The dance group IU Paso a Paso invites Latinx students to the 4th edition of Latinxpo

The IU Paso a Paso dance group will perform their 4th annual Latinxpo at 4 p.m. Sunday, providing an opportunity for Latinx students to share art inspired by their culture. The performance will take place at the Open Air Venue in Kinsley Hollow and will also be streamed live on Zoom.

Interested artists can register to participate until the end of Friday by sending a message to the group Instagram page.

Angie Ramirez, president of the band, said she enjoyed planning the event for the first time because she was able to include other band members to organize and recruit artists.

“Our primary focus is anyone whose work celebrates Latino culture, or if the artist is Latino, then we celebrate that,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez said she hopes this event will show Latino students who aren’t part of the group that they can join. She said many of the band members and Latino students are first-generation college students and the community can be very important in supporting them.

Freshman Israel Robles, who is a dancer at Paso a Paso, performs in a jazz combo for the event.

“I felt a strong pull when Angie mentioned they were looking for artists, especially being a Latino male, to show my musical side,” Robles said.

Related: [Latinx students miss sense of community during pandemic, hopeful for fall semester]

Robles said he felt lonely before joining Paso a Paso this semester. He didn’t have a Latino community to connect with and missed being part of a large Latino community in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, he said.

“The most rewarding part is being around other Latinos and being able to have fun,” Robles said.

Freshman Sharina Herandez-Villalobos will display a ceramic bowl she made last year at the exhibit. His inspiration is the items you can find in Honduran stores.

“It’s not only a way for me to personally connect with others, but it’s also a way for me to show people from other cultures what my culture is,” Herandez-Villalobos said. “I think it’s really cool to be able to do that, especially because it’s been hard to find a community.”

Herandez-Villalobos said it was difficult to find a Latino community at IU due to the lack of in-person classes or group meetings. She encouraged other Latinx students not to be bullied by joining a group like Paso a Paso and participating in Latinxpo.

“I feel like we’re a really open community and everyone’s really friendly,” Herandez-Villalobos said. “I really don’t see any bad experience coming out of it. It’s always going to be good.

Rookie Erica Doan will present paintings and poetry. She wanted to show her identity through her art and her dance, she said.

“It’s nice to be able to break down the boundaries that separate us and break down those prejudices by showcasing culture,” Doan said.

Doan said the event is open to all non-Latinx community members.

“Go with an open mind and be prepared to listen to people’s stories,” Doan said.