If you want to learn the lambada, don't rent The Forbidden Dance. And if you want Mexican food, hold off on going out to eat. At least until Saturday night. According to Festival Latino de Penn Planning Committee Co-Chairperson Isabella Casillas, the week is a chance for the University community to learn about its Latin American members. "The purpose of the festival is to spread the Latino culture to as many people as possible," Casillas said. The name of the week was changed into Spanish this year, after being called the "Latino Festival" since its inception in 1982. Zenaida Rosado, another co-chairperson of the Festival, said organizers felt the English title was contrary to the spirit of the awareness week. "The festival is based on culture," said Rosado. "A name in English defies everything, when the culture is based in Spanish." Rosado added all of the events are in English, "so everyone can attend." This year was also the first in which the group funded a supplement in The Daily Pennsylvanian. According to Casillas, the supplement gave Latino students a chance to express themselves through poetry and prose, as well as outlining the events of the week. The culmination of the week will be the "Fiesta Latina," which will take place Saturday night at the Christian Association. The event will feature two live bands, Minas and Orquestra Panama. In preparation for the event, Latin American dance lessons will be held tomorrow night at McClelland Hall at 8 p.m., where participants will be able to learn to dance the salsa, merengue, samba and lambada from a professional dance instructor. Organized by a number of different Latin American organizations on campus, the week begins tonight with "Literature, Language, and Destiny in Translation," a presentation given by Rosario Ferre, a renowned Puerto Rican writer who has taught Latin American literature at several universities. According to Casillas, Ferre will be speaking at Bodek Lounge at 8 p.m. about what is lost when literature is translated into another language. Casillas said organizers chose to concentrate this year on presenting as many regions and backgrounds of Latin America as possible. Organizers are also hoping the week will help dispel negative Latin American stereotypes. "Maybe some of the prejudice will be eliminated," said Rosado. With the exception of the Mexican Dinner, which is $7, all events are free of charge.Comments powered by Disqus
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