Monday, September 23

Night of Cultura embraces Latin American issues


Student group mix addresses women, workers through theater

A Night of Cultura will be presenting its second annual show
this year, “América Herstory,” bringing together a
rich combination of storytelling, acting and dance in a celebration
of Latin American culture.

The show’s structure will revolve around a central story
line involving an older woman and her incredible lifetime of
travels. By visiting the cultures of several Latin American
countries, the show will incorporate different dances of several
regions of Latin America.

Building on the success of last year’s performance, the
production has already been successful in its recruitment of
quality dancers and committee members.

“We had about 50 members last year, and we have about 85
this year,” said Executive Director Evelyn Perez, a
fourth-year sociology student.

The dances range from ultracontemporary to deeply traditional.
The dances of festejo and marinera, for examples, are traditional
dances of Peru, and will be featured in the performance.

“Every dance belongs to the story,” said Artistic
Director Rocio Lopez, a fourth-year Latin American studies student.
“Many of the dances were choreographed by students and on a
few, we had professional choreographers come in.”

Student choreographers were sought from some of UCLA’s
most talented dance groups, including the Latin American Student
Alliance, the Latino Business Student Association, Conciencia Libre
and MEChA, among others.

“We’re a conglomeration of many groups,” said
Perez.

An important part of the diversity of groups putting on the show
is the variety of opinions that the performance features,
exemplified in its many ideas and cultural influences.

Developing the show’s storyline required an entire
committee of playwrights, led by Lopez, which began meeting in fall
quarter to discuss issues it thought was important in the Latin
American community.

“The two main issues are the women’s struggle and
the workers’ struggle,” said Lopez.

Out of these two main issues, others, such as generational gaps,
gay and lesbian issues and interracial marriage, emerge.

“We wanted to get across that there’s an alternative
history than the one you find in textbooks,” said Lopez.

Something that makes A Night of Cultura’s event different
from other culture nights is the fact that the organization must
face the challenge of representing several very different
countries.

“It’s impossible to represent what being Latin
American means,” said Lopez. “I think of our culture
night as more of a contribution. We want to make people laugh and
think.”

Lopez and Perez are hoping also hoping to achieve this by
reaching a wider audience aside from the Latin American
community.

“This show is not solely for Latino viewers. It’s
for anyone who’s culturally open. It would be great for us to
expand our horizons,” said Lopez. “I think the cultural
story is dealing with things that are relevant to any
culture.”

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