Dip your partner in salsa


NIU’s Latin Jazz Ensemble played at Latin Dance Party in the Diversity room of the Holmes Student Center Tuesday night.

By Jessica Cabe

Students itching to put on their dancing shoes had the opportunity Tuesday night at the Latin Jazz Dance Party.

Sponsored by the School of Music, the Center for Latino & Latin American Studies, the Campus Activities Board and the Latino Resource Center, around 30 students got down in the Diversions Lounge in the Holmes Student Center.

The party offered salsa lessons, free appetizers and live entertainment from the NIU Latin Jazz Ensemble. Men who took advantage of the free dance lessons were not disappointed.

“Girls appreciate a guy who knows how to dance,” said marketing major Katie Zoellner.

Freshman biology major Jarrett Wolske agreed.

“Only a true man can dance the salsa,” he said.

The mood was set by a combination of live music from NIU’s Latin Jazz Ensemble and a DJ providing more modern Latin pop music.

“The band was awesome,” said junior mathematics major Nelson Wu. “NIU’s music department is amazing.”

The band’s performance was a special treat for students because the Latin Jazz Ensemble is actually only scheduled to perform in the spring semester.

But what is Latin jazz?

“We are playing music coming from Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian traditions,” said Gregory Beyer, faculty associate for the Latino Resource Center who has been directing the ensemble for eight years. These styles are combined with American jazz music to create a unique fusion that makes standing still or sitting down impossible.

All in all, the evening provided a nice distraction from that annoying little thing called reality. For a few hours, students were able to escape from worry and experience a culturally rich party atmosphere filled with food, fun, and salsa dancing.

“It’s really great to see a bunch of people dancing and having fun,” Wu said. “Usually, we’re in class or studying.”