Students from all different cultures joined together to dance to Japanese and Latin Zumba in the middle of the Shepherd Union lobby to celebrate culture through dance on March 23.
The students began and ended with traditional Bon-Odori Japanese dance. Bon-Odori folk dancing is inspired by cultural and religious beliefs in the Japanese culture, and its main purpose is to welcome spirits of the dead.
Students formed a circle while dancing to traditional Japanese folk songs. The dances included sweeping and shoveling motions, as it was a way to warm up the students so they could start to dance to the Latin Zumba music.
Most of the Zumba dancing was done to Latin music, but it also included other genres such as country. Mentors from the peer/mentor program, Cindy Mendoza and Karina Torres organized the event and previous events that help people understand and experience different cultures.
“Although we’re all different, I think it’s important to know other people’s views and cultures, so they can understand where they come from,” Mendoza said. Torres added to her statement and said, “We really push towards wanting to get more people out there and to get more involved.”
Torres urged students to get involved, especially in regards to events at the school. “It’s really important learning that there are other ways to learn a culture than just sitting in a lecture meeting. Learning through dance is powerful,” Torres said.
Sariah Crowton, dance instructor at Weber State, said that learning other people’s cultures and dances is important because “the world is full of diversity, and dancing is a way we can unite.”
Crowton explained that in the classes she teaches, there are people from different cultures and backgrounds, and those opportunities allow more people to open up and learn about one another.
“Dancing is something we can all do together that’s a positive and healthy activity,” Crowton said.
“Sometimes people feel afraid because they aren’t sure if they can dance, but it’s just trying to move in a different way. Everyone has their own style.” Crowton said, “Dance in your own way and express yourself. Let’s make a smoothie of flavors.”