Join us for Salsa Stories this Fall
Dance educator Clara Bello is back with a brand new course, featuring new guest artists versed in salsa dance, music and Latinx stories
Clara Bello, DEL Facilitator, Salsa Stories: I want to leave the community with the understanding that salsa is not just a dance for many of us. It is the way we get through what our day-to-day lives are as immigrants or as first generation, second generation… it’s the way we connect back to our homelands and our histories. Salsa tells our stories. And through this course, I want to not only tell the DEL community the stories that come from salsa, but I also want participants to be able to tell their stories and connect to salsa in that.
Clara: It’s important to understand that the students don’t come in blank… Students are experts in their own histories, in what they know and what they can bring. So with that in mind, I just try to ask students: “Tell me about you. What do you know? What do you dance? What do you listen to at home?” And, and for the most part, if you ask, they’ll let you know!
I’ve had families share Venezuelan folk dances, Mexican folk dances… And all of these are very meaningful for our students, and for our community, because they see themselves reflected in the culture and the students themselves shine. When they see that someone actually cares about who they are and what they bring to the table. I think it’s important to ask, not assume, and to know that inviting people in is honestly the best way to get to know someone or to get to know some people.
Clara: I hope participants leave with some understanding of salsa as not only a dance that has steps, but that it is this cultural history, woven into music and dance, and it tells our stories. I want them to walk away with the fact that they don’t need to necessarily have been born into the culture to be part of the culture—that we welcome everyone and want everyone to bring along their tapestry of stories and join into this wonderful quilt that we’ve been weaving throughout time in history.
This course takes place during Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month.
Erin Lally, Director of DEL: In thinking about, Latinx Month, and celebrating it but not only just in that month, but throughout the year. How can teachers bring this new knowledge and connect in their classroom throughout the year?
Clara: I don’t live in a month. My culture lives within me and through me. And it’s in time and space throughout the year. These are students, they don’t live in one month. To just shine a light on them for one month is diminutive, so I feel that when we’re thinking about a year-long curriculum or unit of study and just to think about it not just in terms of the month, but how can we be authentic, and maybe bring this to our communities. Not just me bringing it to them, but what can the community, my students, and the school bring and share with me. Being open to learning from the community.
Thursdays: Sept 29, Oct 6, Oct 13
Time: 7-9pm EDT
Location: Online (Synchronous)
Instructors: Clara Bello with guest artists Alycia Perrin, Baudilio “Lío” Rivera, and Pedro Ruíz
Curriculum Contributor: Megan J. Minturn