The Organization of Latin American Affairs (OLAA) held its annual culture show, titled “Welcome Home,” on Friday night. The show, which highlighted the cultural traditions of Latin countries around the world, is only the first event in the greater Latino Family Weekend, a three-day celebration of Boston College’s Latin American students, families, and alumni.
The show kicked off with a brief introductory video, presenting the night’s theme alongside a montage of traditional Latin American communities in celebration. The first act to take the stage was Tristan Simone, a rapper and jazz artist from Berklee College of Music. Backed by a full band and three additional singers, Simone dazzled the crowd with Spanish classics like Jarabe De Palo’s “La Flaca” and his own original song, “El Escenario.” The group finished its set with a cover of Rosalía’s “Malamente,” a crowd favorite that was met with raucous applause.
OLAA’s younger e-board members took the stage next to represent Colombia through cumbia, a folkloric dance notable for its graceful simplicity. The pairs, ladies in vibrant polleras and men in a traditional knotted red shawl and reckless hat combo, circled each other to the steady sound of Colombian percussion. Their act was followed by Samba Viva, a Brazilian dance ensemble made up of three polished dancers and their background instrumentalists. The dancers strutted in from the theater entrance to the sound of drums, crowned with colorful and elaborate headdresses. Grabbing the crowd’s attention with clean quick-step combinations, the dancers shimmied through the aisles, encouraging audience members to dance with them.
Following a brief intermission, Veronica Robles and her all-female mariachi, comprised of local musicians, took to the stage to deliver a unique musical performance, accented by her powerful vocals. Making it her mission to showcase the “autentica espíritu de Mexico,” Robles encouraged the audience to stand up and dance to the beat of the music. A guest dance performed by Vida de Intensa Pasión (VIP) followed suit, with BC students tackling a dance choreographed by the latin dance group.
The Dominican Association of Boston College also made an appearance to represent palo, a form of dance with African roots that often falls in the shadow of traditional Dominican dances, such as bachata and merengue. Following a brief but important video about Dominican identity, the performers took to the stage in all black with flags mounted proudly on their shoulders.
A preview for Limbo, a short film written and directed by OLAA e-board member Alfonso Gonzales, MCAS ’20, premiered next. The film, an intimate look at the challenges and triumphs Latin American immigrants face, is set to premiere April 25 at the annual Arts Festival.
VIP closed the culture show with traditional Latin flair. Dancing to a mix of Latin hits from Gianluca Vacchi and Luis Fonsi’s “Sigamos Bailando” to Bad Bunny’s “Krippy Kush,” the group wowed the audience with its signature flips and dips, utilizing choreography that was equal parts sensual and invigorating.
In summary, the OLAA Culture Show was a moving demonstration that showcased the strength and resilience of BC’s Latin American community. Uniting the attendees through a shared appreciation and pride in their Latin roots, the event exemplified the love and unity inherent in the Latino community at BC and beyond.
Featured Images by Kobe Hurtado / Heights Staff