Lit-mo Latino: Ritmo 2017 is colorful and entertaining


Mr. Ballado’s first period Spanish Four class captivated the audience with their performance of “Que Vida La Vida.” (Photo: Vivian Hoang)

Vivian Hoang, Staff writer

Ritmo Latino, an annual Irvington Latino cultural show with a legacy of 12 years, took place on Feb. 10 and 11, in Valhalla. Spanish teacher Alberto Ballado, senior Melissa Andrade, and the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán club (MEChA) organized the two-night extravaganza. The show was dedicated to Juan Gabriel, a famous Latino singer and composer who passed away last year. Juniors Brent Hanna and Andy Ney, and sophomore Haider Malik hosted the show. Tickets were sold for $12 before the event and $15 at the door, with all proceeds going towards senior graduation scholarships and other MEChA-hosted events such as Mr. IHS.

The Latino culture show was a display of outgoing student-choreographed dance numbers that featured student performers from all grade levels and Spanish classes. The variety of musical numbers, which ranged from a sultry and modern Shakira mix to the lively brass-filled melody of “Yo Quiero Mambo,” showcased various genres of Latino music. The audience watched as students twirled, clapped, and body-rolled the night away.

“I really enjoyed the atmosphere, and it was cool to see the result of everyone’s hard work and practice,” said student dancer and junior Daniel Guo.

Aside from the Spanish classes’ dance numbers, the show also included a mix of other dances and singing performances. In between dances, students such as senior Victoria Tran and junior Cathryn Flores sang Latino ballads composed by the late Juan Gabriel. In the second act, the Black Student Union (BSU) shook up the show with a foot-stomping and heart-stopping routine, while the dance crew FP Rascals brought in a modern twist with their hip-hop routine. The contestants of Mr. IHS also provided a sneak peek of their show with a dance performance of Pitbull’s “Fireball.”

Each year, students are encouraged by Spanish teachers to take part in Ritmo Latino in order to learn more about Spanish culture. The show is always a large production, but this year there were many new choreographers and a total of 18 acts.

“We had a lot of new people participate this year,” Andrade said. “It wasn’t like other years where everyone already knew the drill. There were a lot of newbies. I’m really proud of them and what they did.”

The show was met with a good response from the Irvington community. Many parents and students came to see the Latin culture spectacular and support the student dancers.

“The show was really fun and entertaining,” audience member junior Frances Unsay said. “I came to support my friends in the show and I think they did a great job.  I want to go to next year’s show if I’m not part of it.”