Noche Latina makes strong comeback


Henry Bendon, Staff Reporter

Last Saturday, the door to the Jolly Scholar served a double purpose—it let people in and out of the bar and marked the dividing line between the calm, mostly empty courtyard of the Thwing Center and the exuberant bass-filled space of La Alianza’s Noche Latina.

A line stretched out the door of Thwing and led down the path between Thwing and the neighboring TInkham Veale University Center. Some attendees guessed that they spent nearly half an hour in line. The crowd caused Andrew Jimenez, the president of La Alianza, to consider moving to a larger venue or ticketing the festivities.  

On the dance floor, the focus was less on facilitating a smoothly run event and more on getting into a groove.

“Bachata with a friend, Bachata with a new person you never met before…This is Bachata!” second-year student Isaiah Carr yelled over the music.

Carr and several hundred other attendees displayed every level of skill and enthusiasm, dancing away the night in a mass of spinning, hip-shaking humanity that stayed large enough to cover the entirety of the Jolly Scholar until the crowd started to fade at nearly 1:45 a.m.

This semester’s Noche Latina showed what last spring’s should have been, a joyous celebration of the dance and music of Latin America. Instead, the spring’s Noche Latina turned into the semester’s most newsworthy student event when a series of incidents left several students in the hospital and ended with accusations of racism toward a member of security.

Most of the issues last semester were attributed to overcrowding within the event, which led La Alianza, the organization that organizes Noche Latina, to take no chances with room capacity.

Jimenez said that this year he took on the role of risk manager and described the changes for the event this time around.

“We got another security guard so that there [were] three instead of two, which allowed two people to watch the door and one to walk around inside.” Jimenez said. “This helped with making sure that people [were] safe inside.”

The other major change made was capping the number of people that could be at in the Jolly Scholar at the same time. Monserrath Salas, a member of La Alianza, spoke about when La Alianza stopped letting people into the event.

“As soon as we reached capacity, we literally stopped letting people in,” said Salas.

The event itself enjoyed a somewhat unexpected boost in attendance. According to Salas, the event hit capacity in only 15 minutes, an impressive feat considering that the fall Noche Latina event was usually the less popular of the semesterly events La Alianza throws.  

It remains to be seen where the next Noche Latina will be held and whether it will require tickets, but you can be sure that that no matter where it is, the dance floor will be packed.