Lost in Paradise

LASO provides tropical getaway at Noche Latina

Nandita Modhubonti, Scarlet Staff

The Latin American Student Organization (LASO) hosted their very first event of the year on Friday, Nov. 3rd. Noche Latina is advertised annually by LASO as “a night of music, food, dance and even more dancing.” The event itself is a formal one and hosted with the aim of both celebrating and giving the Clark community a taste of Latin American culture.

The doors to the event opened at 7pm sharp, and, considering the fact that all the tickets had sold out within the first few days that sales began, there was an undeniably large crowd waiting in the Higgins University Center. The diversity within the Latin American community at Clark was easily noticeable from the fact that each table was named after a different country from the region. Seated at the table for Argentina, the first thing I noticed was the cleverly designed placeholders that included facts about Argentina’s geographical features including a miniature model of the Andes mountain range.

The theme for this year was “Lost in Paradise,” and focused on the natural beauty of all of Latin America. Tilton Hall, where the event took place, was decorated predominantly in colorful cutouts of tropical flowers, trees and butterflies. The club even managed to set up their own geofilter on Snapchat, encouraging all guests to share their night on social media. Likewise, both of the MC’s hosting the event were energetic and entertaining to say the least, and made it a point to interact with both performers and guests alike.

The very first performance of the night was a poem recitation revolving around homesickness, effectively incorporating the many nuances of life at home and mentioning the many attractions of Latin America. Next, Clark’s Salsa Team performed their set, dancing to both traditional tunes as well as versions of popular Latin music. The music had been adapted to the mode of dance from the Caribbean, and it was clear to see a significant amount of practice had gone into the preparation for the event.

Even though appetizers were being served at all the tables by LASO members for the entire duration of both performances, it was announced that dinner would be served following Salsa. Dinner was in the style of a buffet featuring a variety of both meat and vegetarian dishes, including crowd pleasers like fresh tortilla chips and black beans. All of the food was provided courtesy of Tacos Mexico, a local Mexican establishment.

Several other performances followed dinner, including a cover of popular songs such as “Limón y Sal” and an acoustic rendition of “Despacito” by Clark students. The Salsa team once again made an appearance, but this time performing Bachata, a dance form that originated in the Dominican Republic, earning vigorous applause and cheering from the audience. Churros were served throughout the last half of the event, which led up to the last act, in the style of a flash mob and pairing contemporary dance moves with popular Spanish dance songs.

Once all the performances were done, the dance floor was opened to all guests along with the rest of the community who had missed out on buying tickets. Guests also lined up for pictures at the colorful photo booth featuring props like flower crowns and letter balloons, as well as a giant photo frame attesting to the theme of “Lost in Paradise”.

The speakers continued to blare both popular Spanish throwbacks along more recent hits and the dancing continued late into the night. People attempted to learn the steps to the previous year’s choreography from the salsa team, and took turns at breakdancing and playing limbo as one of the MC’s successfully crowd-surfed. As the night progressed, the lingering laughter, noise, and overall enthusiasm on the dance floor became suggestive of the success of the night’s events.