by Juan Arias

 

Are you looking to spice up your college experience? Discover Latin Rhythm, UCF’s largest Latin dance club! Since its inception in 2001, Latin Rhythm has established itself as one of the most prominent registered student organizations (RSOs) at UCF. Over a hundred currently active members, numerous performances, and frequent workshops throughout the year demonstrate the club’s involvement in the university. Latin Rhythm fosters a welcoming community where members can develop as dancers, team players, and leaders. Anyone at UCF (students, faculty, and staff) looking for an exciting way to get involved is invited to join the family!

Latin Rhythm offers regular classes in two styles of Latin dancing during the Fall and Spring semesters. Casino style salsa, a group-based Cuban dance, is taught weekly on Tuesdays at 9:00 pm in the Student Union’s Key West Ballroom. Bachata, a dance native to the Dominican Republic, is taught every other week on Thursdays at 9:00 pm in PSY 106. Membership for Casino classes costs $25 per semester ($40 per year), and Bachata classes cost $5 per semester. In addition to regular classes, Latin Rhythm offers workshop and performance services to other organizations and events like the Multicultural Student Association (MSA) and Relay for Life.

Over the years, the ever-growing number of students and performance requests nurtured Latin Rhythm into a well-structured RSO with many people working behind the scenes. The club offers members plenty of opportunities to improve their interpersonal skills as a part of the executive board (E-board) and/or the instructor team. In the administrative branch, E-board members hone the skill of their respective position (e.g. finances, event coordination, administration, etc.) and cultivate teamwork. Instructors grow as communicators by learning to deliver information, handle a group, and assess the learning process. Finally, the positions of head instructor, event coordinator, and president are reserved to the select few members looking to make Latin Rhythm an experience of intense leadership development. Only those with an exceptional love for dancing, dedication to the club, and commitment to responsibility are eligible to these posts.

As an additional advantage to its members, Latin Rhythm serves as a connection to the Latin dance scene in Florida. The club has strong ties with several dance schools across Orlando such as Salsa Heat Dance Studio, Santo Rico Dance Company, and Agapé Dance Company. Latin Rhythm often provides members with student discounts for dance events such as the Orlando Salsa Congress and the O-town socials. One of the most memorable experiences for many club members is attending a dance congress to enjoy a weekend full of workshops, pool parties, performances, and social dancing. Through these opportunities, Latin Rhythm has driven exemplar members to prominence in the greater dance community. For example, former presidents Veronica Olan and Roy Castro became renowned dancers under the Agapé Dance Company. Together with their team, they obtained the first place in the Bachata Cabaret Pro division of the World Latin Dance Cup in 2016.

The most valuable aspect of this RSO is Latin Rhythm as a community. Beyond providing a space for members to grow as dancers, team players, and leaders, this community fosters friendship and involvement. Latin Rhythm’s warm and welcoming environment invites its members to come together and enjoy the pleasure of meeting students of different majors, ages, and backgrounds, all with a common interest in dancing. Latin Rhythm hopes to keep UCF dancing for many years to come.

To find out more about the club, visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/latinrhythmatucf/