By JEN RETTER ’16
On Oct. 8, just over a month after the start of classes, Arcadia University’s award-winning Latin dance club, Puro Ritmo, gave its first major performance of the year at the Welcoming Reception for International Students and Scholars at the University of Pennsylvania. In spite of limited prep time, the group excelled and even received several invitations to perform at upcoming events at area schools.
Puro Ritmo’s performance included a variety of styles, including bachata, salsa, a belly dance and even an African samba that was choreographed the night before. “Some routines were choreographed before, so the dancers had to just practice. Some dancers had new partners, so they had to work on developing and maintaining the fluidity, synchronicity and chemistry that’s essential to a successful performance,” said dancer and choreographer Wade Green.
In addition to providing a venue for creative expression, the reception gave attendees who hailed from many different cultural and geographic backgrounds a chance to connect. “Penn Museum’s annual international scholars event tends to have a familial feel. It’s a meet and greet that reminds students that they’re not alone, even within this new environment that they are studying in,” said Green. “There tends to be at least one other student from a similar culture as they are. If not, there’s a group that empathizes with them regardless and [it’s] an event that welcomes their differences.”
Just as it allowed students and scholars to form friendships, the reception brought the dancers in Puro Ritmo closer together as well. “I’m proud of our dancers, and events like this remind us so much of how we’re a family. I was so nervous about performing the samba because I choreographed it the night before and had difficulty changing costumes between routines, so the other dancers had to help me to stay calm, focused and on time,” said Green.