El Baile, school’s first Latin-themed dance, unites students of all races when it’s needed most


MHS students dance at the first annual “El Baile” dance that MHS held on Saturday, March 18th. Photo submitted by Rosie Gomez.

Tyler Yakimisky, Sports Editor

On Saturday, March 17, from 7-10 p.m., Student Leadership and Puertas hosted a dance in MHS’s main gym. This dance, however, was a bit different than past Homecoming dances and Winter Formals; this dance was held to promote the Latino culture and build an increased awareness about this culture.

“I feel like that culture and tradition needs to be represented more since they’re a big part of our population here,” said English teacher Carsyn Rodriguez.

Rodriguez co-sponsored the dance along with English teacher Laura Garcia who is the adviser of Puertas, a club that encourages students of all backgrounds to participate in diverse Latino culture activities.

Lack of Latino representation at the formal dances hosted by MHS is part of the reason this dance took place.

“Finally, this year after Homecoming I thought that there should just be its own dance where there is a majority representation with the Spanish music and the Latino culture,” said Rodriguez.

After plans were made with Puertas and Student Leadership, the dance was announced in late February.

Because the dance was centered on the Latino culture, Latin dance workshops were held in the Cafeteria after school Tuesday, March 6, and Wednesday, March 7, to help students learn some dance moves.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see there was some diversity in the group. It was a good mix of Latino students and non-Latino students,” said Rodriguez.

These workshops resulted in about 60 kids attending them.

Even sports teams got their share of the fun.

“The whole track team went, and they learned Cumbia and Bachata and other fun Latin dances,” said junior Abigail Ambrose.

Other dances taught at the workshop were the Salsa, the Merengue, the Reggaeton and the Caballo Dorado– all of which are prevalent dances in Latin America.

The dances were instructed by any MHS students who knew the dances and wanted to help instruct other students on how to perform the moves associated with that certain kind of dance, and that excitement carried over into the dance.

“I was excited to experience something other than Homecoming or Turnabout,” said Ambrose. “For me, it was cool because it felt more inclusive because it is celebrating a culture; it wasn’t your average annual event.”

Besides the fun that was had at the dance, Rodriguez hoped that the dance would help shed some light on recent issues and offer advice.

“I think the biggest reason recent events in social media and at our school have happened is because we’re lacking that empathy for each other. People don’t realize the things we say and do are offensive to other cultures,” said Rodriguez.

After the first-ever Latin dance at MHS, students from all classes and backgrounds had nothing but positives to say about the event.

Senior Christian Loar said, “It was great to see Mundelein students participate in such a great event and embrace a different culture in a new, exciting venue.”