Dance Fusion Night offers salsa, bhangra, afrobeats lessons

Various student organizations gave dance lessons at Thursday’s Dance Fusion Night as part of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s Culture Connect week. | Nimrah Siddiqui/The Cougar

Culture Connect Week’s Dance Fusion night brought members of the University of Houston community together to learn cultural and ethnic dances from different parts of the world Thursday.

Students gathered in Student Center South for lessons on salsa, bhangra and afrobeats. Cougar Dance Sport, Houston Di Shaan and the Nigerian Students Association provided training on the various dance styles.

“One thing I really wanted to do was to make the dances more cultural based,”said Isai Ramirez-Sanchez, the organizer of the event and a graduate student in higher education. “In the years past, they taught swing dance and the ballroom-type style.”

Ramirez-Sanchez reached out to various student organizations to collaborate on the event. This year marked the third annual Dance Fusion night.

“Bhangra is an Indian style that originated in the North Indian state of Punjab,” said Simran Dhillon, captain of Houston Di Shaan and accounting sophomore. “It’s a dance that people do in celebrations. It’s done during the harvest when people get really excited about the new harvest, so they dance. Culture Connect Week to us is to share the love of dance.”

Multiple students said they were excited to share their love of dance with their peers.

“I really liked all the things I participated in, and I actually can’t wait until next year because I would participate in more things,” said Kayla Johnson, an education freshman. “I thought I was going to be awful at salsa, but it was great.”

Hosted by the Center of Diversity and Inclusion, Cultural Connect Week is a week-long series of events that showcases different aspects of culture and diversity on campus.

“I wanted something that actually represented the student body of UH because there is a lot of diversity and a lot of international students as well,” Ramirez-Sanchez said. “I felt like it would be important to showcase not just the talents, but the representation of the student body through dance.”

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