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Noche Latina Celebrates 10th Anniversary

An entranced audience claps, providing the beat for the powerful and fluid movements of a Brazilian martial arts performance.

These were just two of many demonstrations of Latin American culture that entertained nearly 300 people Saturday night at UNC's 10th annual "Noche Latina."

Throbbing Latin beats, explosive colors, savory smells and a diverse audience filled the Great Hall to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the event and its co-sponsor, the Carolina Hispanic Association. This year's production was dedicated to UNC alumna Catherine Lindsay, who founded CHispA in 1991.

For the second year, N.C. State University's Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers joined CHispA to help sponsor and organize the event.

CHispA Vice President Eleina Hurd said the show, which has sold out every year, is meant to enlighten the campus about Hispanic culture.

"It is a chance for us to do what CHispA does best," Hurd said.

The diverse production of dance, music and poetry performances began with an authentic dinner buffet catered by 12 restaurants around the Triangle and followed with an afterparty dance.

The dinner, which left many without room for seconds, featured traditional Latin dishes, including fried yucca root and bananas. A live mariachi band in full regalia serenaded the diners.

Senior Pren Fort has attended Noche Latina since he transferred to UNC two years ago. He said the event gives him a refreshing chance to go back to his Peruvian roots and become more in touch with the Hispanic lifestyle. "This is one of the best things that can be done for the Hispanic community," Pren said.

The event showcased many energetic styles of Latin dance, including merengue, flamenco, tango, cha-cha and salsa.

Barbara Pacheco, choreographer of the expressive flamenco dance, said Noche Latina provided her an opportunity to share her passion for flamenco. "Tonight, (we performed) one of the most traditional dances," Pacheco said.

Musicians from local Latin bands joined together to play a compilation of Latin music styles and instruments. Punto 5, UNC's funk band, energized the audience with its renditions of contemporary Spanish songs, despite frequent technical glitches.

The event also attracted many who were not of Hispanic descent. In fact, more than half of all CHispA members are not Hispanic.

CHispA President Pamela D'Empaire was one of the main coordinators of the event. D'Empaire emceed the event with the president of N.C. State's SHPE, junior Jose Bueiz. "It is wonderful that everyone can enjoy this," D'Empaire said. "It is also made up of those who all enjoy the culture and want to promote it."

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