The dance group IU Paso a Paso will present their 4th annual Latinxpo at 4 p.m. Sunday, giving Latinx students the opportunity to share art inspired by their culture. The performance will take place at the Open Air Venue in Kinsley Hollow and will also be broadcast live on Zoom.
Interested artists can register to participate until the end of Friday by sending a message on the group’s Instagram page.
Angie Ramirez, president of the group, said she liked planning the event for the first time because she was able to include other group members to organize and recruit artists.
“Our main focus is anyone whose work celebrates Latino culture, or if the artist is Latin, then we celebrate that,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez said she hopes this event will show Latino students who are not in the group that they can join. She said that many of the group and Latino students are first generation students and the community can be very important in supporting them.
Freshman Israel Robles, who is a dancer in Paso a Paso, performs in a jazz combo for the event.
“I felt a strong pull when Angie mentioned that they were looking for artists, especially a Latino man, to show my musical side,” Robles said.
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Robles said he felt lonely before joining Paso a Paso this semester. He didn’t have a Latino community to connect with and he lacked belonging to a large Latino community in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, he said.
“The most rewarding part is being with other Latinos and being able to have fun,” Robles said.
First-year student Sharina Herandez-Villalobos will present a ceramic bowl she made last year at the exhibition. His inspiration are the items you can find in Honduran stores.
“It’s not only a way for me to personally connect with others, but it’s also a way for me to show people from other cultures what my culture is,” Herandez-Villalobos said. “I think it’s really cool to be able to do that, especially since it was difficult to find a community.”
Herandez-Villalobos said it was difficult to find a Latino community in IU due to the lack of in-person classes or group meetings. She encouraged other Latinx students not to be intimidated into joining a group like Paso a Paso and attending Latinxpo.
“I feel like we’re a really open community and everyone is really nice,” Herandez-Villalobos said. “I really don’t see any bad experiences coming out of it. It’s always going to be good.
Year one Erica Doan will present paintings and poetry. She wanted to show her identity through her art and dance, she said.
“It’s nice to be able to break down the lines that separate us and to break down those prejudices by showcasing culture,” Doan said.
Doan said the event is open to all non-Latinx community members.
“Come in with an open mind and be prepared to listen to people’s stories,” Doan said.