Friday, September 12, 2003

Latino fest in Oxford tonight

Partying begins series of events

By Aaron Johnson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

OXFORD - Miami University and Oxford will move to a salsa beat today.

Everyone is invited to "Be Latin for a Day," kicking off seven weeks of events in connection with National Hispanic Heritage Month. From 3-11 p.mtoday, ) Oxford's Uptown Park is playing host to the first UniDIversity Festival, hosted by the university's Center for American and World Cultures and the division of student affairs.

"We wanted to offer the university community and the Oxford community the opportunity to get to know Latino culture a little bit more," said Claudia Ferreira, assistant director for the center.

Besides cooking exhibitions and a variety of musical performances, there will be capoeira demonstrations.Originating in Brazil, capoeira is a martial art with a very strong cultural element. By disguising this practice with music, Brazilian slaves were able to hide the intent of their graceful movements.

Sumakta, an instrumental group from Ecuador, will perform music from the Andes and will also be selling instruments, clothing and tapestries. The popular dance band Salsa Caliente! will close out the evening by performing salsa tunes, giving dance lessons and hosting a dance contest.

"We didn't want to replicate stereotypes of just the Mexican heritage," said Ferreira. "The Hispanic culture is very diverse and it is a celebration of all different Latino and Hispanic backgrounds."

Events will run through Oct. 31, including lectures, themed dinners, workshops and more musical performances.

For more information, visit the Web site.

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