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ALAS pays homage to Latinx culture with La Gala

by Kiara Alfonseca - Editor-in-Chief
Mon, Apr 17th 2017 09:40 pm
Kiara Alfonseca/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

ALAS hosted its biggest event of the year, La Gala on April 15. The event illuminated different Latinx cultures through a live band performance, dances like the one above and food.
Kiara Alfonseca/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ALAS hosted its biggest event of the year, La Gala on April 15. The event illuminated different Latinx cultures through a live band performance, dances like the one above and food.
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The sounds of the guia, the blare of the trumpets and the beat of the drums echoes throughout La Gala, intermingling with the scents of arroz con gandules drifting from the back of the room. Saturday, April 16, the Association of Latino American Students at The College at Brockport hosted its biggest event this year; the music was loud and the tables were set, as dozens flooded into the Seymour College Union Ballroom. 

With the live band La Crema taking center stage throughout the evening, the event formerly known as the Masquerade Ball, began. The dance floor was open, with brave couples heading onto the dance floor for quick bachata and merengue routines. Every once in awhile, the band called for the salseros and salseras to take the floor. ALAS members, like dance coordinator Briana Guadalupe, took to the stage to show off their moves and encourage others to gather the courage to join them.

ALAS is proud of La Gala, with culture and heritage in each aspect of the night, as there is at all of the events the organization puts on. Vice President Harlyn Morillo knows that there are always ways to improve, but thinks the ALAS crew hit the nail on the head with La Gala.

"I feel as though the event was successful," Morillo wrote in a message. "I always get a genuine feeling when I do something wrong and there are certain things I would've done differently but overall I feel as though ALAS did what it is supposed to do and that's promote unity within the Brockport community and also bring cultural awareness to my culture being a Latinx."

"Latinx" is the gender neutral term for what has formerly been known as the descriptor "Latino." Latinx negates the masculine term, that was once representative of the entire culture, for a more inclusive alternative. 

Several performances wowed the crowd that night; from a local dance troupe performing a salsa routine, a performance representing Panama from the Caribbean Student Association members, a poem and drum performance, with student Justin Fernandez reciting and President Christopher Rivera on the drums, as well as the final performance by ALAS with the men and women sporting different flags of Latinx countries or islands and taking over the dance floor.

Puerto Rico, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico and more: the flags blurred together before the crowd as the men turned, dipped and drifted their partners to the music of La Crema.

And in the end, a wrap up of ALAS' year, from Strawberries and Chocolate, to videos capturing the weekly fun of their general meetings Sundays in Union room 119. A long year of hard work comes together perfectly for the group's annual end-of-the-year event.

"I love everything about La Gala/Masquerade," Morillo wrote. "The build up, the work we put in for it, the hours of setting up, and making sure everything goes right. It's so stressful but the results are always justified. We have one night to really show what we, being from Latinx culture, have to offer and we try to take full advantage of that."

The night didn't end when the last performance did.

With students gathered around the stage, and the music at an all-time high, the audience became a family, laughing and cheering on their peers as they took to the stage and danced to the commands of "la cintura" and "pa bajo."

This event gave students who are unfamiliar with Latinx culture a chance to delve into the rich sights, sounds and movements of the diverse make up of hispanic and latino backgounds.

The event gave students who are unfamiliar with the Latinx community culture a chance to delve into the rich sights, sounds and movements of the hispanic backgrounds.

Junior Brian Elliott attended La Gala and used the night as one to learn from. "It was an amazing experience," Elliott said. "As an outsider of the culture, I felt welcomed and very comfortable. This wasn't just a great night, but a great opportunity to learn about a culture different than mine."

After the crowd dispersed and the music ended, as La Crema bid the audience goodnight, there was still excitement in the air and anticipation for the next ALAS event to take the stage. 

stylus@brockport.edu

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