Multicultural Student Services hosted Bachata Fest to share Latino culture through dance at the UCCU Center, March 31.
Bachata is a genre of Latin American music, which originated in the Dominican Republic and has indigenous and African musical elements. Bachata has become one of the most popular styles of Latin music.
Bachata fest started many years ago, when a UVU student, Marcelina Zamora, organized Unidos Saldremos Adelante (USALO) as a club. Members of the club expressed their interest in wanting to bring and share their culture on campus.
They started with small events in the Grande Ballroom, but no one could predict that Bachata Fest would grow so fast. A year ago, USALO became part of the Multicultural Students Services.
Katty Perez, assistant director of MSS, has been in charge of organizing the event for more than four years.
“Every year, we try to bring something different. However, we have kept the roots of the event intact. The first hour, we have a dance class with an expert bachatero “bachata dancer,” Perez said. “Afterwards, we start the dance by bringing amazing local and out-of-state DJs (DJ Azuquita from Utah, and DJ Ju Crazy from New York.) In the middle of the dance, we invite couples to participate in our bachata competition, where the winners get a trophy and a prize with a value of $200.”
Due to the growth of the event, it has to be moved at UCCU center where over 2,300 people attended this year. Six couples from different nationalities and backgrounds came to compete in this famous event. Married couple, Jackeline Azero from Bolivia and Jefferson Bayona from Venezuela, won the competition.
“I love Bachata Fest because it has a diversity of music, and I can enjoy every kind of Dance,” said senior photography major, Jackeline Azero.
Chris Fowler, a UVU alumni and former member of the MSS, said that through the group he was able to learn more about other cultures.
“I was part of UVU Multicultural Dance Team. It allowed me to open my eyes to explore another culture, like the Latin Team. Bachata Fest has a lot of diversity; you can make friends easily; I love this place; it is so fun,” Fowler said.
The main purpose of this event is to integrate the Latino heritage and culture into the community.
“Events like Bachata Fest can help us to remember that we can come together and learn from one another. Our mission is to celebrate, validate, and unify the community,” Perez said. “We promote cultural awareness, connect people while facilitating students to success and recognizing and sharing their cultural identity and supporting their academic journey. I think we accomplished all of these and we will continue to promote diversity and acceptance.”