LACOS’ Carnaval brings colorful celebration to campus

Dora Kreitzer, Assistant News Editor

This year’s LACOS (Latin Alliance for Community and Opportunity for Students) Gala was filled with dancing, music, poetry, food and art embracing Latine culture and identity. Flags, feathers, beads, flowers and papel picado adorned Larison Dining in the vibrant and colorful spirit of this year’s theme: Carnaval. 

Carnaval is a Catholic festival that began in Latin America in the 1830s following the Portuguese tradition of celebration before the first day of Lent. It is a popular and significant celebration in Latin American and the Caribbean, though it is celebrated differently in each country. Carnaval season stretches from late January to early March during the time leading up to Lent. The gala theme changes annually and is voted on by the LACOS members.

“Carnaval is a very colorful and joyous tradition… It is a very huge celebration and for me, it means inclusivity and representation. All we want to do is to be able to celebrate our culture with others and be able to bring the theme to life. We always strive to make anyone feel welcomed with our events and what better way than to join us in a huge celebration that represents our culture,” Joselyn Perdomo ’22 said, current LACOS President. 

After welcoming remarks from the Perdomo and upcoming LACOS President Jada Lopez ’24, Margarita Torres ’22 read a couple of her poems about the immigration process, connecting with Mexican culture and finding her voice. Following that, dressed in vibrant colors reminiscent of the bright colors of Carnaval, 14 LACOS members performed “La Magica de Carnaval.” This dance consisted of Bachata, Salsa and freestyle, all choreographed by members Gabby Diaz ’25, Tales Carneiro Passos ’25 and Dani Perdomo-Chavez ’25, while the music featured four different musical genres: Latin Pop, Reggaeton, Bachata and Salsa. 

“We wanted to make sure that each art form was depicted in the gala whether that be with poetry, dancing, or singing. The performers put so much work into their pieces and even LACOS members themselves took time out of their weeks to practice their performances. It was so nice to see everyone enjoy the GALA and all the aspects it had to offer,” Lopez said. 

The event then featured a live musical performance of “La Camisa Negra” by Michelle Gonzalez ’25, Tyler Williams ’22 and Ian Herdt ’22 and poetry readings from Tatiana Roman ’22 and Julissa Ortiz Ramos ’22 talking about the intersections of womanhood, Latinidad and queerness. Audiences could easily relate to the themes of experiences with love, family, life and even the shortcomings of sex education. 

The Bisonettes then performed a mix of hip hop and Caribbean dance style to both Carnaval and Reggaeton music. Diaz followed this with a traditional El Salvadoran folk dance known as Xuc, with both indigenous and African roots. To celebrate their years at the University, the seniors then performed their “Senior Surprise” to a very enthusiastic and energetic crowd to a soundtrack of throwback songs from the early 2000s. 

From her time in LACOS as a graduating senior and from this year’s gala, Perdomo “learned about the importance of community and acknowledging that you are not alone on this campus. Especially when you find people that are from the same culture as you, you get to build connections with them and share things that you all enjoy such as the food, music, etc… What I will take moving forward is to never be afraid to show where I come from because we should be proud of it and no one should tell you otherwise. Always celebrate your culture with others!,” Perdomo said.

After a poetry reading about self love by Ricky Rodriguez ’23 entitled “Una Celebración,” Pure Samba Entertainment featured salsa dancers and capoeira performers to really bring the Carnaval theme to life. The dancers had attendees up on their feet and dancing with them, closing the event with a dynamic and spirited dance circle. They even offered photo-ops at the end of the event in front of the floral LACOS Gala backdrop. 

“The most rewarding part of the Gala is seeing everyone enjoy it during the actual event. The round of applause after each performance, the dance circle at the end with the samba dancers and capoeira performers, and all the tears and laughter that came with the ending of our event,” Perdomo said. 

Outside of the gala, LACOS is a group that works to create a community for Latine students on campus to be represented and to celebrate their culture and identity. 

“LACOS is important here because it gives Latine students a home away from home. Most of our members are first-generation college students, including myself, and have a hard time adjusting to the Bucknell culture until they find others they can identify with. Having an organization like this one in which both members and allies can learn about the Latine culture and enjoy the different events we have to offer is important to have on campus and essentially learn from. LACOS makes sure we are not an identity hidden on campus,” Lopez said.

“We strive for inclusivity and making sure we are representing all of Latin America and the Caribbean when it comes to our events, especially for our LACOS Gala. For those that attended the LACOS Gala, I hope you were able to see how much work we put into it to make it as best as possible,” Perdomo said. “And once again, thank you so much for celebrating our Latine culture with us!”

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