Hispanic Heritage: Here’s how traditional Latin dances are inspiring and educating Indy dancers

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INDIANAPOLIS – Dance plays a powerful role in the Hispanic culture. The music and movements bring people of all ages together.

This Hispanic Heritage month, we’re highlighting the efforts of a dance company on the far east side.  By teaching students how to dance, it also helps share special traditions with their entire community.

The passion for dance can be felt the moment you walk inside Alexander Coleman Dance Company.

The music is turned up, the colorful skirts are spinning, and the owner, Fallon Coleman, is teaching young girls and women Latin rhythms.

“It’s my opportunity for them to have a piece of their culture in this dance studio,” said Coleman.

The instructors teach salsa, bachata, merengue, the cha-cha and more. Martha Reyes is one of the instructors.

“La Raspa is known worldwide. It’s one of the very traditional dances,” explained Reyes.

Reyes is from western Mexico and has been dancing since she was young. She begins her classes by teaching the basics. Each spin, twirl or tap is an opportunity for her to share with these young dancers, her roots and the history behind the moves.

“It makes me feel close to home and when I feel the music, like the mariachi band,” Reyes added.

“It’s important you understand their history and how they bring that here and share that,” said Coleman.

By performing in competitions, community events and festivals, Coleman wants to share the Hispanic culture with all of Indianapolis and inspire greatness on and off the dance floor.

“It’s very important for our dance company that we instill in our youth the value of giving back and contributing and helping others,” said Coleman, “If you want to try, come on out, we’d love to have you.”

If you’d like to learn more about Alexander Coleman Dance Company, click here.

Now, the dance party continues over at The Jazz Kitchen on Indy’s north side. Since 1996, the restaurant and dance club has been home to Indy’s Latin dance party.

Every Thursday night, people come to take part in the free dance lessons, where they learn salsa, merengue and more. Once the 30 minute lesson is over, the dancing gets started and goes all night long.

“It gives people a rare opportunity to come out and celebrate that culture and so we just want to be supportive and you know, represent that community as best as we can and try to embrace it ourselves,” said Grace Yinger, a server at The Jazz Kitchen.

Latin night at The Jazz Kitchen is on Thursdays. Doors open at 6 p.m. for a Latin inspired dinner. The dancing lessons start at 8:30 and the club kicks off at 9 p.m.

Late night tacos are also on the menu.

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