Regional Spot light: Carnival de las Americas

“Regional spotlight is a way to raise awareness on different areas of the world.

The first time this event was hosted at the University, the focus was on China,” said Paige Ramsey-Hamacher, Director for Multicultural and International Services.

For the International Students Association, the regional spotlight is a way to raise awareness, gain sponsors, and raise funds for International Student’s Association’s scholarship program.

This year’s event was focused on South and Central America. The International Student Association, the Office of First Year Experience, and the Multicultural and International Services Office worked together to host the event on the Feb. 20 starting at 5 p.m. at the Donald R. Tapia School of Business.

The event hosted dance performances by a group of Brazilian and Capoeria dancers. Each dancer lifted the spirits of each audience member through different ritualistic type dances that now represent the spirit of Brazilian Carnival.

According to July 2013 edition of Dance Magazine, Capoeria is a Brazilian art form originally from Africa, which incorporates many different dance movements that are very similar to the movements in martial arts. However, the movements are very rhythmic and are set at a carnival themed pace.

In Capoeira there is a lot of acrobatics as well. The male dancers at the event jumped into the air, nailed backflips, and spun in handstands. All of which takes a phenomenal amount of physical fitness and strength. The women were a little less active mostly smiling and dancing across the floor making sure not to get into the male dancer’s way.

According to an article written by Ana Maria Pomi and Helmut Reuter, Samba is a fast paced dance that most people associate with Carnival when they see the costumes. Women wear bras and short skirts or shorts covered in sequins and feathers. Women also wear very festive hats that of course match the color of their bra. The costumes are also very colorful and can consist of any color you can think of.

The men usually also have a similar themed costume. They wear knee length shorts or white pants and are bare-chested. Still, they wear the same types of festive, feathery and bejeweled hats as the women.

Some refreshments at the event included a variety of South and Central American cuisine from Peru, Argentina, and Brazil. Dishes from Argentina included empanadas tucumanas and fugazza. Empanadas tucumanas are fried pastries filled with beef filling. Fugazza is a South American styled pizza topped with onions and cheese.

Ceviche con leche de tigre provided a taste of Peruvian culture.  This dish is a South American seafood salad. This dish is usually served as a traditional appetizer.

Dishes from Brazil included pao de queijo and beijinho de coco. Pao de queijo is a South American styled cheese puff. Beijinho de coco is a coconut candy. This delicious coconut candy is reminiscent of a caramel with little bits of coconut inside.

Regional spotlight was very successful. The International Student Association was able to raise donations from students and staff and a considerable amount of people were educated on the different cultural traditions in South and Central America as well.

For the full gallery, click here.

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