AUSTIN, Texas - Ivana Castañeda is a dancer from Colombia. When she moved to Austin about ten years ago, she noticed the city didn’t offer many Latin dance classes.
"I wanted to create a space for, like, us Latinos to come and listen to our songs, to listen to merengue, reggaeton, everything that is about us," Castañeda said.
After graduating from UT, Castañeda starting teaching Latin fusion classes at local dance studios.
"I have students from everywhere, from Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, every single place," Castañeda said. "So, it's kind of like, oh, like this class is very different. It's like I teach you a choreography to a song that you might hear in a radio, in a club, or like you grew up listening to. So, like I started, I wanted to create this space for us."
Every Latin country has a different style of dance. Castañeda tries to incorporate them in her class.
Castañeda says more people have enrolled in her class because they finally see Latino representation.
"They've been like, loving it," Castañeda said. "I have students that only speak Spanish, and they're like, feel comfortable asking me questions in Spanish, which like in other classes, you don't get that."
For Hispanic Heritage Month, Castañeda wanted to give back to her community and offer a free dance class.
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Castañeda's dance class will be held at the Domain near the Ipic theater on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 4:30 p.m.
Those who are interested in signing up for Castaneda's dance class can find more information here.