By MATT CRANE
Lee Boulevard will be filled with the sights and sounds of Hispanic culture Friday as the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center celebrates its second annual “Salsa in the Streets.”
Diversity Center Program Coordinator Brea Roth said Mississippi State University students and Starkville community members will dance in the streets between the Colvard Student Union and the campus Post Office.
“The event is in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month which started on Sept. 15,” she said. “We wanted to have a celebration that recognized the diversity we have on campus and throughout the community of Starkville.”
Roth said Salsa lessons will be provided by the MSU Ballroom Dance Club from 7-8 p.m. followed by an open dance time featuring Latin music and free chips and salsa.
“The MSUBDC is excited about any dancing opportunity happening on campus and they have the ability to share their passion,” she said. “We enjoy partnering with people who have that similar passion.”
Roth said the center’s mission and the event’s objective is to foster a welcoming atmosphere for international students through continued visibility.
“We’re here to develop a climate where minorities and international students are seen as valued members of our campus and the Starkville community,” she said. “We’re opening the event to the public so they can see the diverse international community we have here.”
MSUBDC President Amanda Washington said she and the club are excited to participate in the dancing event and spread awareness of the cultural diversity at MSU.
“It’s bringing a little bit of the Latin world to Starkville,” she said. “We want to show that even in Mississippi, we go out of our way to accommodate all races and ethnicities.”
Washington, who joined the club in 2009, said the student organization has at least 30 faithful members from students to community members that attend each week.
“It really is for anybody who is around and interested,” she said. “For me, I do it because of my love for the art of dance in all of its forms.”
Washington said when she was applying for colleges, the presence of a ballroom dancing organization was a top priority.
“Ballroom encompasses so many different types of dances in one setting,” she said. “I get to do a little bit of everything in ballroom.”
For Friday’s event, Washington said she and fellow club member Matt Langston will be the lead instructors during the dance lesson portion of the evening.
“I will be in charge of leading the female participants and Matt will be in charge of the guys showing the basic moves for Salsa,” she said. “The rest of our officers will be lined up down the road as an example to demonstrate what we’ll be teaching to those in attendance.”
Washington said she is looking forward to dancing the Salsa as it is one of her favorite types of dances.
“The Salsa has a structure to it, but inside of that there is so much room to expand and grow,” she said. “Salsa allows you to be a little more relaxed because the footwork is so simple but you can add intricate moves.”
In recent years, the ABC television network has capitalized on the ballroom dancing movement with its popular competition show, “Dancing with the Stars.”
For its upcoming all-star season, Washington said she cannot wait to see some of her favorites return for what should be an exciting season.
“I think it’s going to be amazing,” she said. “I’m just so ready to see all of the dances.”
“Salsa in the Streets” begins at 7 p.m. in front of the Colvard Student Union on the MSU campus.
For more information, call 662-325-2033.