Trick or treat… or salsa

For the Latin American Student Association, Halloween is a time to do more than just dress up and eat candy. It’s a time to dance.

Salsaween is an original twist on the traditional Halloween celebration. LASA’s new event is an effort to blend Latin dance with the customary tricks and treats of Halloween. It will take place Friday night at 9 in the Special Events Center.

The idea to fuse Latin music and Halloween into an event for students was the result of LASA’s efforts to gain recognition on campus. Salsaween was an opportunity for various Latino organizations to celebrate and share their heritage.

“At the time that Salsaween came about, Latinos were not represented in events,” said senior Juan Pineda, vice president of public relations. “The members at the time decided to throw an event that would teach others about the Latin cultures and be fun. So they chose Salsaween, although salsa is not the only genre of music that we play at this event.

Salsaween reflects the importance of dance to the Latin community by featuring a mix of popular Latin styles, including salsa, merengue and bachata. Although Latinos may be most familiar with this musical genre, its appeal is not limited to them.

“It’s not just for Latin people,” said junior Juan Nuñez, Salsaween’s DJ. “People from every corner of the earth are attracted to music. Salsa music descends from African rhythms and has the power to draw people together.”

The event will be followed by a club afterparty with DJ Juancito.

“The goal is to expose non-Latinos to a part of our culture and give Latinos on campus a fun experience,” Pineda said. “We just want people to come out, dance and have a great time. We have a saying in LASA: ‘You don’t have to be Latin to join in the fun, and we really mean it.'”

Salsaween is a Latin-influenced alternative to the classic Halloween party, but attendees are still encouraged to wear costumes.

At USF, LASA celebrated Salsaween since the group’s foundation in 1986, but this will only be the second time that Mexican American Student Association has been involved as a partner in the planning. Both associations are dedicated to spreading awareness of and fostering an appreciation for Latin culture, but there is clear emphasis on one particular aspect: Latin dance, particularly salsa, is an integral part of the culture and has attracted the attention of individuals from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.