Pictured above by Eric Hernandez: Students learn Bolivian traditions at the ‘Dancing with Los Compadres’ event on April 15 in De La Salle 250.
Lauren Barnes, Asst. News Editor
On April 15, Lewis University’s International Student Association and Latin American Student Organization sponsored the event, “Put your dancing shoes on and fight against cancer with ‘Los Compadres’ Carlos and Paco.”
Carlos Alberto Rojas Avila is a transfer student from Bolivia. This is his second semester at Lewis and his first time in the United States. Avila is a business administration major is also the Student Governing Board representative for ISA.
“I was in a meeting with my ISA board, and I came up with the idea of giving dance lessons, while having the opportunity to share my culture to the Lewis community in my short stay and to fundraise money for a good cause,” Avila said.
After getting approved to host this event for Lewis students and faculty, Avila wanted to collaborate in hosting with another student. Francisco Gonzales (Paco) is from Mexico and has been living in the U.S. for many years. Gonzales, an aviation management major, shares the same passion for music and culture as Avila.
“From the Bolivian culture, we had caporales, tinku and diablada that are part of the tradition and one of the most beautiful carnivals in the world — the Oruro Carnival,” Avila said. “On the other hand, we had Caribbean rhythms that included bachata, merengue and salsa, which are highly popular here in the U.S.”
The purpose for this fundraiser, while learning dances from Bolivia and Latin American rhythms, was to have everyone enjoy with open minds and hearts the culture of other parts of the world.
Fundraising for a fight against cancer was the other main purpose. All funds collected from donations and purchases were directed to Relay For Life, a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society.
“Together we can do so much for a cause that demands serious attention these days, which is to fight cancer,” Avila said. “We always have to stay close and fight as a community to always set the example for other universities.”
This two-hour fundraising dance event gave the Lewis community a chance to view video presentations on the different dances before trying to learn the steps. It was an opportunity for all to get a taste of a cultural event from another part of the world.
“Coordination and tradition gives everybody a stronger sense of having a Lasallian spirit while being part of a big family,” Avila said.