Gabriella Lee | Contributing Writer
In less than a year, FIU’s Latin American Dance Club has emerged as a powerhouse, captivating the hearts of over 200 members.
Since July of last year, the club has become a cultural phenomenon on campus, offering engaging dance classes inspired by variousLatin American cultures.
The LADC’s social, held on Jan. 13 to celebrate their achievements, had an exceptional turnout of 80 to 90 people throughout the night, reflecting the club’s significant success.
During an interview, Jared Rivera, the club’s president, said that a significant factor of the club’s success is working with equally passionate people.
From the beginning, the LADC had a great sense of togetherness; Rivera started off building the club with his friends and people he could trust, like his girlfriend and Vice President of LADC Angie Martinez.
Rivera expanded his club by reaching out to dance schools around Miami.
“It’s also about outsourcing,” he said. “I’m trying to find advice from people who are in it and for the community to get involved, too.”
Rivera’s cold calling was how he was able to meet the club’s lead salsa instructor, Bridgette Avila.
A seasoned dance instructor herself, Avila has been with the LADC since the club’s start last fall. She thinks back to that first meeting fondly.
“The first class was really fun!” said Avila. “I don’t think I have ever taught so many people, so I was kind of nervous.”
“As people started dancing, even if people didn’t get it a hundred percent perfectly, they just seemed to be having so much fun, it was really nice.”
Students have been vocal in their gratitude and unwavering support for the LADC, praising its inclusive approach and the cultural richness it brings to campus life.
“FIU has really culturally diverse students. We teach so many people of different cultures, not just Hispanics,” Avila said.
“I am really happy I was able to succeed with that, and I see people all the time saying ‘thank you’ or ‘it has alleviated stress for me’ and in the end that is what I wanted,” said Rivera.
The LADC is on a mission to create cultural understanding and unity through the universal language of dance. The club’s president himself only hopes that participants can learn to dance, connect to their culture, and learn about other cultures as well.
As the Latin American Dance Club continues to make its mark on campus, it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The LADC has exciting events lined up for the future, like regular dance meetings in GC 316 and socials in the GC Pit — you can see their schedule online at Panther Connect.
Dance enthusiasts and culture enthusiasts alike are encouraged to check out their upcoming events and join them on the exciting journey of representing and sharing Latin American culture throughout the FIU campus.