all of which are known for a specific style of dance. Danza hopes to spice things up by bringing Latin dance to the community.
Savannah WahlgrenJanuary 30, 2020423 min
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Photo provided Amy Platter

Danza is Trinity’s new Latin dance group that began this semester. The group’s creators, Amy Platter and Cannon Wilson, are both sophomores who wanted to create a group where people could share a love of Latin dance without the pressure of performing.

“I’m a transfer student, and one of the things that I participated in at my old school was salsa socials,” Platter said. “When I came to Trinity, I saw that they had a lot of similar groups, but nothing specifically for Latin dance.”

One of the central missions of the club is to create a fun and welcoming space for people interested in Latin dance and culture. Choosing to use the umbrella term of Latin dance was a conscious decision, as they hope to introduce the Trinity community to many different types of Latin dance.

The club is not centered around performances but more so social gatherings that bring together people through dance and music. Club socials are a space for people to have fun without any additional stress.

Participants do not need any prior experience with Latin dance, and there will be an instructor at the start of every social to teach everyone that specific dance. While there will be an initial focus on salsa, participants will also be exposed to other dances like bachata, merengue and cumbia.

“It’s very low stakes, no need to dress up. We’re avoiding tango and a lot of the more romantic dances so that it is purely friendly and casual,” Wilson said. “It’s free from any of the anxiety that comes with other types of dance.”

Without the stress of performing, participants can focus on simply learning a new dance and connecting with others who share their interests. Danza strives to create a space for people to make friends and step out of their comfort zones. Danza also hopes to function as a place that students can go to when they need a break from the chaos of being a Trinity student.

“It’s a wonderful way to meet people and de-stress. When you’re dancing, the music is going, you’re linked up with a friend or any other random person you just met and you feel the music,” Wilson said. “You have no other choice but to be present and dance. It’s freeing.”

Another focus of the club is to educate people on the culture and history behind Latin dance. The club’s faculty adviser, Carlos Velez Salas of the department of Modern Languages and Literatures, is hoping to do exactly that through teaching Peruvian folk dance and its importance in Peruvian culture.

“Dr. Velez is from Lima and has a lot of experience in that dance,” Platter said. “He is also very active in the Latin dance community outside of Trinity, so I think it’d be really great if we could bring that experience to Trinity.”

Platter and Wilson, both of whom have experience with ballroom and swing dance, look forward to sharing what they love about Latin dance with students here at Trinity. In comparison to other styles, they both believe Latin dance to be a lot more free and less structured. There are, of course, rules for every dance, but Latin dance is flexible enough that participants can make each dance their own.

“I like the amount of energy that goes into it. In Latin dance, you have a little bit more expression with the styles of dance,” Platter said.

“I like the manner in which it’s danced. It’s much more friendly. The movements are less rigid, more fun, more hips,” Wilson said.

Danza had their first interest meeting on Jan. 25, and one person who attended the meeting, first-year Jacy Haynes, said they were drawn to the low-stress environment the group is hoping to create.

“I really enjoy dancing, but I also enjoy the social aspect of it without the stress of preparing for a performance,” Haynes said. “I chose this group because the people are really nice, and I get to experience Latin culture while doing something I love while also making some awesome new friends.”

Those who are interested are encouraged to reach out to Platter or Wilson and keep an eye out for information about Danza’s next monthly event.

Savannah Wahlgren

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