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  • Writer's pictureLa Voz Latina

The Maryland Latin Dance Club Returns

Written by: Stella S. Canino-Quiñones 🇵🇷


Students dancing in the STAMP Atrium located at the University of Maryland on Feb. 8, 2023. The event was hosted by the Maryland Latin Dance Club. (John Valencia)


After a semester-long struggle to find suitable facilities, the Maryland Latin Dance Club brings its salsa and bachata lessons back to UMD on January 30th.


The club–geared towards community building and creating a welcome space for anyone willing to learn–meets every Monday and Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. in the STAMP Student Union rooms.


Meetings, with Mondays dedicated to bachata and Wednesdays to salsa, consist of dance lessons that are designed with everyone in mind. The classes make it easy to opt-in or out of the dance floor at any moment in the class, focusing the first hour on teaching basic movements and increasing difficulty by the second half of the session.


Juan Aristy, a Dominican dancer and professional instructor from Maryland who has worked with the organization for several years–leads the lessons. With his vibrant energy and style, Aristy shakes off the nerves of newcomers and regulars alike.


Juan Aristy instructs students in the STAMP Atrium located at the University of Maryland on Feb. 8, 2023. The event was hosted by the Maryland Latin Dance Club. (John Valencia)


“My mother is actually from Cuba; they don’t really dance bachata in my family,” said freshman mechanical engineering major Gabriella Anthony. “I’m trying something new.”


“My friends were going [to this event] and I didn’t have nowhere to go. But I loved it,” said Ashlyn Rodriguez, a freshman animal science major.


The Latin Dance club could not start classes in the fall semester due to trouble finding space.


Thanks to the help of the Multicultural Involvement Community Advocacy (MICA) and other Latin American student organizations, they have been able to provide funds and gain exposure through social media.


I wanted to join [this club] because I wanted to find a community I can relate to,” said Claudia Aguilar, the club’s president.


According to Data USA, only 9% of students at UMD are of Hispanic descent, making organizations like MLDC important, according to Aguilar.


“There’s a lot of people that aren’t from the Latin American community who show up to mainly dance but also learn the culture and speak the language,” said Aguilar.


“Joining MDLC has been a great experience for me. I did it because I was bored during quarantine; it turned into something more. I’m glad I stayed because the members and I built from the bottom to what it is today,” she said.


For more information, follow the organization at @marylandlatindance on Instagram.



Students dancing in the STAMP Atrium located at the University of Maryland on Feb. 8, 2023. The event was hosted by the Maryland Latin Dance Club. (John Valencia)


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