Hispanic Heritage Month
Many Dance Groups Featured; Local Academies Set To Perform
The seventh-annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the South Street Seaport on Sept. 19 will have a local flavor as dancers from several groups in the Times Newsweekly coverage area are set to strut their stuff to a Latin beat.
The outdoor event was the brainchild of Paul McGlothin, who decided to organize a gathering that would represent each of the 21 Hispanic cultures in New York City by enlisting the services of local dance academies that supply him with performers who move to the beat of various Latin styles of dance.
As the president of Arts for Business (AFB), a Westchester-based non-profit promotions company, Mc- Glothin wanted the annual festival to focus on communities and children rather than highlight celebrities who are always seen and heard.
“Latin dance schools are often the centers for culture in particular parts of the city,” said the business owner, who formerly resided in Mexico. “Many times, parents encourage their children to study some form of Latin dance or music to help them stay in touch with their culture rather than just letting them have their culture assimilated by American Rock ‘N Roll and things like that.”
One of the participants in this year’s jamboree is Glendale’s Lorenz Dance Studio, which offers classes in Latin dance, including salsa, bachata and Latin hustle.
Although the median age of the dancers is between 13 and 16, the event often brings out adult performers in their 20s and 30s, as well as seniors who strut their stuff for the thousands of people in attendance.
In addition, AFB has joined forces with organizations, such as the American Diabetes Association (ADA), to help raise public awareness of the diabetes epidemic in New York City, which happens to be prevalent among Latino Americans.
“It just felt a bit frivolous not to acknowledge that and do something about it,” he added. “One of the healthiest things a person can do to lower their blood sugar is to actually enjoy Salsa dancing and to dance vigorously.”
The tens of thousands of spectators will reportedly be informed by ADA employees on best practices and the right types of foods to eat to keep the disease at bay.
Bandleader and romantic singer Nelson Moreno will speak to the audience about diabetes over one of his songs during the show since his own father is currently suffering from high levels of sugar in his blood.
McGlothin always makes sure that the celebration doesn’t represent only one or two styles of dance; he encourages a varied mix of routines representing different portions of the Spanish-speaking world.
Columbian Cumbia dancers will join the party along with Mexican Mariachi bands and Polka performers from Mexico’s Vera Cruz region.
When asked what he enjoys most about the annual festivity, McGlothin gushed about how proud many of the children are to dance in front of family, friends and complete strangers.
“A lot of times, we’ll take pictures of the kids in their costumes…and they feel so good about themselves. They’re all smiles and it’s a wonderful thing to see,” he stated.
Throughout the year, AFB also collaborates in the celebration of West Indian Day in Brooklyn, the National Gospel Choir Competition for the African-American community along with events targeting Irish- Americans and the local Asian communities.
For further details on the upcoming event, visit www.artsforbusiness.com.
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